If you read women’s magazines I’m sure somewhere between ‘Accept yourself’ and ‘How to lose 15 kg in 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: 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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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! 🙂