How can you encourage your Russian fiancee to learn English – Part 1

How can you encourage your Russian fiancee to learn English?


Verbal communication is a gift given to humans from God.  We are the only species on this planet who enjoys expressing ourselves with words.  One old Chinese proverb says: “If a man marries the most beautiful woman in the village, he will be happy for months; if man marries a woman who cooks the best miso, he will be happy for years; if a man marries a woman who he can laugh with together, he will be happy for a lifetime”.  Speaking about American/Russian dating – sometimes it’s not so easy to laugh together with your Russian fiancee without a translator’s assistance, mostly because she can barely understand a couple of English words.  Of course, some American men are charmed and amused with a cute accented “How are you?” and “I’m fine”, easily and often used by many Russian women regardless of English competency.

However, if you are serious about growing your relationship with one another, and are even thinking about starting a Fiancee visa in your near future, it’s time to encourage your Russian fiancee to seriously learn English.

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I heard this phrase a lot: “We speak the language of love”.  But it’s my honest opinion that this is a most dangerous self-deception.  The so-called “Language of love” is good only for the first months of romantic euphoria, when you’re relaxed, use mostly feelings, body language and sweet nothings.  But unfortunately, it’s not enough for any type of serious long term relationship.  Later, when you both need to cope with real issues, such as finances, children, relationships with in-laws, and becoming truly close with one another…you need be able to have real and deep adult conversations, and learn how to communicate effectively.

I knew one bilingual couple from Boston:  Irina had very limited English, and Doug didn’t speak any Russian at all.  Irina told me once, “No, we don’t really argue…he starts to yell at me, but because I don’t understand any single word, I start to throw plates on a floor….” Hmm…I don’t think you would like to solve problems this way…do you???

Another one, very important reason why girls needs to learn English before coming to America is because if she starts learning English from the beginning here, without  building a fundamental knowledge of English earlier, it will simply be overwhelming to her.  She will feel  like a “black sheep”, “out of her league”.  In fact I have met several new American wives who developed serious anxiety, because of  having learned no English previous to coming to America!  The sudden Niagara Falls of English from her relatives, friends, TV, even radio in your car will be extremely irritating for her… which may make her want to just give up and go home to Mother Russia.  It’s like climbing Everest!  You don’t simply travel there one time and attempt climbing all the way to the top all at once!  NO, you build a camp, your “Home Base” at the beginning, where you can always come back when you are tired and may need support.  And in this regard, she needs to at least build her basic English language foundation there, in her mother land.  Later she can develop it deeper here in America with good help from a loving and patient husband.

Okay, lets discuss the “DO’s and DON’T’s” to support and encourage your girlfriend to learn English the best way.

First a couple of DON’Ts:  Don’t buy her lessons taught by a teacher… or an expensive English course!  I know, it sounds very noble and caring to help her to learn English this way, but it’s much better start small.  Unfortunately 90% of all expensive formal English courses are just gathering dust on a shelf.  It’s human nature to procrastinate.  However, if your girl is determined and disciplined, she can begin with one of the many free courses out there.  They’re many good ones out there on the Internet these days.  One of my favorite is www.duolingo.com.

duolingo

They have English for Russians.  If your girlfriend will show some consistency and progress with a free course, you can encourage her with a teacher or a different, more advanced course.

And now some DO’s:  Try to start a fun, friendly competition.  You learn three Russian words per day, and she learns three English one.  The winner gets…whatever you decide!  It can draw you closer…plus you’ll have some fun.  Realize how important it is for your Russian sweetheart to begin learning English now.  Help her start with a free online English course, and then verify that she is making real progress before spending money with professional schooling or investing in expensive language courses.  And importantly, if you ever have any questions about this or any other Russian dating an marriage concerns, please feel free to contact us!

Well, this is a great beginning, my friend.  We’ll continue this subject in our next blog posts…and would be interested in hearing new ideas or questions from you regarding the subject:  How do YOU encourage you Russian fiancee to learn English?

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