I am a social media junkie.
You will rarely find me seated at the dinner table without my phone next to my dinner plate, nor will you find me asleep in my bed without my phone charging beside me. And don’t even try to call me. I usually won’t answer. Comment on my blog. Tweet me. Or, if you’d like, email me.
But don’t call me. I’m too busy typing to answer.
Blogging about my life and experiences has been a fulfilling way for me to connect to like-minded people around the world, and though it has taken over my life at times, the excitement of hearing from readers and fellow-bloggers is worth it. When I met my Indian husband, I felt like I was in uncharted waters. We had no way to connect with other intercultural couples unless we met them on the street….yes, there was a time before the internet. Without role models, we made lots of mistakes on our lonely journey. So, most exciting for me about blogging are the many emails I receive from readers seeking advice in their own intercultural relationships and families. I want to help others in the way I would’ve liked to have been helped years ago.
Though my blog has a Dear Sheryl, I Need Advice page where readers post relationship and family issues they’d like discussed, many, many more people choose to email me privately. And I understand why. Intercultural relationships can be full of emotionally charged issues that leave people raw with hurt, and sometimes questioning if they can continue the relationship. Though sharing with others can be therapeutic, exposing those wounds to the cyber world can be too much. Respectful of that, I share my hard-earned wisdom and give my best heartfelt advice to each and every person that emails me.
But, I know that there are many others out there in the world going through similar problems, and they don’t see my answers. One reader commented to me that I write about tolerance, but don’t give specific advice on the blog on how to achieve that tolerance. Though I’ve been doing that privately all along, I see now how important a public tool-kit can be. So begins my new column: Follow Your Compass.
Follow Your Compass is going to address many categories of intercultural relationship and family health, including:
- identifying the “me” who you are as an individual and exploring ways to maintain and honor your sense of self within your intercultural life.
- establishing what the “we” means to you in your intercultural relationship, what your goals are as a couple, and exploring ways to achieve those goals together.
- Defining the relationships you and your partner want to maintain in your extended family, and exploring ways for you and your partner to establish healthy relationships with in-laws that you both can live with.
- Identifying important issues in raising children in an intercultural context, and exploring strategies for parenting, while still maintaining a close relationship with your partner.
Friends, Acquaintances, Strangers:
- Exposing how other people’s perceptions of you, your partner, and of your children can affect your family, and establishing ways stand up to negative people and rise above them.
I have been plugging along on this journey for 25 years, since I met my husband in high school. Having been through the mill in a lot of ways, I have insights into these topics to share. However, I will also include
- My husband’s perspectives
- Helpful elements from published books
- Motivational tips
- Guest posts
- Featured couples and families
Though this column will have an Indian flavor, the ideas in it can be applied to other intercultural relationships, regardless of how people around the world define their culture.
Let me help you create your own compass to lead you along your intercultural journey in whichever direction you want it to lead you and your family.
Topic requests are welcome.
Comments and guest posts are welcome.
Sharing this guide with the world is also welcome.
Don’t forget…I’ll be here. Comment on the blog. Tweet me! My iPhone is always in my hand!
Photo credit John Carmichael http://www.flickr.com/photos/jlcarmichael/