How to Thrive in a Multicultural Relationship

The story of our meeting is as nothing either one of us would have envisioned as children, even young adults. I won’t bore you with insignificant details at this time, but at the core of our relationship stands two individuals from completely different backgrounds. I am Guyanese and Segun, Nigerian. I know, two individuals from completely different continents met and decided to tarry through life together. Trust that it came with its own obstacles.

At first glance, many would see all of the things that should separate us; food, distance, cultural norms and expectations, family, friends, finances. Is he controlling? I am asked often. Is she taking care of you? He gets questioned. How’s your home life? Trust the questions are numerous from both sides of our friends and family. After a few hours of interaction with us in a room, they quickly resolve. However, my role is never to convince anyone of the love and respect we share for each other.

Years later, we continue to depend on a few core principles that allow us thrive in our difference.

1. Acceptance- we have accepted that we are different individuals. My life experiences are not the same as Segun’s. The cultural practices he grew up knowing and following are not the same as mine. Our foods are different and so is our clothing. However, we’ve learned to embrace these differences. I can make Egusi and fufu and Segun curry for my Mama’s roti. We exchange music and dance styles as we laugh at each other.

2. Our childhood unifies us– Neither one of us grew up with a surplus in our family. Our parents worked diligently to provide for us and our siblings. We can sit for hours and talk about the days we had little to eat. The stories of primary school and wearing uniforms. At times, it seems we live in the same place, yet this is far from true. Our life’s as adults is a reflection of our childhood struggles, sacrifices, and victories

3. Our own “Culture”– Whether it is hiking together, taking long drives, camping, having meals with friends, supporting each other at work, we have adopted a new way of life that includes both of us. It surprises many to know, Nigerian guy Segun likes pasta salad or Indian food just as much Efo riro. Our new culture allows us to incorporate our American life, as well as our Nigerian and Guyanese culture. We get to decide what works for us!!

4. We rely heavily on prayer! It is just that simple!

If you are in a multicultural relationship I encourage you to spend time building a strong foundation and learning more about each other. As with any relationship there must be willingness on both sides to work together. I am not relationship expert, just from one internet friend to another ( haha).

XO

JAARA

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