When I understand the language, I understand the culture. That’s so important as you’re in a relationship that you understand the background. My husband and I will have been together since 2012. I married last year, here in Amsterdam; a genuine ‘vrouw’ (=wife). Well, the basic thing is to be happy with Dutch: of course ‘directness’ There’s no taboos. You can talk about your sex life… any subject… nothing’s hidden behind the curtains. You should be direct to them. You cannot make it like a one-way path; it has to be both ways. I’m dating a Dutch student, a long-distance relationship mainly. Language and the way they interact with you borderline on rudeness sometimes. It does. For people who are coming from other countries, other cultures, it’s a shock at the beginning. My ex-husband says, for example, when we were dating: oh, you gained like five kilos, and for a woman, it’s like really? Yeah, you are a bit fluffy. I’m a very logical person and less emotional, so it was so refreshing for me. He tells me if another girl has hit on him. I don’t really want to hear that, but he just tells me straight out. They cut out all those things that are unnecessary, but it’s the way that they talk. It’s the way their humour is. When we just started dating, I was telling him that yeah, I’m hungry. He was saying: look, there’s a McDonalds. Go there, buy something, and I’ll wait for you here. I was like: are you serious? It’s a marriage of complete equals. I like that Dutch people are independent. Culturally, they stopped living with their parents when they’re 18. In Mexico, it’s not like that. You leave your house when you get married. If you want to have a Dutch man happy, everything has to be in order. You will be organized and have order in your brain, in your house and everything. Red (Taiwan):
The only conflict we had before the marriage was about working time. In my culture, you basically work yourself to death. I was working like 14 hours a day. I even worked on weekends as well, and he was really mad at me… He was like: we need a work-life balance! We have a shared account. I think it’s very good. Every month, we put a certain amount in the account and then whenever we go for holiday or go to do something together or for the housing or anything, we just take money from the shared account. Even things like getting food; it never feels like a last-minute decision. You know exactly what aisle we’re going to; we know exactly what time we’re going to meet at the grocery store after work or after class or something like that. I think actually the principle is basically the same for every culture though: communication, communication, communication. I think the most important thing to maintain the relationship is probably you can learn the Dutch, probably you get to know about the language, then it’s easy to communicate, and also you probably know the language, and also you know him well. Try to learn Dutch a little bit and try to get into it because that helps a lot. Also with parents, if you start talking Dutch, they like you a lot more. Oow… parents… because they don’t really speak a lot of English, and I don’t speak so much Dutch either, most times, we just use sign language. So, learning Dutch will help, I think. Yeah. I think that he is very proud that I’m learning Dutch because I got flowers from him yesterday, and I think that he is very happy that we can talk more in Dutch now. It shows that you really want to invest in your relationship. You really want to put effort into understanding each other. I don’t see why you wouldn’t learn each other’s languages. I think it’s kind of beautiful.