We recently received a question from a bride-to-be asking us for advice on her upcoming multicultural wedding and we thought the topic would be a great one for a blog post! We reached out to one of our very own Harsanik.com vendors, Marriage Ceremony Minister Rev. Ogannes, and asked him to share with us some tips on how to have a successful Armenian and non-Armenian wedding and marriage. We are excited to share Reverend Ogannes' advice with all of you!
Top 5 Tips To Help Make Your Armenian And Non-Armenian Marriage Perfect
#5: Inform and include the extended family
It is your life and you will and should make the final decision with your spouse to be, but nothing helps reduce stress like having your parents on board with your game plan. The easiest way to have them on board is to keep them informed of what you've decided to do, how you've planned to raise your children, what different holiday events you want to celebrate, etc. You can even swallow some pride and ask for their advice, if you like. You will be surprised at how much wisdom your parents and in-laws have to offer because you are asking and making them a part of the process. These are people who love you. It may not always be easy to see, but they ultimately don't want you to fail. Then, make sure you invite them over for a yummy Armenian dinner - it can be homemade (extra points for men or women) or picked up from a local restaurant in your area. Teach your in-laws about how you celebrated Easter as a kid and how special it is for your future kids to learn and be a part of it. Do whatever you like, just involve them! Including your family in small ways can really help ease tensions.
#4: Educate yourself about your future spouse’s culture
As important as it is to educate your extended family, it is even more critical to teach yourself about your spouse's faith and culture. It comes in handy when you are asked to explain an aspect of his or her religion to your parents, or to your kids. Learning about your spouse's background also leads to a greater understanding of their feelings and why various things are important to them. It shows that you care and are willing to share your lives together in marriage.
Once you start to learn more about your partner's religion, don't stop there. Involve yourself in your interfaith family's rituals and celebrations. Go to services together as a couple or family. By taking an active role, you not only make your spouse feel good, but you also will give yourself a great feeling of satisfaction. There is no better way to feel included than to participate. Celebrating and learning together bonds the marriage and creates family traditions right from the beginning.
#2: Be open to learning
Speaking of feeling included, it is a common fear before getting married to a non-Armenian. Being worried that if you raised your children in a faith other than Christian. That you would somehow feel detached (tip: you will always be a proud Armenian and your children an extension of you). Will my kids think of me as different? It turns out that they won’t know any better unless you and your spouse have taken the time to learn about each other’s culture and religion so you can teach it to them including speaking your respective languages to them. The next time you start feeling insecure, try to remember this lesson.
#1: Communicate and enjoy your relationship
Well, it's so important, I'm saying it again - Communicate! Even if you've been in a relationship for many years, it's still crucial to express your thoughts to your spouse on a regular basis. Always say “I Love You” once a day. If something doesn't feel right, don't keep it bottled up. It can only lead to resentment and life is too precious and short to constantly be distracted by the differences with your spouse. Focus on what is right and not what is wrong. While building the framework for your marriage, enjoy it and have fun.
We want to thank Minister Rev. Ogannes for sharing his words of wisdom with us. For anyone who is either planning an upcoming multicultural wedding or has recently began their multicutural marriage, we hope you find these tips helpful and we would love to hear from you on whether you have any additional tips you would share with others in your similar situation.