Gleenn’s Interfaith and Intercultural Marriage, oh! And long distance too!

in Couple Profile, Intercultural Marriage, Interfaith Marriage

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newly married

Newly weds are supposed to spend a few weeks for honeymoon, sink in a steamy after-wedding hang over and deal with lots of new changes in routines and schedules. But Mr. and Mrs. Gleenn chose differently. Each went back to work three days after their wedding, back to their old lives, thousands of miles apart.

What made our marriage offbeat?

It’s not that we wanted to be apart only three days after our wedding, but that a Long Distance Marriage is the best option for us right now. I still have my job in Bangkok and my contract still stands. My husband was granted only three weeks of summer vacation which were all well spent prepping for and including the wedding at my home country. He had to fly back to Germany almost right away.

But what makes our marriage really offbeat, other than being a Long Distance, is that it is interfaith and Intercultural.

I was raised a Seventh Day Adventist.  My husband, on the other hand, is a Roman Catholic.

I’m a Filipina, was born and raised in the Philippines while my husband is a Filipino who was raised in Germany. He’s a German citizen/national and in almost every way a German.

What are the biggest challenges of an Interfaith and Intercultural Marriage?

Religious and some cultural differences are the biggest challenges in our marriage

We are facing two biggest challenges in our marriage – our religious and cultural differences. If I were to rank our top clashes, it would be these:

  • Sabbath

I Keep the Seventh Day, which is Saturday, holy. I go to church on Saturday; I don’t do business or work related tasks. I don’t listen to worldly songs nor watch nonreligious movies on a Sabbath.

My husband is a Catholic therefore he observes the first day of the week, Sunday, as the Sabbath. He spends the Saturday as a rest day in a way that he stays lazy and listens to a lot of circular music, watches lots of movies and plays computer games.

  • Food

I eat only Biblical clean foods. I don’t eat nor touch anything that’s with pork. Pork is extremely unclean for me. Just smelling the aroma of newly cooked pork makes me puke. That’s how bad it’s for me.

My husband loves pork. It’s his favorite. He shares this love with his mom and his entire clan. I can’t bear seeing his old family photos, gathering together for birthday parties, posing beside the table with all the food and always with a huge lechón (a roasted sucking pig).

See: Why I chose an interfaith marriage

  • Belief of the Great Design

I believe that that there is one Great Creator who created the Earth and every living thing.

My husband believes in Evolution. His belief is influenced by the society where he grew up.

Our honeymoon

Is to compromise the way to go?

  • Time Management

Due to being Asian, I’m infected by the disease of always being late. It takes great effort for me to be on time.

My husband is always prompt and he cannot stand Asian Time.

How do you work out your differences?

My husband’s favorite line must be “we have to compromise”. He takes me down for a sit and discusses with me how to deal with the issues that surface. I usually become hysterical; however, at the end of a heated discussion, we always come up with a solution if not a compromise.

He commits to come with me to church every Saturday. He’s happy that I don’t push or force him to get converted to my faith. That’s the last thing that I would ever do. But I also ask him to try to give it a chance, to observe and orient himself about my faith. He’s happy to do it; but there’s definitely no forcing.

In return he asks if I could also come with him if he goes to church. He does not really attend church regularly but at times that he wishes to go to his church, would I come? I said I’ll think about it. . . I most probably would.

“If you eat pork, you can’t kiss me!” This is the rule that stands in our marriage. I won’t stop him from eating pork, but if he does eat, then he can’t kiss or sleep with me. Of course he loves to kiss me (wink ;), but he also respects the fact that I cannot tolerate pork. He does not bring pork to our house nor he eats when his with me. But he does eat outside our home, only without my presence.

We also came up with the deal that he will read the Bible if I’ll buy him a German version Bible and only if I, too, would read a book about evolution that he’ll buy me.

offbeat marriage

He doesn’t eat pork so he can kiss me


I don’t wish to upset my husband with my being late; I’m learning to be prompt. If I can be prompt at work just so my employer won’t give me an eyebrow or a termination notice after successive lateness, why can’t I strive for my husband?

 

What are the most important lessons you learned from your marriage?

I learned that a good communication is very important in tackling differences. I can go hysterical during arguments but it doesn’t solve anything. Arguments are not a bad thing. They allow us to address any differences that surface. It is, however, necessary to maintain respect for each other even in the middle of a heated argument.

Sometimes it makes me very angry if I cannot convince him with what I believe or if he tries to convince me with something that I don’t believe in. During these times, we take some time to cool off, few hours of not talking just to settle down our tempers. When we feel better, we come back and pick up the issues that were left unsolved; we design solutions that would work best for both of us.

The best way to defeat differences is through a good communication.

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