Relationships between Germans and non-German partners have their own set of challenges. Here's how bilingual couples counselling can help overcome the 3 most common intercultural relationship issues:
Most bilingual couples communicate with each other in English. But if one partner is a native English speaker, and the other is not, then communication problems are inevitable, as language can be a minefield. Dealing with the language barrier in couples counselling can help build a communication bridge, simply by offering the German partner to speak his or her mother tongue as well. A bilingual couples therapist will translate, so that both partners can concentrate on expressing their individual thoughts and feelings.
2. Different life expectations
Cultural differences include differences in life expectations, even when the cultures seem quite similar. What you expect from life is crucially important, and if a couple has different ideas about money, family and relationships, then this can cause a lot of frustration. Bilingual couples therapy can help develop realistic expectations on both sides, by identifying, understanding and acknowledging the problem as a cultural difference, instead of seeing it as an individual difference.
3. Sharing housework
If you're unhappy about the allocation of household chores, the stress level in your relationship can increase tremendously. Sharing household responsibilities is maybe managed differently in Germany, compared to other countries. The way of keeping financial records, doing the shopping, cleaning and cooking etc. can be highly influenced by your individual culture. It's important to understand these differences, in order to set priorities as a couple and create fairness in chore division.
Continue reading: How to start couples counselling in Germany
I'm Natalie Marby, an English speaking therapist in Hamburg, Germany. I offer psychotherapy and couples therapy in English, especially for expats living in Hamburg. To contact me, you can send me an email or call me: +49 40 40 46090233. (Please don't forget to send me your phone number and the times I can reach you). I look forward to hearing from you!
Read more about my therapy method: Healing the inner child.