When Billy and I were dating, we lived an hour's drive apart. So we spent a lot of time on the phone.
Well, there's only so much you can talk about. So naturally, he wanted me to read out loud to him a Spanish copy of Reader's Digest. BECAUSE THAT'S WHAT YOU DO WHEN YOU'RE FALLING IN LOVE.
You read aloud in pitiful Spanish, and your Guatemalan boyfriend tells you how beautiful it is. Because who doesn't love the sound of you butchering their mother tongue?
And it goes both ways. I was endeared when he would mix up expressions. Like when he gazed into my eyes, smiled, and told me, "I just feel like everything is falling into pieces." Umm... you seem awfully joyful about that. Do you mean "falling into place"?
And then we got married.
What is my biggest frustration of bilingual marriage? The fact that we are both more comfortable in different languages!
Seriously. Sometimes I'm talking really fast and expressing all my emotions with passion and gusto. And I see it. Billy's giving me "the look." And I want to unleash my inner Chris Tucker.
Sometimes the realities of a bilingual marriage drive me absolutely insane. And I try to be gracious because I'm so impressed that he speaks two languages and YADA YADA.
Of course, when he sees me getting annoyed, he just casually mentions that we could change our marriage over to Spanish and go from there. Well played, sir. Well. Played.
So I remind myself that part of our commitment when we chose each other is to keep communicating, keep talking (in English and Spanish and everything in between), and keep offering grace. And it's possible that this would be an issue even if we weren't cross-cultural.
After all, when I showed Billy this post, he admitted it doesn't really bother him that he doesn't understand everything I'm saying! Gee, thanks.
I think back to those Reader's Digest monologues and remember that our communication dance was once something that was fun and special when we were dating. It doesn't really make any sense to frame it as a frustration now.
But still, sometimes we both feel a little like this:
Can you relate?