異國婚姻生活中的妥協 – our AMWF compromises

If you read women’s magazines I’m sure somewhere between ‘Accept yourself’ and ‘How to lose 15 kg in image (6)two weeks’ you will be able to find the relationship advice. In one of the articles I read, the author mention 5 fundamentals of a successful relationship.

Everyone has their own ‘recipe’ for a good relationship, therefore I won’t talk about what the author thinks, but I will focus on one of the bases she mentioned. Compromising.

I know every relationship is difficult because we are different people. We are all individuals. I mean, the real one, not ‘Life of Brian’ kind of individuals. We grow up in different families, in different environments, we have different experiences, we handle things that happen around us in a different way. Then all of the sudden you have that person coming into your life and you have to consider him or her in whatever you do and how you do. And vice versa.

This said, I have to say it’s even more difficult when you are in interracial and intercultural relationship. I read people saying ‘Dating Asian guy is the same as dating any other guy’. Partially, I have to agree – personally, I have more cultural differences between me and Momzilla (who btw. arrives on 16th of December so be prepared for lots of Momzilla-related posts!) than me and Sing. But in the end we grew up in different culture, we ate different food, our sicknesses were treated in different ways. Those are not the differences on the ‘family level’ but the whole ‘cultural level’. Just think about the post-pregnancy period: image (8)every culture has it’s has a way of handling it – which make us similar, but the customs can be different, depending on the cultural background and that makes us different.
Sometimes, when I talk to my Polish co-workers about those little daily matters I can relate to them but I cannot relate to Sing – that’s the part of us that needed compromise.

I hope you know what I try to say. I think the best quote for this would come  from that stupid movie ‘The Interview’ – ‘We are same-same. Same-same, but different. But still same.’.

I can’t believe I actually really put that in my post.

Anyway… We talk a lot about how our lives were before we met each other. How we grew up, what affected us. What Polish people and Hongkongers have or don’t have in common.

Now, after few years of marriage, lot’s of discussions, sometimes arguments – we have worked out our own lifestyle where we both try to balance our cultures and habits. Here’s the list of some of our AMWF, Polish-Hong Kong compromises!

Food

  • We make a ‘rice’ and ‘non-rice’ weeks, so we can both get our favorite dishes. It doesn’t mean we don’t make exceptions, if there’s a craving we discuss what we want to eat with few simple questions – Asian or Western? I cook or do we eat out? If we eat out – where do you want? Done.image (7)
  • Burrito Wednesday – unless the weather is really terrible, we have one constant thing every week which is huge ass burrito from Badass Burritos.
  • I know Sing won’t eat a sandwich for breakfast unless it’s the Hong Kong-style sandwich with egg and ham so I have some instant sesame pastes and soy milk for breakfast ready for him. Me and neither does my parents force him to have bread for breakfast.
  • I will try to make some Polish-Hong Kong food fusions. Sing still doesn’t understand the concept of rice with sour cream, sugar and cinnamon but that’s one of my favorite childhood dishes. Or since I know how much he loves fish I will buy different types of fish in oil, fish in sauce etc. etc. and let him try.

Religion and culture

  • I celebrate your holidays and you celebrate mine. I will get moon cakes for Mid-Autumn Festival, I will decorate our house for Lunar New Year, I will make 糭. But I also expect him to share Christmas wafer, paint the eggs on Easter, remember that Mother’s Day in Poland is on a different day than in Hong Kong or America.
  • I don’t need to understand, but I have to respect. We learn about each other cultures every day. There are customs that we might not understand, but we have to respect. I admire Sing going to the church with me for a Midnight Mass during Christmas, even though he doesn’t understand a thing. Not only because it’s in Polish, but because he’s not a Christian.

Medicines

  • We have an agreement – for any external use we choose Chinese medicines and for anything flu-related we take Western medication. In cases other than what I mentioned we use what we think is better for us – let’s say if you have a headache you can decide if you need a Panadol or not.
  • The onion syrup. I sometimes think Sing likes it  because of the onions. My dad used to make is for a sore throat, you simply chop the onion, add lots of sugar, close the jar with mixture and leave it overnight. Even 京都念慈菴 cannot match it.image (4)

Household

  • We have our own ‘departments’. Sing, as a Hong Kong man, is of course our banker. He deals with any payments, credit cards, bills, rent. I’m the supplier for our fridge. We trust each other in 100% and we just don’t interfere  unless it’s necessary
  • Sharing household responsibilities equally… didn’t really work for us. But it’s OK – we will do what is needed to be done at the moment and will leave ‘big cleaning’ until the weekend when we can organize ourselves better. The only rule is ‘Make sure the living room is tidy, before you sleep’. That’s how we avoid most of the arguments. I like to see my house tidy when I wake up.

Entertainment 

  • We try to always have one show to follow together. It sounds stupid, but it help us to look forward together to something else than a Burrito Wednesday. It also gives us at least one extra topic to talk to.
  • I have my shows, Sing has his football games. It’s fun to do things together, but I can’t deny I like my moment of privacy. We try not to disturb each other and let the other one enjoy his/her moment.

image (5)In the end my advise is to always think first, if it’s worth fighting for. If it’s not important to you, but it makes your significant other happy, then why not just follow his or her way? If it matters to you as much as for your partner, then try to find your own way to embrace both customs.
Because without compromising your relationship, interracial or not, won’t last long. At least one of you will be unhappy – that’s why in my opinion, compromises and conversations are the principles of the relationship.

I hope this post can help someone who has no idea how to handle compromises, but I will be so happy to hear the way you’re handling your partner! It’s good to exchange advice and maybe find a different, better way to make everyone happy! Share your experience with us! 🙂

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36 thoughts on “異國婚姻生活中的妥協 – our AMWF compromises

  1. This is a great post! I do agree that compromise is a huge part of a harmonious relationship, interracial or not! But interracial/intercultural relationships always have an additional element of difficulty, which I’m not sure I wholly expected at the beginning of mine…I liked your part about dealing with sickness. My partner’s Cantonese mother babied him throughout any type of sickness, while my mother was a typical hard-line “Keep Calm and Carry On” British woman (yes, it’s a cultural thing – not just a catchy phrase on t-shirts). So that’s led to different expectations we have of each other through sickness and in health – he likes being babied, and hates that I don’t ask for help about anything I’m dealing with until it becomes unbearable. Coming from such different cultures it has certainly been a struggle, an adventure, and a learning process figuring out how to deal with each others’ vastly different mentalities on so many things!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I guess there’s little bit of Momzilla in every mother in law – whenever Sing even sneezes she already thinks about ‘nose cancer’. Literally every pain is cancer in her mind therefore she needs to baby sit her precious little prince 😀

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  2. I think I am going to have to institute “no rice week.” I miss potatoes. Since Andy does the cooking, though, and goes to the market, he has gotten too much control over the kitchen. He’s like a stove-top dictator!

    Like you, though, we compromise on most other items. 🙂

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  3. Agree with everything you mentioned, we also worked out these things over the years. Sure sometimes we might have some little fights but they are always about little stupid stuff…
    The only show we have currently together is walking dead, my wife just has no interest in any other show I am watching 😦
    I am so happy that we live in Germany now because my parents just live 1min away from us and thusly get weekly some potatoe dishes and more than enough bread 😀

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            1. you know what I noticed? When I was a kid I liked Goku more but then I grew up, I started to have adult responsibilities and noticed that actually Vegeta is much more better husband material than Goku 😀
              btw. what the hell they did to Gohan?! one of the strongest people, smashed Cell… and now cannot even fight against Freezer 😀

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  4. What a fantastic post! It was fun for me to see all the different ways you compromise. I agree with most of it! Having privacy is good but having something you can watch or enjoy together is essential, too. We just moved in together a few months ago and I’m living in Korea for the first time, so food and eating together has had an impact on our relationship but it’s getting easier.

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  5. This is perfection! I love that you did put that same-same comment in and totally agree. I’ve always thought at the end of the day people are people, but there is always that little–difference that always adds to tension. I always find it interesting the difference in the main points about medicines and holiday-type things. I really started worrying about the future with possible children in the mix and holidays and I love that you integrate both into your current relationship!

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  6. Good timing – I was just thinking about this as a Thai friend and recently acquired American partner want to meet with Tawn and me to learn more about what it is a like to be a “successful, long-term, inter-racial, trans-national, same-sex couple” (his description of us!).

    It is kind of tiring to have to think of it that way, no?

    Anyhow, your post was very timely because, yes, there are many ways in which our different cultures cause relationship challenges and there are other ways were the challenges are that we are two people, each different in his own way.

    But at the end of it all, I agree that the question really is, “Is this worth fighting for?” Most of the time, the answer is no. But not always!

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  7. That’s one of the reasons I think white people are way cooler than Asian (or maybe just Malaysian). I’m glad you accept Sing’s willingness to accompany you to church because of you and not because he has to embrace Christianity himself.

    Here, non-Christians would not really date or get married with a Christian. It happens, but not very often. Because here, a Christian would expect his/her spouse to convert to Christianity, or else it would end up in heartbreak. I really hate that. I can accept and respect that we are of a different religion, and I would even be okay to accompany you to the church sometimes, but I’m not going to believe that Jesus is our savior or something.

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    1. Maybe it’s because I’m not too conservative – I go to church when I need, but I pray often. Sadly, the institution of church went in the wrong direction in my opinion and I’m glad the new Pope is more opened… but it wasn’t a post about religion 😀
      Sing doesn’t believe and he’s the only non-white person in our local church so it must be stressful for him to be more popular than the priest 😀

      Liked by 1 person

    2. That’s one of the reasons I think white people are way cooler than Asian (or maybe just Malaysian).

      Don’t try to generalize Asians into being “conservative” joust because you may think so. I know lots of families and different asian people who are accepting and just as liberal as your so called “cool” white people. Asians are not monolithic groups of people.

      Its just you.

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      1. personally, my husband’s family is super conservative and very… I don’t know how to say it, they just picture every single stereotype about Asian people that you can imagine 😀 but that’s the package ‘buy one get family free’ when I married Sing 😀

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  8. Great post Lina! I’m both worried and excited when Jeongsu and I finally move together. It’s gonna be quite difficult to figure out the daily routines and cooking, cleaning etc. You two really seem to make it work. It’s so awesome. so hope we will too. ❤

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  9. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Yes, comprise is a very important thing in any relationships. For international relationship, deciding which country to live requires hugh amount of comprise (family, career, language barriers etc)

    I guess being humble and being able to. forgive is also important as a lot of time different people will have different approach on the same thing. (let alone adding a culture dimension to a relationship) Little things like these may cause friction between the couple. and it’s. important to talk through.

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  10. This is great post 🙂
    I haven’t married so can’t say about marriage life but I can share how it’s feel to be born in interracial family. I have Chinese-Canadian parent who totally very different from cultural background, languages, traditions, etc.

    My mom and dad have married for decades but still compromises each other until today no matter the simple or the big things.

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  11. It was interesting for me to read through the extra challenges involved in an inter-cultural relationship. My husband is Scottish and I’m American, so sometimes I feel like the fact that we have an international, inter-cultural marriage is invisible. We’re both pale people, we both speak English, and we both grew up with bread and potatoes. Yet our backgrounds are so different, and we have plenty of discussions and compromises over things I never even thought of before I met him, like holiday traditions.

    I grew up in a typical WASP family, church on Sunday as a child, but he never even went on Christmas, and neither did his friends. Even though I’m not a Christian anymore, my family prays before big holiday meals. The first time that happened, he didn’t have a clue what to do, because it wasn’t a part of his culture at all.

    At the same time, I’m so glad that we share a first language. I’ve been in relationships where one of us is muddling through a second language, and I found that no matter how much I liked the person, too much got lost in translation for me to feel like it was viable long term. (Or maybe they just weren’t right for me and that’s my excuse, ha ha.) Language and cultural differences make things tough, and I admire your willingness to work through the difficulties.

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  12. Those are good compromises. Because Sing was born and raised in HK, he may have more deeply ingrained cultural habits…than ie. someone like myself, born and raised in Canada.

    As for Christmas and non-Christian Asians, here’s some explanation how Christmas is handled here in Canada among a lot of my non-Christian Asian-Canadians: https://cyclewriteblog.wordpress.com/2015/12/07/christmas-lights-and-colours-nature-and-in-human-touch/

    It’s the colour, candle lights, mysterious depth of soul and a feelings of family, giving, love and peace which may be the greatest appeal for those who don’t even understand anything about Christmas. All my mother ever knows it’s rooted in birth of Jesus. That’s good enough for her and the spirit of giving, wishing well. It jives well with Chinese New Years next month. 🙂

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  13. As I just spent 4 weeks in Germany, I’m very much used to the European breakfast of stuffing my pie-hole with fresh crusty bread rolls (with seeds), cutting them open, generously spreading real butter or cream cheese, and layering the rotund Brötchen with cold cuts and cheese. I’ll even have a second to ensure I can survive the day without lunch. But if I can’t, I’ll seek a Döner place, but that’s another comment or post, worthy of more visuals. 😉 😛

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  14. What a great post! I am impressed at how you and Sing work out the differences, and not let the differences drive a wedge between you two. I believe that you deep understanding of the culture in Hong Kong may help in arriving at the compromises. I hope Sing’s prior exposures to western cultures have also helped him to compromise with you. Among the AMWF couples that I have read about online, I would vote you to be the best Chinese cook (even though I have not eaten any of your dishes). It’s amazing to be able to make 糭. Especially for a “guai mui” (i.e., a western young woman, for those who do not know Cantonese). Even my wife, who is Chinese, could not make that.

    Furthermore, I am interested in your dad’s natural treatment of sour throat. Does he use raw onion? Or does he use cooked onion? Is any water added? Does he just eat the onion the next day? Better than even 京都念慈菴 (which is found in almost every home in Hong Kong)!! I got to try it the next time I come down with sour throat.

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    1. thank you so much for your kind words! I’m so happy to read it 🙂 as for the recipe – you just chop raw onion, put it in a jar, cover with sugar, close the jar and leave it overnight. the juice from onion mixed with sugar will make a syrup – it’s delicious and super effective 🙂
      Sing doesn’t like Western medicine but loves onion so that’s the best compromise we could have 🙂

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  15. Correction: It should be “sore throat” not “sour throat”.

    Regarding the 糭 made by you, are they sweet or salty? My mom made both kinds in HK when I was small. I like the salty kind commonly made by Cantonese people, with glutinous rice, mung beans, pork, duck egg yolk and Five Spice. Delicious! But I am not a big fan of the sweet kind. May be Sing like both. However, the salty kind that he likes may be different from the Cantonese kind since his mom is from Shanghai.

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  16. “not ‘Life of Brian’ kind of individuals.”
    I laughed way too hard at this comment!

    “Sing, as a Hong Kong man, is of course our banker.” oops seems like my husband got left out of that! I am in charge of the finances, jeff doesn’t even know how to log into his internet banking!!

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  17. I tried to compromise but there was just no getting past my appearance and age. It got to the point that I got depressed just about being me. He didn’t fight for me nor stand up for me. I don’t care about using cultural norms as an excuse, you don’t leave a person that you suppose to love to hang to dry like that. I will write a blog about it soon. Right now though I am a bit sour and turned off against dating Asian men. I love reading your blog but sometimes I wonder what is so bad about me that I got treated so awfully by my ex’s family. So I doubt I will date another because I don’t want to go through another bout of being treated inferior. I am happy it works for you Autumn.

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