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Successful marriage FAQ Successful marriage FAQ
by Joseph Gatt
2020-09-09 10:24:35
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Frequently asked questions regarding successful (and failed) relationships and marriages. See my previous article.

-I'm in love with my partner but we have completely different personalities. Can things work out?

Answer: It can work! If your partner understands your personality and your boundaries and respects those boundaries, it can work.

marriag01_400But some personality differences can lead to trouble in the long run. If your partner is an extrovert and you're an introvert, you will have to make sure that your partner has all the information he/she needs.

That is as long as you are keeping your partner informed, personality differences should not be a problem.

BUT keep in mind that you will have to adjust a little bit and that your partner will have to adjust a little bit. And more importantly, you will have to be comfortable with those personality adjustments.

That is, make sure those personality differences don't lead to resentment, or to organizational problems within your couple.

-I'm in love with my partner but we are from different religious backgrounds.

Some religions authorize inter-religious marriage. That is a Muslim man can marry a Christian woman, but his religion mandates that he raises his children Muslim. Hindus and Sikhs are usually allowed to marry people of different religions, and many Catholics and Christians don't mind marrying someone of a different faith or denomination.  

Some inter-religious marriages have worked out rather well, especially for people who don't have a strict observance of their religion. That is if you were both raised secular, that shouldn't be a problem.

Now if you were both raised religious, that religious upbringing can lead to conflicts in the long run. Let's say you grew up in a Muslim household and your wife grew up in a religious Christian household. You will need to understand that Muslims don't turn the other cheek, and that there are other cultural traits that you will have to adjust to. For example, the notion of “thou shall not bare false witness” (you shall not lie) is a very foreign notion to a lot of Muslims.

In sum, if your partner is getting to know you personally, and respects you as an individual, and that you can get organized and get stuff done together, there should be no problem.

But if it's just emotions, and that you are strangers to each other, and can't get anything done together, it won't work.

-I'm in love with my partner but we are from completely different cultural backgrounds. Can it work?

Yes and no.

Let me use this example. In East Asian cultures (China, Japan, Korea) first impressions are considered very important. That is your Japanese or Korean partner (if you are American, say) will go miles to impress you the first couple of years in your relationship.

But East Asian cultures are about first impressions, and about brief sacrifices, so while they may change and adapt the first couple of years, they will go back to their old, rigid ways.

Plus, relationships are not just about individuals. Family and friends also play a role. In some cultures, giving to parents and family is an important cultural trait alright. If you date an Arab, an African or an Asian, don't be shocked that they will be donating their entire salary to their family and friends, and that they will be borrowing money to put food on your plate.

In sum, if you know and respect each other's backgrounds and personalities, and that you organize around life and that the way you organize around life in firm and consistent, there should be no problem.

But bare in mind that in a lot of cultures around the world, they're going to try to impress you the first couple of years, but then gradually try to impress their family and friends, and use you (in all kinds of deceptive ways) to impress their family and friends. So careful!

-My partner and I are inseparable. Is that a good thing?

If you're comfortable being around each other and enjoy your time together and organize your time together, than great!

If your partner gets anxious when you're not around because he/she does not trust you, and you're under the impression that it's more about surveillance than about trust, we have a problem.

Look for the clues. If you're comfortable sharing your thoughts, feelings and life with your partner and that the partner is also comfortable, than great! If your partner cringes every time you talk, you might have a problem.

-My partner likes to spend a lot of time alone. What should I do?

If your partner spends a lot of time alone (studying or working or working on a project) BUT that your partner has clear life goals and that you fit into those goals, then there should be no problem.

If your partner spends a lot of time alone but that you don't fit into his/her goals or you fit into those goals in a weird kind of way, that can't work. Because that means your partner does not know who you are as an individual and what you want in life.

-Final question: I heard that men and women are incompatible and can't agree on anything. Men and women are too different. Maybe men and women are not meant to be together.

I personally hate that mentality. I come from a family full of women and we get along great. Love is in the air.

To me, only toxic people tend to say that men and women can't get along. If you're a toxic man, or a toxic woman, and if power and aggression is your thing, you won't get along with women, nor will you get along with men.

If you're the soft kind of person, and know how to take it easy, respect people, enjoy the company of people, and really love your partner, there should be no problems getting along with a person of a different gender.

Now that does not mean there are no gender differences. One gender difference could be that women tend to be more sensitive to danger and dangerous situations than men (not always the case, but a stereotype alright).

Some gender differences can be cultural (as in men should not have female friends, which is a cultural trait that exists in many cultures around the world, but there are many other cultures where men and women can be best friends).

But all in all, if you respect people, the gender thing won't be a big deal.

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