10 Things you should think about before Marrying Someone from a Foreign Country

I married a foreigner. So did my husband. Sometimes we like to get together and complain (mostly joking) about all the things that are difficult because we married someone who was born and raised in a different country, with different values, speaking a different language.

We can joke about this together because we’ve both agreed that our marriage was the best decision either of us has ever made.

These are 10 things couples should talk about before embarking on an international marriage:

1. Cultural differences are important

Of course, your boyfriend/girlfriend/fiance is just another person. And hopefully you fell in love with them because of who they are, not because of what country they come from. 

But you can’t just ignore cultural differences.

Cultural differences are important.




For example, a common complaint I see on forums for foreign men who married Japanese women is the whole “sleeping in different beds” conundrum.

In Japan, after children are born, it’s common for the mother to sleep in the same bed (and later in futons side-by-side) as the children, with the father sleeping in another room. Other families share a room, with the children sleeping in between the parents. These sleeping arrangements can last up until the children are in middle school or even high school. And even when the children leave the house, parents rarely go back to sleeping in the same room, let alone the same bed.

That’s now how sleeping arrangements work in America, where babies often sleep in a different room than their parents (in a crib). I shared a room with my brother and sister when we were very little and, starting in elementary school, my sister and I shared a room while my brother had his own room. My parents have always had their own room – kids only got in bed when they’d had a nightmare and couldn’t go back to sleep.

Ryosuke and I have decided we’re going American on this one because we’re both cuddlers and no way would either of us be happy sleeping in separate rooms for fifteen years – luckily we’re on the same page. An acquaintance of ours often bemoans on Facebook that his wife sleeps in a different room now that they’ve had a child.

When an American person and a Japanese person marry, they have to decide which culture they’re going to follow for sleeping arrangements. And holidays. And dealing with sick family members. And children. And a million other things.

Basically what I’m trying to say is this is just ONE of the many, many cultural differences that come up when you marry someone from a different culture.

Individually, they are minor things, but they can add up, and unless you talk about them, misunderstandings and frustrations are bound to happen. 

2. But a lot of things have to do with your partner’s character (NOT their culture)

Sometimes your partner does something or says something that raises all sorts of red flags. But you let it go, because they were raised in a different culture. You’re open, forgiving, and understanding of the cultural differences and try to be as flexible as possible.


Not always.

It’s easy to blame culture for any differences you and your future spouse might have. 

But sometimes culture has nothing to do with it. Sometimes your partner is just being a jerk.

I’ve seen this happen time and time again to friends who are in a relationship with someone from a different country – with a whole range of issues. And I’ve definitely fallen into this trap myself a couple of times.

Let’s say you married your next-door-neighbor’s very handsome son. You grew up together in the same town in the same country, attending the same school. Even so, you’re bound to argue about things. That’s natural.

Intercultural relationships still have all those personal clashes – but they also have cultural clashes thrown into the mix. Lucky us, we get to argue about twice the things!

You shouldn’t pretend that every personal disagreement is cultural (or every cultural disagreement is personal).

Because that’s dangerous. Abuse isn’t cultural. Financial, emotional, or physical abuse is not cultural and pretending that it is can land you in deep trouble. General rule of thumb, if your partner is doing something that would be unacceptable in your own culture, like, for instance, you would break up with that next-door-neighbor’s handsome son immediately if did any of those things, then it’s time to re-evaluate your relationship. 

I interviewed Susan (she is an American woman wrote a memoir about her first marriage to a Chinese man, which ended badly) here about the things she learned trying to be a “Good Chinese Wife” and the realizations she had about culture and character. And another blogger friend, Jasmine, wrote her take on culture vs character here.

3. Are you willing to learn your partner’s language?

You really need to because your children will probably learn both languages, so they can communicate with both sets of grandparents and understand their own bi-cultural identity.

Look at that smile :)

Look at that smile :)

4. Research visas. Extensively.

Here’s a fun fact: Marriage doesn’t guarantee a visa.

Some countries have a minimum salary requirement for you to be able to qualify for a visa for your spouse (which sucks if only one of you is working at the time or you’re trying to move to your partner’s country) and others make you jump through dozens of hoops and fill out several stacks of papers. So before you jump into marriage for the sake of a visa, do a bit of research first (and by the way marriage just for the sake of a visa is rarely a good idea).

Hopefully either you or your spouse is from a country with lax spouse visa requirements – Japan only took about three months and a couple visits to the immigration bureau.

If not… well you’re out of luck.

5. Understand how often (or little) one of you will see their family

Living away from siblings, parents, grandparents, and relatives is hard. Make sure you discuss ahead of time how often you or your partner will be able to see their family (if you live in your home country) and vice versa.

And make sure you are financially able to make that arrangement because oh man, international plane tickets are NOT cheap.

6. And make sure to get your family on board before the wedding

“Hi, I’m in love with your daughter and I’m going to steal her away to my home country, where you won’t be able to see her more than once a year.”

Not the best opening.

Don’t lead with that.

Ryosuke’s parents were (obviously) worried about me stealing him away to America. Neither of them have passports or speak English or have left Japan – so they weren’t exactly thrilled with the idea of their youngest son joining forces with a wild American girl.

I was able to charm them into acceptance, though, mostly because they see how happy Ryosuke and I are together. Most of the negative things a parent says about your relationship to a foreigner comes from love (and is expressed through fear) and you’ve got to make them understand that you are the best thing that can possibly happen to their precious child. Or something like that.

They absolutely love me now and, even though Ryosuke reminds them on a regular basis we’re moving to America sometime in the next ten years (will we? Honestly I have no idea but, whatever), they’ve come to terms with the sacrifices families have to make when their children marry someone from a different country. I may have promised to send grandchildren to stay with them every year in the summer (wohoo, free childcare!) to get them on board.

Americans are widely known in Japan for their high divorce rates and volatile marriages (thank you, TV dramas and Hollywood movies). Japan has its’ own stereotypes – as do most countries. Understand those stereotypes and then prove them wrong.

7. Talk about finances

This is true for any marriage – not just for international marriages.

Talking about finances is awkward but very necessary. Ryosuke and I decided that because I’m the math/number geek in the family (and the hard-core “saver”), I will be in charge of money. I later learned that’s the Japanese way of married couples’ financial planning.

I’m in charge of budgeting, deciding when we have enough money to take a trip or buy tickets to visit family members, how much we save every month, etc. I have gorgeous spreadsheets. Seriously, they’re so beautiful.

8. And Food

Does your partner like your countries’ food?

Do they have any food allergies or restrictions that prevent them from being able to eat most of the food in your country? Or are they a picky eater?

Food is important.

Ryosuke would pretty much be fine eating traditional Japanese food, like rice and noodles for every meal,365 days a year. He likes foreign food… but doesn’t like how “heavy” it is (and easily gets tired of bread).

I, on the other hand, need bread and bagels and pasta and soups and stews and spicy food. I need variety.

We take turns cooking so each can prepare the food we like and if you don’t like it, well, you don’t have to eat it. You can make your own lunch, sweetheart.

If your partner absolutely cannot stand food from your home country, is that going to be a problem?

9. If possible, live in both countries before tying the knot (so you know that it that is realistic)

Ryosuke lived in America for a year while we were dating (and another 4 months before we got married). I lived in Japan for a bit over a year while we were dating.

I liked living in Japan. He liked living in America.

Whew! What a relief! We knew before getting engaged that we would both be fine living in either America or Japan.

What if my husband hated living in America?

What if he wanted to live in Japan for the rest of his life?

I’m not saying this is a deal-breaker but you should know what exactly you’re getting into when you say “I do.” The only way you’ll know whether both countries are an option is if you find a way to live (or at least travel for a couple weeks) in both countries before you tie the knot. Because it all boils down to the question:

Are you okay never living in your home country again?

10. And recognize that one of you will always have the “home court advantage”

Living in America is easier for me. I understand the culture, can speak the language, and (for the most part) look like everyone else. It’s easier for me to job hunt, figure out directions to a friend’s house, cook, make friends with strangers in the supermarket, and handle problems in America.

Living in Japan is easier for my husband. He understands the culture, can speak the language, and (for the most part) looks like everyone else. It’s easier for him to find a job here, figure out maps, cook, forge friendships, and handle problems in Japan.

When we live in America, I have the home court advantage. When we live in Japan, my husband has the home court advantage.

This is just a reality of life; the power dynamics of the relationship drastically change depending on what country we’re currently in. As long as you acknowledge the home court advantage, you can modify your relationship to suit these new parameters.

The Lacoste shirts couple romance amwf



And those are the 10 things you should think about before marrying someone from a different country. I realize a lot of these also apply to “regular” relationships (ie, same town, same country) but I wanted to cover all my bases.

Do you have any advice to add?

About Grace Buchele Mineta

I got into the writing business by accident. Now I live in the countryside near Tokyo with my husband, Ryosuke, where I draw comics, blog, and make videos about our daily life. Contact: Website | More Posts

41 Comments on 10 Things you should think about before Marrying Someone from a Foreign Country

  1. Anonymous // 29 April, 2016 at 9:47 am //

    Thank you for writing this. It is very enlightening to read what you and your husband have to contend with in your relationship. Thanks again for sharing with us!

  2. Hey there :)

    I just wanted to inform you that the website http://www.japan-aholic.com is not available anymore. It went back to its previous form, which is http://englishjapanxholic.wordpress.com
    So if you want your posts’ links not to be broken regarding that, you can change all the “japan-aholic.com” to “englishjapanxholic.wordpress.com” instead. All the rest of the URL after the “.com/” stays the same for the posts!

    Sorry about that :(

  3. Laura Slaathaug // 12 April, 2016 at 5:47 am //

    Hi, Grace. Thanks for writing about your insights about relarionships. I was wondering if you were willing to write a list about budgeting as well (to see some examples of those gorgeous spreadsheets!).

    I feel like being good about managing money is key to a healthy life and balancing relationships. I’ve started some spreadsheets, but I found the hardest thing is to budget for is trips to the doctor, etc. I’ve been wondering what that would be like for two people versus just one. That to me is one the hardest things about planning a future with someone will be managing money.

  4. Great points!!!! For us, I think living in both countries helped us. But understanding, respecting and embracing the culture of the other one has made the difference in our marriage!

  5. Books in Character // 3 April, 2016 at 4:50 pm //

    Hey Grace, good I found your post! I am a Dutch woman living with a German guy (it is not that far away, but sometimes a lot of cultural thing go wrong, also a lot of age things though). My bf has been living in The Netherlands for the last 5 years, of those we have been together for one and a bit. He speaks Dutch (if he can be bothered to, which is almost never) and my German sucks (I tried to learn, but I don’t speak it often enough). Together we speak English because of these problems. But we are also looking into moving to Ireland for this reason. We want our kids to speak the language we both speak (my bf has made the promise he is going to speak Dutch if we get children here), but we both want the freedom to teach our kids the subjects that we think are important (we are both very bright and if our kids are too, we don’t want them to go through the horror that was our childhood), so staying in The Netherlands is not an option since they don’t allow for homeschooling (Ireland does).
    Even though we only have a relationship for just over a year we have discussed a lot of the things you mention already, because we rather find out now we don’t fit together then after we move to Ireland.
    I think it is really important for people with a loved one from a foreign country to discuss these things, but also things like children are important (in any relationship for that matter), if any, how many, how are they going to be raised etc. Also when do you want to start trying and such. My bf and I clashed a bit on those matters in the beginning but we talked a lot about it and make it work out.

    I really hope it works out for you and Ryoske (and everyone else of course!)

  6. I wish I had a Japanese boyfriend! I can never meet any online that connect well enough with me or that are fluent in English :(

    • Hi Diane, I’m sure you meant no harm, but you came across sounding like a collector seeking to add a “japanese boyfriend!” to your collection.

      In my opinion, no one should be chosen as a boyfriend simply on the basis of their culture, any culture.

  7. Hi Grace,

    It would be great if you dropped me a line because I have a very simlier story but with a woman from Paris.

  8. Americans are widely known in Japan for their high divorce rates and volatile marriages (thank you TV dramas and Hollywood movies) – No, thank you STATISTICS! It’s no stereotype, it’s reality.

  9. I have no advice to offer, but I am interested in your gorgeous spreadsheets.

  10. kaijubushi // 15 March, 2016 at 10:04 pm //

    My half-Japanese kids sleep in our bed because I got tired of waking up 5 times a night fighting imaginary monsters. Then the dog joined us.

  11. These are all beautiful and just so very true. My husband and I had all of these conversations and more. We didn’t discuss money much, until this year, however. When he noticed money was slipping out of his hands, he told me it would be best if I managed the finances.
    You are absolutely right about culture VS character.
    Agh! All of this is just so true!

  12. I agree wholeheartedly with the comments made by Mrs. N. Commitment is absolutely essential to success in a marriage. Compatibility in personality and flexibility help a lot too.
    One can encounter substantial cultural differences without going to another country. My wife did when she married me. My parents were immigrants from eastern Europe. My father came from western Ukraine and my mom was from Russia. I learned to speak both Russian and Ukrainian before I learned to speak English. Because my parents quarreled quite a bit
    and also could speak Polish and German, I learned a side of those two languages one does not usually learn in school (at least not in another country where it’s a foreign language). I absorbed a lot of the east European culture of my parents and their immigrant community, though I never became fully rooted in either their culture or in the American culture of my neighborhood. In some ways I’ve always been sort of a half foreigner here even though I was born here in the U.S. My wife on the other hand is from an old New England family and has 16 ancestors who were on the Mayflower when it made landfall in Plymouth, Massa-chusetts in 1620, and has multiple native American ancestors as well. You can’t get much more American than that. Over the years we’ve had many culture clashes, but we’re still together after almost 29 years. We’re different in some ways but similar in more ways, especially in ways that matter more. I don’t like anything with rhubarb in it and my wife doesn’t like smoked herring; It’s OK. But we both like Italian, Mexican and Oriental cooking better than American or Russian cuisine (both of which tend to be usually bland and greasy in their own unique ways). It helps to accentuate the positive and minimize the negative, especially when it comes to things that are a matter of taste and opinion. But it takes commitment and patience to reconcile differences that matter more.

  13. Before I went to meet my “soon to be” wife’s parents, I did a little research. Being Canadian I was “yes, let’s get married we are both adults”. But then understood that I needed to go to Japan and meet, ask and get her parents permission. It was the proper thing to do in Japan. With the help of a friend I had a short speech prepared for when the time came. I wasn’t quite ready for Dad’s questions and grilling.
    Naturally they we worried about their daughter loosing her culture. But 15 years on living in Canada she probably has even more “Japanese” culture.

    So yes, it is important to understand the other’s culture and be sensitive to it, to a point. There needs to be balance from both parties. Learning to understand when to give and when to take is important in any relationship.

    And yes, I’m now my father-in-law’s favorite son-in-law (he has two) – as our two family dynamics have so many parallels we all get along like one big happy family.

  14. Yes and know that you can make a prenup that you can use legally in Japan too. Like legal promises in case things go south. I like your article. My husband married me cause I had been living in Japan several years and was not planning on staying in Japan forever but did not mind doing so lol

  15. Anonymous // 14 March, 2016 at 9:00 pm //

    Investigate child custody laws in the unfortunate event of a divorce. I’ve heard of cases in Japan where after a divorce the foreign spouse is denied visitation or any contact with their children, especially if they are men.

    “Japanese family law has no provision for visitation rights and has no legal mechanism to enforce visitation rights or other court-negotiated settlements afterwards. It is quite usual that upon divorce, the father pays nothing for the child’s support and that he never sees his child.

    If an international divorce includes joint custody of the children, it is important to the foreign parent to register it themselves, because joint custody is not legal in Japan. The parent to register the divorce may thus be granted sole custody of the child according to Japanese law. A foreign child custody agreement cannot be automatically enforced in Japan, although the court can order enforcement.”


  16. As an American who has been married to a Japanese woman for 45 years now I can relate to all of the points you made. Some are more relevant, and occasionally troublesome, at some times than others as one goes through the years of marriage. But all contribute to the nature and, hopefully, the richness and the level of happiness one feels in the marriage.

    Very best wishes to Ryosuke and you for continuing happiness together!!

  17. I guess everyone has their own ideas about ” mixed marriages”. While I think you have some valid points after being married to my Japanese husband for a long time ( we are now retired) I have seen and experienced that commitment to eachother and the marriage is most important. Cultural differences are very very similar to the differences found from family to family within a single people group. I have several friends who married a person from their own country- and remarried several times because ” they could not find a partner with whom they felt that they clicked”. Yes I agree- do some research about your partner’s country.. Etc… But in the end – as far as I have seena as an older person that has been married for a while and has several older mixed marriage friends- commitment is really the key . Xxoo

  18. As a mixed kid with an Indonesian dad and a Chinese Malaysian mom, I’d say you’re pretty spot on. They may be both South East Asian but they definitely struggled with some key differences for example some people would say food is no big deal but my parents who’ve been together for over 30 years (and now resent each other) always argue about food. Heck even I get into it because I’m not a fan of the food my dad likes (my mom primarily raised me and my brother fyi) and my mom has to communicate in his language and he never learned hers. I wouldn’t dismiss interracial/international relationships though but I’ve definitely learned a thing or two (or more) from my parents’ own marriage. In fact, I’m having a pseudo-LDR thing with a European guy but for us the cultural differences are something we regard positively. Most of the time. We do speak in English but it’s also both our 3rd language so I’d say it’s fair.

  19. Really interesting. I’m in a relationship with a born and raised in England hald-Japanese guy. We met in England and I have been living here for 6 years, two of which together. However, I’m Portuguese, and an English teacher, which makes getting a job really difficult for me. We have talked about staying in England, and I’m open to it, as long as it’s not in London, I’ve kinda grown to hate it. And he’s open to living in Portugal as well. So I guess we’ll see what happens. His parents like me and my parents love him, so no problem there.

    I think that really hit home is that I’m very comfortable with my English and it’s easy for me to live in England, but it wouldn’t be easy for him to live in Portugal… So yeah, I think you’ve opened my eyes a little bit when it came to that.
    As long as you are open to each other and discuss all your problems and decisions together, I don’t see why your relationship shouldn’t be a good one.

  20. This is some really great advice, Grace! There sure a lot of things to learn from your post! Regarding the sleeping arrangements, in here, I think they depend on the family and the personalities of the family members, more, and also on their wealth. For us, it’s not necessarily a cultural thing. The Japanese sleeping arrangements make me think of some Korean historical dramas. The king and his queen or mistresses who share different rooms. XD Really interesting!

  21. My advice would be communicate constantly and choose a language that works best for both of you. If necessary, be willing to translate things your husband or wife doesn’t understand.

    Also, do your best to understand cultural differences. You don’t have to agree with everything about your spouse’s culture but try to understand why they think that way. For example, I don’t agree with the Japanese work culture but I understand it’s important (culturally) for the husband to be the provider.

    Finally, be supportive! Try your best to support everything that your spouse is passionate about.

  22. Maybe you should say something about the American Citizen Based Tax situation. Lots of Americans don’t know about it and have a rude awakening years after not filing. It’s important.

  23. Super interesting article! Not that I’m about to get married, you would know about it haha But im about to go back to live in the US, and will most likely share my life with someone there at some point! Also I really like the part about “abuse isn’t cultural”, this is important, and can easily get confused. I gave it some thoughts while I was in India studying human rights. Anyway, I just wanted to say I always love reading your articles which are fun, interesting, and a great way to hear from you and Ryoske! I miss you !

  24. (I wish my parents had followed your advice before they got married…-.-)

    Thank you for this, Grace. It really hit home for me :)
    I’m not married, getting married or even in a relationship, but I can still appreciate all of it and hope that I can apply it if/when the time comes ^^

  25. Hey Grace and Ryosuke, how are you both? . We have lived together for two years before we got married. But I am married to New Zealander Pakeha (European), and I am a Samoan, with Chinese, German, Tongan extraction, we are born and raised in New Zealand. We have a great partnership in many ways, when we decided to have children, we would raise them in the Kiwi way, (normal upbringing with no cultural attachment. Well New Zealand is a multicultural society. Our children had their own rooms. and slept in them, sometimes they would sneak into our room with their blankets and slept on the floor, because they were scared of thunder, ghost, etc.
    When our children got older, the cultural thing became a identity for them to claim.
    So we compromise on a lot of things, like the language and a few of the customs that are relateable to us. Respect our ancesters, learn the protocol when meeting their grandparents,Samoan dance and songs, and his culture as well. In my husband’s case, lol. it is sports, especially Rugby union and league, Basketball, going on trips around the New Zealand with our kids, spending time with his family who I am very close to. We do have many differences in our life, but easily sorted. Communication is the greatest thing to achieve and learning to accept your differences is number one in our marriage. So hopefully we will come to Japan to visit. cheers

  26. Daniel Bryant // 14 March, 2016 at 12:49 pm //

    I really enjoyed reading this blog entry! It was very educational and insightful. By the end of this post, I was thinking about my family. My mother is Venezuelan and my father is American. My brother and I were born in Germany. After my parents got married in the US, they lived 4 years in Florence, Italy and later 17 years in Cologne, Germany. None of them had a “home-court advantage” the first 20-21 years of their marriage. But I feel like everything went downhill between my parents when we lived in Venezuela for 3 years and later in here in Atlanta, GA. From my vantage point, character was definitely the reason their marriage deteriorated.

    Thank you for writing this post and I wish you and Ryosuke the best!

  27. Another lovely post. And oddly just what I need as I am about to embark on what will be a long distance relationship with my bf of two years who we’ve been talking about making the next step.

    Thankfully we have even discussed things down to child care in the future and he accepts how very little Japanese food I eat.
    This gives me hope and it gives me drive to be able to save money and get back to Japan soon.

  28. I’m glad that many of these didn’t apply very much for me. For example, I haven’t lived in my country for a long while, and my parents keep moving from place to place, so, I figured they would always be far anyways (at least, until my dad retires). But before we got married, we did talk about the fact that I wanted to speak to my kids in my language, raise them bilingual (or even trilingual). We also talked about things like traveling every year, because I like visiting my parents wherever they are (and traveling in general) and although my husband isn’t a huge fan of traveling, we agreed. We have been married for less than a year, and already traveled more than what he had before marrying me. And he even enjoys some of it :)

    I think that also factor that helped us overcome some differences is that even though we are from different countries, and cultures, we were raised in the same religion. Many of our differences can be overcome through the values we believe in, because our faith is more important than our separate cultures.

    And another big factor is the fact that our cultures are not as drastically different as America/Japan, or other examples people have mentioned in the comments. But really, there are things I had never even thought about until we encountered it in our marriage! It makes live interesting, though, when both spouses have a positive attitude and are willing to cooperate :)

  29. Something I’ve noticed is that people who marry a foreigner and live in their country and don’t think that THEY are going to have to change in some way are in for a miserable time.

  30. What’s funny is some of these apply to my husband and I! We’re both American but I’m born & raised Texan and he’s from Michigan.

    Two very different parts of the country. He lived in Tx for 10 hrs and now we live in Mi.

    Food is a big thing for us, too!

  31. Your post is wonderful and well thought out. Thanks for all the things to think about in a new way!

  32. I worried about these before getting married, but now, it’s just life…married to my man. We don’t really categorize each other as “Japanese” or “American”–granted neither are we very typical representatives of our cultures.
    More of these issues will probably come up as we get older/children come into the mix, but for now I don’t really feel like I have an “international” marriage. It’s just marriage!

  33. All very practical advice — I never knew about the visa OR the co-sleeping issues! Fascinating.

    I guess coping with parents born in another culture just comes under general marital advice. Or maybe “Surviving Your In-Laws From Elsewhere” is a whole book unto itself, separate for every country.

    I could have used that book BEFORE I got married.

  34. This is a great list, Grace. I have been thinking about #3 quite a bit lately. We’ve been married almost 9 years, and I think I’ve gotten comfortable not speaking Spanish. And hey, I have my own translator! I actually was working on it and was stronger in my second language before we met than I am now. But it is a challenge with in-laws and because we attend a Spanish language church. And there is something about it that simply lets your partner know that you value their language and culture. It means a lot to my husband that I try to keep learning Spanish. And the kids, too! It’s an ongoing process. :)

  35. Frederick Lim // 14 March, 2016 at 9:57 am //

    Well thought out blog. I like it. Thanks for writing!

    I have two siblings each married to two different cultures, too. One to a Korean and one to a Malaysian (same race though). But culture and language are vividly different. Sometime I find it quite amazing seeing my brother and now sister in law speak in a 3rd language (english) in order to communicate, or my bro in law has to speak English to my sister because his chinese is quite limited.

  36. You honestly are pretty amazing. I read through your posts thoroughly, always. I am from India but I don’t intend to marry/remarry here (had a really bad experience with my previous marriage and it fairly ruined my life for the most part). I for sure want to move to Japan or to USA, hopefully marry there and live there for keeps. Your post now just reminded me of how many things I need to think about still since a friend of mine from a different country proposed and I’m debating a yes or no, quite frankly afraid of how it’ll turn out. This really helps. Thank you for your beautiful posts always, very inspiring for me.

  37. This is so great! I think #9 is especially important. A friend of mine gave me this advice just a few years ago, about a decade after my cross-cultural marriage broke up. I think both people in the relationship should have a chance to live in each other’s countries so they know if they can live in those places. I’ve also heard that a third country, or a neutral one, often works in an international marriage. But that’s not always possible, or attractive.

    I’ve heard that about sleeping in separate bedrooms and could never do that. What’s the point of being married then?

  38. I have heard of some strange sleeping arrangements in Taiwan as well – like a family of four sleeping in the same bed [the kids are now teenagers.] Our little guy [yes, we are having a boy] already has his own room which is only steps from our room.

  39. I love this :) and it’s all great advice! I’m moving to the Fukushima prefecture in 2-and-a-bit weeks, most likely permanently, to work and be with my long-term long-distance boyfriend… Marriage is something we’ve talked about extensively, but I’m still not willing to sign up for life until we’ve lived together for at LEAST a year, just to make 100% sure we don’t secretly hate each other :P I’ve spent a lot of time in Japan, and with or without him I’ve prepared myself to live there (possibly for the majority of my life) but there are certainly a lot of things to think about…

  40. Very interesting: A friend of mine married a girl from Mexico. He (German) is fluent in Spanish, she is nearly fluent in German BUT when they have serious things to discuss (means they have not the same opinion and there is a …. Clash… Very rare but this happens in all partnerships.) they do it in …. English! so nobody has an advantage in the language and nobody could hurt the other with sayings…. Very interesting thought. They are married, live in Puebla Mexico for >10 years and have a ver cute daughter!

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