Relationship Connection: My husband wants a divorce because of cultural differences

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Question

I am a wife with no children. My husband and I have been married for three years.

My husband is a nice person and loves traveling around the world.

I am an Asian with not much understanding about the outside world until I met him almost seven years ago. But he knew that and still loved me and decided to get married to me three years ago.

I have my own career as a manager in a small company. We are in the marriage with a lot of misunderstanding and we usually have small fights mostly about how we expected each other acting differently and culture differences and language barrier.

My husband recently told me he was tired of leading all the time, tired of being my editor (I am not very fluent in English), he complained how I could not spend time with his friends and never curious about anything … he was not sure he could live with me longer … and then the next morning when we woke up, he said he wanted to get divorce.

I was sad but tried to keep calm enough to tell him to give me a chance to show him what he thought about me was wrong. After that, he told me he can give me a month … rather than that, he cannot wait.

From that day, we are both trying to force ourselves happy, talking with each other, and we still making love. But I can tell how differently he treated me … very cold and distant.

Can you tell me if I still have hope in this marriage and what can I do?

Answer

Please don’t panic and feel like you have to do an immediate overhaul on your personality, language skills and cultural awareness in order to save your marriage.

Your husband has known you for seven years and none of these irritations he has are urgent crises that need to be resolved. Your husband obviously hasn’t been open with you about his needs, so all of his frustrations came out sideways.

I’m glad he’s sensible enough to give your marriage at least a month before he pulls the plug. However, the expectations of what needs to happen in this coming month need to be adjusted so you’re both working toward healing the marriage.

There are, no doubt, some frustrations with cultural differences. Even though oceans separate your two cultures, every couple comes from a different culture. There are family cultures, community cultures and other differences that cause us to see the world in unique ways. Your husband will always need to adjust to a different culture no matter whom he marries.

See if you can ask your husband to slow things down even more and give you both time and space to better understand where these strong reactions originated. He may assume you can’t possibly understand what it’s like for him, but with adequate time and effort, his concerns will make more sense to both of you.

As you explore these feelings, don’t be afraid to ask him hard questions about what prompted his sudden change. Has he started an affair with someone else? Does he have other secrets he doesn’t want to share? What tipped him over to suddenly decide the marriage needs to be over?

You have a right to ask these questions in the same way he has a right to have concerns about your marriage. Of course, if he’s willing to seek out marriage counseling to have someone help you guys talk through these challenges, then please make sure you work with a trained marriage counselor.

If your husband chooses to stay silent and puts you on a month probation without a willingness to engage in meaningful conversation about your marriage, then the marriage is likely already over. He has decided to be done with the marriage, but waiting a month may help him feel like he’s less of a jerk. You don’t need to wait a month if he refuses to engage and discuss his concerns.

You shouldn’t have to be on probation when you haven’t done anything other than be Asian.

If it’s important to you to continue learning English and improving your cultural competency, then keep moving forward with those goals regardless of what your husband decides. It takes time to assimilate into a new culture. Trying to speed that up so your husband doesn’t leave you isn’t something you should feel pressured to do.

My guess is there are other reasons he wants to divorce. Do everything you can to find out his real reasons for being done with your marriage. Use this next month to show him that you are not only willing to work on the marriage, but you also expect him to share and open up about what he needs. Both of you working together can fix this marriage.

Stay connected!

Geoff Steurer is a licensed marriage and family therapist in private practice in St. George, Utah. He specializes in working with couples in all stages of their relationships. The opinions stated in this article are solely his and not those of St. George News.

Have a relationship question for Geoff to answer? Submit to:

Email: geoff@lovingmarriage.com

Twitter: @geoffsteurer

Instagram: @geoffsteurer

Facebook: facebook.com/GeoffSteurerMFT

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.

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6 Comments

  • ladybugavenger July 27, 2016 at 11:31 am

    Wake up! Your husband is cheating on you. You’ll be so much happier without him

  • ladybugavenger July 27, 2016 at 11:34 am

    And you speak English better than you think you do. English these days is a lot of slang. Don’t let that confuse you.

    People don’t know how to speak English good. Good luck two you ?

  • anybody home July 27, 2016 at 2:02 pm

    Nah, honey, no hope here. You don’t want this guy anyway. He’s a 100% jackazz. What’s wrong with men like this? I mean, it’s not like he woke up one morning, looked at you and said, “OMG, You’re Asian!” He’s got something else pickin’ at his craw and he’s never gonna tell you what it is. Take care of yourself and find a better life. It’s out there for you. Blessings…

  • .... July 27, 2016 at 11:45 pm

    Divorce him and make sure you get all the Cheetos and Coke

  • .... July 28, 2016 at 8:54 am

    Her husband sounds like a total moron … but then it sounds like she’s describing some Real Low Life

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