When you start dating someone, the last thing you think about is having arguments. I mean, honeymoon stage, right? Before Mario and I started dating, the biggest thing that I worried about was speaking Spanish. I was so shy and nervous about speaking because I thought everyone would laugh at my American accent. I even laugh at my own American accent! How was I supposed to get the rolling r’s right or the way the words seemed to flow off their tongue? My mouth got stuck forming words and I tripped up trying to conjugate verbs. For me, speaking Spanish was the last thing I wanted to do.
So, in the beginning, Mario and I mainly spoke English. I practiced my Spanish on occasion, and Mario tried to have me practice more often. I was so self-conscious speaking around someone who spoke Spanish fluently. Yes, silly things to worry about, but when learning a new language, these are normal worries! As y’all may know, the honeymoon stage doesn’t last forever. And eventually the cultural differences and language barriers created some miscommunication between us. I can STILL remember our first big argument we had! It was one of the longest arguments I’ve ever had in a relationship! The main reason? We couldn’t understand each other…
I’m not one to air out my dirty laundry and Mario definitely isn’t one to share his business, but for the sake of this story, I’ll have to share what actually happened.
Well, from my point of view haha! I think it was a Friday or Saturday and we were trying to figure out if we wanted to go out or stay home. I was feeling like a bum and didn’t feel like making an effort to try and make conversations with people who either spoke too fast for me or didn’t include me in the conversation. Mario decided to talk out why I felt like no one ever talked to me. We ended up not understanding each other’s points of view, mainly because of the cultural difference.
I kept arguing that he couldn’t understand me. He kept countering with the fact that I was in Spain now, not the United States, so things were different there. Well, I’m a bit dramatic, so I was upset that he didn’t agree with me. Our upbringing in different cultures caused us to REALLY not understand each other! I kept pushing back and telling him my point of view. He kept pushing back and telling me about the culture in Spain! Ugh, aren’t the women always supposed to be right?
The Language Barrier
Now that I’m summarizing to y’all what happened, it seemed like a pretty short argument. I think in actuality, we argued from 10:30pm to around 1am! And the real heat of the argument was our language barrier. This was in a point in our relationship when my Spanish had improved immensely, so we spoke primarily in Spanish with English sprinkled into our conversations. Y’all, have you tried to argue in a foreign language? If you have and you succeeded, amen to you! If you have and struggled hardcore, I am totally with you!
I remember Mario kept trying to ask me to speak and explain myself in Spanish because it was easier for him to understand. Being angry, I could barely conjugate a verb or form a sentence! Also, I couldn’t express my frustration or anger the same way as using English! I was speaking faster and using a lot of slang words that Mario didn’t understand. He was speaking faster in Spanish and using slang words and cutting his conjugations that I could barely keep up! I was attempting to translate his arguments in my head but I remember it got to a point that my brain felt SO tired trying to understand him. Eventually, he switched to English and that made me even more frustrated because now we were arguing slowly because we had to try to understand each other. I think I even cried out of frustration (
not anger) because I was so upset he couldn’t just understand me HAHA.
The resolution to the argument? We both got tired of arguing and forgot what we were arguing about because it was being dragged on for so long. Seriously, imagine trying to switch back from English and Spanish, with the other person not being able to understand you completely. It was a mess. I think I repeated myself multiple times in English, using slang and phrases that Mario didn’t know or didn’t understand. I switched to Spanish to say one or two words that I could conjugate correctly, but it really made no sense.
We ended up laughing about the whole debacle because it was late and we wanted to sleep! The next day we talked it through and took the time to translate anything that we both didn’t understand. Even though my Spanish skills have really improved by my second year, every time I’m frustrated, my Spanish flies out the window. I’m not sure if it’s just me, but expressing my frustration and anger in a foreign language doesn’t feel right! I need to convey my emotions with the right verbs!
Have any of y’all argued or bickered with your significant other in a different language? Or anyone in general argue in a second language? Can you pass along your tips?!