If you’re new around here, you should know that I’m married to a pretty cool French dude named Tom. He appreciates a fine meal, dresses sharp and insists on wearing slippers in the house. Being in an intercultural relationship can be quite an experience, so here are 6 things that are totally true when your husband is French!
Things that are true when your husband is French
This is a humorous look at things in my life as an American married to a French guy and is no way indicative of every French or European guy out there. So please don’t think I’m grouping all French guys together or saying your experience will be anything like mine!
You will argue about what time to eat dinner.
Unless you like eating dinner late, you and your French spouse will probably disagree over what time to eat dinner. We often compromise but if I had it my way, we’d be eating dinner at 7 p.m. nightly. I go to bed early and when we eat late, I feel like I go to bed with a full stomach. Yuck.
So how do we decide what time to eat? Sometimes we do rock, paper, scissors and other times I try to get my way and lose. I’ve also said on nights I cook, “Well, If I’m the one cooking, I decide what time dinner is served.” But then Tom counters, “Well, we’re in France, so we should eat late like the French.” Yeah, but I’m American and I want to eat sooner rather than later. Compromise, friends, compromise. On any given night we probably eat dinner around 8 p.m., sometimes later. I lose a lot.
You’ll have plenty of hilarious misunderstandings that stem from pronunciation errors or word mix-ups.
Just the other night Tom was telling me about something about France, but I kept hearing the word friends and was so confused that I had to stop him and ask what his friends have to do with the rest of the story. I quickly realized he was saying France (something like this is a rarity because his pronunciation is fantastic 99% of the time, so I was really confused). Some other hilarious misunderstandings come from pronunciations of these words.
When you mess up with the in-laws, you can blame it on cultural differences.
Having in-laws that don’t speak your mother tongue is both a blessing and a curse. When I mess up French or set the table wrong or choose the wrong appetizer, I can just say that this is how we do it in the US and since I’m American, it’s totally normal so don’t hold it against me. Most of the time I know how things are done in France, but I just opt to do things the American way in my own home. Blaming cultural differences gets me out of trouble every time. Besides, it’s a learning experience, right?
You will always have a cheese course.
No meal is complete without the obligatory cheese course. Amen for that. It doesn’t have to be fancy or include a huge variety of cheeses on a fancy slate if you’re making a simple meal at home. Just make sure you have a hunk of something creamy in the fridge and that should suffice. But if you’re having a special meal with guests, a selection of cheeses is a must! I’ve developed a strong liking to goat cheese. Who knew there were so many varieties?
You whip out your snacks and he won’t be interested.
Maybe some French people snack but in general the French tend to stick to mealtimes. I’m not talking about scarfing down loads of unhealthy food, but an apple or handful of almonds here or there would not be overly common for a French person. Tom’s gotten on the snacking bandwagon a little bit but I have to say most French people aren’t big snackers (aside from the late afternoon gouter for kids around 4 p.m.). Even commercials and snack food packages tell the French to NOT snack (which I personally think is off base since snacking can be healthy).
People will butcher your last name.
Diane War-Werg-Varny-Vern. Sorry, how do you say that? In the U.S., that’s something I hear regularly at doctors’ offices, when I have to call my credit card company or any time someone needs to pronounce my full name.
If your last name is Smith or something equally simple to pronounce, you might be in for a surprise when the French call you “Smees” since the “th” sound is hard to say and doesn’t exist in French. When you get married, you’ll be psyched about your cool new last name. When a French guy puts a ring on it, it means you get a fancy new last name that will have your friends and family tongue tied!