Sorry for my lack of posts recently, I have been sick and just getting myself back on track.
Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about what Rabindra’s family will think of me when I finally get the chance to meet them. Next year, I will formally be introduced to his family as Rabindra’s partner and ‘future wife’ so the family can officially accept me and I’m really scared about it!! Haha.
The reaction from his family to our relationship so far has been positive. We’ve exchanged gifts, photos, phone calls and there’s been no negative comments. I’ve heard of some horror stories about threats of suicide and disownment by Indian and Nepali parents so the fact that we’ve experienced nothing of a sort is great news!
But until they meet me in person, they can’t officially accept me (similarly if I was overseas my parents would be unable to give me their full blessings unless they had met Rabindra in person).
Most of his friends say I will be fine as they are a fairly modern family even though his family live in a village. But the fact is I am a white girl and in Nepal, marrying outside the caste, let alone a foreigner, is a big deal.
However, Rabindra has told me the main thing they will be concerned with me is: (a) having a good education (tick), (b) genuinely caring for and loving Rabindra (tick) and (c) still getting to see their son and be in touch with us even though we are overseas (tick- I am very supportive of him maintaining his cultural and family ties and I plan to travel with him back to Nepal fairly often).
A lot of my family and friends probably don’t understand the importance of being accepted into a family in south-east Asia. It’s not the same as it in Western relationships where introducing your partner to your family is not considered a big thing.
In Australia people normally introduce their boyfriend/girlfriend to their parents and extended family quite easily, and it’s not uncommon for sons and daughters to have 4-5 partners in their lifetime and their parents meet them all!
Yet in Nepal, who you marry is a MASSIVE thing. The family’s reputation is on the line. The family unit is an entire way of life. How a family is viewed in society is paramount because of how closely people live in the community. Comments about “that boy married a bad girl and look at the parents…” is common.
Girlfriend/boyfriend relationships are common but are usually kept in secret from the family. Parents rarely know about their son’s or daughter’s relationships until the time they are planning the wedding.
Because divorce rates in Nepal are so low and divorce is generally frowned upon, Nepalese people usually only want to introduce their life partner to the family.
So, suffice to say, the pressure is on. I’m a little paranoid and below are the things I am thinking about so any advice would be great!!
What is the main thing they will worry about with me being a foreigner?
What tips do you have for meeting the parents? How should I greet them?
Is there anything that seems perfectly normal in our culture that is seen as very bad in theirs that I should avoid?
Will they care about what I look like?
How do you get over the language barrier? What kind of things can you do to impress them?
What issues have you had to face with the in-laws in your intercultural relationship?