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Marriage lost in translation

One thing I see in my parents' marriage is how important communication is. My father is from south Germany and my mother from Taiwan. My parents communicate in English, a foreign language that neither of them is very proficient in. They can understand each other well and talk about almost everything. But when they argue and become emotional, they lack the words and descriptions to accurately convey their feelings. Often, my parents understand each other, but as a third party, I don't understand them at all.


As a teenager, my parents sometimes called me during an argument and asked me to translate for them (because I can speak their native language). This happened a few times until one day I told them that I didn't want to be involved in their arguments anymore and wouldn't translate for them in such situations.


I have been married for almost 4 years now. Is the communication in my marriage perfect? No! (Not yet.) Do I regret getting married? No! (Not yet.) In the end, there is only one question left for me: Do I want to stay in communication and continue to work on it? My answer is YES.


Thank God we have smartphones that can translate for us. Often they translate completely wrong, and we have to laugh. When it happens, It's like a reset button for us. Sometimes we decide not to speak for a few hours and agree to talk about it later.


It's never just about the language. It's about feelings and needs that need to be cared for. To keep communicating with each other we re-start with: "How do you feel now? Better or worse? What can I do to take care of us gently now?" Just asking these two questions takes courage. Because the child in us still wants to blame the other person. No matter in what language :P But then I ask myself inwardly: Do I choose love? If yes, then let's talk. If not... what do I need to choose love? Still stubborn? Then we think about common courtesy – communicate clearly: "I need more time to regulate my anger." (= "Let me be in peace!" in a polite way).

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