When my husband and I started dating 12 years ago, I searched fastidiously for a book on intercultural marriage. I found two excellent ones: Intercultural Marriage by Dugan Romano and Mixed Matches by Joel Crohn. Both were informative, and helpful, but for us, they failed to offer perspective on one important piece – our common bond of faith. Marla Alupoaicei’s new book Your Intercultural Marriage: a Guide to a Healthy, Happy Relationship seeks to fill this hole.
Your Intercultural Marriage seems best suited for young, Christian cross-cultural couples exploring the waters of intercultural marriage. It addresses topics such as engagement and weddings, communication skills, food, finances, and children. It is also full of movie and book recommendations, as well as lists of helpful questions to consider with a potential spouse. For a couple who has never before considered what dynamics might arise in an intercultural marriage, it is a thorough introduction to the concept. I will certainly be suggesting it to Christian college couples I know who are considering intercultural marriage.
That being said, I did have a few reservations. Being a bit further into an intercultural marriage, I did find myself longing for a deeper examination of the topic. While parts of it are well researched, organized, and written, the basic concepts (minus the Bible verses and Christian book rec’s) have already been covered in Romano and Crohn’s books. This isn’t to say that there’s no room for an update in the market, just that I didn’t find anything particularly new in the book. In addition, parts of it feel contrived, stereotyped, and prescriptive. I also wish the publisher would have made it clearer that it is written for a Christian audience. If I were not a Christian, I’d find it a bit unfair to naively pick up a book of this sort only to be saturated with Bible verses and Christian language.
We’ve sorted through the dare-I-say ‘basic’ issues and now wish we had more guidance in regards to less tangible struggles like isolation, integration, and surrender. I’m eagerly awaiting a book that examines the nuanced complexities of intercultural marriage rather than a 3-step, ‘how-to’ guide. However, seeing that I (married nine years w/two kids already) am not the primary target audience, I understand the spirit in and purpose for which the book was written. Kudos to Alupoaicei for her contribution!