Interracial, Interfaith, & Intercultural Love

Romano, Dugan. Intercultural Marriage: Promises & Pitfalls. 3nd ed. Intercultural Press, 2008. 

Romano’s ultimate thesis is on the rich gains provided by intercultural marriage, self-expansion and relationship skills exponentially grown by vastly unique challenges and strains placed on intercultural couples. Intercultural couples have their work cut out for them, but the hefty labor can yield big long-term dividends. Romano’s expertise is solidified by both her own intercultural marriage and her professional work as a counselor. Over time, as more couples have married internationally, rising demand for information on international love led to this third edition updated to reflect globalization’s myriad ways to find love outside one’s own country: foreign exchange programs, undergraduate and graduate programs, work travel, military service, foreign diplomacy, and a social media platform without ever getting a passport stamp. Intercultural marriages were viewed as unhealthy in their early study, and with the tide of popular culture, that sentiment has changed. However, those who become part of an intercultural marriage have lots to navigate. There is no guarantee as to which intercultural marriages will work or not; however, Romano provides an excellent vantage point of all the dynamics that sometimes seem normal and invisible until illuminated by another person’s different handling of the same thing. Some dynamics are common terrain single culture couples know they need to manage: extended family, finances, and to raise children. Other dynamics are poised to be more invisible until they are not: time, food, male-female roles, illness, social class. Romano shares the experiences of real couples who illustrate the take and give of these issues. Most of the book is devoted to sharing how these issues can become points of contention. At the end, Romano shares a collective pool of what these couples felt were key factors in building a successful intercultural partnership: ability to communicate, sensitivity, common goals, flexibility, and love were some of the important traits needed. Romano also provides an appendix of legal considerations as well as a robust bibliography for further reading (though readers should be forewarned that most of the further reading is more scholarly in nature – that is, written by experts written for other experts in the social sciences fields). 

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