Your website saved my marriage!

Dear Bella, your website saved my marriage. Thirteen years ago I married a wonderful Bolivian man. We've only traveled to Bolivia twice in the time we've been married, and both times were short trips, not enough to really get to know much about the country. I never really realized how much our cultural differences affected our ability to communicate with each other or how important it was to him that I take an interest in his background until about a year ago when I stumbled upon your site. I was so intrigued by it, and the information you share in such a personal manner really caught my attention. I've spent countless hours on your site and I've probably devoured every page by now. We were close to divorce but when I began to understand more about Bolivia, and the mentality and where my husband comes from I began to see things differently and looked for ways to improve the way we communicate. He noticed I was making an effort and began to make an effort too, we became more tolerant and understanding of each other. We've even taken to cooking together - we visit your recipes page a lot! We decided to give our marriage another try and actually found a bicultural marriage counselor. Today we're so much happier and we recently renewed our vows. Thank you so much! Keep up the life-changing good work. I'm sure there must be a lot of other people who visit your site who've been moved by it as much as we have.

Greetings from K and O in Richmond, VA.

Comments for Your website saved my marriage!

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Sep 23, 2013
by: dan

god i hope i never become more bolivian and never learn to value or accept bolivian values.

-opinion after living here three years.

Oct 18, 2011
you saved your marriage :-)
by: BoliviaBella

Dear K and O, your message is so touching. I'm sure the success of your marriage is completely due to your own efforts and the fact that you were both still willing to make it work, but it's so awesome of you to write in and share this.

You know, you make one very valid point that I personally understand very well. I'm not Bolivian, but I've lived overseas for so many years that it's become hard to answer the question "where are you from?" We are so influenced by our surroundings that asking a person "where are you from" is almost just another way of asking them "who are you really?"

I may not be able to answer that question easily, but what I do know, is that it's incredibly important to me that anyone who wants to get truly close to me show an interest in learning about BOTH sides of who I am - the part of me that is American and the part of me that is a foreigner. To not make that effort for me would be to not fully know and understand the real me.

Bi-cultural or cross-cultural relationships can be really, really hard. Little differences can become big.

For example, there are times when Latin Americans can be very sentimental and effusive and way more emotionally outspoken than Americans, and at times they are more reserved than Americans. If you don't understand the context of that, it could be easy for that to lead to misunderstandings, uncomfortable moments or disagreements. Things you take for granted, or consider general knowledge in the US could be new to the other person, something they still have to learn about. It can take years for a foreigner to really learn how to live in the U.S., and vice versa, people don't often realize how much time it can really take. It can feel overwhelming.

Learning about a person's contexts or background is so important to understanding who they are and why. Anyone willing to make the additional great efforts it takes to make this kind of relationship work is truly a person worthy of making an effort for too.

I'm really happy you both saw and valued the importance of that.


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