Last Sunday I had the change to give a speech at DU Talk about Cross-Cultural Marriage. DU Talk is a weekly event where different speakers come with different topics each Sunday evening. So far I have attended speeched about traveling, social media, trading etc. This time I was honored to be the guest speaker my self!
As with only been married for less than 5 years I’m far from an expert on marriage, I had a more personal view on my topic. From my own perspective and experience I introduced how a cross-cultural marriage might start, evolve, what challenges there might be and how we have solved them.
Here I would like to share my ideas on the five struggless we went over during my speech and some of our solutions as well.
1. Deciding where to live
Me and my husband haven’t never fought over which country we should live in as we have been in agreement that our life is in China at the moment. We also see our selves living here for the next 5 or 10 years at least. In the future we hope we could divide our time more between Finland and China, but a move to Finland isn’t in the plans right now.
2. Language struggles in a relationship
Me and my husband certainly had issues with the language whne we started dating. My Mandarin wasn’t that good at the time and his English was even worse. We had problems in communicating with each other, though nothing major. Now I feel I can express my self and my feelings better in Chinese, but of course it’s still far from being the same when I speak Finnish. But it has to be at least one person in the relationship who sees the effort of learning the language of his/her spouse.
3. How to plan a cross-cultural wedding
I have written about our wedding a lot before, about combining the cultures, choosing the date, the legal wedding and finally about our big day that included a Chinese part and a Finnish part all in one day.
4. How to get along with your in-laws
Me and my husband laid out some rules early on, even before having kids. We wanted to live on our own, though close to the family, and do things our way. Being firm and honest from the beginning has been working well for us and the in-laws let us live our life the way we want. My Chinese husband has also always been independent in a sense that he has argumented his view to his parents and done his way even before meeting me.
It’s important to be your self, you can not try to fake something during the first visit and then keep it up for the rest of your life. Be who you are and see if you are a good match with the family before you marry.
5. Different views in raising kids
Me and my husband are pretty much on the same page what comes to educating our daughter. We don’t believe in disciplining kids through violent matters and we do believe in the benefit of Chinese education in a sense that we want our daughter to be fully fluent in Chinese.
The Chinese grandparents do have very different ideas or raising kids, but because they usually see our daughter once or twice a week, their influence isn’t that significant. We want them to have fun with their grandchild and our daughter to have a nice relationship with them, but we don’t wish them to have much say on her education or up-bringing.