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Life Together

If you’ve formalized your relationship with your match and she has moved to your country, you have a lot to look forward to. But be sensitive to the fact that she may experience challenges in adjusting to cultural norms in her new country. No doubt she will miss family and friends, and if she spends a lot of time at home she may get restless. She may have been excited when she first arrived but at some point may start to feel homesick and bored.

This is entirely normal and can happen with couples who did not meet online. Adjustment is part of the process leading to a successful and happy relationship. Watch for signs that your mate may need a bit of help. Follow these tips to help her adjust to her new way of life:

Introduce her to friends and family

Probably the hardest part of her leaving home was leaving behind friends and family, so be proactive about introducing her to your friends and family so she can make plans with them. Also, encourage her to get out of the house and explore her new town while you are at work. Now could be the time for her to learn how to drive if she doesn’t yet know. If she does drive, make sure she has a valid license; many foreign driver licenses can be used for a limited time only.

Encourage her to join groups

Encourage your mate to join a group or organization based on a hobby or interest; meeting new people with similar interests will help her connect. She might also seek out people with backgrounds similar to hers who could share stories and offer advice.

Teach her everyday tasks

Teach her how to do everyday tasks around the house and neighborhood such as getting to the store, purchasing methods, public transportation, using household appliances, town laws and ordinances and how much to tip at a service establishment like a restaurant or salon. Learning these basics of her new environment will help speed her adjustment and reduce stress when she’s not with you.

Suggest language courses

Even if she speaks the local language well, some idioms and vocabulary might be new to her. There is always room for improvement, so encourage her to enroll in a language course to improve her skills. If there are no convenient classes nearby, she can always take an online course or buy language-learning software. The benefit of going to a class outside the home is that it’s also a way to make new friends who may also be transitioning from a different country. And if you hear her say something incorrectly, gently correct her.

Help her find a job or volunteer work

Ideally you and your mate have discussed the issue of her working inside or outside the home much earlier in your relationship. If you both agree she will work outside the home, help her find a job that suits her skills and interests. Encourage her to take courses that will help her in her field of interest or to apply to a college degree program if that interests her. If she isn’t ready for a job, volunteering is a great way she can find fulfillment and meet people with similar interests.

Encourage her to stay connected with her ties back home – and visit together

The good news is nowadays it’s really easy to keep in touch with everyone. Chatting regularly by phone or online can help her feel less isolated. If her family members don’t have access to a computer, there are many affordable calling plans and calling cards available. If you can afford it, it might be nice to fly a family member or friend over to visit. Try to make a trip back home with her once a year if possible. While she may make new friends in her new country, it’s important to stay connected to people from home.

Honest, healthy communication is key

Communication is key to a healthy relationship. You want your mate to feel comfortable talking to you if something is bothering her and you should encourage her to do so. This will make a big difference as you both strive to adjust to your new relationship.

Be patient and respectful as you help your new wife transition into her exciting new life and your journey together!