Published On: Sat, Nov 30th, 2019

Do cultural differences matter when sharing a life with a Turkish spouse in Turkey?

Do cultural differences matter when sharing a life with a Turkish spouse in Turkey?

Turkey is becoming more popular among foreigners
each and every day and it keeps receiving many foreign people wishing to settle down in this beautiful country. Some of these foreigners get acquainted with people they fall in love with or build meaningful relationships that will even lead to marriages in time and end up settling in Turkey. In this article we also refer to marriages between Turkish subjects and foreigners who meet in a foreign country and move to Turkey to settle and spend the rest of their lives here.

The idea may sound quite interesting and even exciting at first sight; Getting married to a Turk and living in a country with friendly people (depending on the interpretation) – a lot of beautiful places to see, nice food to enjoy etc.  A nice life many would love to live.

However for a foreigner getting married to a Turk, it is quite likely to face some issues as well originating from cultural differences to start off with. Although Turks may seem quite friendly at first sight, we cannot say their way of thinking and look at life as well as several traditions coincide with those of people from the western world. Turks were not very much acquainted to the western culture for centuries in the past, to include the Ottoman Empire era certainly. It is mainly following the establishment of the Republic of Turkey that Turks started to get to know the western culture and traditions from a closer distance. This means they have a culture and tradition very much unique to their own. The question is how important are differences in areas such as culture, language and even religion? In better words are they so important to put such a marriage at stake?

Talking about a marriage with a Turk, Turkish family structure can be very important and the more so in the first stages of the marriage. The problem here could be as follows: Generally speaking, in Turkey the in-laws i.e. the Turkish parents are seen as very important part of the family. This could go as far as trying to interfere in the mutual lives of the married couple in the form of parenting (trying to, at least) out of good intentions mostly such as trying to protect and support their own child and his/her spouse, rather than seeing them as grown up independent individuals capable of making own decisions. It goes without saying this is obviously very much on the contrary to the situation in western countries and the foreign spouse would most likely be much disturbed having to put up with this issue in case this interference could reach a point where in-laws (father and the mother mainly) try to decide about the couple’s issues such as finance, decoration of their flat, what brand car they should drive, which town to live in and alike.

In such case, the foreign spouse would often finds himself/herself struggling with this kind of family structure, which might also require a close relationship with all members of the big family leading to some frustration, eventually.

The important point here is the foreign spouse most probably comes to Turkey because of love and the strong motive not to be separated from the partner and not because of a special interest in Turkish culture or the Turkish way of life. This point could easily turn into a potential source of issue as well and should be truly considered before taking important decisions such as relocating and starting a completely new life in a new country.

Moving to another country for a spouse is a major change in one’s life and could impose complex situations arising from a new language and culture, new tastes, and an unfamiliar way of life that at which point the skills a person has built throughout life could simply be not enough to survive through such experience and save the marriage.

Thus, it is quite essential to understand the cultural and lifestyle differences in concerned foreign country that is Turkey in this case. Often, these differences could be imposed by local families unconsciously and even by the Turkish spouse, in some cases. At this point things could be even more complicated and hard to bare.

Therefore, the bottom line is love is a good enough reason to follow the beloved one to the end of the world, looking at the romantic part of the picture. But when we consider the handicaps that could turn this romantic dream into a nightmare, it would be best to listen to the voice of our logic as well and not only our hearts. We know it may often be quite easy to fall in love but it may be equally painful having to fall out of love and even more hurting to have to leave our beloved one only because of cultural and traditional differences.

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