Research: Intercultural marriages and consideration of divorce in Finland: Do value differences matter?
Intercultural marriages and consideration of divorce in Finland: Do value differences matter?
(Lassi Lainiala and Minna Säävälä)
Divorce is well known to be more common among intercultural couples compared to couples in which both spouses come from the same cultural background. In this working paper, we examine considerations of divorce among Finnish spouses in intercultural marriages in Finland, particularly from the perspective of value dissimilarity.
We employ descriptive and multivariate analyses of a representative postal survey among women and men in an intercultural marriage in Finland in 2012. Respondents were Finnish, Swedish and Sami speaking men and women who are married to a foreign language speaking spouse, and foreign language speaking men and women who are married to a spouse who is Finnish, Swedish or Sami speaker. Results are compared to similar data of monoculturally married women and men in Finland in 2008.
About 20 percent of interculturally married Finnish men and women have considered divorce during the previous year. Interculturally married men more frequently considered divorce than did men with a Finnish wife. Interculturally married Finnish women in turn have similar proportions of divorce considerations as monoculturally married women.
However, the country of origin of a foreign-born husband is related to the tendency of a Finnish wives to consider divorce. Finnish women married to a husband from a less developed country tend to have thoughts of divorce more than others: 40 percent of them reported considering divorce during the previous year.
(Lassi Lainiala and Minna Säävälä)
Duo Project's guide booklet "Love and Parenthood in an Intercultural Family" is intended for all intercultural families that are planning to have a child, expecting a baby or that already have small children. Professionals (such as nurses, kindergarten teachers and school teachers) can also benefit from the booklet. The booklet contains basic information about a couple’s relationship, parenthood, child’s identity and bilingualism.
The booklet also contains extracts from the stories of parents and grown-up children of intercultural families. The questions at the end of each section can be contemplated alone or as a couple whenever there is time for it.
The booklet is available in English, Finnish, Spanish, French, Russian and Thai. You can order the booklets or download a copy for free. The order form and the online versions of the booklets (PDF) can be found below.
Reinforcing the minority language (Duo´s lecture 14.10.2013) & Making family bilingualism work in real life (Duo´s online lecture 17.10)
In these two lectures Annika Bourgogne, a language teacher and the author of “Be Bilingual-Practical Ideas for Multilingual Families“ shares ideas and tips to combine bilingualism and real life parenting in intercultural families where children need the reinforcing of the minority language.
The online lecture starts with a citation that raising your children bilingual is like breastfeeding - something very natural, costs you nothing and is good for your children. But as those who have experienced it know, breastfeeding is not always as easy, painless or simple as it sounds. You can also spend a lot of money to make it work.
You could think that bilingualism is also something that just happens when you just do it. It is quite common belief that children are like sponges when it comes to language learning. In fact research suggests that a child needs to be exposed to the minority language at least about 4 hours a day for that sponge to absorb enough. Making bilingualism work in real life takes both parents´ time, commitment, determined decisions and actions that don´t always come without a cost either. Travelling to meet relatives in a minority language country is one of the most effective ways to support bilingualism but it requires both time and money. Reinforcing the minority language and motivating children to speak both of their parent´s languages are the most important steps towards successful bilingualism. In her inspiring lectures Annika shares her good practices, ideas and research based knowledge on how to take these steps in everyday life and have fun while doing it!
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