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Relationships

10 Things I Wish I Knew Before Getting into an Intercultural Relationship

RelationshipsAmanda Walter | Maple AlpsComment

Interracial and intercultural relationships are becoming more and more normal these days with the world opening up as a global world. Growing up, I had interracial parents from very different backgrounds, and so it didn’t seem strange when my husband and I got together and have been making it work.

I decided that in honor of Loving Day, I would share a few things that I wish I knew before getting into an intercultural relationship.

10 Things I Wish I Knew Before Getting into an Intercultural Relationship | www.maplealps.com


One.
Knowing your spouse’s mother tongue will help so much in understanding where they are coming from. Language is deeply connected with culture and understanding that what might be a literally translated idiom from one tongue could be an insult to another could possibly be the prevention of World War Three in your home. Trust me. There have been so many times where one of of has had to say (kindly, of course), “Well I know in [your language] you say [this], but in [my language] it can be taken as [this].” On the other hand, if you know each other so well and are switching between languages in your home, it’s easy to forget to mention this, and you end up offending someone outside of your home. But that is another story, heh.



Two. Your living possibilities suddenly expand. I mean, yes, you can always live wherever you want in the world, but once you marry someone from a different country, the process usually becomes a tad easier. While we live in a country where neither of us are from, we have some strange kind of peace of mind that we have options in case something happens.



Three. Travel becomes special. You develop a love for your spouse’s country and it becomes a second home for you. You have people from all over the world to visit. It also becomes extra special when you get to explore new countries and cultures with each other!



Four. Your culinary tastes will expand. Chances are that your spouse’s culture eats differently than yours! This could, of course, be good or bad. But if you’re an adventurous eater like I am, then it definitely is a good thing. I enjoy learning how to make specialties from my husband’s country, and I love sharing favourites from mine with him! When we go to international markets, we are like little kids running up and down the aisles and drop far too much money to share these special indulgences with each other.



Five. Your home has its own culture. While your past plays a part in how your home culture turns out, it’s important to focus on making it yours - together. That may mean taking things you love about one culture and omitting things that are not as desirable. Focusing on building your own family is important, rather than trying to hold on selfishly to one way or another. Compromise is good, but blending is even better!

10 Things I Wish I Knew Before Getting into an Intercultural Relationship | www.maplealps.com

Six. Home is where the heart is. While it may be hard to leave family behind (a possibility when marrying someone from a different country), it is an adventure to start a new one. When so far away from those you grew up with and who are near and dear to your heart, you learn to lean on God and your spouse to get you through that. Sometimes you only have each other and that is okay.



Seven. There are still people out there who disagree with interracial marriages, but that doesn’t have to get you down. Just because people might automatically assume certain things, doesn’t mean your relationship is not valid. These situations can be great when turned into teaching moments. Certain comments may hurt, but learn to let them slide. Everyone is at a different level of understanding, and some people might not even know that they are being offensive.



Eight. Humans are humans. Humans are very different, and yet very similar. Even though we might have different physical appearances or cultural backgrounds, we all have similar needs and longings, but just various ways of expressing them.




Nine. Communication style varies across cultures, but it’s important nonetheless. Any relationship, romantic or not, depends on communication. Understanding where the other person is coming from and how certain things are communicated is important. It will also help you avoid a lot of unnecessary hurt due to misunderstandings. Communicate, communicate, communicate! And yes, it is much easier said than done sometimes.

Ten. True love is unconditional. I think I’ll leave it at that for now.


Are you or anyone you know in an intercultural or interracial relationship? Tell me about it in the comments below!


 

The Crucial Element in a Long Distance Relationship

Ask Amanda, RelationshipsAmanda Walter | Maple AlpsComment
The Crucial Element in a Long Distance Relationship | www.maplealps.com

 

Question: What was the crucial element that helped your long distance relationship?


I guess quite a few of you must be in long distance relationships, because I get this question quite often. In a globalized world, I suppose dating or even being married long distance is getting more common.


Let’s see…


My husband and I spent 3 years in a long distance relationship before getting engaged. With the Atlantic Ocean between us, it did not always make it easy (or affordable for students - which we were at the time) to spend time with each other in person. We calculated it the other day, and the time spent face-to-face during that time added up to between 7 and 8 months. While that is not a lot, we did talk almost every day.


Modern technology is fantastic for that and allowed us to stay in almost constant communication (as constant as an 8-hour time difference can allow for anyway…). If it wasn’t letter writing and emails, we could text and video chat - something our parents were not able to do in their own long distance relationships!


Did I mention that even our parents did the same crazy thing? Must be genetic.


Anyhow, despite a large time difference, insane cultural differences, and the fact that we were on different continents, it all still somehow worked out.


To answer your question, there were several factors that affected our successful (in my eyes) long distance relationship. I actually wrote a blog post about it a while ago called, “The Three C’s of Long Distance Dating.” You’ll have to visit to find out what those C’s are and to find some really fun ideas for your own long distance relationship.


But really it all boiled down to intentionality.


I know I use that word a lot, and it’s the theme of this entire website, but it really is true.


Intentionality was the one crucial element that helped our long distance relationship. We chose to make it work, which made every element something we intentionally thought about. Before we even started dating, we knew we were in it for the goal of marriage - and if that didn’t happen, that was okay. But we didn’t see the point of even going through such an ordeal without a goal in mind. What good would that have been?


We intentionally talked about core values with each other, but most importantly, we really tried to intentionally keep our relationship a God-centered one.


Practically, we had to be sure we were reaching out to each other and that the limited time we had to talk was used wisely and we were not distracted with other things. I’m not even kidding when I say that we often created agendas as if we were entering a board meeting before talking. That way we didn’t forget what we needed to share or talk about. There were several resources we used and developed to guide our conversations as well.


All of this is not to say that we have stopped being intentional in our relationship now that we are married - not at all! It’s just that intentionality in our relationship looks a tad different now that we are married.

But more on that dynamic in a different post!


 


Have you been in/are you in a long distance relationship? What was the crucial element that helped you?


 
 

Mother's Day

RelationshipsAmanda Walter | Maple Alps9 Comments

I know that Mother's Day is coming up this weekend and it is always so touching to see Mother's Day posts from friends who pay tribute to their mothers every year. I debated putting together a post, and in the end, since I think all mothers should be celebrated all year long, I finally decided to put up this post to start off the festivities.

I know that Mother's Day is hard for some, so I wanted to keep it simple this year and just share ten pieces of advice a few of my friends sent to me! 

Best Mother's Day Advice

"When you are facing a fork in the road, can't make up your mind and both paths are good then just follow your heart. You are not going to pick the wrong one" Beth Mayberry

 

"Pray first and ask for God's help and guidance. Prayer should not be our last resort." Jacquelyn Van Sant

 

"Always wear a hat. Your baby face + skin will thank you when you're 40." Aubry Lybbert

 

"Be all you can be!" Hanha Hobson

 

"A couple weeks after my wedding I was going over the things I would’ve done differently or thought out more thoroughly. My mom stopped me, mid-sentence, and said “Would you change who you married? Cause that’s all that matters.” I lost my mom not two months later and that thought has stuck with me ever since." Caley Gonyea

 

"The best time to look for a job is when you have one." Candice

 

"One of my favorite pieces of advice from my mom (and there are many) is financial. When I first went out on my own, my mom told me to choose a dollar amount (e.g. $100, $250 or $500) and make that my "zero" in my checking account. That way, if I ever had an emergency, I would always have that buffer, that safety net." Jacquelyn Van Sant

 

"My mother was a woman of God that inspired and challenged me to pursue him as well. She leaves behind pages from her bibles with notes of biblically sound truths. Looking through her bibles, I often think she was one of the original "bible journalers" out there. I often reflect on her words of wisdom each week since she [passed away] in November 2017. I've learned many lessons from her one of which is to fully trust God instead of worrying. I'm a person that can sometimes be full of worry instead of basking in the fullness of God's peace and assurance. My mother pointed me to many scriptures to get me back on track when I would tell her all the things that troubled or stressed me. Stress does nothing for us and my mom reminded me of this all the time. She would sometimes say "Danielle, don't you know that God is up there?" I'm reminded of Romans 8:28 when I think of her encouragement, "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." This Mother's Day I remember her for her strength to raise me and opening up our home to several foster children. She and my dad who is also no longer on earth had a big heart for children. God blessed me to have them as they adopted me at birth. While it's heartbreaking that they are gone, I'm thankful for the wisdom that I've gained from my mom for 30 years and my dad for 15 years. My mom's wisdom inspires me to continue to grow and teach other young women in the same way." Danielle Wallace

 

"A good [peice of advice she gave me] is wear your coat!" 5th grader

 

"The best advice my mom gave me is if somebody is fighting with you just walk away." 5th grader

 

What is the best advice your mother ever gave you?


 

10 Ways To Love This Valentine's Day and Every Day

RelationshipsAmanda Walter | Maple Alps3 Comments

A lot of people (including me) like to refer to the commercialized Valentine's Day as, "Singles Awareness Day (SAD)". Of course, society has emphasized romantic relationships on February 14 every year, but who says only those in romantic relationships are the only ones who love? I know many people who are single, yet love with great fierceness. Part of this is that they ultimately love the Lord, and because of that love in them, it flows out to everyone. 

I recently came across some notes I had scratched on the topic, and I thought I would share them today in honor of Valentine's Day. It's hard to love others sometimes, but as we grow and become more like Jesus, it becomes natural. Here is some of the ways the Bible tells us to love.

10 Ways To Love This Valentine's Day and Every Day | www.maplealps.com

1. Listen without Interrupting

 Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire;
    he breaks out against all sound judgment.
A fool takes no pleasure in understanding,
    but only in expressing his opinion.
When wickedness comes, contempt comes also,
    and with dishonor comes disgrace.
The words of a man's mouth are deep waters;
    the fountain of wisdom is a bubbling brook.
It is not good to be partial to[
a] the wicked
    or to deprive the righteous of justice.
A fool's lips walk into a fight,
    and his mouth invites a beating.
A fool's mouth is his ruin,
    and his lips are a snare to his soul.
The words of a whisperer are like delicious morsels;
    they go down into the inner parts of the body.
Whoever is slack in his work
    is a brother to him who destroys.
The name of the Lord is a strong tower;
    the righteous man runs into it and is safe.
A rich man's wealth is his strong city,
    and like a high wall in his imagination.
Before destruction a man's heart is haughty,
    but humility comes before honor.
If one gives an answer before he hears,
    it is his folly and shame.
A man's spirit will endure sickness,
    but a crushed spirit who can bear?
An intelligent heart acquires knowledge,
    and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge.
A man's gift makes room for him
    and brings him before the great.
The one who states his case first seems right, 
    until the other comes and examines him.
The lot puts an end to quarrels
    and decides between powerful contenders.
A brother offended is more unyielding than a strong city,
    and quarreling is like the bars of a castle.
From the fruit of a man's mouth his stomach is satisfied;
    he is satisfied by the yield of his lips.
Death and life are in the power of the tongue,
    and those who love it will eat its fruits.
He who finds a wife finds a good thing
    and obtains favor from the Lord.
The poor use entreaties,
    but the rich answer roughly.
A man of many companions may come to ruin,
    but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. (
Proverbs 18, ESV)

2. Speak without Accusing

Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; (James 1:19, ESV)

3. Answer without Arguing

A hot-tempered man stirs up strife,
    but he who is slow to anger quiets contention. (
Proverbs 15:18, ESV)

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. (Ephesians 4:29, ESV)


4. Promise without Forgetting

Hope deferred makes the heart sick,
    but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life. (
Proverbs 13:12, ESV)

5. Trust without Wavering

There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. (1 John 4: 18, ESV)

The heart of her husband trusts in her,
    and he will have no lack of gain. (
Proverbs 31:11, ESV)

10 Ways To Love This Valentine's Day and Every Day | www.maplealps.com

6. Forgive without Punishing

Bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. (Colossians 3:13, ESV)

7. Give without Sparing

The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. (2 Corinthians 9:6-7, ESV)

The getting of treasures by a lying tongue
   is a fleeting vapor and a snare of death (
Proverbs 21:6, ESV)

8. Share without Pretending

Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. (Romans 12:9, ESV)

Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, (Ephesians 4:15, ESV)

9. Enjoy without Complaining

Do all things without grumbling or disputing, (Philippians 2:14, ESV)

10. Pray without Ceasing

And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, (Colossians 1:9, ESV)

Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, ESV)

 
bible promises www.maplealps.com
 

Of course, you should love others every day, not just Valentine's Day, but today is a great day to start!


 

Two Years of Marriage & the Best Marriage Advice Ever Received

RelationshipsAmanda Walter | Maple Alps4 Comments

I can't believe it has been exactly two years since my husband and I officially tied the knot! It has been an exciting time, and I must say, I do love marriage. We have both learned and have grown so much, and I thought it would be fun to share what kind of marriage advice some of my blogging friends received when they got married.

Two Years of Marriage & the Best Marriage Advice Ever Received | www.maplealps.com

Make each other a priority for the first year or so. Bible studies, volunteer opportunities, and other activities can wait. Build your foundation strong, and in Christ, and it will withstand everything that is to come!
- Abbey from Small Town Soul

 

Well.....here goes. "Argue naked." hat's the best light-hearted advice we were given. But a more serious piece of advice is evident in how my husband designed my engagement ring: the center diamond is as near perfect as he could get it and two smaller, imperfect diamonds on either side of the center one...to remind us that we were both two imperfect people held together by a perfect God.
- Heather from The Rescued Letters

 

The best advice (besides keeping God at the center, obviously) was that marrying someone with either the expectation they will change or the expectation they will never change will lead to unhappiness. We need to love someone through all the seasons of life. 
- Kate from Stumbling Toward Sainthood

 

I was told that when you are having a difficult conversation about something, remember to say words like "I feel..." instead of "you are ...." this keeps your spouse from feeling like you are just pointing fingers or placing blame.
- Morgan from My Pear Tree Home

 

My best marriage advice is: Go to bed angry! My Mema told me this and I rolled my eyes at her. But it was truly the best advice I ever received. Sometimes staying up and arguing or trying to talk through it makes us cranky, tired and miserable. Kiss good night, roll over and sleep on it. It's better to rest than speak as a fool. 
- Lauren from Bellows in the Berkshires

Two Years of Marriage & the Best Marriage Advice Ever Received | www.maplealps.com

My best marriage advice is to make time for quality time! Go on a date, spend and hour really talking without distractions like your phone, TV or computer. Do a fun activity together! It can be hard to find time sometimes but it's so worth it! One hour a week of real meaningful quality time is really all it takes for a healthy thriving relationship. A worthy investment! 
- Lydia from The Evergreen Woods

 

 When we got married someone suggested that we keep track of how we spend every anniversary, even if it's a super simple date. Seems like something you'd remember but those little details fade fast. I love the idea of looking back after 20 years (or more) and reminiscing about each anniversary together. 
- Rebekah from The Tex-Mex Mom

 

Our best marriage advice was to have a weekly date night. It seems like it'd be impossible, but we made it through medical school & grad school, residency, and four years of my husband working in the ER while having two kids and only missed our weekly date a handful of times in 10 years of marriage. We had to get creative, but it has been incredibly fun and has kept us focused on each other, even when things were really challenging. 
- Angela from The Mango Memoirs

 

There will be days you don't like each other and days you'll argue over every single thing but there will also be the days that you can't imagine being anywhere else in your life and you'll fall in love all over again. Marriage is tough, especially in the beginning, but you can't let the tough days affect your every day. 
- Kristin from This Wife & Mommy Life

 

From Beth Moore in her Bible studies: We have a powerful influence over our man, but we must master timing. 
- Traci from Traces of Faith

 

Our pastor and his wife invited us to join their small group for newly married couples a month after we were married. The one piece of advice they gave that still stands out in my mind (almost 13 years later!) is to never use the phrases, "you always" and "you never", when arguing. It's alienating and rarely true.
- Crystal from Pennies and Playdough

 


What's the best marriage/relationship advice you ever received?