How Cultural Differences Impact Marriage Speakers, Authors & Christian Marriage & Relationship Coaches

Women living with mothers-in-law did not have a great deal of freedom of choice and had to prove themselves at home, leaving less time to think about progress in education or work. In the Croatian Republic of Yugoslavia in the 1980s, shortly after the death of long-time leader Josip Broz “Tito,” it was still expected that a young couple would live with a husband’s family at marriage. At that time, I was engaged in fieldwork that focused on social change.

You are definitely not left alone and things are not left to chance. Some anthropologists have argued that marriage IS primarily about children and “descent”—who will “own” children. If a family had two sons and one was already married and still living with his natal family, the second son might live with the wife’s family at marriage if that family had the space. In these situations, which were not considered ideal but still were in the range of acceptable alternatives, young married women found themselves living with their own mothers rather than a mother-in-law.


We exploit rich administrative demographic data on the universe of marriages formed in Italy, as well as birth and separation records from 1995 to 2012. We estimate strong preferences of ethnic minorities’ towards socialization of children to their own identity, identifying marital selection and fertility choices as fundamental socialization mechanisms.

Each pattern was named for a cultural group in which this pattern was found. The system that most Americans follow is referred to as the Eskimo system, a name that comes from the old way of referring to the Inuit, an indigenous people of the Arctic .


And it’s challenging to make sure you explore every difference before deciding to marry because some of them seem just so universal it is puzzling how anyone could do anything differently. You may replicate this article as long as it is provided free to recipients and includes appropriate attribution. Where you each individually engage in your cultural activities, make sure you are on the same page about how, when and where.

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In Egypt, marriage is seen through many different lenses, mostly of responsibility, children and caregiving, and romance. When things get difficult, it is also useful to travel and see how other cultures perceive relationships, and to borrow some lessons or lifestyles from their culture and apply it to our own. Regardless of where you come from, marriage and family life has always been difficult to manage. Sometimes, however, there are local cultural ideas that can be rewired or replaced with different cultural practices from around the world to see marriage in a totally new light. Couple has the choice to live with either the husband’s or wife’s family, a choice is made based on which location is best able to accommodate new members or which location needs the additional labor that comes from new members.

A dowry was important for a woman to take with her into a marriage because the groom’s family had the upper economic hand. It helped ease the tension of her arrival in the household, especially if the dowry was substantial.

Think, for a moment, about our taken-for-granted assumptions about to whom children belong. Explain how family patterns represent and reflect cultural contexts. Her brother-employer thought the baby would make their lives more hectic. But because they had “such a great comfort level, that would make it work,” Khris Middleton said. But when he returned to Los Angeles in January 2015, the mood changed. He was also still struggling with the death of his mother a few years earlier.

  • If every brother married separately and had children, family land would be split into unsustainable small plots.
  • For example, Willoughby suggests that arranged marriages work because they remove anxiety in process of finding the spouses.
  • Intercultural marriages across ethnicities experience different levels of stress and resiliency.
  • Beginning with Denmark in 1989, civil unions under one name or another have been established by law in several countries in order to provide same-s*x couples rights, benefits, and responsibilities similar to opposite-s*x civil marriage.
  • During the ceremony, relatives including grandparents, parents, aunts, and uncles are served a cup of tea and each takes a sip.
  • One trustee, the granddaughter of the founder of a large foundation in the South, tells of her experience of joining the board when she was well into middle age.
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We had a cigar bar and cigar rollers, island cocktails, and a photo booth with island props. “I didn’t want a wedding cake, so my mother brought a traditional island pastry, guava duff, from home instead. My husband’s family really wanted a pastel or a cake, so they gifted us a wedding cake as well,” Kiara says. Culturally in Honduras, favors are a big part of the departure from events, so Arles’ family made custom miniature statues so Kiara and Arles could give them as wedding favors. Finally, to connect to Kiara’s Polish roots, they did the dollar dance. Kiara wore her aunt’s wedding apron with babies on it, which represents fertility. When you are from different cultures, meeting your spouse, family members, or neighbors halfway takes practice.

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Holidays as an Interracial Couple

These ideas are often linked to both practical and ideological considerations. Practical considerations might include the availability of housing, work patterns, childcare, the economic contribution children make to a family, or the cost of raising children. Ideological considerations include religious values related to families. In the 1990s, I carried out field research in Croatia, investigating ideas about families.

Begin Wedding Planning Early

There is often marked age asymmetry in these relationships, with husbands much older than their wives. In polygynous households, each wife commonly lives in her own house with her own biological children, but the family unit cooperates together to share resources and provide childcare. The husband usually “visits” his wives in succession and lives in each of their homes at various times .

In the “Early Marriage in The Gambia” section, the writers brought up that awareness of family planning methods is high but uptake is low among adolescents. The findings may suggest that shifting socials norms surrounding how and why family planning is used (i.e. currently only for birth spacing rather than delaying first pregnancy) may also be an important programmatic implication. It might be necessary to note that many women and adolescents of childbearing age from rural Gambia are only recently getting birth certificates, where their age is estimated from memory since the date wasn’t recorded on their actual date of birth. We also found that lack of meaningful alternatives to marriage including work opportunities in rural areas may also limit the options and resources available to girl, resulting in early marriage.


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