Should breakfast be sweet or salty?

Recently one of my American friends married a wonderful Chinese woman, and Buddy and I were honored when they asked us to officiate the Beijing ceremony. (They had multiple weddings all around the world so they could celebrate with all their friends and family.) Here's the homily we gave, in Chinese and English -

Aaron and Jia Ling, if your experience is anything like Buddy's and mine, your life as a Chinese-American couple is going to be as exciting as Disneyland and as rich as red silk. Some people say that international marriages are more difficult, and it's true that especially in the beginning, we did have a few arguments that 2 Chinese people or 2 American people probably wouldn't have. For example, we argued over whether we'd spend our first paycheck on a coffee machine or a rice cooker. Will we baptize our kids? Will we circumcise our son? Should breakfast be sweet or salty? Which is better: marble or carpet?

But once you get over those initial bumps, you'll find the many benefits of a cross-cultural marriage. For example you two will probably work very hard on communication - since you don't share a common native language you know this is one of your challenges as a couple. But since you focus on it more, you might actually communicate better than some couples who do share a native language.

We also found that in a cross-cultural marriage it's quite easy to maintain harmony between the extended family members because more often than not – they can't talk to each other!

As an international couple, you might find you have fewer opportunities for certain kinds of arguments anyway. For example you probably won't have to argue over whose family you'll spend Christmas Eve with. At Chinese New Year you won't be shuffling from his family to her family and back again. One day when you have kids, they'll get presents from Santa Claus at Christmas and a few weeks later at Chinese New Year they'll get hongbao from relatives. They'll know how to carve a pumpkin and they'll know how to make pot stickers. Aaron your parents will be able to teach your kids how to bake an apple pie and with any luck, Jia Ling's parents will potty train them before they're a year old.

It's exciting to think of all the challenges and benefits you two will experience in your years together. Please know that all of us, your friends and family, are always here for you if you need us. We'll be cheering for you, and we'll be watching you grow in your love for one another.

Chinese version:
如果您也和我一样,娶了美国的老婆或是嫁给美国的老公,那你的生活将象迪丝尼乐园一样刺激,象红丝绸一样充满内涵。有人说,国际婚姻更会遇到很多困难,比在股市上赚钱还难.,在刚结完婚的最初的日子里,我们的确不乏争论. 举例来说,我们争论是应该买咖啡机还是电饭煲。我们是否应该让孩子接受洗礼?早餐吃面包还是油条?家里铺大理石还是地毯。 但一旦你克服这些最初的坎坷,你会发现跨国婚姻有很多的好处.举例来说,无论用那种语言,其中一个人用的肯定不是母语.夫妻双方反而回更加用心去交流. 我们还发现,一个跨文化的婚姻里,娘家和亲家很容易维持和谐关系,因为彼此话语不通! 但作为一对国际夫妻,你享有很多优势.你不用担心圣诞节应该在谁家过;中国的大年三十你也不用急于从婆家赶回娘家;等ARON和佳铃有了小孩,他们刚从圣诞节老人那里收到圣诞礼物,又可以从亲戚那里拿到红包.他们就会知道如何雕刻南瓜,同时学会包饺子。Aaron 的父母将教孩子如何烤苹果派,贾玲的爸爸妈妈将训练他们一岁以后就不再用尿不湿。 这是一个何等激动人心的时刻.在新娘和新郎跨如婚姻殿堂之际,我们今天在这里的每一个人,所有喜爱你们的亲朋好友,都在为你们欢呼,本为你们祝福!祝愿你们夫妻恩爱, 白头携老!


Thanks for the link to my blog entry. Truth be told... although I'd been thinking about the post for awhile, it was the above vows which got me to write it. :)

Once again, it was such a lovely ceremony. :)

Posted by Robs on November 11, 2007 at 02:20 PM CST #

An old Jewish proverb suggests that for a couple in love, the edge of the sword is a large enough space to dwell, but when people hate each other, the entire universe isn't large enough...

The secret is to respect each other and accommodate, even if you have to sacrifice occasionally, and compromise a lot.

And most definitely about breakfast: both. Start with the eggs, finish with the pancakes.

Posted by Amiram on November 12, 2007 at 06:41 AM CST #

Nice thoughts, thanks for sharing them. If we can achieve peace within our cross-cultural marriages, maybe there's hope for peace in this multicultural world after all?

Posted by Deirdré Straughan on November 12, 2007 at 12:44 PM CST #


Posted by Barb on November 12, 2007 at 07:55 PM CST #

Too true! My husband is Caucasian and I am Chinese. We do argue about some things, things around perception due to how we are raised. But in other areas, there is no conflict, like who do we spend Chinese New Year with?

Posted by Pam on November 15, 2007 at 04:48 PM CST #

I Just found your website! Enjoy reading it very much.

Posted by Helen on March 06, 2008 at 07:44 AM CST #

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