Wednesday, September 06, 2006

It's A Small World

I read this post at Weigook Saram with interest. She talks about how she feels like the differences between her culture and her husband's culture is both a strength and a strain in their marriage. I imagine that this seems more obvious in biracial relationships--or those between people who have obvious cultural divides. But I feel quakes of it in my marriage too, and J and I would be classified as from the same culture.

I think that is honestly the toughest part about marriage for me. Harder than money, harder than career. Harder than shit about kids. Because all of those arguments begin with culture for me. It may not be a racial or ethnic culture but more of based in the culture of my family of origin. How I was raised and what is normal for me looks pretty different than what is normal to him. And y'all KNOW THAT I AM RIGHT.

I am pretty uptight about being on time. I hate being late. It makes me feel uncomfortable. It's rude. I can't get passed that. J is late every day and doesn't think a thing of it. Especially in social situations when he thinks people don't care.

In my family we are typical midwestern and don't talk about money. I don't even like to tell my parents how much money we make or how much things cost or how we spend our money. Filling out the paperwork to buy the house gave me hives. J will tell anyone anything. He will blurt how much an item cost without batting an eyelash. He talks salary with anyone who asks and probably some who don't.

I do think that clear cultural divides would make this whole maze more complicated. But I also think that in some ways that they might make it easier. If your husband is Korean and you are not it is pretty obvious to you and to him and to all around you. Misunderstandings are expected. And you have constant reminders about how you might see the world differently. For us those differences are wrapped up in class and economics and our family dynamics. And that is a lot harder to handle sensitively. I can't just say to J, "You talk about money so openly because you are white trash!" I mean I could but it would be mean and not terribly accurate.

This could be why people get divorced. It can be hard enough to adjust to another culture without it being in your own home.

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