This can be a HUGE issue and might even break the couple apart if extra precautions aren’t taken. I know what you’re thinking “Love conquers all,” but seriously, when family is involved, things can get pretty nasty. Let’s take the difference between a traditional Chinese family on the groom’s side and an American family on the bride’s side. We all know that the cultural difference between the two is too massive to even begin to comprehend. So let’s say that the bride travels back to China with the groom to meet his extended family. If she refuses a “red bag” (a little red bag filled with money given by the groom’s family represents respect) because she feels uncomfortable accepting such a large sum of money on the first meeting, the groom’s family will look down upon her and believe that she is being disrespectful. In truth, the bride simply thought she was being considerate and well, nice.
However, as I have recently just learned too, being “nice” for the sake of being nice doesn’t exist in China. Every small action and every single word that is said is done or said with a specific purpose. Therefore, without meaning to, the bride has already caused shame and “lost of face” to the groom’s family. Now, let me ask you this, how in the world would the bride know any of this???? Everyone in the U.S. who are nice really are just nice (for the most part) for the sake of being nice! It’s not like this cultural thing can be taught in just a couple of days. The bride would have needed to actually LIVE in China for years to fully understand the culture and know how the game is played.
So, let me ask all of you, how can a cultual difference between the bride and groom’s family be conquered? I have thought about this for awhile but have never fully come up with an effective long term solution…