Some say that the little things can make or break a couple. For an English person in a relationship with a foreigner, bigger things should be taken into consideration. However, for a foreigner who is here in a relationship with an Englishman (or Englishwoman) and starts “test driving” living together before marriage, it will be the small details that should be taken into consideration. This way it will help you to make sure that marrying an English person is the right thing to do.
I have been living in England on and off for almost 10 years. During this time I have learned how to understand and love the British culture and its people. For that reason, I believe it was easier for me to settle down with an English man. Having said that, I did have a few other dates with English men that weren’t great. What I learnt from those experiences is that I can tolerate some of the English behaviour I am not very keen on (being over formal or too strict and cold) as long as it is not my own man who is behaving like that.
I am lucky because I get along really well with my husband. He has one little thing that doesn’t really annoys me or anything. In fact, I find it cute! He gets embarrassed very easily for something somebody does to him (you can image how many times I have embarrassed him). He also gets really embarrassed on other’s people’s behalf. For example, if we are watching TV and somebody says or does something awkward, he will cover his eyes, as if he was the one going through the situation and die of embarrassment. I don’t mind that and actually find it funny and laugh about it.
However, it takes more than simply accepting your husband’s embarrassment levels in order to have a happy marriage. So here is a list of “little things” to consider before you actually tight the knot with someone from England:
1. Learn the language
My first language is Portuguese but I live in England, therefore I must speak English. You don’t need to speak it perfectly but at least be able to develop a conversation, discuss any topic, serious, funny or educational. That is the best way to help yourself and your relationship and prevent misunderstandings. Learning the language will also help you to get a good job and to integrate more easily within the community. If you don’t know English very well, go to local libraries get a newspaper so you can be up to date with the local news and increase your vocabulary (even if it requires the help of a dictionary). Watch telly, try to repeat how British personalities speak, which will also considerably help your pronunciation. It helped me!
2. Sense of humour
This might not sound very important but I personally had serious problems when I came into the country for not being able to understand banter. I used to take everything personal and not be able to differentiate a joke to a “funny comment”. That can bring serious problems to a relationship if you are too uptight about it. I know the only way to learn and understand the English sense of humour is experiencing it. So when you are unsure if someone are literally “taking the piss” or making a joke, just ask “this is a joke, right”? This way you prevent lots of tears and misunderstandings.
We need food to survive, but can you really live off food from a different country for the rest of your life? By that I mean if you come to the UK and you don’t know how to cook, the chances are that you are going to live off fish and chips, cottage pie, Sunday roast for most of your days. That and some foreign take away such as curry, of course. I am lucky because I really love pub grub to posh English food (Venison, monkfish wrapped in parma ham, yummy). I am also lucky that I enjoy cooking Brazilian food as well as English food and from other nationalities. My husband also cooks really well, so we are never short of options. But I’ve seen some really picky people who really struggles with food. So bear in mind you are not on holiday that you can escape to McDonalds. This is food for thought for the rest of your life!
English people are generally really well mannered. The majority will say thank you, I am sorry (even if they bump into a door), excuse and so on. They are really friendly people but only once they get to know you. At first, they are reserved, which may come across as cold. Beware of this so you don’t feel less loved or appreciated in case your English lover doesn’t react to something you say or do with fireworks. Of course this is not a generalization. For instance, my husband is sweet, funny, very touchy feeling (without being needy or clingy) and goofy around the house. When he is with other people he is more reserved but ever since we got together he has loosen up a bit. And in relation to other English people, greet them politely by shaking hands or just saying hello. If they are more of the friendlier type, they will give you a kiss and a hug. Just try to feel the situation first so you don’t behave inadequately.
Alcohol is a big part in how English people socialize. They love going to the pub after work or on the weekends and going through several pints or bottles of wine. At house parties, alcohol will be just as important as the food they will cook (if there are any). At picnics, they will take more alcohol than food. That doesn’t make them an alcoholic nation. They just enjoy drinking socially, although sometimes they might exceed a bit, but who doesn’t? I do admit I considerably increased my alcohol intake after moving to England. I am weak though, and I few times I had some embarrassing situations where I would pass out whilst the English friends who I was with would carry on partying. So if you are not a drinker but are happy to tolerate that your other half drinks away at a party, you should be fine here. If you don’t like alcohol but are lucky enough to find an English person who doesn’t like it either, then you should be fine as well. Otherwise, I would say you are in the wrong country.
6. Boys night out and girls night out
If you are the jealous type, forget it. It is very unlikely that you might tolerate the English approach to how they hang out with their friends. English people just don’t do jealousy (obviously there are exceptions to this rule but they are rare). So if you are the type that likes to control your partner, you might struggle with an English spouse. They are normally very loyal, so they don’t find strange to go out by themselves and their friends. Cheating is the last thing in their mind when they are in a pub with friends (read again Topic 5). My husband had a stag do and I had a hen do before we got married. We had an amazing time with our friends (without doing anything wrong against each other) and now we are happily married. Giving some space to your other half to hang out with their friends is healthy and harmless, so don’t worry about it.
Since the first time I came into the country, I said I loved the weather. I do enjoy the cold and having to dress up in the winter. That is just me though, as I have a lot of Brazilian friends and from other warm countries who struggle with the weather. I usually say that I spent so many years under the hot sun in Brazil that I now really appreciate not having to be sweaty all the time. So if you are the type who likes sun and beach, beware that you might not find here the most fun place to live. Looking at the bright side, Europe have several amazing places with gorgeous beaches for you to travel to. This way you have the best of both worlds. Plus, you will have an English lover to warm you up in the cold nights.