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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Examining the experience of individuals in intermarriage Antal, Surinder

Abstract

The purpose of this research was to explore what facilitates and hinders intermarried individuals' adjustment in their marriage. A Critical Incident Technique was used to elucidate the incidents that facilitated and hindered their adjustment. In this study, only facilitating incidents were analyzed. The intermarried individuals consisted of five Indo-Canadians and six Caucasian (Canadians). The participants took part in an interview in which they were asked to describe incidents that have hindered and facilitated their adjustment in their intermarriage. The interviews were audiotaped and transcribed. The transcripts were then analyzed and critical incidents that facilitated their adjustment in the intermarriage were explicated. As a result, 22 critical incidents were described as facilitating their adjustment in intermarriage. These incidents include: interest in, appreciation of, acceptance of, respect for, and partaking in spouse's culture; support and acceptance from key people in the immediate and extended family for self and spouse; view of cultural differences as enhancing the relationship; commitment to resolving differences and conflicts; having fun together through shared interests and a sense of humor; flexibility and openness towards raising their children; common values and beliefs; shared future goals, love, commitment to, and trust in the relationship; honouring personal convictions in the face of challenges; personal philosophies, attitudes, values, and beliefs; willingness to compromise on, ability to accommodate, adjust, and accept their differences; personal characteristics of spouse; acculturation to the partner's (Caucasianmainstream) culture, balanced by the desire and the ability to maintain some aspects of their own (Indian) culture; viewing personal and cultural differences as an opportunity to learn a different way of doing things; familiarity with spouse's cultural context prior to marriage; complementing and balancing gender roles; ongoing recognition and awareness throughout the marriage of initial hardships in getting together as a couple; recognizing, acknowledging, and appreciating parents' willingness to learn and shift some of their values and beliefs; supporting each other; being able to anticipate challenges and struggles that would be involved in intermarriages prior to getting married forced the individuals to examine commitment; resolution of emotional issues about the intermarriage reached by both families prior to or through the wedding; sibling marrying out. These critical incidents were then presented to each of the participants in a follow up interview for validation. The findings of this study are discussed in terms of implications for further research as well as implications for counselling individuals and couples who are experiencing challenges as they pursue and adjust in intermarriages.

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