I have been married now for nearly 7 years and these have been very good, happy years.
When I married a Latvian man I knew I was choosing to live my life forever away from the life grew up with and was familiar with.
Yet, growing up in the States I never thought I’d live there. I studied to be a missionary. I read about missions, I longed for adventure and to see the world.
Now 7 years later I realize that missing ones country, or to be more precise ones family, culture and upbringing never goes away. In fact, if anything the distance has seemed to grow and the difficulty in having every person from my side of the family an ocean away is hard, REALLY hard, and gets only worse with time.
Marriage is a blessing, and cross-cultural marriages can be and are very rewarding. But they have an entire set of problems that 2 people marrying from one country may never face.
I want to step out on a risky limb and state that I think that if at possible a person is better off NOT marrying someone from another culture. And I don’t say so because I’m unhappy. But rather as I raise my kids an ocean away from their grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins I have realized that the choices I made in allowing myself to fall in love with a European have altered the course of our family history and future.
I have thrown a loop in the plan of family and closeness by making it harder for my children to know and be close to their aunts, and uncles and cousins in America. I have created complications for my kids with the fact that one day they may have to choose which country they prefer.
I realize that I have made my life more difficult and more sad because I have chosen to be far from the relatives I love so dearly in the States. I realize that I have made my marriage more complicated because I threw in another language, and an entirely different world view and culture.
Now, if you, like me are married to someone from another land we know that this is exciting, and wonderful, but hard.
There are days when you don’t understand the tiny things in the language that are simple, but just slip over your head because maybe you are having a bad day.
There are days when you hate living in a foreign land and long for home.
There are days when you would give anything to be in the embrace of your Mom or Dad, or Grandma who is an ocean away and who see at best every few years.
And despite all of this I am thankful for this wild adventure I’m on. Thankful for this plan God has allowed to unfold so far in my life and thankful He is still at work.
What is your cross-cultural story?