Let’s just make one thing clear, this is not me trying to tell you NOT to marry a foreigner but more so me wanting to share a few of the reasons I find international marriage difficult or challenging and a little insight into the reality of being in an international marriage if you wanted to know. I love showing both sides of my life and I love having a platform to do it on.
Family. There’ll never be a time when we are living close by to both our families. And technology is a wonderful thing but it still doesn’t replace spending time in real life. This can be distressing at times and having to choose which side of the family gets a certain holiday can be a very sad affair but what makes it easier for us is that we give my family all the Islamic holidays and my husbands family gets all the Catholic holidays.
Culture. We experience a lot more arguments related to cultural issues from both sides of the family that I feel couples from the same background won’t necessarily clash with. Even though we have learnt to appreciate one another’s culture sometimes our cultural differences can rub each other up the wrong way especially when our families get involved. It’s a heartbreaking reality but as we’ve grown and matured as a couple we have learnt to how to deal with these grievances in a better way.
Holidays. This is a gruelling one and it’s most probably what had sparked the need to write this blog post in the first place but we won’t into that! Holidays quickly become “visiting family” and it’s so frustrating but how else are they going to see OUR beautiful little girl grow up? As a couple we want to travel the world together but it’s always at the back of our minds that we need to be considerate towards the family because it can very very costly for them to come over to us and they may have responsibilities they can’t just breakaway from for a week or two. It might not seem like a big deal but it is. We are lucky in a way because I am able to join hubs on some layovers but still it’s not a complete family holiday when hubs is technical on duty.
Traditions. Just a little background for those who don’t know, I was raised in an Islamic household with a rich sense of custom and tradition. We had a celebration for everything and since moving abroad I haven’t felt the same thrill. Every occasion just comes and goes with no excitement or hype at all. It’s not something my partner grew up with so it’s not something he would understand or something I expect him to do but it doesn’t take the feeling of upset away when our traditions disappear. You can however start your own traditions together with your partner and children but I feel like this is something you seriously have to understand when getting into an international marriage.
Expensive. Travelling doesn’t come at a cheap price at all. However, we have a little perk, if it wasn’t for staff travel we wouldn’t be able to see our families as often and as long as we do. We spend a lot of money that we would have loved to put into our savings towards a family home. For a lot of people the reality is you won’t see your family as much and as often as you would like and it’s something you have to accept very early on.
Home. And last but certainly not least, you will never feel 100% at home because one of you will always be a foreigner and it will never hold the same degree of comfort as your own country as much as you learn and grow in your new environment it just won’t be the same. At the moment we are living away from both our countries so it takes the edge off but soon we will be moving to my husband home country and I am preparing myself mentally for this change already.
Getting married to a foreigner is something I wanted as a young girl. I always craved something different. It has its positive side (read here) but it’s also tough and I feel that it’s important to talk about this side too. It comes with upsetting realities that may make you question your choice at times but despite this list of reasons why being in an international marriage can be difficult, I would never, ever, ever exchange it for anything else. My relationship with my husband is a wonderful experience, we have a beautiful daughter who was born into a culturally enriched family and we both feel very lucky to have found one another.
Are you in an international marriage? What are your thoughts on it? Keep the conversation going in the comment section.
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