3 Important Tips on Marrying an International

3 Important Tips For Marrying an International- My personal experience to help your intercultural marriage experience #crossculturalrelationship #mixedmarriage

I recently took engagement pictures for a friend who is marrying a Honduran. It brought back memories when I was preparing to marry my husband.

International marriage or transnational marriage may be terms you've never heard of before but I can assure you it's becoming more and more common.   Thirty-something years ago a transnational marriage may have been something the occasional soldier did but not an everyday thing.  With air travel at its height and travel being much easier there are more opportunities to meet international people.

I honestly had no desire to marry internationally. I was kinda against it (for myself). I was living in El Salvador and not looking for a mate but God's plans are greater than ours. He had the perfect Salvadoran for me. I actually thought the differences wouldn’t be too different and love covers all (Or so we thought, lol.) I believe something that was in my favor was that I had been living in the culture for 4 1/2 years prior to marrying my husband so I had learned quite a bit about Salvadoran culture. However, I was not an expert by any means; I'm still not. Especially since every country is very different. After 6 years of international marriage and living 12 years in three different Central American countries, I think I can speak from experience.

A few of my favorites from the engagement shoot.

engagement, river,

So before launching into your international marriage, I have a few pointers or suggestions for you.

1. Be Able to Speak the Same Language

Let's be clear....you can both be native speakers of the same language and have HUGE miscommunication issues. Imagine it in different languages. My marriage is based on my knowledge of Spanish. So everything I say and do is in my second language. It's not the same and will never be the same way I communicate in English.  The better you speak the language the smoother things will go in the communication department. You will still have disagreements and miscommunication, which is normal, but it can be worse when different languages are mixed in.

I'm not saying it can't be done. I know people who have gotten married and are barely able to communicate and somehow it works. That's not for me. And since communication is the base to any good marriage I would suggest you be able to do just that.

2.  Be Prepared to Do Lots of Things You've Never Heard Of

This is more for those living in other countries as well as being married to an International but just accept that his ways are not your ways. Your childhoods were very different. When he gets a cold they drink this and do that as opposed to what you do. There will be so many things that happen and the thoughts will pass through your mind, "I've never heard of that" or "That doesn't make sense." Well, of course, you never heard of it....you grew up in different countries.  It may not make sense to you but it does to him. So be willing to try new things; compromise is the name of the game. Marriage is hard and full of changes and compromises. Triple that in an international marriage.

3. Learn to cook typical food

Ask his mom, grandma or a friend to teach you how to make some typical dishes.  If I really had to make pupusas I could, but it’s so much work and easier to buy them. I can, however, make his favorite bean soup with tortillas. There are a few other things I learned along the way.  It's a nice gesture and one day if your living somewhere different, other than his home country, it's good to be able to cook food that reminds him of home.

With that being said. I hope that these tips shed some light into the adventure that is international marriage, and ours hasn't disappointed. I married a Salvadoran and we lived in El Salvador for two years and then we moved to Honduras. So both of us are living in a different country other than our birth country. Our children were born in Honduras.  So our family is multicultural and it comes with its ups and downs but I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world.

 If you, a North American citizen, are planning on getting married the easiest way to ensure that your future spouse will get his or her papers is applying for a fiance visa.  You have to apply for the visa and then they get to come to the States and you have to get married in the time period that the government gives which I believe is within 3 months. I am not an expert on this because we did not do it this way.  My husband and I married in his home country and since we have been married we have lived outside of the United States. If we did ever think about coming to the US to live we will have much more paperwork and a longer and more difficult process to go through.