There is something alluring, mysterious and amazing about being married to someone different from you from abroad and that is part of the magic of love. There are things you have to consider though which are an inescapable fact of being a part of such a relationship – one of you will have to live in a country unfamiliar and more or less different from what you’re used to and this will place a toll on you both emotionally and stress-wise.
The first thing we all went through was immigration and as some of you out there may know this is indeed an experience from hell which really strains our emotions. You are in love, happy and all you want is having your loved one by your side. And then bureaucracy stands in your way with firm resolve blocking you off sometimes even for a year and more. Its unfair to keep those who love each other apart, but there is no other way. For us the best way to deal with this issue was to send each other little gifts, letters in writing despite communicating via Skype or e-mail every day. There is an undeniable magic in holding something your loved one has prepared for you, to see the written words and to see the results of their feelings in front of you. Then its all over and you can finally be together – perhaps they fly to you or you fly to them and one of you is now facing a brand new world.
How do you cope with the sudden change of surroundings, language and culture? I can tell you its not an easy task regardless of how similar cultures may look at first. There are always subtle differences in the way people across the globe behave and these can be very dangerous in the long run for the stability of your relationship. Initially we are all in love, hormones and emotions running wild, the world is bright and everything is supercharged with optimism and happiness. Over time however as a couple you will experience a shift in the mood when you face your everyday problems. For some that may be finding a good job in a new world – the language barrier may or may not be a problem for you, however the social differences can be as well as the undeniable tug of feeling homesick. Without returning home at least once a couple of years you may feel increasingly disconnected from what it is you’re used to and the serenity of what you had at first.
For example different countries have different temperaments and those truly affect our everyday lives more than you know. The western world is mostly centered around ambition, drive and the will to succeed as part of its core values. Even though that may be so for many people in the East as well you will notice a significantly more calm and relaxed attitude the further East you go. You should respect and consider the social differences between you and your spouse if your societies are vastly different. Whatever you do never make the mistake of assuming they will adapt and change according to the local customs or way of life up to the point where they lose their national identity. Have respect for your spouse’s culture and be patient with them even if they take time to get used to the unfamiliar life. It becomes easy to forget that they are not like us and to them our world is something off-synch with what they’re used to.
If you are the one experiencing all of these, feeling like a stranger in a strange land you should find an anchor to root to outside of your immediate family life. Love is wonderful and intoxicating but it makes the worst anchor to keep you balanced in unfamiliar surroundings. Look for a hobby or something else to keep you focused and try to create an amalgam between your views and those of your spouse. Psychology keeps repeating that the key to a great relationship is communication but sadly many of us forget about it and we end up on the fast track to divorce and bitterness. Communicate, understand and respect each other and never surrender.
Being a part of an international couple is challenging but also very rewarding and beautiful. Have patience, willpower and faith and the future will always hold the same magic for you as it was in the dawn of your relationship.
Have you experienced the culture shock? Did you react to it? How did you react? Show your support by leaving us a comment!