Marriage Monday: Mixing family traditions

Marriage Monday: Mixing family traditions

Anabel Newton from the Happy Couples Blueprint is guest blogging on this month with some really insightful and amazing thoughts and advice on addressing the big questions in marriage.

Today, Jamie asks:

[quote]I grew up in Boston USA and my husband comes from Poland, we have really different family traditions and he just won’t celebrate Thanksgiving. How can I make him understand how important it is to me?[/quote]

Culture Clash!

This is a great cross cultural communication question Jamie and there is a simple approach that I would take.

Not necessarily easy… but definitely simple.

I would recommend that you sit down with your partner at a time when you’re not arguing about the actual holiday e.g saying “why won’t you celebrate this??” or “its really important to me!!!” – sit down when you’re not having that discussion and talk about your respective family traditions. I don’t know how long you’ve been together for but I’m sure your husband has a lot of traditions that come from Poland. For example, possible religious observance and other things that he could tell you about and vice versa – tell him about your family traditions.

Now, I’m not actually from the USA, clearly, I grew up in Australia, my family is from Haiti and I don’t know that much about Thanksgiving, I understand that it’s about giving thanks for a good harvest and I know some very small amounts about the historical significance. Perhaps your partner has a vague understanding of the historical significance, but, he may not have an understanding of the personal importance to your family.

So explain to him what traditions you associate with Thanksgiving, the food that you eat, the laughter that you’ve had, the stories from your childhood. What does Thanksgiving mean to your family? Then, I would recommend seeing what family traditions he has that come up around the same time. Perhaps you can blend traditions and include some of his background in there.

I don’t know if you remember the show the O.C – I used to love it – I know that every Christmas (or what I would call Christmas) they celebrated Chrismukkah because their family was Jewish and Christian. So they had this tradition that was a hybrid of Hanukkah and Christmas. See what traditions you have – maybe you can combine them or maybe it will just be a matter of really understanding why Thanksgiving is really important to you, not just as a historical tradition that every American might celebrate (that might be how he sees it) but how it actually impacts you as a family.

Do you have any blended traditions? Let me know in the comments below.