A lot of people are surprised when they hear that I am married to a Chinese man. It is sometimes difficult, because of cultural and language differences, but any relationship is hard at times.
The main cultural difference we had before was privacy. I noticed and was surprised to see that Chinese don’t have a sense of privacy like we have. I sometimes like to be by myself, sit in the bedroom with a good book, not wanting to be disturbed by anyone, but my husband was surprised that I wanted to be in another room and thought I was angry. I didn’t understand how he doesn’t like personal space and that sometimes he left the door of the apartment open.
We had many small differences, but the best part is that we learn from each other! To be together with someone from another culture enriches life in many ways.
I already learned to live outside my comfort zone because I already lived in China for already 7 years before I met my husband, but he had to adapt to me too and he learned to go out of his comfort zone too. This is the most important in a relationship: to learn and adapt to each other. If you don’t do that, the relationship will fail.
At the beginning of our relationship, my husband resumed his life and did everything he did before, without asking me if I liked it. He just thought I was ok with it. We were arguing a lot and he learned that we can’t just keep on living our life like we are single. We need to learn what the other person likes and we need to learn how to live and do things together.
Communication is the most important. After each argument, we talked a lot on how we see life and how we feel. This brought us closer and closer and now, our relationship is stronger than ever. I can’t imagine my life without him anymore. Sometimes, I go back to Belgium without him, because he needs to stay in China for work and we miss each other immensely.
The other strong part in our relationship is that we share a lot of the same interests. We both like sports and love the outdoors. He also challenges me in ways I didn’t think I could do. I have started to run marathons and climb mountains because of him. These activities, especially trekking in the mountains with no one else to rely on but ourselves, have brought a bond that can’t be broken!
So, no matter if you have a relationship with someone from the same culture or from a different culture. The main things in any relationship around the world are trust, communication and similar interests.