Culture is an important factor that each person brings to a marriage. Today we discuss our different childhood surroundings, and why they make us work so well together.
018: The Timbre of Marriage—Context, Part 03
Truly Equal is a marriage podcast created by Kyle and Christi Playford. Our goal is to talk about marriage from a fresh perspective. We tell stories about our lives, talk about how marriage is like a love song, and give practical solutions to the problems we've encountered.
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When talking context and background, it's important to mention culture, which we identify as "the characteristic features of everyday existence." There are so many factors in culture that impact what you and your spouse bring to a marriage. For example, there is the classic city/country divide. Christi grew up in a residential area of North Minneapolis, and I grew up in the towns of Belding and Gowen, which are two towns of approximately 5,000 people each. Minneapolis has over 400,000 people. I never locked my car door, since I didn't have to. I never had to parallel park except for my driver's test. Most of the people I knew were very conservative politically. For Christi, she grew up in a much more progressive city and there were beggars on the street that she saw on a regular basis.
A unique thing that Christi and I share is knowledge about China and Eastern culture, as opposed to Western culture. Christi spent two years in Beijing, and I spent one year, so we have some general knowledge about how Chinese families work. For example, Chinese grandparents will typically live with the parents and grandchildren in the same house or apartment. Also, there was also a culture of "saving face," or avoiding statements that would embarrass you, your family, or your company. The culture as a whole was more communal, with less of a focus on the individual and "you can be anything you want if you try hard enough." This was the culture I grew up in, the culture of the American Dream. I had a love/hate relationship with it, since I was taught it, yet I never seemed to be good enough for it. Someone was always better than me, and even when I succeeded it left me feeling empty and hollow. After a year in China, I came to see the strengths of a collectivist culture, and how much I was afraid to let go of the American Dream because it would mean a loss of a key part of my identity. With the help of a few good books, Christi, and an authentic relationship with God, I was able to let go of the American Dream. I have not looked back yet.
The final cultural thing we discuss is our education. Christi grew up homeschooled for her entire grade school years. She attended a homeschool co-op group at least once a week, and took PSEO classes for college credits. I was homeschooled and attended a homeschool group every Thursday, until I decided to go to public school for high school. Our parents both used Sonlight Curriculum to homeschool us, which places a heavy emphasis on reading. As a result, both of us love to read (although the curriculum didn't have that effect on our siblings). We also acted in plays that our homeschool co-op group put on for the community. A key difference in our upbringing is my experience in public school. It was a rough transition for me initially, but I was able to join a showchoir and make friends during my last 2 years there.
Question: What cultural experiences did you have as a child? Did your significant other have similar cultural experiences?
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