1000 petals by axinia

the only truth I know is my own experience

Never teach your spouse any language but the language of love! May 25, 2007


I know many intercultural couples where partners do not speak the same language. And the first idea that comes into their heads is: why not teach each other? Mostly they decide upon learning one language and… here we are!

I hardly – if ever – know any couple which succeeded in following these good intentions. And I know hundreds and hundreds of such cases… Why? What stops them all?

I realized it only when I found myself in a similar situation.

My husband and me, we have one  mother-tongue (Russian). But my husband moved to German-speaking Austria only recently and his German needs to be developed. As for me, I not only love German the most (I wrote about it before) but I used to teach German for foreigners. “Great combination” – said our friends, “he is lucky to have a good teacher of German at home”…

It never worked out, though we had tried really hard (could not find appropriate time, method, system) . Finally I realised two simple things:

1. Especially in a married life one should never take the position of a Guru! It is always a top-down position and sends wrong messages of domination. In every marriage both partners are equal: if one wheel is bigger, the cart will always move in a circle…

2. Teaching language one should keep attention on mistakes the student makes – and correct them. THUS YOUR ATTENTION IS ALWAYS ON MISTAKES OF YOUR SPOUSE!! Which is horrible and leads to nowhere … It works very subtle and doing it for the sake of language you can unconsciously transfer the method to other spheres of married life. And then it is the beginning of the end!

Thanks God, I realised it early enough 🙂

The only language one could probably teach each other  – and the one which does not need any special knowledge – is the language of LOVE. Just expressing the sweetness of your love…

It is the only language we should really know, isn`t it?

LOVE, axinia (image by me)


15 Responses to “Never teach your spouse any language but the language of love!”

  1. goldenferi Says:

    This is so true. Every couple should be given this to think about.

  2. Diogenes Says:

    What do you mean by language of love? Are you refering to body language, emotional expressions. I thought even language of love needs some words. You need words (reassurances, assurances) some time. No?

  3. axinia Says:

    Thank you, Goldefery, i hope as many as possible will read that!

    Diogenes, under the language of Love I mean the words, you are right!
    It is about how often we says “I love you”, how often we praise the person, how often we say all kinds of loving ans supportinve things. Words are very powerful!

  4. maven Says:

    In my own experience and that of several other inter-cultural couples, a workable solution is for each partner to know enough about the other partner’s language so that each can speak in his/her own language.

    In that context, you never correct your partner’s mistakes. Rather, you clarify when they ask.

  5. mrsfox Says:

    This is very good and true advice. I’m glad you realized it early on and helped me see the truth in the situation. I have heard of couples in the situation you spoke of where they don’t speak a common language, they seemed to suceed in learning from each other but it was still a very difficult process. Very good advice. ^_^

  6. naturheal Says:

    This is wonderful advice and I would like to thank you for sharing it.

    I think that a great deal of communication between 2 people is non-verbal, and being in a long distance relationship myself it is hard to be expressive about feelings down a phone line, although Skype video does help improve things significantly.

  7. axinia Says:

    Thank you, maven and mrsfox for your appreciation and experience!

    Naturheal, especially in such a situation language becomes the leading instrument! After our wedding we had to live in different countries (for paper reasons)one year long – and the result of it was a book of poems we wrote to each other and my husband published 🙂 Poems are the best what a language can give…

  8. Dmitra Says:

    I thought about my future wife. I’m not very sure, but I think she will be Japanese.
    Considering this fact, my opinion for the best way to reach a deep insight is to learn both native languages of each other. English at first will be ok, but if the language is learning after school of student years, it wouldn’t be native.
    Everybody of us thinks in fancies and only “then” he interpret it in language.
    “Then” – is formed in youth.

    To speak The Language of Love – is not to use interpretation with imperfect languages – it is a conversation of souls.

  9. axinia Says:

    Dmitra, nice inputs!
    As I mentioned in the post, i know lots of intercultural couples, – and believe me very few learn the native language of each other! Mostly one partner learns the native language of another (depending on the country of staying).
    Apart form that learning well any language is not everyonè`s cup of tea!
    Good luck with your Japanese wife 🙂

  10. Oemar Says:

    Well, arguments will be less if there is no common language between the couple, thats for sure 🙂

    Language of Love? Not married, but will try this out for sure.

  11. Good advice, worked a treat for me when I was learning Spanish!

  12. Cristina Says:

    Hi Axinia,
    It’s so true! Especially the language professionals have a typical mania: that of correcting every word! This is general! And if we’d be doing that with the partner, too, it would be madness! I am Romanian, and after marying my Indian husband I came to live here and I had a challenge of learning Hindi, although we were both fluent in English! Now I speak Hindi very well and even if people think he he must have taught me, I can tell you it was not so! And I guess it was for the better! I just learnt it by talking to people around and I was helped by my love for languages!

    Anyway, nice blog! All the best!

  13. radha Says:

    oh wow this topic is interesting, even perfect fpr my present experience of italian (mothertongue)/spanish/english speaker merried to a chinese cantonise speaker with little english. i dont know how we are surviving honestly, since I also think like Axinia and others here that teaching your native language doesnt work because forces you to continuously correct the partner and i dont want to find myself in that position! Moreover my lovely partner is badly lazy at languages. It seems a joke but when we went to China mainland for the weekend recently at the restaurant he was speaking english and nobody understood him, he could not speak one word of mandarin chinese! And whene we were in the shops i was the one who was negotiateing the prizes in mandarin (at least i know few words and the numbers). It was really funny to be in thse situaions!! I laughed incredibly much!!

  14. axinia Says:

    Nice example, Radha!
    I appreciate your comments a lot, many thanks!!

  15. Ronald Says:

    Cool. Thanks for the great article. Ronald

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