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Isn't cross-cultural cooperation a bit like cross-cultural marriage?

I've been thinking about this issue for a long time. As you may already know, I am Russian (partly Ukrainian) and I have a Western/American mentality to some extent due to the years spent among American and European missionaries. Well, in 1998 I met a man in my church who always looked at me as if I was his worst enemy. I was even a little bit afraid of him. After some time we kind of started communicating since he became a student in our Bible College and I was interpreting there. That's when I found out that he was just a very shy person and that I totally misinterpreted his look. And I loved his accent :) We got married in 2001. That's my husband Albert and our daughter Delia (the picture was taken a couple years ago at a dinosaur exhibition).



He has a very characteristic Eastern mentality. In his family everybody is really close to one another, they have a clear family hierarchy and their understanding of what each of the spouses' role in the family is, how a husband and a wife should look like, what they should wear, how they should treat each other etc. He's assimilating slowly and accepting some traits of the Russian mentality. On the other hand, I am also slowly absorbing the Eastern mentality and my behavior changed a lot because I don't want my husband to ever feel embarrassed or uneasy.

Here are some tips for a successful cross-cultural marriage that I've come up with:



That's the work that my husband and I do on the daily basis in order to keep our marriage thriving (ok, maybe that's true for any family, but in cross-cultural families the differences are much sharper).

Doesn't that seem very much like the relationship with our clients all over the world? Please take a look at another diagram:

I can't help thinking how amazingly similar those two types of relationships are. In the first case, you do all those things because you love your spouse. As for the cross-cultural cooperation, you do almost the same because you love your work and you place an emphasis on the long-term cooperation.

What do you think about it? Comments are welcome!

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