Mixed Matches, Chapter 2

The next chapter of “Mixed Matches” focused on why a person chooses to be in a mixed match. The author’s idea is that sometimes people do not feel comfortable in their culture/family of origin.  They seek out relationships with people in cultures different from their own so they can experience what they think they are missing and create more balance.  For example, someone from a subdued culture might be intrigued by more expressive cultures and seek out relationships with people from expressive cultures.  The danger though, is that the very differences that drew people towards each other can also divide them later on after they have to live with their partner’s quirks day in and day out.  The author wants each partner to be aware of stereotypes they may carry about their partner’s culture/family of origin and to proactively discuss differences before they cause major difficulties.


At the end of the chapter, there are exercises to do.  Each partner has to discuss how they view and experience sex roles, religion, etc in their own family and in their partner’s family.  We did these out loud instead of writing down our responses.  I still don’t have any easy answer about what makes me an American of mixed Swedish-Slovenian-Swiss heritage.  Satya doesn’t know what makes him an Indian. 


So far, we didn’t discover any earth-shattering truths or huge roadblocks.  Both of us come from very practical, religious, quiet, close families.  Surprisingly, in some my family is more conservative and authoritarian than his-for example, everyone was required to go to church once a week, my siblings and I underwent the full Catholic initiation.  His family left religion up to personal choice, but both of his parents are firm believers.  Both of us had fathers that worked full-time and mothers that were homemakers and caregivers most of the time.


Both of us were willing to date outside of our cultures.  I had always been intrigued by India, but from a distance.  Satya was only the second Indian man I ever went on a date with.  I’d gone out on dates with a variety of others.  Satya had gone on dates with Chinese-Americans, Indians, and Caucasians.  


Before I met Satya, I just had a superficial appreciation of India.  I liked the music, movies, colors, food although I didn’t know much about it and most of what I did applied more to North Indian culture than to Southern Indian culture.  The close family relationships seemed familiar.  The rituals seemed fascinating.  The gods and goddesses seem similar to Catholic saints.  I guess you could say I had positive stereotypes about India before I met Satya and even now before I’ve been to India.


For those in mixed relationships, what did you know or believe about your partner’s culture before you started dating your partner?  What major cultural differences have you encountered?

4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. evenshine
    Sep 15, 2008 @ 14:13:05

    Hmmm. I haven’t read this book but will have to get my hands on it. I think it’s different for each couple. My husband and I had a fairly extensive knowledge of our respective cultures. The learning experience came in terms of religion. It’s probably true that idealized or superficial views of the partner’s culture can abound, but I’m not sure I’d agree that it’s because we lack or want something that can be found in the other’s culture. How depressing, then, it could be when we don’t find what we’re looking for! Thanks for the post.


  2. minnesotameetskarnataka
    Sep 16, 2008 @ 13:10:07

    Hi Evenshine,

    I agree–religion is a key issue. I’ve found it tricky because for Indians it seems so personal and much depends on region, caste, family taste, etc. It is a little frustrating for me sometimes, but I think it is one of those things that is gradually revealed.


  3. Mirchi
    Sep 24, 2008 @ 17:37:00

    Hi Minnie… I really enjoy reading your blog! Havent had a lot of time to comment or post lately.

    I was reading this first paragraph and I wonder if it describes me to an extent. Whatever I learned of India, just felt more and more right and “like home” to me. I think I agree with more of an Indian mindset or values than mainstream American.

    Most of what I know about Indian culture today is what I knew before I met my husband, not because of. The difference is now I have lots of my own personal experiences in it. Its been nearly a decade now and I dont feel any different.

    Honestly, we havent encountered any major cultural difference, even in the beginning! Ill keep thinking about this.

    Mind if I add you to my blogroll?


  4. minnesotameetskarnataka
    Sep 29, 2008 @ 20:10:48

    Hi Mirchi,

    I think that makes a lot of sense. I think when looking for a spouse it is important to find someone who seems “like home”.

    We’ve encountered a few differences, but nothing too major.

    How did you learn about Indian culture before meeting your husband? Did you think you’d marry an Indian before you met him?

    Sure, I’d be happy to be added to your blogroll.

    I look forward to more comments from you!


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