Image by barnabywasson via Flickr
Today I have the ultimate tip to surviving a Cross-Cultural relationship..........playing "house"!!!! Yeah, you heard me right, that game we all played when we were kids and we pretending to be someone else. Seriously, how do you think I've hard to survive in a friendship where I have a different language, culture, social class etc. I still pinch myself wondering if I'm in a dream or could it be true that despite all these differences., we have NEVER fought or get offended with each other, not even once!
While chewing on this thought....it began to occur to me that perhaps one of the secrets to our relationship is that we constantly have to walk in the other persons shoes, literally like playing "house". I'll admit that early on there were several times where I wanted to react to some of her actions or responses....it would have been so easy to be judgmental. But in that moment I chose to keep my mouth shut and instead just wait abit. And you know what? God was always faithful when I took that path.
There have been two times now that in the middle of a conversation with someone else, they made a comment to me that instantly gave me the answer I was seeking. The first time was with my spanish teacher who is a surfer who conversed with me about how Argentines deal with connection and energy. The 2nd time was while talking with one of the twins who helped me understand the middle class in Argentina. The combination of both conversations helped me understand the world Marisa comes from.
And I combine that knowledge with regular exercises where I get up in the morning I'm like "OK....let's pretend that I am Marisa for a moment". I try and imagine the world she comes from, the conversations that she has, the types of behavior that would be typical of her friends and family. And pretty soon I start to realize that sometimes when she talks to me, her comments and opinions are a mere reflection of all that she has grown up in. Some of it may be her personal opinions but i think that it is mixed in with behavior that she mimics of those around her.
When you walk in someone's shoes, you begin to understand their heart. This is the other reason I believe that we have never fought once....this woman understood my heart from day 1. This may sound like a minute detail but it has been our relationship's saving grace. You see, when she understood that my heart and motivation was for love, she knew that every action I had she would have to be interpreted through lenses of love.
This means that whenever I do something that she can't understand or may even seem rude or insulting, she knows that I can't possibly be trying to be offensive because that isn't my heart and that interpretation of my actions wouldn't correlate with what she knows my heart is. So there has to be another interpretation of my heart and my action and if she waits, she'll find the answer and in time she DID! The both of us searched and desired wisdom with all our hearts and the Bible says that you will find all that you seek....
"The one who gets wisdom loves life;
the one who cherishes understanding will soon prosper"