Friday, May 4, 2012

Blending Cultures After Marriage

Everyone changes some after marriage. It's unavoidable. Just from the constant exposure to a new person who thinks and acts different from you, you change. It sometimes happens slowly but it happens. Life changes when you marry also. You suddenly have to think about someone else and worry about their health and happiness instead of your own. These changes shape and define you and your spouse as a couple.

There's been a lot of discussion among the pardesi community lately about how their perceptions changed after marriage and it's had me noticing some things in my own life.

One big change I see is with sleeping. Hubby is a very light sleeper and when I fall asleep I may as well be dead. It's hard to wake me up no matter what is going on. Hubby always told me he needed pin drop silence to sleep. That may have been very true before I came here. I know many times he would ask me to stop typing (in his defense I type 94 words a minute so that's some serious tap noise) so he could sleep. I noticed though that our area never really quiet anytime other than 4-4:30 AM. I thought maybe he was just having trouble getting used to me. Now, a year later, I'm sitting here typing this at 5:20 AM and he's snoozing right beside me. He's completely gotten used to me being up and noisy. I think that shows good progress toward us getting comfortable with each other.

Another cute thing that happens between pardesi/desi couples is adopting each other's speech habits. I caught myself thinking just the other day how there was "too less" water in a bucket. In the US that's not even a phrase lol. Neither is "bhainchod" but I've picked that up too. Hubby also has adopted some of my speech habits, including the not so the good ones lol. I'm not so happy to say that he uses "shit" way too often now hahaha. At least he can't blame me for "f*ck off," that's all Gordon Ramsey's doing. Of course, I must bear some of the blame since I am the one who got him addicted to cooking shows.

Which leads me to TV. Living her with huubby has greatly affected my TV viewing habits. It's affected his as well. For example, he didn't want me watching violent shows or horror movies and so I quit before coming here. Since coming here I now realize I can't handle watching those shows at all. Even my favorite, Criminal Minds, has become difficult to watch. I've also had to stop him from watching news only in Hindi. OMG. It kills me to listen to that while he's so entranced he can't even hear anything going on in the real world.

Arguments are another way I realize we've both changed. In the beginning there was a lot of miscommunication and intimidation for both of us. He didn't like when I gave examples to try to explain myself back then and I was under the impression it was the only way to help him understand some things. Now I give less examples but when I do, he knows it's not meant to be offensive. Another common thing in arguments in the beginning was throwing harsh lines. This was completely out of intimidation. One of us would feel backed into a corner and throw something really difficult to deal with at the other. This is a destructive habit and we both were quickly able to end it. I think since we both did it and both knew we didn't like it and it wasn't good that helped us to be able to communicate about it and stop doing it.

As you grow as a couple, you also realize when you've done something that got a favorable reaction from your spouse. Everyone loves positive attention so when you find something that makes your spouse praise you or reward you then you repeat that behavior. Often times these behaviors are things you wouldn't have done before. I always smile about it but hubby jumps at the chance to cook for me or brush my hair for me. That is, as long as his parent's don't directly find out he's doing it lol. His mom knows about the cooking but he doesn't want to interact with his dad while he's in the kitchen. He perceives both things will get him picked on and that doesn't make him feel good. In turn, I also do things like cooking special meals for his family and scratching his back because I enjoy the reaction it gets from him. I can honestly say I've never scratched anyone's back literally before marriage.

Many of these changes are fascinating to see happen between us as we grow together as a couple.

What are some changes you've noticed between you and your cross-culture spouse?
 Are there any cultural significance as to why this change you see is a big deal?
Who do you think changed more, you or your spouse?


  1. We all have our quirks and I'm sure it's harder to manage when you're in this kind of relationship. Then again, once you do find that person who can handle that, life is sweet! :-0)

  2. I'm the light sleeper in our couple :) and I got adjusted to DH's snoring.
    Joke aside, yes we all change a little in a marriage, like you I picked up some of DH's speech idioms in no time. TV well we don't watch much, but DH was more of a news watching tpe of guy, as well as cricket addict, now he enjoys watching shows like Two and a half men and the Big Bang theory.
    But we have been living together for 8 years and married for nearly 6, so I might not really notice how much we both changed anymore, we found a comfortable balance in our relationship over the years

  3.  Oh, where to start. We've both made HUGE changes. I think perhaps we're equal on that. Of course, the biggest change for me has been adopting to a new culture, but specific things like eating really late now (dinner is usually after 10pm), and becoming much less of a control freak. I go with the flow much more. I haven't been able to adjust my sleeping much - I'm a light sleeper and need darkness and quietness to be able to sleep. He can sleep with the light on and noise all around. He has changed a lot -- learned to cook, learned to let me know when he's going to come late, learned to help with household chores, and he's grown to love wine and western food! I've never watched much TV, and being in India has made me watch it even less, but he'll still sit there happily all day and watch Hindi movies!

  4. Oh, on the occasions that I actually watch TV at night, we always watch Big Bang Theory and 2.5 Men!!

  5. Life is good, even with the bumps we hit during these relationships. I wouldn't trade Rohit for anyone else, including John Abraham. >:D

  6. That's great you've gotten to the comfortable balance! I think we're getting there but there's still so much for us to learn about each other so who knows.

  7. I'm amazed you haven't gotten used to the noise while you're sleeping. Rohit and I are the opposite. He needs darkness, quiet, etc and I could sleep through an after-cricket celebration with fireworks and all lol.