Disappointment associated with unmet expectations is a drain on many marriages.However, the threat of unmet expectations to cross-cultural marriages is more pronounced because of differing cultural idiosyncrasies.When she finally said "yes", my youthful naiveté led me to believe I had gotten through the toughest part.It wasn't long after our nuptials that I realized just how wrong I was. I knew marriage comprised constant adjustments and difficult compromises. citizen from Panama, and I, an African-American from the rural south, wed, "culture clash" was furthest from our minds.What makes the pain more difficult is that the disappointment often extends to your parents and others who are most important to you.Generally, the more dissimilar the cultures, the more pronounced the disappointment.But nothing (neither our parents, our respective churches nor our college education) prepared us for what we ultimately would find most challenging – thriving in a cross-cultural marriage! But, it wouldn't be long before its presence was felt. I could almost taste my grandmother's succulent smothered chicken with biscuits.My first clue that Dalia and I were going to stumble over some cultural differences came when she lovingly offered to fix me chicken with gravy. But, when Dalia served dinner, I was visibly disappointed by the chicken entrée.
Instead of the flour-based brown gravy that I was expecting, Dalia used a tomato-based gravy common to Panamanian dishes.This was certainly not what my grandmother would have prepared.