Set the Tone


The day after we moved in together my husband asked me to marry him while I was doing the washing up. It was romantic to me because it was spontaneous and authentic.

I met him 3 months prior and we fell in love with abandon.

We had lots of obstacles in our way, coming from different cultures, speaking different native languages, living in a different country to where we were both born. All positives to me, I embraced the unknown and started learning Portuguese.

I could see no downside to the fairytale until we argued and I realised how easy it was for tone to get lost in translation.

For years it was our favourite argument, the tone in which he or I spoke or replied to one another & how we would interpret that based on our own cultural understanding.

I remember one time when we first started dating, we went to order some takeaway and at the counter the server asked my boyfriend (husband) what drink he would like & he replied, Coke, in what I perceived to be quite an abrupt tone, I thought it was rude he didn’t say please or thank you.

I mentioned this to him as we left and he was genuinely surprised, he said that this is how he would respond in Brazil and that the tone of his voice implied the please and possibly it was his accent that made his response sound more abrupt, he had no intention to be rude. I explained to him that maybe that was acceptable in Brazil but in England or Australia that to be courteous a please or thank you is expected.

13 years later we are still learning from each other and some things we agree to disagree on as our cultural beliefs based on our different upbringings don’t always align. I also like to discuss an issue as it happens & my husband would rather wait and talk about it later which can be extremely frustrating but other times provides a better outcome.

I think the thing that I’ve come to understand about having a long term relationship is that what is important besides loving each other is being able to communicate to a level of empathy and managing expectations so the other person feels considered. Don’t call 5mins before you are expected home to a wife and newborn to say you are having after work drinks, plan ahead and offer a reciprocal break to your partner at her convenience.

It’s all about give and take and most importantly having a break, letting your partner be an individual to strengthen the team, the first word or response can set the tone but a hug or apology will flip it & reverse it ❤️

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