Did you know that in 2016, 31.6% of couples married were born in different countries, and 13.9% were born in the same overseas country. 54.5% of couples married were both born in Australia (ABS, 2016).
Relationships in general are challenging, and coming from different cultural backgrounds can create its own set of obstacles. As intercultural marriages continue to increase, it's important to acknowledge and understand how different cultural backgrounds are likely to impact marriages and family life of the couples you work with.
PREPARE/ENRICH tailors itself not only to the unique stage and structure of each couple's relationship, but also the larger cultural context in which they live.
The Cultural and Ethnic Issues scale assesses how each individual feels about differences in their ethnic or cultural background and whether these differences are negatively affecting their relationship. It can provide a framework on which to help couples deal, address and explore cross-cultural issues.
How does it work?
This is a customised scale that is triggered during the decision-tree questions at the beginning of the assessment (completed by the first partner that logs in). The first partner is asked: Do you and your partner come from ethnic and/or cultural backgrounds that you feel are very different from one another? If answered "yes", the couple will receive the scale.
Below is a sample scale item and some follow up questions you can ask during feedback sessions to further explore this topic with the couple:
- Differences in our ethnic/cultural background can some times strain our relationship.
- What differences seem to cause the most relational strain?
- How do you handle these differences?
- Have you shared your thoughts and feelings about this with one another?
From a counseling point of view, if the couple has agreement in the most important areas of their life, then the greater success in marriage they will have. Couples can be very ethnically different, but it's important to have similarities.
Tune in next week for tips and insights for facilitating culturally diverse couples.
- Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) - Marriage and divorces, Australia 2016
#PREPARE/ENRICH is a customised online assessment tool that identifies each couples unique strength and growth areas. Based on their assessment results, a facilitator provides feedback sessions, helping couples to discuss and understand their results while teaching them proven relationship skills.