How Living Abroad Made Our Marriage Stronger

How Living Abroad Made Our Marriage Stronger

Learn how this couple made it through the struggles of living abroad.

“After all,” Anne had said to Marilla once,
“I believe the nicest and sweetest days are not those on
which anything very splendid or wonderful or exciting happens
but just those that bring simple little pleasures,
following one another softly, like pearls slipping off a string.”
– L.M. Montgomery | Anne of Avonlea

marriage living abroad

I read an article that one of the hardest things a couple can experience in a marriage is change. Sometimes you can only relate if you really experienced it first-hand.

As you all might know, we have moved to different countries, changed jobs, lived in different houses, experienced a semi-long distance marriage and lived with my in-laws (not that it’s hard, mind you, they are the kindest and warmest people I’ve ever met) in a span of just 6 years.

Very early in our married life, we experienced and continue to experience one of the hardest challenges a couple can have that can put a toll on their marriage. Honestly, I do not know how we are able to do it. With our every move, there is a lesson learned, a story to tell and a new milestone reached. I am no expert on relationships, and I just want to share my two cents from what I learned over the years from our expat lifestyle:

Pushed us out of our comfort bubble

La-di-da-da, we’ve heard it how many times, right? But actually living out of our comfort zone is quite an adventure – sometimes hard, often fun! While everybody back home is living their daily grind – 9 to 5 jobs, dinner with friends, holidays celebrated with family, us on the other hand, is trying to figure out and struggling to ask locals of what we need, or researching where is the nearest grocery, and other basic necessities we need to run our daily lives.

Basically, everything is like a maze and we always work our way out of little things. We eat new food that sometimes we don’t know (or can’t even read) what it is, meet new interesting people and learn to get around new places with foreign signs.

Brought us closer to each other and are stronger together

Living abroad is the best thing for our marriage; it brought us closer and stronger together. Living just the two of us, in a foreign country, with no friends and family, is not easy and you rely solely on each other. We do everything literally together – we love, admire, respect, hate, scream, argue all at the same time to each other with no one to share what we are going through. Relying on just each other, even on tough times makes us closer than ever. We know how to push each other’s buttons but at the same time know how to hash it out. Being on each other’s throat – makes us stronger and I would not have it any other way. Stronger + continuously improving, our marriage is always a work-in-progress, I like that! I feel like we have a deeper marriage bond because of this everything-but-normal-life we share.

Also read: Travel More for a Stronger Relationship

Got creative with things

You learn to get creative with things if your resources are not available. While living in Africa with our dogs, both of them need monthly visit to the groomer, (especially I got used to this lady from North Carolina, which by the way is the best groomer they ever had), and being uprooted to this necessities that the dogs need pushed me to learn how to cut their hair. Thanks to YouTube, a couple of messed up cuts later; I actually learned how to groom them from head to tail. It’s been 2 to 3 years that I have learned to groom my dogs well enough to not send them to the groomers anymore. Not to mention, it saved us thousands of dollars over the years and the years to come.

I also learned to make our favourite food that we cannot buy or we don’t have access to from scratch. Basically, a lot of Filipino food and desserts I learned to do from scratch and learned to find alternative ingredients if not available. My baking and cooking skills are honed by my expat lifestyle, which I am very thankful of because I learned a new fondness, and fell in love completely in baking and cooking.

Made a lot more meaningful memories

Yes, true enough you can make memories anywhere but living and travelling abroad makes you see things in different perspectives. This is when we make the best and meaningful memories that beg to be told again and again. We immerse ourselves to different cultures, and see it with our fresh eyes. Living on the go, the moments are priceless. Nothing can replace the experiences we made travelling, if only I could freeze these moments, put it in the fridge, thaw it out when we’re old and grey and in need of something to keep us warm again.

Also read: How to Survive Travelling with Your Partner

Sacrifices have to be made

For us, what’s important is our marriage. We vowed to have a life together, one that we are really together. I believe that living together, physically being there together, is the only choice even if it means that I have to quit jobs, follow him across the globe with the dogs in tow and even if it means moving and uprooting the current life we got used to, again and again. Trust me, it’s hard, lonely at times, friends and family that you’ll leave behind but all we can do is to face the reality of the current situation and move on. We are brave.

Also read: How To Spark the Romance When Travelling With Your Partner

True enough, that change, changed us even though we miss a normal / settled life, and the people we left behind. On the other hand, we are gaining experiences, both physically and emotionally about our lives, about us, and that we are conquering the world one step at a time.

We would not have it any other way.

And so, here are the simple pleasures that can perhaps be missed with the changing, the moaning and the frustrating, like a pearl slipping off a string. Here is us, our new home, our little family, some of the best pearls. One pearl, two pearls, slipping off a strand – lessons are learned, stories are made, and that’s truly our life’s simple pleasures.

Contributed by A Travelogue by Brock and Tanj.

About Author

Brock and Tangerine

Brock and Tangerine are husband and wife, who documents their life and travels at A Travelogue by Brock and Tanj. They have been expats for the last 10 years, and have lived in 4 countries across 3 continents with dogs in tow. Currently, they are on a mission to see 100 countries and are halfway there!

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