Four simple tips to help your Ukrainian wife to integrate into the Western culture
You have a found a special woman from Ukraine, you got married to her and your Ukrainian spouse arrived in your Western native country. And what now?
From my experience, I can say you that most of the problems in a Ukrainian-Western relationship and marriage come after your woman moved to your country. Very usually, the woman feels lonely in her new country, she does not speak the language of her husband, and she has no friends with whom she could talk. I am a Ukrainian woman who lives in Germany about 9 years and I have to mention that the first two years in the new country are the most difficult for immigrants.
I have a lot of female friends from Ukraine and Russia here in Germany. From their personal experience, I can say you that Ukrainian and Russian women integrate very differently, and their integration into the new culture and society depends on various factors such as what their support structure is like, how many other Russians and Ukrainians are in their region, how helpful and tolerant their Western husbands are, their foreign language speaking ability, etc.
Here are my four tips that coach you how to help your wife from Ukraine to integrate into her new country:
Tip #1: show a lot of patience, understanding and tolerance
Nine years ago, I experienced a “culture shock”, namely the German culture was too different than the Ukrainian one. Furthermore, the fact that you are alone in your new homeland (no family, no friends) does not make you happy.
Western men must be aware that their Ukrainian wife could be unhappy and miss her country, family and friends desperately (possibly within the first few months). You should be very patient with your Ukrainian spouse during this “loneliness” period. If she feels that her partner loves her and cares of her, the first period passes quickly. The emotional and psychological support is a very important part of your wife’s integration.
Tip #2: support your wife’s communication with her Ukrainian family
Another tip to support your woman is to give her an opportunity to call her family and friends in Ukraine. In my opinion, it helps to integrate into the new Western culture and society because your wife does not feel lonely and depressed if she sufficiently communicates with the persons she loves. As you know, Ukrainian women have strong traditional family values; therefore the communication with the family in Ukraine is an important part of our culture.
Moreover, the family often plays a significant role in the life of your immigrant wife and perhaps still has the ability to impact her – that means for you that if the Ukrainian family knows that the woman is happy and feels comfortable in your native country they will motivate and encourage your Ukrainian spouse to integrate into the new Western life more quickly and learn first of all the language of the new motherland. Do not think that phone calls to Ukraine are too expensive! You can buy calling cards – so telephone rates through them are really low to Ukraine.
Tip #3: help your wife to become familiar with the language of your country
I am sure that learning the language of the new native country (English, German, French or Italian) is a very important step in an immigrant wife’s adjustment to the Western culture. From my experience, I can say that if you do not speak the language of your new homeland you will not integrate into the West. No language – no integration! I think it would help if you learn Russian or Ukrainian a little bit to show your wife that you are motivated to learn her language too.
Most of the Ukrainian women who arrive in the Western world understand that language knowledge gives them the feeling of comfort and the ability to express her feelings and thoughts. Therefore, I have experienced in Germany and Italy (I lived there three months four years ago) that women from Russia and Ukraine improve their foreign language competence within just a few months.
So you need to speak with her in your language, explain grammar rules and correct her if she makes any mistakes. In addition, I would recommend you enrolling your Ukrainian spouse in a language school for adults after she arrives in her new country. The woman will be able to make some new friends there who share the common experience of immigrating to the West and learning the foreign language. For example, I met Olga, one of my best friends, in my German class for immigrants. The woman is more comfortable adjusted to her new environment because she has sufficient communication with other people (not only with her partner).
One more thing… it is really helpful if your woman starts to learn the foreign language in Ukraine. In my case, I did study German for one year before I arrived in Germany. I did not experience this trouble: “throw me in the cold water and ask me to swim”. Of course, I had some difficulties with German but I was able to communicate and enjoy socializing with the German-speaking people.
So I would recommend you without doubt to pay for your woman to study your language in Ukraine before she immigrates (if she cannot pay by herself). Foreign language classes are not expensive in Ukraine: the English class in Ukraine costs about $100 per month. I am rather sure that it is an advisable investment of a few hundred dollars/euros in exchange for barrier-free and easy communication with your Ukrainian woman.
Tip #4: allow your wife to communicate with Russian and Ukrainian women
Some Western men suppose that the best way for their immigrant wife to integrate into the new culture is to be connected only to their native country people. But this idea is not correct. Of course, that is very important to communicate with the Westerners in order to integrate into the new country more quickly and effectively.
However, communication with Russian and Ukrainian women in the new country is very important, as well. If your immigrant spouse has several good friends with whom she is able to share her experience of immigrating, integrating and new life in the West, she will not miss her friends in Ukraine very strongly and feel not lonely in her new country anymore.
I would absolutely recommend you to allow her make some good Russian/Ukrainian-speaking friends in your area. So the woman communicates with somebody who is able to understand her from her Ukrainian/Russian cultural female perspective.
I hope my tips were helpful for you! 🙂
Questions? Feel free to ask Krystyna, your Ukrainian dating expert 🙂 (s. here: Contact Krystyna)