[b]Issues on Interracial Marriages[/b] Genetically speaking, there are no physical impediments to interracial marriage. Therefore factors that help or hinder the success of mixed marriages as compared to within-group-marriages are not genetic, but are taught and learned by individuals living in a community. Groups and individuals "speak" through implied and usually unwritten statements that become cultural pressures -- "should" and "should nots" -- that can affect the potential partners' decisions before marriage and the quality of marriage afterwards. When people arrive at a stage where they choose life partners, a number of other developmental tasks are also in process. Usually they are completing their education and preparing for a career. They are moving toward independence and adulthood, even though different cultures may attach varying meanings to such terms.
They are discovering their individual roles, in terms of both gender and individual responsibility -- a process that can be complicated by crossing ethnic boundaries, since different cultures have different ways of defining such roles, particularly as they interface with gender. Each marriage partner brings to marital union a list (unwritten, of course) ) of what to do or not do, what to say or not say, in a marriage. These individual lists learned in different cultural or racial environments can differ so much that misunderstandings and conflicts become unavoidable. When racial or cultural differences are added to familial, regional, and class differences, the potential for problems increases. Minor cultural differences can cause major misunderstandings. Here are a few common examples: Disclosure.
Culture often dictates what kind of, and how much, personal information should be disclosed between partners and to those outside of marriage. Display of affection. How much affection, and what forms of affection are permissible between marriage partners in private or in public? What display of affection is appropriate between a marital partner and a friend outside of the marriage? Gender roles. How rigid is the division between "masculine" and "feminine" activities within and outside of the home? Leisure activities. How do partners share leisure time? How much leisure should be enjoyed apart from the spouse? Ethnocentrism. This refers to the tendency to look at everything from one's own point of view, which of course is conditioned by one's cultural background.
For example, when an American speaks of the "normal" height of a person, it could mean about 5 feet 10 inches. But for a Japanese, "normal" may mean something else. Normal number of meals a day may refer to three in one culture, two in another. Dependency of a wife may be a virtue in one culture, while frowned upon in another. Other potentially problematic differences include relationships with parents and in-laws, decision-making between partners, and the rearing and discipline of children..