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Three Difficulties Your Russian Wife Will Most Likely Face and How to Help Her Overcome Them.

1.    Language. If your Russian wife has never been abroad before she moved to the United States, she will experience a really strong culture shock. Even if she studied American history and culture and her English is flawless, she will still have difficulties understanding the language and the culture. Americans tend to use a lot of slang, without even realizing this, so make sure your wife is comfortable asking you if she doesn’t understand something. It gets better with time, but first months are particularly hard. American accent might be hard for her to understand as well. Speak slower and more clearly. I know it might be annoying, but it will pay off.

2.    Money. Russian wife might have a very difficult time understanding how money in America work, what is the point of credit cards, mortgages, multiple accounts and taxes. Russian economy is cash-based. If someone says he earns $3000 a month, it means that every month he has $3000 of cash to spend. Don’t get frustrated if she doesn’t understand this. It might not seem complicated to you, but if you were born in the United States, you have been familiar with this all your life. Don’t assume that she is dumb. If you came to Russia to live, you would most definitely find yourself in similar situations.

3.    Friendships. Your Russian wife might be homesick for awhile and it is understandable. Russians have closer family ties and closer friendships, and it is not easy to loose all of that at once. Try to be not only her husband, but her best friend as well. She will find friends in time and she will be less homesick later, but be there for her when she needs you. Don’t think that she is not happy with you or that she doesn’t love you when she is sad and homesick. Get her a CD with Russian music, or find a Russian restaurant in the area. Show her that you care. Even if you don’t understand why she feels this way.

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4 Comments so far

  1. J.K.N. on August 10th, 2009

    It took my Russian wife about a year in the US to learn English. It was very basic before we met.

  2. Russian Wife on August 22nd, 2009

    My English was pretty good when I came here, but nevertheless it took me awhile to get used to American accent and slang. I didn’t feel comfortable answering the phone for about a year too.

  3. John Fisher on January 21st, 2013

    Many colleges have free ESL programs. My wife studied English through and ESL program run by our local community college. She met several Russian friends that way. Unfortunately, all of our Russian speaking friends have since moved to other areas, and the ESL classes that were operated at night are no longer because of a lack of government funding. Another way to meet people who share common language is to look for Russian/Ukrainian churches in your area. If you live in at least a fair sized small city, there is likely to be at least a small Russian community. The nearest large Russian communities to us are in Philadelphia and Brooklyn, which are both about an hour-an-a-half drive.

  4. Russian Wife on January 21st, 2013

    Thank you for the tips, John.

    Russian/ Ukrainian restaurants are good places too. We live in a small city, but have a small restaurant that has Russian food and is owner by Russians. I met many Russians through there.

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