I was born and raised in Kenya and never imagined I would one day be married to a man born and raised in American. Not because I had anything against getting married to an American but because, well, I was living in Kenya and you hardly see an American crossing the street, especially if you grew up in my neighborhood! The closest I came to seeing a Westerner was on the TV while my Dad was listening to Kenny Rodgers’ music 🙂
But you know what they say about God working in mysterious ways. Meeting my husband was the work of God that required obedience and trust on my part. It required God moving me to another country.
The long story started back in 2011 when my husband, in obedience to God, started a safe home for young girls ages 5 to 15 years who had been sexually trafficked or gone through traumatic sexual ordeals in Malawi, Africa. It’s only God who knew that 4 years later, my husband would meet a gorgeously created small lady from Kenya 🙂 Lucky guy he is!
Anyway, today I’ll be talking about the benefits of being in an intercultural/interracial marriage. I was going through previous articles written on this topic and most of them talked about how hard this type of marriage is, and I thought, Fake news Alert people!!!
Intercultural/interracial union is one of the most beautiful thing ever, more beautiful than a smiling Sloth.
Alright, let’s look at the benefits below:
You get to learn a new culture
This starts to happen while you’re dating. You get to learn the Do’s and Don’ts, you become self-aware and ready to learn. This in-turn strengthens your bond and makes one stop believing that one culture is superior over another. But that we’re all special in our own special way.
This goes from understanding why your Spouse celebrates certain holidays to what kinds of Sports they like. Even if they don’t necessarily make sense to you 🙂 What matters is that we embrace each other’s cultural values.
Traveling a lot
I enjoy going back and forth from Kenya to the U.S., mainly because I like traveling. Someone once told me that this will all change once we have kids! Hopefully that won’t happen but until then, I’m going to have fun while it lasts.
When your Spouse is from another country, you get to experience and visit places that mean a lot to your spouse, you get see where they grew up, the little/big schools they went to, build friendships and have a 2nd family away from home.
This can however not be fun when/if you stay in one country for a long period of time and start missing your family 🙁
Learn how to make new cuisines
My husband’s favorite food is Lasagna. Although this is not originally an American food. I’ve learnt how to make it the “American way”. I believe it’s close to the way the Italians do it, I hope… Learning how to make different kinds of food has broadened my cooking skills so much I surprised myself!
I’m excited about going home and teaching my family how to make Lasagna! That shows how intercultural marriage is one of the factors that will lead to food being universal! How cool will it be to have all countries in the whole world having every kind of cuisine! A girl can dream.
Reduces negative Stereotypes
By definition, a stereotype is a widely held oversimplified idea of a particular people group (or thing). There’s a lot of stereotypes out there about people from different races and cultures. Some are true but others are not. Interracial/intercultural marriages lead to the reduction of negative stereotypes. Your Spouse’s friends who are from the same race/culture as he is, come to learn a lot from you. They get to learn that sometimes stereotypes are not facts but just lies that people make up. And you in-turn get to learn a lot as well.
According to Deacon Harold Burke Sivers, an international speaker and author on family life and spirituality, the bottom line is not the color of skin in a marriage, but the fact that you were brought together for a reason.
Learning new Languages
My husband and I are currently learning Chichewa together. Chichewa is a language spoken in Malawi. It hasn’t been going that well but we’re not giving up!
I speak Swahili and I’m currently in the process of teaching my husband how to, it’s actually not going that bad 🙂 We never make new years’ resolutions but this year we did, that by the end of the year, he will be able to fully understand Swahili.
Sometimes during family gatherings with my family we forget and get lost in Swahili which makes him feel a little left out. I try to translate but its not the same. So if anything, this will be what motivates us to fulfill this resolution! My brother always says, “There are some stories that are best told in Swahili, if you try English, they just don’t ‘come’ out well”.
Once interracial/intercultural couples have kids, their kids will be bilingual, which is a really awesome thing!
As much as I’ve talked about the beautiful things that come from interracial/intercultural marriages, there are also some not so beautiful things that require God and our dedication to walk through them. I wish it was as perfect as I described it but its not, nothing is perfect, everything is flawed in its own way. The one thing that we have to work through is the societal stereotypes, we still get stared at when we go to specific places. I always tell my husband that I’m going to interpret the stare positively. That the people staring are captivated by us! That always gives me confidence to hold my head high and even give them a smile 🙂
Finding the balance between our cultural differences has also been something that most, if not all intercultural couples struggle with. Eventually after a few years of marriage you will finally crack it, it takes God’s help and guidance to accomplish all these, we can’t do it by our own strength.
Thank you for reading this article and kindly leave a comment and I will get right back to you!
I came across the video below and thought it’s worth sharing. I hope we all learn something from it.