How might a family be affected by nontraditional or intercultural marriages?

Families may be affected by non-traditional or intercultural marriages due to differing cultural practices, or due to their own bigotry or prejudice. The parents of both spouses may be alienated or offended if important cultural pieces of weddings go unfulfilled.

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Marriages which do not take place between two people of similar cultural backgrounds can affect the families in a myriad of ways. As a South African, the classic example that comes to mind is the Zulu tradition of “lobola” in which the groom must pay the bride’s family, usually in cattle, for her hand in marriage. In a situation where a Zulu woman is marrying an English man, her family may expect lobola to be paid. The lack of payment will not readily understand from his cultural perspective.

Similarly, marriages between members of different religions may bring up some interesting challenges. Beyond the vastly different wedding ceremonies traditionally practiced by the different faiths, further complications could arise around decisions about how to raise children. In a case in which a Muslim man was married to a Hindu woman, difficulties would arise during the Holy Month of Ramadaan during which all Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset.

The phrase “non-traditional” is very broad, and “non-traditional weddings” could refer any number of scenarios, but gay and lesbian weddings are the first thing that come to mind here. Family members who are bigoted, prejudiced or non-accepting of their family member’s lifestyle could be profoundly upset or angry at their family member’s decisions to marry outside the parameters of what the family perceives as “normal” or “healthy” but narrow bounds of love.

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