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Linguaholic

Marrying someone who doesn't speak your language


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There is only one movie that I have seen this in, and that was Red Tails. One of the pilots married a woman who didn't speak English. It made me wonder if I would do the same, and I would say yes. 

I had this one job, there was two girls who came from Mexico, one spoke English OK, and the other knew no words in my language. I really began to like the non-English speaking girl, but we both hated that we couldn't talk to each other. Even though I couldn't talk to her, I really wanted to be with her, and learn more as we progress in our relationship. It didn't happen, I got fired. I believe we had something special that just got lost in time. 

Would you marry someone who you couldn't speak to, but over time learn together?

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Oh that was a cute love story. :) I'm sorry that you didn't end up together though. Anyway, to answer your question it's a yes for me. I know that communication is very important in a relationship but if it has to be me who has the ability to try to learn the language of my future spouse then I will try my best to do so. In time, with patience and perseverance you can then both speak the same language and understand each other more.

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I would and I think there might even be some benefits to it as well since that way you don't take communication for granted as some other couples would and you also learn to rely more on just words which can also be somewhat romantic depending on who you ask. There are a lot of obstacles to get over when doing this, I suppose, but I think all relationships have their specific challenges anyway so it's not such a big deal for me, personally, though to be completely honest I've never had this happen to me before so this is just me guessing. 

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It sounds like a true love story to marry someone you don't speak the same language but I guess it only happens in the movies.

Reality Check! Consider family and friends and their input and confusion with the wedding and stuff; then comes the marriage; it would be difficult to understand each other except with patience and genuine love, then it could work.

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Love can be found in many ways. Who really knows where is your ideal everlasting couple, or something near of it, and the barriers that separate you from him or her. Sometimes these barriers aren't physical, It can be even cultural or, just like the case you stated, for language differences. But I think is no impossible to overcome this barrier in specific, you will be him or her best and most caring language tutor ever had in life.

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This is not a problem if you speak her language or his language. Languages are not that hard to learn and most probably you will be able to speak in English to start with. After that you will both have to learn if you agree to that and if that is something you would like to do, I don't see why not, your children to learn both languages along with English of course. It is a unique opportunity that you can provide your children an easy learning of additional languages. That is a big plus.

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Aww it's very sweet and romantic :) I'm sorry to hear it didn't work out with your dream girl. I personally don't know if I would want to go down that route, because it's extremely hard. But then they do say love conquers all. When I was in Italy, I tried to date this Italian guy, but I spoke very little Italian and he spoke no English whatsoever. We would hang out with this friend who spoke broken English, and she would translate all the time. For me, it took away that spark and naturally, that relationship never did go anywhere. I don't think either one of us was interested enough to learn the other's language LOL

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I don't think I could do that.  My father is from a different country. Even though he knew English before he met my mom, there were difficulties in communication due to cultural differences. In his country, the wife must always listen to what the husband says without question. Wives were to be only the ones to show affection to the children. After the marriage, important discussions about such things as money and raising children were impossible. I'm not sure how you would manage to have such serious discussions without the use of a translator. 

Marriage is different than just dating or friendship. It's a lifelong commitment that must take into account the welfare of children. If citizenship is not an issue, why not wait until the person is a bit more fluent? 

Which is not to say I am against marrying someone from another country. I'm proud to be the daughter of an immigrant. However, I know firsthand how seeing someone from another culture will bring up some MAJOR challenges. I do think communication about important things before entering a legally binding union is necessary.  It would spare much heartache in the end. 

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It depends! My spouse doesn't speak my language, and whilst I'm learning his - we speak English with each other. For me it's important to at least have some kind of language in common - even if it's not my native language. Beyond romance and love, it makes everyday life easier for mundane stuff like grocery lists, handling documents or making decisions together.

 

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I would consider it. But I would consider it very carefully.

I saw a relationship like this in an episode of Call The Midwife. I can't even remember what the other language was, besides English, but the couple had been married for decades, and still did not speak each others language. This is a bit of a dramatic version of what you are asking, but it worked for them, and you believed it was possible when you watched the episode. They had a lot of children, and the children spoke a little of each and would interpret or assist where their non-verbal communication was not clear.

However, I would definitely want to learn the language of my spouse and would hope that they would learn mine. I would not want to go into it with any doubts about whether or not we would make an equal effort with language, as with everything else.

I know a couple who are British and Indonesian. She learned to speak English. He learned to speak a handful of Indonesian words. I don't think that's fair, personally, but it worked for her, so I guess everyone is different.

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9 hours ago, Milanina said:

It depends! My spouse doesn't speak my language, and whilst I'm learning his - we speak English with each other. For me it's important to at least have some kind of language in common - even if it's not my native language. Beyond romance and love, it makes everyday life easier for mundane stuff like grocery lists, handling documents or making decisions together.

 

Yeah I agree, I didn't think about it like that. I just had in mind that I'm ready to accept what challenges that will come with what we will create for ourselves in the future. I was really ready. I think that while there will still be tough times ahead, life can still be very basic and simple. 

I don't think that language barrier should stop two people from testing out their interest for one another. I know I didn't, it's just that when you really want to talk you can't and that sucks.

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I just had an experience a couple of weeks ago where I went out on a date with someone who doesn't speak a word of English or any of the other languages that I know. It was a very frustrating evening. Especially since I really liked the guy and I could feel a sort of connection between us. The fact that we had to communicate mostly in sign language the whole evening kind of turned me off, so no, I would never marry someone who doesn't speak my language. 

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Ideally no, since I'm such a talkative person and I don't think I can communicate fluidly with that person if there is a language barrier. But of course when love strikes us then for sure we will start considering how to manage that difficulty. Although I think the interest would be diminished in my case if the person isn't able to communicate well in either of the languages that I know.

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If both of the partners an speak English at a decent level, there is no problem. However, at least from my point of view, how do you communicate at a deeper level with the one you are supposed to spend the rest of your life with? You can't simply say stuff like "wife, bed now!" "do dishes!" or stuff like that, because marriage is far more complex than that.

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I think it also comes down to which kind of personality you have - there are couples which speak the same language yet barely talk with each other anyway (as they don't feel the need to). Other couples have fine tuned their non-verbal communication - I remember my grandparents communicating a lot through gestures and expressions. But they did have also a spoken language on common, and would spend every evening having long conversations with each other before going to sleep.

For me, not knowing a spoken language in common sounds very challenging. It might be romantic in the beginning of the relationship (during the initial infatuation) but with time I would miss a certain connection. Even in a situation where I speak a language in common with my spouse - I do find sometimes that I miss the ability to communicate in my language and we both are very limited in communicating with our extended families.

On the brigther side of things - not sharing a language in common means also that you don't understand what your mother in-law is saying. Which depending on her personality, might be a blessing! Reminds me of a Greek friend who lives abroad and brought his non-greek girlfriend to his grandmother. She would continuously raise her voice as the poor thing didn't seem to understand. This continued despite him trying to explain that she was not deaf/I'll of hearing - just didn't speak Greek.

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People can fall in love with anyone. I have a friend who is deaf and uses only sign language to communicate and he though he isn't that good looking he dates lots of girls. That's why I believe even if your love interest doesn't speak your language it isn't an obstacle that can stand in the way of love.

Even if someone doesn't know the language you speak, they can learn the language or you can learn their language to make communicating easier but in the meantime (whilst you are learning the new language) you could use sign language.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Love stories like that have mixed endings. Sometimes, the difficulty doesn't just lie on the language part but on cultural differences. On the other hand, some unions grow and last for a lifetime. Hard to tell but I will likely take the risk if the guy is worth it. Come on, there are crash language courses, right? It shouldn't be an issue.

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  • 3 years later...

I'm in this situation currently. My fiancee is from Vietnam and her English is not great at all and I speak English. In the beginning I didn't think it would be a big deal but as time went by I began to realize something was missing. It's the small chats you can have with someone about random things. Things that spark imagination and humor etc. Sharing thoughts is really hard. A lot of times I don't understand what she's trying to say and it's very frustrating. I'm at the point where I have to make a decision quickly as to weather or not I will go through with the wedding. Deadline is coming fast. She is the sweetest person I've ever met btw which makes it hard to say no. Anyway that's all for now. There's a bit more but this is turning into a book. 

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  • 1 year later...
  • 2 months later...

So sad that you couldn't be with someone you seemed to like due to language barrier.Effective communication is at the heart of every successful relationship yet it amazes me how many couples take it for granted! To answer your question, I would consider marrying someone with whom I had no shared  language if the chemistry was right and we were both committed towards making it work.

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