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Immigration is a stressful affair and it is important to realize that not only can it cause you distress on a personal level, but it can also add pressure to your relationships, including your marriage.
Some studies have shown that immigration itself does not negatively impact a marriage, but it can bring out the underlying problems or strengths within each couple.
Further, married couples find they have to adapt their relationship to a new lifestyle or cultural expectations. But a change in values can cause couples to quarrel.
Marriages in Canada
From a Canadian perspective, men and women are equal partners in a marriage. Marriages are normally “love” marriages, where two individuals choose each other for love, rather than familial or financial reasons.
Both men and women have the earning power; they are expected to get education and jobs. For couples coming from a background where only the man is supposed to be making money, while a woman stays home with the children, this could be a problem.
But the reality of immigrating is that both men and women often look for work in Canada, even if it’s just a survival job to help make ends meet.
Alternatively, a husband might have to become a stay-at-home father while the wife joins the workforce. Whatever scenario plays out, the key is to ensure there is a non-judgmental line of communication in your relationship, and you work together to earn income and take care of the children. Any form of spousal physical or emotional abuse is illegal.
Here are some tips on how to ensure your marriage survives immigration.
1. Don’t take each other’s efforts for granted.
2. Spend more time on communication with your partner.
3. Make sure neither one of you holds onto resentment; any concerns should be voiced out.
4. Bring as much positive energy into the relationship as possible.
5. Reward your partner by pointing out of all his/her accomplishments; don’t dwell on his/her mistakes, especially related to the settlement process.
6. Encourage, support and reward each other for every accomplishment you make while working toward re-establishing your career.
7. Understand that the role of men and women in marriages may be different in Canada, and accept that your spouse might be influenced by this. Discuss together how your marriage will adapt now that you’re in Canada. Is implementing new Western values something you want to go ahead with or disregard? Just make sure both spouses are on the same page.
While these are all issues that may arise as a result of immigration, there is a bright side to making changes in your life. In many cases, immigration brings people closer together. Couples do not have a wide support network and often only confide in each other. If they know how to work through their problems, immigration will help them understand each other better and bring them closer together.
Divorce in Canada
In Canada, divorce is not pleasant, but it’s not considered taboo either. There is no-fault divorce, which means anyone can apply for divorce (men or women) without having to prove mistreatment, adultery and so on. But the couple is expected to work together to co-parent any children from the marriage.