Wall Street Journal: How Should Third Culture Kids Handle Arranged Marriages?

Posted on Categories NewsTags , , , , ,

“By contrast, third culture kids encounter multiple different worldviews and ways of thinking. They have seen and perhaps experienced other norms of dating in their host country and may decide they prefer that way to the ones their parents’ value. They are much more likely to compare and contrast the two (or various) styles and criticize what they believe to be too narrow and ‘old fashioned’ ways of finding a partner.”

Judith Hansen, a Colorado-based counselor who specializes in third culture kids (TCKs) dealing with depression and anxiety.

“As a TCK, our identity is very much about our experiences with different cultures,” filmmaker Ruchika Muchhala tells me in a phone interview from New York. Ms. Muchhala was raised in Indonesia and Singapore, kicked off her career in India and is now based in New York City.

Opening Title of “The Great Indian Marriage Bazaar”

She documented her own challenges with being matched by her parents and relatives in the 2012 film The Great Indian Marriage Bazaar. She compares the identities of most TCKs to the Indonesian mixed salad gado-gado. While her parents might be able to use a checklist to narrow their options in choosing someone for her, “as a TCK, I see my identity as a mix of cultures, as opposed to my ethnicity, caste, or community,” she says.

For many TCKs like me who face (implicit or explicit) expectations to marry a South Asian, it’s even more confusing to know whether that match should be born in America, the U.K., India or anywhere in between. In essence, the matchmaking pool widens to include South Asians living everywhere. At the same time, it’s actually extremely narrow as we look for someone who can appreciate and understand the depth of the identities we assume after living in multiple countries and cultures. Read more on the Wall Street Journal here.