When I married Tim almost 10 months ago, I not only got a husband; I also got a daughter, a culture, a house, a country, and a whole set of “situations.” The list continues with new friends, new traffic guidelines, new weather, new schedules, and even new garbage rules. I was not used to them, and no matter how used I was to travel and to adapt to other places and customs, this time, I felt an amateur.
Cross-cultural marriage pushed all my awkwardness buttons at once and revealed to me that I wasn’t as adaptable as I thought I was. I not only lost all my cool with being an awkward foreigner as I had been many times in the past, but I became a cranky foreigner inside of my own life.
Tim, on the other hand, tried all the ideas that crossed his mind to help me feel at home. His efforts were and still are appreciated because I felt supported, and when he succeeded once in a while, I would even forget I was a foreigner.
As a result of his efforts, I got more sleep, more time alone, better meals, and a house that little by little starts to reflect my style. However, no matter how much he would try, I never felt I had fully adapted. I would always return to this awkward feeling of a foreigner longing for home.
Eventually, and after much prayer, I realized that when I was back home, I didn’t feel at home either. I would have my favorite weather and my favorite food, but I never thought I fully adapted to life in my own country or anywhere else in this Earth, and I never will. As a Christian, I’m not promised Earth, but HEAVEN:
“But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it, we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,” Philippians 3:20
In a spiritual sense, as a Christian, I have a passport to go home, but the flight has not yet come, but since I know my final destination, I can wait with excitement.
“And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.” John 14:3
Having tried a myriad of good strategies, the ultimate way to cope with, and even enjoy, my foreigner lifestyle is to focus on my final destination. It’s like waiting in a crowded airport not knowing when your flight will depart, but smiling as you think of those you’re going to hug when you arrive.
Self-pity aside, Tim is indeed not a local but also a foreigner in this world who, like me, will long for home every day of his life. What a gift to have each other to encourage our souls as we wait for our final destination!
“And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.” Romans 8:23
What has been your experience as a foreigner, as a newlywed or as a newlywed in a cross-cultural marriage, and what are some of the best tips you can share?