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CULTURAL DIFFERENCE/PROBLEMS IN MIXED POLISH-UK MARRIAGES


Polonius3 1,000 | 12,448  
31 May 2009 /  #1
On the basis of your own experience or observation, what potential cultural differences might cause problesm in a mixed Polish-UK nmarriage? Would it be any different (better or worse) in a Polish-English, Polish-Irish or Polish Scottish marriage? (The latter reprortedly recycle teabags, dental floss and loo paper?!)
welshguyinpola 23 | 463  
31 May 2009 /  #2
What about Polish-Welsh? I have a problem with my wife, cos she doesnt like me speaking welsh to my parents when we go home for a visit, probably cos she doesnt understand.

Also there is the same prob with all Polish-British marriages that any social life you may have had before the marriage comes to an end
Seanus 15 | 19,706  
31 May 2009 /  #3
What did you have in mind, Pol3? I don't foresee any complications to my forthcoming marriage in October. We fit the Polish-Scottish bracket.
BevK 11 | 248  
31 May 2009 /  #4
If people are open and communicative the differences can be interesting not stressful. My parents managed well enough, managed to stay married till he passed on.
OP Polonius3 1,000 | 12,448  
31 May 2009 /  #5
Sorry for omitting the Welsh. I had in mind social situations, language (are the kids to learn both languages or not?), eating habits, religous views, cultural preferences and recreational preferneces 9it's hard to imagien a non UK/er fancying cricket!) and a myriad of other things that could cause differences. Natrually, a lot depends on the sensitivity and maturity of the people involved. However, when marrying, not everyone knows what they're getting into. One common error of people marrying (and this pertains not only to mixed marriaegs but usually more so to them) is that it's rarely us two v the world. In actuality, a person is marrying inlaws, the other side's extended family friends, colleagues, etc. with all the complications and challenges that may entail.
welshguyinpola 23 | 463  
31 May 2009 /  #6
Yep P3 u have a point, when u marry a Polish girl u marry all her baggage ie mother in law. I feel that my child doesnt have a mother and father, he has a mother and grandmother. The mother in law doesnt speak a word of Polish and I have been told Im not allowed to speak to my child in English in front of her cos she doesnt know what i'm saying. I have told my wife that unless I have more of a say in my child's future I will start restricting the time he spends with grandma.

As for speaking Welsh to my child, i am constantly at war with the other hlf about this
Seanus 15 | 19,706  
31 May 2009 /  #7
Quite right, welshguy. I'll be damned if I allow any restrictions of that nature. Thankfully, we want a bilingual kid and maximum exposure from a young age. I have made a sacrifice staying here, away from my family, so some key things have to be on my terms.
niejestemcapita 2 | 561  
31 May 2009 /  #8
As for speaking Welsh to my child, i am constantly at war with the other hlf about this

maybe you could just speak Welsh to your kid when your wife is not there...even if it means making some specific "Welsh time", although I am sure you are busy....

There is a book a friend of mine had called "Raising a bilingual child" which had practical advice on when and where to use which language.....I can find out the author if you like, but I am sure u can find it online. Iacchi dar.
welshguyinpola 23 | 463  
31 May 2009 /  #9
I know the theory behind it and how many hours a day should be dedicated to which lang etc.

Thanks for the offer though.

My problem is that teh wife does not like me spaeking welsh to the child and if she hears him say anything in Welsh she goes mad. She seems to think it'll confuse him knowing 3 languages and she doesnt want him to be able to have private conversations with me and my mum.

I am also not allowed to speak Eng to him when mother in law is present, which is my biggest problem cos shes too present

aqlso, i dont know if anyone else on this forum has experienced this, but Polish parents are extremely protective of their kids, too over protective. My wife tries but I put my foot down. I know of Polish parents who rush the baby to casualty at the first sign of a cough.

Last week the boy fell over and cut his knee, I put a plaster on there and told him to go back out to play. His mum would have called the doctor to check it out and would have banned him from going outside
Seanus 15 | 19,706  
31 May 2009 /  #10
Yeah, you need to invoke the 'freedom of language' clause :)
niejestemcapita 2 | 561  
31 May 2009 /  #11
if she hears him say anything in Welsh she goes mad.

Ach y fi (sorry about sp.)
Its YOUR language Welshguy......but it could be tricky to insist without making Welsh language a "weapon".....also this is YOUR kid not your mother inlaw's..(rolls eyes at mother inlaws) Maybe she should learn some English?..:) I suppose she will chill out over time?

As for not speaking Welsh with your parents in Wales...well she really can't have it all ways..!

Lots of mums are overprotective and yes I do think Polish mums can be a bit precious..at least your boy has you to balance things out somewhat
Seanus 15 | 19,706  
31 May 2009 /  #12
English would seem to be a compromise option and you'd be doing him a favour by speaking it. You are not here to make others comfortable, welshguy.
moonlight 6 | 103  
31 May 2009 /  #13
It's much easier for children to learn languages from an early age and having three languages can only be to their advantage.

as for differences or problems, going by my experience and looking at my friend's relationship - differences are not a big problem, it just takes an open mind :)
SzwedwPolsce 11 | 1,595  
31 May 2009 /  #14
I am also not allowed to speak Eng to him when mother in law is present

What the f*ck. Who makes this rules? Did you marry a dictator? In a normal family there are 2 adult persons, which are equally responsible for the family.

But if you give some people a finger they'll take the whole hand. I think it's time for you to stand up for yourself and your child.
welshguyinpola 23 | 463  
31 May 2009 /  #15
I have bitten my tongue so far for the sake of my child. She is a Polish lady and I have put up with alot of her high and mighty shite and her mother's interfering but its difficult as I'm in her world. All her friends are the same, the treat their husbands like complete pantoflarz and none of them have a significant role to play in their children's lives apart from getting up in the night when the baby cries.

I have threatened that I'm gonna move back to UK if this keeps on but she knows she's got me cos I cant just take my son.
SzwedwPolsce 11 | 1,595  
31 May 2009 /  #16
Speak to your own child in English whenever you want. And tell her "it's my child too" every single time she comment it in a bad way. Finally she will understand that you two have to make up rules that both can agree on. If she doesn't understand it, make her understand it.

Good Luck! These are important things.
BevK 11 | 248  
1 Jun 2009 /  #17
My problem is that teh wife does not like me spaeking welsh to the child and if she hears him say anything in Welsh she goes mad. She seems to think it'll confuse him knowing 3 languages and she doesnt want him to be able to have private conversations with me and my mum.

Welshguy, please feel free to use me as an example. My mother CONSTANTLY apologises to me for being so blinkered and narrow minded with my father about Polish "what do you want to teach her that for it's no use to anybody".

Whereas if I could speak Polish I'd be able to set myself up with some very specialist skills to teach here in Poland as well as being a native speaker.

PLEASE speak to your child and keep a language which is unique alive!

Oh yes - a child can learn up to FIVE languages at once, naturally. Linguistic fact.

It makes me sad to see such discord though - I have to ask you, how long did you know her before you got married?

Polish parents ARE over protective. Living here is giving me insight though, my father trying to make sure I was "warm enough" all the time. It's the 1st June and it is FOGGY out there. FOGGY.

Just be assertive, explain why without threats and ultimatums (they are counterproductive if you are not committed to following them with definite action) and tell all concerned exactly why you are doing it. Then stick to your guns. If you do this long enough then all SHOULD be fine. If it is not then there's other issues you have to think about, again without threats.
Bzibzioh  
1 Jun 2009 /  #18
Sadly, many Polish women have those "take charge" tendencies, especially older ones.

You should have discussed those important issues like language, religion, methods of discipline etc. before marriage or while she was pregnant at least. But is not too late. First think of what's bothering you and what changes would you like to happen. Be specific. Than talk to your wife; it's important to talk while the water is still, never during argument. Tell her that is important to you that your son speaks Welsh and English. You want him to be able to communicate with your parents the same way he is going to speak Polish with his Polish grandparents and that is not negotiable. Than tell her that you don't appreciate your mother-in-law's interference and if she is going to undermine you in any way - you will cut off any relationship with your son, as you are legally entitled to do so. That's your bargaining point: if grandma wants to see your child - she has to behave. Negotiate that but never ever threaten to take your child away; that's sign of desperation and weakness. Good luck!
scrappleton - | 830  
1 Jun 2009 /  #19
Sadly, many Polish women have those "take charge" tendencies, especially older ones.

LOL.. I've seen this first hand. Girlfriend's pop was like 6'5, man he was one henpecked dude by her mother. I'd be surprised if she didn't instruct him on how to butter his bread. I thought it was funny (when I was away from him).
Switezianka - | 463  
1 Jun 2009 /  #20
welshguy,
What you are writing here is sad. It's hard for me to advise on marriage relationships (I'm too young), but I think there are a few rational arguments you could use while talking to your wife.

1) People spend hours and lots of money on learning foreign languages. Learning a foreign language demands a lot of effort and self-discipline. If she's Polish, she should know it better (here, people are more concerned about foreign languages). And while your child has an opportunity to learn 3 languages for free, fast and effortlessly, it would be a horrible waste to teach him/her only two. Many people wish they spoke 3 languages just like that - no schools, no fees, no boring grammar exercises, no stressful tests and exams.

2) Little people speak Welsh. Therefore an employee speaking Welsh is a rare and precious thing, and the employer will pay them more. I know a Hebrew sworn translator and he earns much more than English, French or German sworn translators. Since there are many initiatives aiming at the revival of Welsh language, it is very possible there would be a demand for Welsh speakers. You know, like someone should translate Winnie the Pooh to Welsh, for instance. Speaking Welsh can give your child a great job opportunity.

3) It's your child! And your transferring your cultural heritage on your child is as important as transferring Polish cultural heritage. The Polish and the Welsh have very similar history concerning fighting for preserving their language and culture and now, that original Welsh culture (I mean, Welsh lang, Celtic roots etc.) has finally an opportunity to rise and flourish, you want the next generation to know that culture. It can't be that your wife's heritage is more important than yours.

And BTW, be careful. Many Polish mothers don't let their husband do anything with the kid and later, they are angry that they are poor housewifes with no support in rising the child on the side of the husband. Explain to your wife that you want to take part in your offsping's upbringing but you can't do it if your m-i-l. interferes so much.

P.S. My mum was overprotective, so there is something in it.
Ironside 49 | 10,632  
1 Jun 2009 /  #21

My advice - explain to your wife that your son can safely learn three languages - I think that is a source of her objections, she is concerned about boy health.
Switezianka - | 463  
1 Jun 2009 /  #22
I think that is a source of her objections, she is concerned about boy health.

From the overall description of welshguy's wife's behavior, i would conclude it's about control.
If the kid speaks Welsh, then he/she can talk to welshguy in a language the mother does not understand. And she loses control over their communication. She cannot interfere in the coversation, she doesn't know if they're not saying things she wouldn't like them to say. From what I read, I get an image of a woman who wants to have complete control over her son's upbringing, and such control is impossible when the child and the father can communicate in a language unknown to her.

Or maybe it's just me looking for the worst features in people.
niejestemcapita 2 | 561  
2 Jun 2009 /  #23
Or maybe it's just me looking for the worst features in people.

no I dont think so, you are probably right.
McCoy 27 | 1,275  
2 Jun 2009 /  #24
speaking welsh

Total speakers 750,000+

who needs to know it anyway
Ironside 49 | 10,632  
2 Jun 2009 /  #25

Well, they are family and its not good advice to say to wife - hey you control freak, back off!
He should make it clear that is a very important to him, teach the boy Welsh.

But yes she could be a bit jealous, must be insecure lady.
Nathan 18 | 1,363  
2 Jun 2009 /  #26
welshguyinpola

This shite happens always to a guy who loves, who is respectful, thoughtful etc. The more you love a woman, the more you will lose a princess in her. Later on she will take away your freedom and will treat you like nothing. Then religion, language and mother-in-law's constant grudging becomes a daily routine. Your princess is a f* witch sucking your blood on a daily basis. What to do? You have one of two choices: 1.)put your foot into your wife's mouth, throw the in-law out; 2.)live the way you live till the end of your life and what is the worst - the kid might feel some anger and animosity to you later, because your wife will set him/her against you and be treating you as garbage in front of him/her. I saw and lived some of it. Do it now, when the kid is still a baby, teach him languages - kids may learn 4 languages at a time with no difficulty and confusion. Open the world for him/her not one based solely on "halleluya" and "Sunday's routines", but give him/her some more - normal life. Father is as important in life of a kid as a mother is. You have to do something, Welshguyinpola, for the sake of your kid, yourself and the family in general. In doing this you are not a bad guy, you simply put everything in its place. Good luck, Welshguy!
welshguyinpola 23 | 463  
2 Jun 2009 /  #27
who needs to know it anyway

Who the **** needs to know Polish McCoy? The puny 40 million ppl living i n Poland? It is aboput preserving one's culture, a sense of pride. Imagine the Polish language was all but wiped out, wouldnt you still try to hang on to it?

Thanks everyone here for your words

I would just like to know if anyone else her has problems being married to a Pole. What are the nature of these problems?
BevK 11 | 248  
2 Jun 2009 /  #28
This shite happens always to a guy who loves, who is respectful, thoughtful etc. The more you love a woman, the more you will lose a princess in her.

That can cut both ways, believe me! Lost count of the women I know who tear themselves apart over men who are way below them rather than be alone for a while.
Cardno85 31 | 976  
2 Jun 2009 /  #29
From the overall description of welshguy's wife's behavior, i would conclude it's about control.
If the kid speaks Welsh, then he/she can talk to welshguy in a language the mother does not understand. And she loses control over their communication. She cannot interfere in the coversation, she doesn't know if they're not saying things she wouldn't like them to say. From what I read, I get an image of a woman who wants to have complete control over her son's upbringing, and such control is impossible when the child and the father can communicate in a language unknown to her.

If that is a case (and I think it is) could a possible way of dealing with it be to offer to teach her some phrases and things in Welsh, encourage her to join in when you are teaching your son Welsh. That way she doesn't feel like she is losing a means of communication but rather gaining one...which would help with your [welshguy] parents as well :)
nonibuns - | 2  
3 Jun 2009 /  #30
Well I am a Jamaican, who is dating a Polish man his English is not too good but we already know we want to get married and we have no issues with our children speaking Polish and learning Patois, and speaking English, I thinkit makes for a better rounded individual. Im looking forward to the challenges. But I need some advice. Can any Polish men tell me what, traditionally do you expect of a woman, I want to pklease my man as he does everything to please me.

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