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Marraige Counseling and Advice

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I am embarking on a relationship with someone from a different culture than I. I am from the same country as my fiance but I was not born there, lived there for a short time and have been in the US for all my adult life so for all intents and purposes, I don't know squat about his life. I have been married twice already and the second marriage was to someone from another country and I did not take the time to invest in the relationship because I thought love would conquer all(it didn't). Anyway, I am starting this thread to share and listen to others' experiences and advice about sharing your life with someone from another culture or any marital/relationship advice out there. Thanks to all in advance and please let's keep this civilized and mind our manners.


Love is a gift and not to be earned, therefore one should never hold any regrets for giving love regardless of the outcome...

http://www.whitehouse.gov/share/immigration-and-economy?utm_source=email&utm_medium=email&utm_content=email221-text1&utm_campaign=immigration

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I am embarking on a relationship with someone from a different culture than I. I am from the same country as my fiance but I was not born there, lived there for a short time and have been in the US for all my adult life so for all intents and purposes, I don't know squat about his life. I have been married twice already and the second marriage was to someone from another country and I did not take the time to invest in the relationship because I thought love would conquer all(it didn't). Anyway, I am starting this thread to share and listen to others' experiences and advice about sharing your life with someone from another culture or any marital/relationship advice out there. Thanks to all in advance and please let's keep this civilized and mind our manners.

The areas that I am currently working on in my current relationship are as follows:

- Communication

- Conflict Resolution

- Finances

- Sexual Intimacy

I have a tendency to voice my opinion and make sure I make my point but I have learned that I do not listen as well as I should, so I am currently working on this. I am a therapist by trade so it was a blow to everything I hold dear, to come to this realization because afterall communication is what I do for a living.


Love is a gift and not to be earned, therefore one should never hold any regrets for giving love regardless of the outcome...

http://www.whitehouse.gov/share/immigration-and-economy?utm_source=email&utm_medium=email&utm_content=email221-text1&utm_campaign=immigration

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I am embarking on a relationship with someone from a different culture than I. I am from the same country as my fiance but I was not born there, lived there for a short time and have been in the US for all my adult life so for all intents and purposes, I don't know squat about his life. I have been married twice already and the second marriage was to someone from another country and I did not take the time to invest in the relationship because I thought love would conquer all(it didn't). Anyway, I am starting this thread to share and listen to others' experiences and advice about sharing your life with someone from another culture or any marital/relationship advice out there. Thanks to all in advance and please let's keep this civilized and mind our manners.

I love that you brought this topic into discussion, my husband is Nigerian and we have been married for a year and five months, although I love him very much, it is difficult at times to break through the culture barriers because in the U.S. we do things quite different. He likes to depict our different ways of thinking and doing things and sometimes we find ourselves in a disagreement because we are both misunderstood by each other, we manage to talk it out reasonably and responsibly and come to an agreement somewhere in the middle. The main advice I can give you is to be patient and as understanding as you can, even when you don't want to be. We are still asking each other a lot of questions about our cultures and way of life, we don't hide anything from each other whether we have a problem with it or not. I have found that we are beginning to pick up each others habits...lol, he is starting to sound like he's an american, I guess it's due to the long hours we spend on the phone talking about everything and anything. Good luck and everything will be fine. Let me know if I can assist you or if you just want to ask questions or seek more advice. I understand totally and again I am happy you brought this topic to the forefront. Thanks!

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I love that you brought this topic into discussion, my husband is Nigerian and we have been married for a year and five months, although I love him very much, it is difficult at times to break through the culture barriers because in the U.S. we do things quite different. He likes to depict our different ways of thinking and doing things and sometimes we find ourselves in a disagreement because we are both misunderstood by each other, we manage to talk it out reasonably and responsibly and come to an agreement somewhere in the middle. The main advice I can give you is to be patient and as understanding as you can, even when you don't want to be. We are still asking each other a lot of questions about our cultures and way of life, we don't hide anything from each other whether we have a problem with it or not. I have found that we are beginning to pick up each others habits...lol, he is starting to sound like he's an american, I guess it's due to the long hours we spend on the phone talking about everything and anything. Good luck and everything will be fine. Let me know if I can assist you or if you just want to ask questions or seek more advice. I understand totally and again I am happy you brought this topic to the forefront. Thanks!

Thanks so much for your reply. I am trying my best to do things differently this time and not take anything for granted as I am known to do. Keep the advice coming...


Love is a gift and not to be earned, therefore one should never hold any regrets for giving love regardless of the outcome...

http://www.whitehouse.gov/share/immigration-and-economy?utm_source=email&utm_medium=email&utm_content=email221-text1&utm_campaign=immigration

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Hello,

Most Ghanaian men love respect from their ladies. They love it when you give them the driver seat. Be submissive to him at all times. Do not yell, scream, swear, or put them down in any way. You will be expected to up keep the home; cooking, cleaning, decorating, taking care of the children and him (not financially). It is important you create a binding relationship with his family, especially his parents. Allow your guy to take care of the home financially and always make his opinion count. It is important you are faithful and honest. I will post links and I will strongly advice you read the articles so you can start learning what to expect until your hubby to be adjusts himself to the American culture. Do not expect a lot from him when it comes to affection after marriage (LOL). But over time, I am sure he'll understand. I am USC and dating a Ghanaian man also. Let me know if you have any questions. Hopefully this helps answer your questions. All the articles are 95 percent true about Ghanaian men.

http://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/NewsArchive/artikel.php?ID=240546

http://omgghana.com/the-10-types-of-women-that-ghanaian-men-fall-in-love-with/

http://www.topix.com/forum/world/ghana/TG33O3U6SDDQAMVC9

http://opinion.myjoyonline.com/pages/feature/201001/41354.php

Best of luck to you and your future husband

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There are ways in which Danish culture and my New England culture are different, but there are a lot of similarities as well and my husband isn't really the typical Dane, so I'll do my best to explain. Of course these are generalities about Denmark or specific things with my husband, so nobody get all hot and bothered. :whistle:

I'll address some of the things you brought up:

Communication - VERY VERY important. My husband and I do have some cultural misunderstandings in which either party thinks they are being normal or polite and the offended party thinks they are being more than rude. That happens in all relationships, but a little more so in ours because of the differences. When either of us gets offended, we sit down and talk about it for about an hour so we both understand where the issue lies.

Conflict Resolution - I know it is an old adage, but we never go to bed angry and if there is an issue we talk about it and talk about it until it is talked to death and no one wants to bring it up again our of sheer boredom.

Finances - This is a little hard for us because present situation means we have separate bank accounts and transfers between the two can take a week or more. We have budgeted everything out and even did so quite extensively before I moved to Denmark. I think honesty and frank discussions are really critical here. Also, it is important to protect yourself in case, heavens forbid, a divorce does happen.

Sexual Intimacy - isn't really a problem because of the cultures we come from. We are both just very honest and frank about what we need and want.

One of the big thing I didn't expect is that we like to eat very differently. That is something that is resolved by me cooking, but also really listening to his feedback and demanding to know what he likes and doesn't like.

The other things is always the snide comments from others, they can really wear on a relationship. That is something you've got to learn to discuss as a couple and try and stand united against.


3/2/18  E-filed N-400 under 5 year rule

3/26/18 Biometrics

7/2019-12/2019 (Yes, 16- 21 months) Estimated time to interview MSP office.

 

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My wife has been here for about a year and half. There has been major adjustments on both sides and a lot of learning. I knew my wife for almost eight years before she came here, and I have to say I've been surprised at how much more there was to know. Being able to spend more time in person probably would have reduced that, but when you're half a world apart, thats a little tough to do.

We did have the plus of having to learn to really communicate before. We spent a lot of time talking on the phone and internet before she came here and got married. To this day, sometimes disagreements are best solved when we discuss them on the phone or via text. It just gives that little extra space and time to think and listen both.

Yes there are times I do things that she views as offensive, that would not have been considered offensive to someone who grew up in the USA. She has done the same thing to me, but I've done my best to not take offense and learn that there are some things acceptable in her culture that I just don't care for. I've gotten used to them, and have done my best to understand them. In some cases I tell her and we discuss it, in others I just tell myself to get over it.

Meals have been a big adjustment. I mainly eat Filipino food now, which is fine with me as I always enjoyed the food there. I tell her the few things I don't care for, and she doesn't make them. As to her eating American food, I accept the ones she doesn't like and we just don't eat them. Occasionally I'll eat them when we're out to restaurant, just as she'll eat some of her homeland dishes I don't like when we go out to eat Filipino food.

One thing I've really learned is I have needed to be the strong one as she has gone through the adjustment process. She was extremely close to family, loved living in her country, and has had a lot of bouts of homesickness. Sometimes her acting out is only because she's missing home, and instead of me getting upset, I just had to support her and find my way to the real issue she was having. Takes a lot of self control at time, and really really paying close attention.

A big thing we've been working on is my wife learning to communicate negative feelings without turning negative and angry. In her country its more common to ignore those feelings and close off communication until the feeling passes. She also wasn't used to hearing negative things to, she's learning not to take offense, but to listen to the feelings I may be having behind things. This has been a very large task learning and accommodating the two different methods of conflict resolution. The American in more your face way, and the Filipino ignore until you feel better way.

This past year and half has been a very big growing process for both of us. It hasn't been easy at times, but we've both learned so much. There's always a big learning process when two people get married and begin lives together. When the cultures are different, you're kind of forced to acknowledge the differences, which can be helpful in that you hopefully are doing less assuming. But its also harder as you try to break or change habits that entire lifetimes and cultures have built within each of you.

One thing that really has been helpful to me is to just accept there are some things that are so ingrained in how she grew up, that it will never change. There are other things where I had to stand up and just plain say that is unacceptable to me and the reasons behind it. I've been extremely careful in picking things that I felt are nonnegotiable but we all have things that fall in that category, even if we marry within our own culture. She's had a few for me to, which I understand.

If anyone had ever told me how much work and change was going to happen in my life as the result of marrying outside my culture, I probably would have discounted it. But in the end I believe we're building a much stronger marriage and relationship because of it. I really don't think the average person can handle the added pressures of marrying outside their culture and with immigration stress added on top of it. I don't know how many times I've seen upset people because their relationship failed and claiming abuse or they've been scammed, when odds are it probably got that way because one or both expected things all to be rosy just to be married, ignoring how much work its going to take to build a real marriage and life together.

My advice is to dump every preconceived notion you have about what married life is going to be. Then start talking about every aspect of life. When you get together finally, you'll find you probably still missed 95% of what you'll need to talk about later.


K1 from the Philippines
Arrival : 2011-09-08
Married : 2011-10-15
AOS
Date Card Received : 2012-07-13
EAD
Date Card Received : 2012-02-04

Sent ROC : 4-1-2014
Noa1 : 4-2-2014
Bio Complete : 4-18-2014
Approved : 6-24-2014

N-400 sent 2-13-2016
Bio Complete 3-14-2016
Interview
Oath Taking

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Hello,

Most Ghanaian men love respect from their ladies. They love it when you give them the driver seat. Be submissive to him at all times. Do not yell, scream, swear, or put them down in any way. You will be expected to up keep the home; cooking, cleaning, decorating, taking care of the children and him (not financially). It is important you create a binding relationship with his family, especially his parents. Allow your guy to take care of the home financially and always make his opinion count. It is important you are faithful and honest. I will post links and I will strongly advice you read the articles so you can start learning what to expect until your hubby to be adjusts himself to the American culture. Do not expect a lot from him when it comes to affection after marriage (LOL). But over time, I am sure he'll understand. I am USC and dating a Ghanaian man also. Let me know if you have any questions. Hopefully this helps answer your questions. All the articles are 95 percent true about Ghanaian men.

http://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/NewsArchive/artikel.php?ID=240546

http://omgghana.com/the-10-types-of-women-that-ghanaian-men-fall-in-love-with/

http://www.topix.com/forum/world/ghana/TG33O3U6SDDQAMVC9

http://opinion.myjoyonline.com/pages/feature/201001/41354.php

Best of luck to you and your future husband

This is some great background expectations for the OP however I would take a lot of this with a large grain of salt...

Relationships are a two-way street. Even though there can be some very embedded cultural expectations by one party or the other, it is neither fair or practical to take either person involved and have them adjust completely into the other's expectations.

A simple example, the OP most likely has a job outside of the home and it appears they are taking the K1 route. It is not practical to think that her man will come over here and while waiting for his AOS not help out around the house. She will also be going through an adjustment period. Nevermind that short of him being able to provide financially and her being able to leave whatever job she has, he should be able to pick up a broom or wash a dish...having the OP on the hook for their financial needs, cooking, cleaning, kids, and taking care of him solely during AOS or until he can find a job is going to lead to resentment and burn out.

This is where open communication is a complete and total must. A lot of this type of thing is a work-in-progress also. There won't be any easy answers from the get-go. What seems like ration thought [hey - I know - we'll do a chore list and then everything will be ok!] can blow up in your face. So, you dust yourselves off and start again. Marriage, in general, is not for the faint of heart or lazy. Mixing two cultures just makes it all the more challenging.

I married a man whose cooking ability revolves around making tea and ramen noodles - things happened and now he can cook a handful of things. But, there was a time when I was working 15+ hour a day on nightshift and he got mouthy about not having lunch made for him. He was still awaiting AOS and not working. That didn't go down well with me given my cultural expectations [namely, he isn't mentally or physically disabled - therefore he can make a freaking sandwich!!!!]. My frustration was probably on par with his frustration; that it was lunch time and there was no food ready because at home his momma would have had his lunch ready for him. He now has the abilities to cook/reheat/feed himself and honestly, I think he likes it to some extent [more choice and making things for himself the way he likes it].

Another communication talking point is whether or not he really gets he is marrying someone who is culturally American and what that means. There will be compromise [like making your own sandwich]. If he hasn't picked up a broom or has never done laundry - there needs to be some discussion about that. I used to call my husband when I was at the laundromat before his came over on his K1 so he could get a sense of the time involved. Again, your lives together, especially during AOS, shouldn't be about your SO looking at jobs online and making some phone calls while being waited on hand and foot [unless that is what YOU want to do and have agreed to doing].

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- therefore she can make a freaking sandwich, before she leaves for work.

There fixed that for you :rofl:

Sorry just teasing a little bit. I totally understand where you're coming from. My wife was surprised at how much I do around the house, coming from a culture where the women did pretty much everything. But even in her culture, when the man is home and not working its expected he pitch in and do a lot of house work. The women just don't expect it to be done as well as they might do it themselves.


K1 from the Philippines
Arrival : 2011-09-08
Married : 2011-10-15
AOS
Date Card Received : 2012-07-13
EAD
Date Card Received : 2012-02-04

Sent ROC : 4-1-2014
Noa1 : 4-2-2014
Bio Complete : 4-18-2014
Approved : 6-24-2014

N-400 sent 2-13-2016
Bio Complete 3-14-2016
Interview
Oath Taking

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Hello VJS:

To response to many things that are being questioned, I can only speak of experience with my husband. For one, all Ghanaian men are different, my husband is very affectionate more so than I am. lol. I love it!!! Praying together has been the center of our relationship before we got married. If your man is traditional in his ways then he request the submissiveness and etc. But if he is not, he will value you more than words can explain and he will love you and care for you like a husband should. I am USC married to a Ghanaian man and we have our first year Anniversary next month. In this marriage, I have never been so grounded. When I lived with him in Ghana, we balanced off of each other. My husband loves to cook and he is particular about the way our house looks. He is also hard worker. Doing the time I was with him, he did it all and I was treated like a Queen. Now, I didn't expect it nor did I ask him to do all these things. When he comes home he will be treated the same as I was treated and that had nothing to do with being submissive. As the old saying goes, treat him as you wanted to be treated. That is what I do. Be Blessed

Shiya

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Communication - VERY VERY important. My husband and I do have some cultural misunderstandings in which either party thinks they are being normal or polite and the offended party thinks they are being more than rude. That happens in all relationships, but a little more so in ours because of the differences. When either of us gets offended, we sit down and talk about it for about an hour so we both understand where the issue lies.

One of the big thing I didn't expect is that we like to eat very differently. That is something that is resolved by me cooking, but also really listening to his feedback and demanding to know what he likes and doesn't like.

I had a pleasant chuckle when I read this - Danes don't have a word for please and yet have "tusind" ways to say thank you. There have been many stupid disagreements at home begun by a Danish/US misunderstanding of the difference between what is cozy and what is offensive.

I'm curious about the food thing, because that's another issue - in general I think Danes are fussy about food, but then they put ketchup on the weirdest things...go figure.

I think these issues are something any cross-cultural couple ends up working on, and hopefully all of our relationships end up stronger because of the empathy and understanding built as a result. :)

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Thank you so much for all your input and advice. I got teary eyed reading some of your experiences and I am truly grateful for everyone's story. Please keep them coming...

:thumbs:


Love is a gift and not to be earned, therefore one should never hold any regrets for giving love regardless of the outcome...

http://www.whitehouse.gov/share/immigration-and-economy?utm_source=email&utm_medium=email&utm_content=email221-text1&utm_campaign=immigration

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for all intents and purposes, I don't know squat about his life. I have been married twice already and the second marriage was to someone from another country and I did not take the time to invest in the relationship because I thought love would conquer all(it didn't).

Well maybe this time you can study his culture and learn about his family, friends, and neighborhood background?

I knew my wife's culture well enough and specifically chose a wife from that sub-culture because of it, but also lived with her family for several months before applying k-1. We didn't have adjustment problems. Everything was pretty well worked out relationship-wise before we even applied k-1. She was ideally suited for a very unconventional Interior Alaska life in a log cabin in the woods. The climate could not be any more radically different and she went from one of the most crowded places on earth to one of the least. Both of us felt like we had known each other for years within an hour of meeting each other, which was in person, and we did not court online like so many here. Had she not been a girl that could live this kind of life I would not have pursued her. Had she not seen in me what she wanted then she would have taken other options, because she certainly had them.

In a way it is sort of backewards to marry them and then learn about them, isn't it? I knew more about her history than she did, and it helped her to understand the war on Mindanao much better. Certainly there were new things for me, but this level of insight eliminated a lot of the problems people run into with cross-cultural marriages. There were moments of truth, which I expected, that happen in all relationships - namely establishing what your boundaries are and expectations. It's why I have advocated spending the maximum amount of time in their home with their family before you agree to marry. It is an investment I made with more than one potential foreign marriage partner, and I bailed out before bringing them here because I saw what they were all about in time to forestall a mistake.

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Well maybe this time you can study his culture and learn about his family, friends, and neighborhood background?

I knew my wife's culture well enough and specifically chose a wife from that sub-culture because of it, but also lived with her family for several months before applying k-1. We didn't have adjustment problems. Everything was pretty well worked out relationship-wise before we even applied k-1. She was ideally suited for a very unconventional Interior Alaska life in a log cabin in the woods. The climate could not be any more radically different and she went from one of the most crowded places on earth to one of the least. Both of us felt like we had known each other for years within an hour of meeting each other, which was in person, and we did not court online like so many here. Had she not been a girl that could live this kind of life I would not have pursued her. Had she not seen in me what she wanted then she would have taken other options, because she certainly had them.

In a way it is sort of backewards to marry them and then learn about them, isn't it? I knew more about her history than she did, and it helped her to understand the war on Mindanao much better. Certainly there were new things for me, but this level of insight eliminated a lot of the problems people run into with cross-cultural marriages. There were moments of truth, which I expected, that happen in all relationships - namely establishing what your boundaries are and expectations. It's why I have advocated spending the maximum amount of time in their home with their family before you agree to marry. It is an investment I made with more than one potential foreign marriage partner, and I bailed out before bringing them here because I saw what they were all about in time to forestall a mistake.

Thanks for the advice regarding living together before making a commitment. I have actually known him almost all my life because our families are so close and we actually thought we were related growing up. We were like fric and frac and so close (best friends) almost all pictures of me include him and vice versa from my childhood. Anyway, I stay with him or he stays with me and my family when I visit home but I still do not think that is enough to find out everything I would like at this point. Maybe I am just gun shy since I have been married twice already and divorced both times because they turned out to be different people as soon as we got married. For this reason, I had applied for a tourist visa for him to come stay with me for a while before I applied for a K1 or CR1. He still my best friemd amd will forever be in my life no matter what but I am determined to make this marriage work and hence my questions and asking for advice from people. We are also scheduled for pre-marital counseling at our family church when I visit next month. I just want to be the best wife I can possibly be and not give up like I am prone to do. :hehe:


Love is a gift and not to be earned, therefore one should never hold any regrets for giving love regardless of the outcome...

http://www.whitehouse.gov/share/immigration-and-economy?utm_source=email&utm_medium=email&utm_content=email221-text1&utm_campaign=immigration

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