Over the years, I’ve written a lot about the struggles for interracial couples here in China. One topic that never seems to go out of style is this – the struggle with your foreign partner’s in-laws (or future in-laws).
My post on The Troubling Chinese Mother-in-law Relationship remains one of the top ten for this site, and it continues to generate discussions. Most recently, Becky wrote a guest post titled Nothing Can Prepare You for Living with Chinese Relatives.
When it comes to solving these problems, though, I’ve found that some things matter a LOT more than others.
I’ll never forget when my husband Jun first broke the news to his parents that we were dating. When he returned to our apartment, he gleefully announced the not-so-subtle response from his dad: “You can be friends with a foreign girls, but don’t date them.”
While I was on the verge of tears, certain his parents were going to break apart our perfect relationship, Jun’s smile remained. So did his steadfast belief that his dad’s opinion didn’t matter at all.
In the end, he was right.
We stayed together.
We got married.
We found our own happily ever after.
Sure, it didn’t hurt that Jun’s parents turned out to be more flexible – and nothing at all like that stereotype of the “strict Chinese parent”.
It might have helped that my husband was the youngest of three sons (instead of being an only child) so there was a lot less family pressure on his shoulders.
But I think there’s a more important reason why we were successful. Jun was willing to stand up for me and support me before his parents.
He was determined to stay with me, no matter what they said.
When you have a partner like this, it’s so much easier to manage any differences with the in-laws. You never have to worry about fending for yourself before the family. Instead, your partner has your back. You can relax, knowing you’re not alone.
It matters a lot.
If you’re struggling with the potential in-laws or other foreign family abroad, sometimes the best solutions come from your partner first. A partner who will stand up for you and your relationship.
What do you think?