Latin/American-Danish Intercultural Marriage – the beauty of merging two different cultures

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Latin-Danish intercultural marriage2Different people opt for intercultural marriage for different reasons. TCKs might choose someone outside their race simply because they feel that they belong to a global society. For some, intercultural marriage serves as a leeway for better economic status. For others, intercultural marriage is simply a matter of fate; choosing to cross borders in the name of love.
There are both pros and cons for intercultural marriage. But while the challenges may deem too much to endure, the beauty of a bi-cultural family is definitely worth it.

The Offbeat Couple

Maria & Anders live in Denmark and are married for one and a half years now. Maria is currently a master’s degree student and Anders is an IT Project Manager who will be returning to University this fall for his third degree while continuing to work full-time.

What makes your marriage offbeat?

I was born in Guatemala and raised in the US. My husband was born and raised in Denmark. I am fluent in both English and Spanish and Anders is fluent in Danish and English

What made you end up in an interracial/interfaith marriage? What was your motivation in deciding to marry someone of different culture or faith?

Latin-Danish intercultural marriage6We did not set out to specifically marry someone of a different culture, it just sort of happened. We met while Anders was working on his Masters thesis in the Washington DC area where I grew up and lived at the time. Although we come from very different backgrounds we hit it off right away and decided to make our relationship a priority. We dated for several months before Anders had to return to Denmark to graduate and begin a new job in September. We decided that we wanted to continue dating and began searching for way to make it work. I visited him for a month the summer he returned. It was wonderful because I got to experience his life and meet his family. The visit only reassured me that he was the one for me and that we would do anything to make it work. I returned to the US and continued working; in the meantime I applied to graduate school in Denmark and began working towards making a permanent move to Denmark. We had a long distance relationship for a period of time before I made the move to Denmark permanently in December 2009. Since then we have made Denmark our home.

Tell us about the wedding. Did your different religious and cultural background affect how you planned the wedding?

We had a small, intimate wedding January 2010. It took place in Denmark and it was just us, my husband’s immediate family and a few friends, unfortunately, my family was not able to attend. It was a wonderful affair filled with love and happiness. Religion was not a hurdle when it came to our wedding since neither one of us practices a specific religion.

What are your biggest challenges as an interracial couple and how do you solve them?

Latin-Danish intercultural marriage4Although I was raised in the US, I grew up in a traditional Latino family. My husband comes from a very different culture, the Danish culture. After moving to Denmark, I was hit with culture shock as well as language shock. It was a bit more difficult for me to navigate my new surroundings. My husband had to learn to be patient and understanding of my feelings, thoughts and concerns. He had no idea it would be such a big adjustment for me. We learned to be open and honest with each other, communication is the key.

Are there any marital issues that come up due to different religious background? How do you address them?

I was raised catholic by my mother, but I have to admit I have not been practicing for many years. My husband has no religious affiliation. Although I have not been a practicing catholic, I have respect for the church and its traditions. There are no marital issues due to religion, on the other hand my husband has been keen to learn and is very respectful of the role religion plays in my Latino family’s life.

Did you ever encounter people who frown upon interracial marriage? How did you deal with them?

I think that wherever we are we get looks, whether they are just curious looks or disapproving looks. We have never had someone voice a negative opinion directly to us. In Denmark, some people are wary of foreigners and feel that a woman that marry Danish men are from poor countries, uneducated, submissive and looking to get away from bad circumstances, which is not my case at all. Fortunately, we have surrounded ourselves with people who do not think like this and are supportive of our relationship. I am confident and solid in my relationship and am in no way affected by any negativity.

How did your in-laws and extended families from each side react to your interracial marriage? Some in-laws are committed to their cultural identity and can’t appreciate foreign culture therefore they become critical towards their daughter/son in-law. Did you experience any of these issues?

Latin-Danish intercultural marriage5Fortunately both of our families were and continue to be very supportive of our relationship. My family is a bit more traditional than my husband was used to, but he was very courteous and respectful, he approached my parents and explained his intentions. My parents took an instant liking to my husband, and he now continues to have a great relationship with them and the rest of my family.

My husband’s family was very accepting and open to our relationship. Since moving to Denmark they have taken me in as one of their own and have made me feel like a part of the family since day one.

What are the benefits of an interracial marriage?

We continually learn so many new things from each other. My husband would definitely tell you that one of the benefits is the food! He now loves to eat Latin dishes and has now developed a liking for avocados.

I love that we are a global couple, we do not belong to one single culture but we draw from our backgrounds and experiences to build a life and future that is conducive to our needs, wants and desires.

What compromises are required in order to make your marriage work?

Latin-Danish intercultural marriage1I moved to Denmark and traded in a car for a bicycle. I traded in hot sunny summer days for cold rainy ones. I have to take Danish lessons, and Danish is an especially difficult language to learn. We have both had to make compromises but they are worth it.

The integration process for me has been slow but steady. In the beginning I think I was too critical of myself and was comparing myself to other expats. I would read and hear about people who learned the language in 6 months, or had made friends in a few days or were loving their new lives. I would compare myself to these people and wonder if I was doing something wrong, but I have learned that the process takes the time it takes. I cannot rush things and I have to be content with my pace.

If children come, of which culture and religion do you plan to raise them?

We do not have any children yet but I think that our future children will be very lucky to have parents from different cultures. I want our children to be proud of who they are and where they come from. I plan on teaching my children to speak all three languages (English, Spanish and Danish). They will be raised as global citizens who will be allowed to develop their own thoughts and ideas of the world. They will not be raised with one single religion and will be able to choose their own faith and beliefs.

Latin-Danish intercultural marriage3

What advice would you give to those who are planning for or are new to an interracial/interfaith marriage?

Be patient, kind, loving and understanding with each other. Create a strong base for the future of your relationship and build upon it with honesty, trust and open communication. Love cannot solve all your problems, learn to be practical and find concrete solutions that work for you both. Expand your mind and adapt to new situations. Most of all love and support each other unconditionally.

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Mrs. F

What a beautiful couple! I agree that children should be raised as global citizens 🙂

Glee

Hello Mrs F! Indeed, raising global citizens has its good reasons. The children are more tolerant and less judgmental of other cultures. 🙂

Creative Fashion

This is a very inspiring story. I can certainly relate to a lot of things mentioned. Thank you for sharing.

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