Free online course for separated parents
Forum - Ask questions. Get answers.
Free online course for separated parents | Family | Relationships | Long term | Open communication about cultural differences can strengthen couple relationships

Open communication about cultural differences can strengthen couple relationships

Some relationships come against challenges when confronted with differences in faith and culture. Here are a few key things to consider to help strengthen your relationship in this area…


A recent study compared young intercultural and interfaith couples to young intracultural and intrafaith couples. The findings indicated that the roles of communication and support were key for couples who experienced challenges due to differences in background or beliefs (Reiter and Gee, 2008). Some of these findings could help you should cultural differences play a dominant force in your couple relationship: 

Communication is key

When compared to intracultural relationships, individuals in intercultural relationships were more likely to report conflict related to cultural differences. So you recognise that you have a unique set of values you can bring to your relationship – make them work instead of letting them cause friction and divide. It’s been discovered that individuals in intercultural relationships are more likely to mature in their relationship once these differences were discussed, so it is something worth considering. This finding is consistent with Falicov (1995) who suggested that if partners were able to understand, appreciate, and integrate each other’s similarities and differences, they would be able to use these differences in an enriching manner.

Relationship Strategy

Make it work towards your advantage. The benefit of open communication about culture between partners can also be a relational maintenance strategy. Couples who communicate more freely about culturally-related relationship issues may experience less relationship distress – so it is definitely something to think about.

We can learn something for young couples 

Exploring the differences between young inter and intracultural couples suggest that although intercultural couples are more likely to experience conflict due to cultural differences, they are also more likely to share that discussing these differences helped grow and strengthen their relationship. The findings suggest that where young people discuss their cultural differences, they are likely to be more open in terms of their couple relationship, experiencing less distress from these differences.



Reiter, M. J., & Gee, C. B. (2008). Open communication and partner support in intercultural and interfaith romantic relationships: A relational maintenance approach. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 25(4), 539-559.

Falicov, C. J. (1995). Training to think culturally: A multidimensional comparative framework. Family process, 34(4), 373-388.


Related entries

She’s pregnant and seems to hate me!

She’s pregnant and seems to hate me!

So your wife is pregnant, and divorce is on the cards already? Do you feel you can't do anything right, she hates you and you think this is the end of the relationship? Rest assured, this is surprisingly common. Just google the words "my wife is pregnant and she hates...

15 Ways to fix your relationship

15 Ways to fix your relationship

Although we are all locked in together, we still need to find time and space to be ‘together’. The Coronavirus lockdown is testing all of us, forcing new relationships along at a faster pace or putting pressure on the cracks in old relationships. Domestic violence is...

Staying together for your kids

Staying together for your kids

Are Mummy and Daddy really happy?   In difficult news, a study carried out by Direct Line has revealed as many as 22% of parents stay in a relationship they’re no longer happy with, purely for the sake of their children. This is a sensitive and tricky subject and...

Latest entries

Free Father’s Day activities- get yours here!

Free Father’s Day activities- get yours here!

Want to make your Father's Day a little more fun? On this page you can download free Father's Day activities sheets to complete with your kids. Make your Father's Day experience this year even more fun by enjoying watching the kids fill in our fun sheets- all about...

Pin It on Pinterest