Let’s Talk about Cross Cultural Relationships, and How Therapy Can Help (2/3)

Let's take a look at some of the unique advantages of cross cultural relationships, and next week we'll look at how relationship counseling may be able to assist in harnessing those strengths.

By Meng-lin (Benny) Hsieh, M.Ed., Counseling Psychologist in Taiwan

Photographer:Git Stephen Gitau

Strengths of Cross Cultural Relationships

On the other hand, people who are in cross cultural relationships benefit from unique advantages. Having abundant opportunities to navigate cultural differences, people who are in cross cultural relationships develop communication skills that can be powerful tools when it comes to working through other relationship difficulties. People who are in cross cultural relationships tend to have a higher tolerance for ambiguity, and generally have more experience with settling important differences in the relationship more effectively.

Multiple heritage relationships that are stable are generally characterized by mutual respect, a sense of openness and curiosity, as well as a more humorous or creative outlook on encountered challenges. Because each individual in the relationship comes from a different background, perhaps they will be able to take into account perspectives that would otherwise be glossed over in mono-cultural unions, and come up with unique and creative solutions to their challenges. For those who are raising children, their children may benefit from a more well-rounded and intentional style of parenting. Children raised in multiple heritage households may also benefit by being in proximity to these communicative processes, which in turn facilitates the development of social skills that are crucial in today's increasingly diverse social landscape.

People who can navigate their partners' cultural backgrounds develop cultural sensitivity and humility, which helps them foster and maintain relationships with diverse people in their communities. Having to face negative societal feedback may also strengthen the relationship by providing the opportunity to stand up for one another, as well as identifying members in the community who are allies and investing in those relationships more. For those who develop and maintain such ties, they have a unique chance to form a sense of genuine connectedness, not just within their relationships but also among their whole community.


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