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A List of Dos and Don'ts

Specifically for anyone considering getting into an interfaith, inter-cultural or inter-racial marriage.


#1.  Do expect that  people will remark on it now and then.  It happens.  You just have to be cool about it.

#2.  Do expect to be surprised.  That's inevitable.  When you consider that people from the same religious/cultural/racial group get surprised at times about each other, you can imagine how the opportunities for this are multiplied when you are from different backrounds.

#3.  Do have a positive attitude about it once you've decided to go for it.

#4.  Do learn as much as you can about your partner's faith/culture/place of origin/whatever, preferably before jumping in.

#5.  Do decide how you are going to handle important issues like money and how to bring up your kids before you commit. And stick to your decision.  The attitudes on these issues vary from community to community.  This will prevent a lot of disagreements later.

#6.  If you are planning to live in a different country afterwards, like I did, try to visit a few times before to see what you will have to deal with later.

#7.  If your partner speaks a different language, make sure you try to learn it, even if that person is very proficient in your language.    Sometimes that's easier said than done. Especially if the writing script is different.   I'm still 'trying' to learn Hindi after fifteen years of marriage, twenty three if you consider how long we have been in a relationship.  But heck, at least I'm trying!


#1.  Don't think that just because you have read some books/talked to some people/visited that country that you understand the ways of that community totally.  There are some things you cannot know unless you've lived in a situation for at least a dozen years.  I'm in India (from Ireland!) fifteen years and I'm still learning.

#2.  Don't be upset if you are misunderstood by other members of your partner's community.  That will happen.  Sometimes frequently.  You need to exercise a lot of patience.  A sense of humour is a great standby in these situations.

#3.  Don't blame yourself if things go wrong occasionally.  Once you know you're trying your best to get along, your conscience is clear.

#4.  Don't take offence easily.

#5.  Don't forget that your kids are not  "half" of anything.  They have, in fact, a double heritage.  That gives them a great perspective.

#6.  Don't be afraid to share what you've learnt with others.

This post was inspired by the writers' workshop assignment at the blog Mama's Losin' It.  I looked at the prompts and got inspired by the above title.  Hence the post!


  1. A great list of DOs and DON'Ts for any relationship.

  2. Many good ideas here for any relationship. I especially like the double heritage, not half, when it comes to the kids.

    I love you new pictures too! :)))

  3. Do decide how you are going to handle important issues like money and how to bring up your kids before you commit. And stick to your decision. The attitudes on these issues vary from community to community. This will prevent a lot of disagreements later.

    How has that worked out in practice? Has living with your in-laws affected how you and your husband raise your children?

  4. The only thing I can add is "Be prepared to spend your life as 'The Foreigner'". My kids use this description of me in my own home when they speak in Chinese. I did work for years to learn my wife's language, but gave up the effort a few years ago. We have been married long enough that we communicate telepathically, so no need for language anymore!

  5. I really like No. 5 under the Don'ts. A good way to look at things.

  6. Great advice from a voice of experience. The #5 "don't" is brilliant.

  7. Thank you for the peek into a life most of us have never have had the opportunity to know. You seem the perfect person to have this type of life - a great sense of humor and sense of self.

  8. I can't disagree with any of those Maria. And I suspect, like me, it's only now...years later...that you can compile such a list!

  9. I have a friend who NEEDS this list hon, I'm going to send it to her and give her a link to your blog, if that's ok!

  10. What a great list. It sounds like you have lived and learned a lot!

  11. #5--I'd also add to discuss what holidays you will celebrate and with whose family.

    I think you have compiled a very helpful list here.

    Visiting from Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop.

  12. really GREAT post!!! Thanks for sharing!

  13. What a great list! you know this is funny, since my other half and I are from two different countries. Im American, he's Dutch, we live in the UK (I know... it's weird!)We aren't yet married, so when we talk about our big day we both want a little of both cultures mixed in. To be fair, I love it. Although there is one thing I hope he won't want....

    In Holland, instead of replying to your vows with "I Do'' you simply say ''Ja''. Do you take this woman to be your lawfully wedded wife? Ja... uhhh no.

  14. One for my stepson and his bride-to-be!

    PS I loved your henna post too.

  15. Wonderful list. I love the part about your children not being "half" of anything. That is wonderful! So true.

  16. oooh, the "your kids are not half anything" is a good one for us. my husband is filipino and we make a conscious effort to celebrate our kiddo's double heritage -- but i like how you put it.

  17. This is a fantastic list! I never thought about a lot of those things :)

    (found you from MK)

  18. This is such a great list. So wise. Thank you for sharing! I learned a lot! : )

  19. As a child from a mixed ethnicity marriage, I really love #5! I think I might add Do anticipate that your children might have trouble from time to time having a double heritage, either in feeling guilty for identifying more with one over the other, or in handling flack they get from classmates and help prepare for that. I love being bi-racial but I wish I'd had more support from home to help me handle issues that arose from time to time.

  20. Thank you Gaelikaa for visiting my blog and giving me a chance to visit your amazing blog.

    Loved your Do's and don'ts list. Well meditated and wonderfully expressed.

    Keep up the good work.


  21. What a wonderful post. I love DO #5 for we have to decide how to bring up our kids one day, we are very good in managing our money. Also I should encourage my Hubby to do #7 and learn Italian properly because I would love to raise our kids as trilingua speakers: English, Ghanaian (Twi) and Italian.

    I so much believe in DON'T #5, the children have to learn that they are both and not only half. "Don't forget that your kids are not "half" of anything. They have, in fact, a double heritage. That gives them a great perspective."

    Oh Gaelikaa I am glad I am your follower.

    Takes for visiting often.

  22. Wonderful post. I love it when people (like you!) take the time to share their life's lessons. The very best way! C

  23. Brilliant. I hope that it gets wide publicity.

  24. Never under estimate the power of a list like this. You have given me an idea....!

  25. great list...and i think it would work for most relationships...

  26. You have a wonderful list of dos and don'ts. I especially liked saying that your children have double the heritage instead of being "half" of something. That's such a great outlook. :)

    Thank you so much for stopping by SITSA! Have a happy Monday!

  27. Great list. Having been married to an Indian man and as the mum of a dual heritage daughter, I'd agree with every word.


  28. This is such a great list. My boyfriend is from Laos and there are so many difference between our families!


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