[I]nterracial couples may have to work through different cultural assumptions and expectations
Since it is most like the cultural aspect that is the greatest problem, why not simply say that it is cultural?
If the study did not separate out internal problems based on differences in background and problems resulting from prejudice to interracial marriages, then I don't see it having much value at giving us specific info about the problems interracial marriages have over and beyond intercultural marriages.
One of the last times this topic came up someone posted a study that did look specifically at the interracial aspect, IIRC, and showed that at least for most of the US this was not a problem in and of itself. I would assume there are still parts of the US and other parts of the world that have higher rates of racism so couples from these areas planning on living in these areas should realistically anticipate problems.
I wish the manuals were specific about why there may be problems and include that which is most likely to affect all marriages---the family dynamics....saying something along the lines of 'attitudes of others impact your relationship, while your future spouse is marrying you, not your family, you both need to be aware that negative attitudes can create conflict when the family gathers, which is often at the most important but also most stressful times of your relationship; you need to agree at the beginning of the relationship how each will protect the spouse from criticism from their own family and friends, putting the marriage relationship before all others; if you don't think you can do this (imagine yourself telling your parents to back off if they making remarks about how your spouse treats your kids), then you need to rethink the marriage'.
When it comes to race, it could be written up as an ethnic issue (which covers a wider range of potential conflict) and be specific about how criticism, racism and general prejudice may occur and raise the family stress levels and that this may vary in their life due to moving into areas with greater prejudices and it should include a discussion on how to recognize how stressful this may be to the partner who is seen as inferior by bigots so that the other does not just brush it off with 'just don't pay attention to the idiots' approach, etc. as well as discussing up front how (and in some cases even if they have the emotional strength) they will handle the issue when it arise with the children, who may end up being bullied, ostracized, etc. due to their mixed race (depending on where they live, this can unfortunately still be a problem).
I think if problems are not only identified, but discussed as how it can be effectively handled within a interracial/intercultural relationship, it would remove much of the potential of inferring of prejudice because it would show an acceptance of such a couple even while pointing out the difficulties that can arise from such a relationship due to cultural attitudes.
Obviously needs to be better written, but you get my drift. I think while it is important to bring attention to potential issues like cultural background and such, it would be more helpful to be specific about why these are problems and about how to deal with them. I find the marriage manual a bit too vague. It has been some time since I looked at it in detail, perhaps there has been such improvements but last I looked at it, it was rather thin, it appears to be more of a 'ideas' to talk about than an instruction manual.
Edited by calmoriah, 07 May 2012 - 12:02 PM.