So, those of you with partners from a different culture, do you experience misunderstandings due to the two of you growing up with different world views?
Notsomuch world views as just cultural differences. And ironically, it's not even a different culture COMPLETELY, but my family came to the US with my great-grandparents where dh's parents were born and raised overseas and then came here as teens. We had a really hard time early on with his family feeling like my family were "sell outs" and not "really" our ethnicity because we no longer spoke the language within our home/family. What my inlaws didn't "get" was that when my family came to the US--you became American. It wasn't a great thing to be different. When my inlaws came here, nobody cared. It was the late 60s and it was fine to come here and speak another language, etc.
And as a result, my family handles things very differently than his does. I mean, obviously a number of things just die hard (or never die) and I'm grateful for that because there are a lot of things with my inlaws that I know not to take personally. But man--it's difficult.
We've been married 13 years yesterday. We are STILL often challenged by this!
Interestingly, I had problems with my husband and his family and we are all born and raised in the US. Differences are differences, regardless of the cause.
we run into things every now and then, but DH spent most of his life in the US growing up in a very culture rich household so he has an interesting balance of values and traditions. one thing that always gets to me (it's small but still) is that as much as he thinks dogs are cute and fun animals, he does not believe they should live inside the house. ever. they are outside animals only in the country he was born, used mostly for security or as farmhands, and he thinks it is dirty/weird for them to be indoor pets. there are also a TON of strays where he is from. well, i grew up with dogs my whole life, and slept in bed with them. we don't have a dog yet, but if we ever do it could cause some problems...
I'm going to be honest...95% of mine and DH's marital problems come from cultural differences. And it has made our relationship pretty shaky. It's everything from what a PP mentioned (animals living in the house is disgusting for him, I can't imagine not having them in the house) to his belief that it's OK if a man cheats on his wife, because that's what men do. I completely underestimated the effect these differences would have on our marriage, because I was really open-minded and believed that all different cultures were wonderful and every one's culture should be embraced "as is" and LOVE and RESPECT and yada yada yada....until I became a house slave just because I was a woman, who was expected to serve him and treat him like my master. He doesn't want me to read any books because where he comes from, that is not considered a worthwhile activity. And make no mistake, it IS his culture that is to blame. His culture requires a woman to be completely subservient to her husband. It requires a man to be loud, proud, and potent. I could tell you about my DH's aunt, who helps her husband get ready to go out with other women. Or his grandpa, who used to bring his girlfriends home to dinner. Or about when I was 8 months pregnant, and we were at a bbq and I had forgot my sunscreen in the car a block away. I was sitting down, and my DH was standing up talking to his friends. I asked him politely if he would mind going and getting my sunscreen for me, and he told me, "What's wrong with you, old lady, go and get it yourself!" I then had to heave myself up out of my chair with all eyes on me to lumber back to get the sunscreen. He later scolded me for embarrassing him in front of his friends, making him look like a "mandilon," or pussywhipped. Or about how he would leave me home alone, with no neighbors, when I was 9 months pregnant, taking our car and my phone (he didn't have one) to go out and party until 5am, because a man doesn't take his wife out to party, he takes his girlfriends. Before you think that it's just my DH, that he is just a jerk, let me correct you: he was raised that way, just like every other male from his hometown. That is his culture. Am I blaming his culture? HELL YEAH! It has made my life a living hell at times! Look at some of my old posts here, you'll get the idea.
I, on the other hand, was raised on a ranch in the old west. My culture encourages women to be strong, love hard work in the outdoors, and be close to animals. We are not raised to be maids. And he blames my culture for making me prefer the outdoors to doing dishes, and not making sure I knew how to keep a clean house and dinner on the table. It embarrasses him when we have company and I forget to dish up his food for him.
So we have to work hard to compromise. This morning I went hunting, and when I came home he had cleaned the house! I made sure to give him lots of hugs and kisses and praise for that. I compromise for him, as well. I make dinner from scratch almost every night, even when I have to work (as a sub) that day.
But yes, loving someone from a different culture is hard work.
I was thinking that perhaps this communication problem really brings out the need for not taking things for granted. I know it's past now but... (smile) In most cultures, the man is the head of the household and trust me it means the head. There might be attempts to have joint decisions but these are not usually in the area that one might expect. However, the examples you give seem a little intense and sound as if they could do with a little discussion?
We have few communication issues, and those that we have are more based on the fact that he's a man and the oldest in his sib group and I'm a woman and a middle-child. We both come from large talkative families, so that similarity helps reduce communication issues.
When we do discover we see things differently, we talk about the differences.