In-Laws, Communication, and Other Frustrations: The Challenges of Intercultural Marriages


  • Anthony T. Machette Orcid
  • Ioana A. Cionea Orcid


Although intercultural marriages are increasing in number every year, there is still little research examining the unique aspects of these relationships. This paper reports results from two exploratory studies into the challenges individuals within intercultural marriages in the United States face and how they manage them. Study 1 (N = 93) explored the most reported challenges in intercultural marriages. Findings indicated these challenges included family, finances, communication, time spent together, and clashes in cultural expectations/traditions. Study 2 (N = 83) examined the consequences of such challenges, how couples managed them, and how these challenges affected their marriage satisfaction. Findings revealed the most identified consequences were arguing about challenges and the emotional toll associated with such arguments. Most couples developed effective ways to manage such challenges without reducing their marital satisfaction, except when challenges involved their in-laws. A discussion of these results is included, along with directions for future research.