Here's a really interesting article in The Wall Street Journal on the strain living abroad as expats puts on a marriage. We've seen a fair share of marriages fall apart in foreign countries and this article offers several interesting explanations.
"Being abroad shows people their 'naked' marriage without the web of family, long-time friends and a known place in society around it," says Anouk Turksma. I've never thought of it that way before but it does make me think. Personally I never really felt as if I had truly 'grown-up' until I lived abroad, but I could have merely moved within Canada, as long as it was far away from my parents. Don't get me wrong- I love them dearly. But family and close friends are your support system- when you move abroad- you go alone. And if your marriage is not really strong, you're going to have problems.
The article gives some good practical advice to think about before each expat move:
"Consultation -- spouses need to be stakeholders in the move, which means they need to be in the know and not kept in the dark about the process.
Respect and support -- they are the basics of a solid relationship anywhere but vital in an expat one.
Equality -- which just means you both count and must work as a team.
Certainty -- that the spouse won't be left high and dry for someone in the office or a language instructor.
And, finally, love -- I always remind women that they must love the guy. Why else would you throw your life upside down for him?",
says Robin Pascoe, the author of A Movable Marriage: Relocate Your Relationship Without Breaking It.
Good advice, although I think some of those are easier than others!
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