Following a recent discussion in PNG Attitude about difficulties in some cross-cultural marriages, Rose Kranz offers some advice….
IT'S A FUNNY AND STRANGE THING being married to a white man. He doesn't fully understand your traditions, family background and beliefs - but he expects you to understand all this about him.
Does he do the same in return?
To start with, he doesn't appreciate the importance of family in Melanesian culture.
Not just mums and dads, but cousin-sisters and brothers, uncles and nieces, once twice or thrice removed - and those extended family members who you have perhaps only seen twice in your life.
They are the cement which holds our great wall of identity together.
And he doesn't understand that we have come from a village culture where we had few trappings of western 'civilisation'.
Certainly no Coles or K-Marts, and where the richest family in the village were the ones who owned a TV. So maybe I don't know the correct wineglasses to us for Christmas dinner - but I bet he doesn't know how to prepare a coconut cooler.
And he expects me to fit into Australian culture with 50,000 years difference between us?
And yet we understand the same human drives and emotions. After all, people are people.
I just ask him to try and get out of his comfort zone and realise that we are different, although also the same in so many ways.
I love him, and I believe he loves me, but he must take the trouble of understanding where I come from, if he truly wants to know me.