May 23

Language Barriers In Relationships

In 2006, my husband and I embarked on an adventure of a lifetime. We were seriously stressed out in our jobs and needed some 'self care' so took 6 months off and travelled the world.

While we were in China, Yangshuo to be precise, I had a really bad bout of Cystitis. Now obviously being English, we were in a non English speaking part of China. (And obviously why would they speak English. We are so lazy as a culture for speaking other languages, sorry we just are) We encountered a huge language barrier. So anyway we tried really hard to write down in mandarin and using the Chinese letters of how to get antibiotics for my cystitis. I used to suffer with this in my late teens a lot and knew the signs easily so just needed antibiotics to cure it.

We tried so hard in the pharmacies and trying to explain bladder infection, urinary infection, antibiotics, tummy pain and burning on urination, but had no luck. Eventually after 3 hours of walking around the village, me in pain and having to stop every 5 minutes for a wee, we went back into one pharmacy with our anti malaria tablets and tried to show them while drawing a picture of a urinary tract (my veterinary background came in handy then) that they finally understood what we needed. We were just about to give up but perseverance kept saying just keep going you will get there and we did.

So the moral of this story is when you are having issues in your relationship, try different communication tactics as one of them will work. It might mean trying different things to actually get the message across that you are wanting to but just as we found out in China, perseverance always pays off.

You could try broaching the subject carefully if you know what you want to say or you could just come out with it. Remember communication is key to whatever troubles you are facing. And try to face them together. Remember 2 heads are better than one if you are struggling with anxiety or stress. Just talk to each other.

Your partner is the one who knows your the most so you should be able to talk to them. If you cant, then find other ways of communication like we did in China. Try drawing how you feel or writing it in a journal or a letter for your partner to read and take it all in. Whatever it is that is bothering you, know that someone will help you to get it out and they will be there for you. Trust that you know what you want and you will if you listen to your body and mind. You are doing this because you care and need to talk. Trust in the process.

Let me know your thoughts and what have you been through before that you needed more communication than you thought you would and how did you get around that. I'd love to know. Have you ever been in the same situation I have where there was a huge language barrier but got there in the end. Leave a comment below.

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Jonathan Tayron
May 26, 2021

Here I agree, two heads are better than one. Maybe I'm just that kind of person. but traveling with a wife is much more pleasant than traveling alone. We had so many ideas that we could explore almost all the places where we rested in a week. Now in the world of information technology, many people no longer want to learn another language, because you can always find a translator on the phone, type a sentence and reproduce it with a voice message. This is both good and bad.

Joan Wilson
May 25, 2021

Such an interesting article! love your content.