My marriage is both intercultural and interfaith. I am a Irish-Mexican Californian who was raised Catholic. My husband is Turkish. Not “moved here in elementary school” Turkish. He is “lived in Istanbul until his mid-20’s” Turkish. He was fluent in English, but it was very much University English. He is also Muslim.

We met while working in Alaska and got married four months later. We have been happily married for almost five years. The first year or so got rough because sometimes we could not tell if we were encountering a cultural difference or if the other person was just out of their damn mind. Our ideas of “clean” did not always mesh. He’d freak out if a I walked more than a few steps inside without taking off my shoes, and I would flip out if he would serve chicken using tongs he cooked with, for example. (I am clearly right. JK) Eventually, things worked themselves out. Sometimes we would literally have no idea what the other person was talking about (he once thought “silly” meant “stupid” and got his feelings hurt, for example.)

Things got easier. I know he still struggles sometimes. His family is on a different continent. He doesn’t speak a common language with most of our neighbors (who are mainly Spanish-speakers.) I know life is lonelier here than in Istanbul. I feel guilty that he didn’t fast for Ramadan this year, after having fasted the previous four Ramadans in America. My family has also embraced him, but they’re a state away. He kept getting wistful when we were in Mexico last year, because it reminded him of Turkey (in that most people did things together more often than here in the US.)


I loved his family when we visited in Istanbul, but I need a lot more personal space than is normal for Turks.

Overall, I feel like we support each other well and are good at working out differences.

Anyone else in similar relationships? Any similar pitfalls, and how do you work them out?

ETA: I should mention that a lot of friction might have come from me being much more used to navigating multiple cultures than my husband was. Much of the blowback from me would come in the form of me saying/thinking “Can’t you just roll with things better?” I did work on that, though.


Also, I thought this post was Kinja’d and then got surprised with Dodgers tickets. Sorry for the late responses.