Cross Cultural Marriages in Pakistan : 4 Important Things to Consider Beforehand

Intercultural or Cross Cultural marriages in Pakistan involve individuals from different races, ethnicities, religions, and cultural backgrounds. While committing to someone for life is already a significant decision, deciding whether your commitment can transcend cultural boundaries adds another layer of complexity. Whether you're Asian, African, European, Latin, or from any other background, navigating the complexities of merging two different cultures requires thoughtful consideration and understanding.

What’s interesting to know is that these differences can prevail even in the same country. Pakistan has a limited number of provinces but a vast cultural diversity. After every few kilometers, you can see a change of culture very evidently. One good example is Punjabi and Pakhtoon culture. Both these cultures are very different from each other. But that is the beauty of marriage. Two individuals from completely different backgrounds and cultures, come and build a life together. 

What to Expect from Cross Culture Marriages in Pakistan

Choosing to live in your own city or your spouse’s can bring its own set of challenges. And these may vary depending on your decision. It is a common observation that partners living outside of their own culture often face the greatest adjustment challenges.It is one thing to take some time to get adjusted to your spouse’s family and another thing to marry someone outside your culture. 

Adapting to new norms and meeting the expectations of friends and in-laws can be particularly challenging. They may find themselves constantly navigating these cultural differences, trying to fit in while staying true to themselves. From food being one of the major differences, clothes, traditions, language, even the way people express themselves. Everything is different.

Likewise, children born into intercultural marriages may face unique challenges as they navigate their identity. Growing up in a multicultural environment can sometimes lead to confusion as children try to reconcile different cultural expectations and traditions from both sides of the family. As parents, understanding and supporting them through these challenges is essential for their healthy development and self-identity.

Convincing the Family

Well this one tops the list. Hands down one of the hardest things you’ll have to do will be to convince your family members. While in arranged marriages, the rishta process can be the hard part. But in love marriages, convincing is the hardest. If the grandparents are okay, your parents will not be. If your father is convinced, your mother will have her reservations about your partner. And if all of these people are okay, it will be that distant relative who hasn’t seen you in years. But will have concerns about you, your partner, and your future. 

So? Be patient! Expect that a long time will be taken to convince them. But don’t give up. One by one, convince them all. It will take some time but just know that it will be worth the effort. 

Kids from Cross Cultural Marriages

Although, in Pakistan and Islam too, kids belong to the father. Not in a negative way but they are the providers and keepers of the children. So naturally they get to make the decisions for them as well.

But that also means that the wife may find herself secluded or unfit into the family. Children are like sponges. They absorb everything that they see and hear. So it’s not hard for them to take after the culture of their father. Mostly because the grandparents from the father’s side are living with them. The paternal relatives visit more often. And on important occasions like Eid, Weddings, the customs of the father’s family are followed. 

What to do About It

Parenting is already hard. But when you have to raise your children with someone that is so different from you, it becomes even harder. The idiosyncrasies of that person that made you fall in love, turn into those exact things that you now despise. So how do you raise the kids then? 

The first and foremost thing is to communicate. Discuss with your partner how you want to bring up your kids. From parenting styles to responsibilities, talk everything out. And while discussing this, keep in mind that this is not the battle of your ego. But a fight to make your children’s lives better. You two are together in this to make them better individuals for society. So, keeping all the differences aside, bring your focus to that!

Little Respect Goes a Long Way

Remember why choose your partner to be your partner. It will help you in difficult times. Do not expect your partner to follow your customs and traditions. Let them be who they are because that is what attracted you the first time. 

Respect their culture and traditions. They shouldn’t feel restricted to practice their own traditions. Each of the partners should have the space to practice their own values. Respect is fundamental in intercultural marriages. Couples must respect each other's cultural differences and avoid judgment or criticism. By showing respect for each other's traditions and beliefs, couples can create a supportive and inclusive environment where both partners feel valued and understood.

Focus on the Bright Side

Cultural differences bring a significant challenge for Pakistani couples in intercultural marriages. The clash of traditions, values, and expectations can sometimes lead to misunderstandings and conflicts. However, with the right mindset and intentions, couples can overcome these challenges and build a strong and fulfilling relationship.

  1. Effective Communication

Effective communication is key to addressing cultural differences in intercultural marriages. Couples must be open and honest with each other about their cultural backgrounds, beliefs, and expectations. By openly discussing their differences and finding common ground, couples can strengthen their bond and better understand each other.

  1. Educate Yourself

Educating yourself also plays a crucial role in bridging cultural gaps. Couples should take the time to learn about each other's cultures, traditions, and customs. This can help foster empathy, understanding, and appreciation for each other's backgrounds.

  1. Flexibility

Flexibility is another essential factor in navigating cultural differences. Couples must be willing to compromise and adapt to each other's cultural practices and beliefs. By being flexible and open-minded, couples can create a harmonious and inclusive environment that honors both partners' cultural identities. 

While cultural differences can present challenges for Pakistani couples in intercultural marriages, with effective communication, education, flexibility, respect, and professional help, couples can overcome these challenges and build a strong and fulfilling relationship.

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