Hello all, hope this post finds you well!
I know I have mentioned my husband a couple of times on this blog, and just recently I shared a post about how I am staying in Algeria with him and his family for a kind of extended visit. I figure by this time you are all dying to know all of the juicy details.
But you don’t get to, sorry. I seek to find the very delicate balance on this blog of sharing my life with you and keeping what needs to be private to myself, and my marriage is one of those things that belongs in the more personal part of my life.
But I did want to share some more general things about my marriage because being in an inter-cultural, inter-lingual marriage brings about a set of unique challenges and a different perspective on things in general.
And also because every time I show my husband my blog he says,”when you gonna put a picture of me on there?”
At any rate, as you may have guessed my husband was born and raised in Algeria. He speaks Algerian Arabic and French, and his English has gotten pretty darn good since we have been married. He was born into a Muslim family.
I was born and raised in a small town in California, USA. I speak English, German, and French, and since I have been here my Algerian has gotten pretty decent, if I do say so myself. I was born into a semi-practicing Christian family.
With just this small amount of information, you can already imagine how dynamic of a relationship this must be.
I will let you in on a secret: the key to marriage, especially this kind of marriage, is respect. I’m not talking about the kind of respect where I follow every order he barks at me because I am a woman and that is my job, I am talking about mutual, loving respect and understanding.
We come from very different places, cultures and backgrounds and while we do have a lot of compatibility where our personalities are concerned, we have some wildly varying cultural outlooks on things.
For him some of the things I do make me more like “one of his guy friends,” like jumping over fences or shooing the geckos out of the house, while some of the things he says can seem very awful and harsh to me when it is totally normal to him. I don’t really fit many of the typical gender roles of an Algerian woman, but I also don’t fall into a lot of the bad habits that he dislikes in his own culture. He has a much easier, go with the flow, do whatever, kind of attitude that drives my Type A crazy bananas, especially when it comes to flouting rules.
But, because we have mutual respect for each others’ culture, background, and past, he can respect some of my cultural quirks and I can respect his.
There are some major things we will never see eye to eye on where politics, or even just general ideas about the world are concered, but we can talk about them, even argue about them, and move past them by focusing on the positive things.
What are those positives? Because we are so different, our personalities are very complimentary. I am often too serious, which he balances out by being fun and making me laugh. We both love to travel, though we like to do different things as tourists (I’m gonna pass on seeing every single football stadium in the world…). We both love animals, and love to snuggle.
Most importantly, I love him for the sake of God. Not only is he my halal husband, the one God gave me to share my whole life with, but he was the one who introduced me to Islam, opened my eyes to a whole different world, and completely changed my life, and at the end of the day I will always love him because of that.
And yes, God willing, we plan to grow old together and be the crazy cat couple.
I hope this post has been able to give you a little bit of insight into what it is like to be in an inter-cultural marriage, though I feel I may not have quite done the job because to me it is just my life!
Update 05/2017: I have edited the post to remove all photos of my husband and I because, though I am still totally into talking about how awesome an intercultural marriage is, I have updated my ideas on privacy and modesty =)