Cultures are a bit like ketchup, 57 varieties but richer for it!

When I first met Roy I have to admit that some of the appeal was his accent. He was the foreigner in the midst of sameness and I liked that. I liked the fact that not only did he sound different but it was apparent he thought differently too. I enjoyed talking to him and seeing my limited world from a different perspective.

He had many readjustments to make to embrace life in Northern Ireland. Some of those hurdles he had already jumped before I got to know him. He had learned to decipher the multitude of accents that are present in Northern Ireland. He had learned to adapt to many of the cultural differences and was making Northern Ireland home.

When he met me though he had some other challenges to meet! The first meal with my family was a disaster. My Mum had gone to a lot of trouble to make a lovely meal; she set the table with care putting out her best table cloth, cutlery and china. The only eyesore on the table was the bottle of ketchup that my brother Mark had plonked ceremonially in the middle of the display. Unfortunately, that bottle drew Roy’s attention. He reached across and grabbed it and did what everyone else would do, he gave it a shake in preparation for putting it on his meal.

What Roy didn’t know was that our family didn’t usually shake ketchup bottles. That probably had something to do with my brother’s habit of never putting the lid back on properly. Roy had his ‘enlightening’ moment when the lid flew off the ketchup bottle in the direction of my father and the sauce followed. Unfortunately, the ketchup bottle had acquired a life of its own and gaining momentum the sauce flew backwards over Roy’s shoulder and hit our curtains. As if that wasn’t bad enough another forward motion followed! My father sat stunned as he was ‘shot’ again by the ketchup, the red stains running down his chest as he stared blankly at Roy wondering what he had done to deserve this.

Sometimes we think of ‘culture’ as the big things, those huge differences which place a gulf between you. Each family has its own ‘culture’ those small details which you do differently to everyone else; those are the things that make you unique! Even if you find you do things which are totally opposite to your spouse’s culture learn to laugh about them and remember ‘different is just different it’s not wrong!’ We’re a little bit like ketchup… Heinz 57 varieties.

In marriage remember ‘different is just different it’s not wrong!’ Click To Tweet

Extract from ‘Cross-cultural Marriage’ by Lainey Hitchman

The book ‘Cross-cultural Marriage’ is coming soon!

Bringing Worlds Together Book

Many couples struggle to get on the same page in marriage. Whether you are newlyweds or have been married for years Bringing Worlds Together will help you blend together. Expect to learn more about your spouse, gain insight and be challenged.

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Adjusting Expectations Book

No-one enters marriage expectation free. Adjusting Expectations helps identify how expectations were formed and whether or not they were realistic. Most expectations need some adjustment; they are often too high but can also be set too low. The good news is expectations can be reset!

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