There are a lot of “walls” to overcome between couples to marry in general. In the case of “international” couples, the “wall” to overcome to marry can be much higher and harder than “domestic” couples.
This can be one of the biggest problems between couples from different countries. If both of the members of the couple don’t understand each other’s language well, the communication would be very difficult.
*Place to live
If “international” couples are going to live together, one of them should leave their home country and live as a permanent residence or working visa holder in their partner’s country. Where to live can pose problems between “domestic” couples as well, but usually women quit their job and move to men’s place in Japan. I think for “international” couples, so many cases can be possible as well.
In most cases the religion of the international couples might be different. In Japan Buddhism and Shinto are so popular among people, but a number of Japanese people don’t care so much about their religion (especially the younger generation). So it’s easier to accept the other religions of the people from other countries. However, whether the partner can be a part of your religion is another problem. It’s better to start from accepting and respecting the partner’s religion.
If you’re a man who has a Japanese girlfriend, the girl’s parents would worry if you have the stable position socially to afford the family. They don’t like the unstable position in society. I think so many parents have a difficult time accepting the international marriage due to so many reasons.
As you spend so much time together as a couple, the difference of the culture matters so much, especially so many tiny things. In my case, my American husband has a difficult time sitting on the floor for a long time, and doesn’t like to sleep on futon mattress so much. Don’t refuse, don’t try to fit, but try to know the culture first.
Food sounds like such a small problem, but I think it can be a very high “wall” between couples. Fortunately many people from foreign countries really like Japanese food. My husband does as well. When he goes home for a while, he says he misses miso soup. On the other hand, I can eat American food such as hamburgers, pizza, and Mexican food. However, it’s difficult to eat them every day. Oh, we need to compromise with each other!
The essential part of international relationships is same as with “domestic” couples. Whether you like the person or not matters so much. The most important thing is to “talk” with your lover no matter what happens to you. And please don’t forget the magical words “Thank you”– for staying, cooking, bringing, teaching, giving, and so on. By saying this often, you can show your partner you appreciate them. This will help to keep your relationship strong.