Surprisingly, interracial marriage was legalized officially only in mainland China in 1983. A fast forward to today, and interracial couples are a common sight on the streets of major cities in the country. The relationship between migrants and their in-laws, however, can still be complicated and confusing for many. We asked four Chinese expatriates who are married with Chinese partners to spread dirt on their relationships with their in-laws. This is what they told us ...

Source: Jaddy Liu

James is from Scotland and has been living in Shenzhen since 2010. He has been married to his Chinese wife, Moon, for four years.

"hardly speaks my wife's parents. Do not misunderstand me, not because we do not get along. It's because we have no way to communicate. They speak their native dialect, can not speak English and can barely speak Mandarin, as I speak English, you can not speak their dialect and Mandarin are even worse.

As a result, most of our communication happens by my wife. This may sound like a bad situation, but somehow this helps. We can avoid any misunderstandings that might arise from me trying to speak their dialect or both of us trying to speak in broken Mandarin. And when we do need to have a serious discussion with my wife's parents, the back and forth of interpretation allows everyone more time to consider what they are saying and how they would respond.

We also do not see my political family all that much. Again, it is not because we do not get along, but we live in southern Guangdong province while living in northern Hubei. Besides that, we have some holidays, and my parents-in-law has a teenage son and still work. Usually only meet once a year in the hometown of my wife.

I know a lot of other expatriates who married a Chinese partner and ended up living with her in-laws. That would have been a deal breaker for me, but fortunately has never been a problem due to family circumstances. I was also surprised that my parents-in-law have not pressured us to visit more, especially to see his young grandson. It may just be a difference in culture or who have three children and two grandchildren already. Regardless, it helps us not much pressure.

A lot of friends have asked me how the Chinese family is compared to its Western counterpart. The most important lesson for me is that the way most Chinese children shoulder the responsibility of caring for their elderly parents. In the West, it seems inevitable that the older members of the family finally end up in a nursing home. But in China, they are cared for within the family. While it is not necessarily something I want, that's very good to be honest.

On the other side, it seems to be a little healthier approach money within the Chinese family. Some parents expect their children to pay again to raise them and there is a lot of pressure to give money on weddings and parties. There was a time when I did not 'really understand why things are as they are and I would become very annoying, but since I've come to understand that there are reasons why the culture has developed in this way.

Finally, if you could offer some advice to marry foreigners out there in a Chinese family, would remember that your partner is on your side. There may be times when there are cultural clashes and feels like everyone is against you, but do not take your partner. You are a team and you need to work through these challenges together. "

Hannah is from Canada and has been living in Beijing since 2005. She is married to her Chinese husband, Roger, for 10 years.

"When Roger and I started dating, it is fair to say that we have encountered some obstacles. I felt isolated by many of my foreign colleagues who could not understand how he could leave with a Chinese man. Meanwhile, the family of Roger also had his doubts. He had told Roger that foreigners could be friends but never partners.

The time Roger and I went, however, of the family warmed to the idea. We believe it helped a lot that Roger has an older brother who was already married and had a son. Roger had been an only child, the situation could have been very different.

I think it may be more difficult for a foreign woman to marry a Chinese family for a foreign man. In my opinion, this is largely the relationship between the wife and mother-in-law. It is expected that wives be to the service of his mother-in-law and there is tremendous pressure to meet the stringent expectations of running a household. For foreign women, this may feel like stepping back in time 50 years.

For the most part, my mother-in-law understand that our relationship is different and, again, Roger have an older brother who is married probably helped a lot. There are times, however, when pressured me to have a baby. What does not consider is that, Roger, I'm the main source of income for our home. It's not as easy for me to leave everything and have a child.

Having said that, I do not have many complaints. I have friends who have had much worse. A Chinese friend had his foreign girlfriend break up with him when he dropped the bomb that ultimately, one day his mother would have to live with them. Another couple I know has the mother of the husband living with them in order to care for their child, as both work full time. Mother-in-law is spoiling your child and teach bad habits, but there is not much you can say without appearing to be ungrateful. "

Gilles is from Switzerland and has been living in Shanghai since 2005. It has been married to his Chinese wife Candi, for two years.

" The first time I saw my parents-in-law was made by chance. My future wife and I were at a restaurant when he saw his parents at another table. He went to his table to say hello, filled their teacups, pay your bill, and returned to our table.

Since then, see my in-laws about once a month, either to dinner together or just meet in the neighborhood to chat. Speak Chinese so when we find that we can communicate with a high level of competence.

However, although I have the ability to speak with my inlaws, usually listen more than I speak. In addition, while there is a mutual respect in our relationship, which does not have much depth or meaning, though that could change over time.

The main difference with Chinese families compared with Western families is that you can totally rely on their extended family in China, even if those relationships are not as deep or meaningful. At the same time, the family has a much greater impact on the individual here. Happiness and approval of family members is very important for my wife. With this in mind, do not be offended if you are not entered, or has even mentioned the family until it has made a strong commitment. "

Todd is from the US and has been living in Guangzhou since 2012 has been married to his Chinese wife Diane for five years.

" I think that would define my relationship with my mother-in-law and co-dependent. She is divorced, he has no job and his pension from the government is not enough to support her. In turn, we rely on her to help take care of our children while we are at work. Having an extra pair of hands also gives me the freedom to go to the gym occasionally and have a limited social life.

Despite the co-dependent relationship of our nature that does not really talk to each other much. There have been drama in the past, including a gigantic family spat the day after our wedding and some disagreements about parenting. That it led us to not actually engage each other in conversation

Also, my mother-in-law took a hell of a long time to understand that I am not a typical Chinese father -. This means that I intend to be as involved as possible in my upbringing. My mother-in-law was continually surprised by my desire to be in the delivery room, changing diapers and give baths, etc.

However, in our way, we have come closer. Now that there are children involved and since my wife and I were central court of emotional agony of my mother-in-law divorce, we are quite relaxed with each other. I'll walk around the apartment wearing a shirt and underwear without thinking these days, for example.

You can never have a truly close relationship, but the bottom line is that we need as much as she needs us, so I'll do everything possible to maintain that stability. I also appreciate your presence here and have a deep relationship with our children. My grandmother was a big part of my education, so I know the value of it.

A bit of advice for anyone out there remember is that marries the family, not just the person. Whether we like it or not, and whether you like it or not, you will be inexorably tied to family members of your partner, especially if you have children at the end

Additional Tip :. Wait for them to be everything in your business. Do not be surprised if you have to ask your spouse to explain to her in-laws so it is not right to open the bedroom door, if you're there and that is closed, for example. "

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A Lawyer of foreign hiring in China, is the CEO and Founder of Teaching China.net, a teacher employment and service provider firm that helps teachers get closer to their employers and win at securing a safe and valued teaching position in China.

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