A western man’s take on working with his Ukrainian wife

Ukrainian bride

Jeff is an American guy married to a Ukrainian wife. This couple has their own business which is hugely successful. I’ve interviewed Jeff who has given me the permission to share his insights here.

Open the lines of communication.

Because Jeff runs his business with his Ukrainian wife, he understands that communicating what it is they need in order to feel supported truly helps. “Nobody can give me what I want unless I tell them what it is,” says Jeff, “Romantic movies told us that true love means somebody can magically read your mind and meet all of your needs without you having to speak up, it’s totally bogus, and if you are waiting for that kind of love, get ready to be waiting forever.”

Indeed, lack of communication is the cause of so much unnecessary stress, angst and drama in life. If you want to do less stress, do less rushing, and do less resenting of your Ukrainian wife or other people in your life, Jeff recommends becoming proactive.

“When I was young, I was raised with toxic ideas of masculinity, i.e. I’m a weak man if I ask for help,” says Jeff, “But then I realized that is not true. In fact, asking for help shows incredible strength because it means I want to do better.”

The logistics of marriage:

Once you understand that you will possibly choose business partners, life partners, and even inner-circle friends who will trigger your deepest wounds so you have a chance to heal in a tremendous way, and you are happy to do that healing work which will continue for the rest of your life anyway, then you can move on to the logistics of living in a true partnership.

“If you don’t acknowledge that whatever conflicts exist between you and your Ukrainian wife are probably not about the content of the actual conflict, you will get caught up in the trap of trigger loops, and then you won’t rise above hurt and blame,” says Jeff, “My wife from Ukraine and I occasionally had conflicts, which is inevitable, because we run a business together. But I always know that it’s not about those surface-level things. I look at deeper value systems.”

Jeff and his Ukrainian bride share their calendars on Google Calendars. He can see everything on her calendar and she sees everything on his calendar. If Jeff has something he is doing that is related to something that he doesn’t want her to know for some reason (such as a surprise birthday party), he simply names it ‘secret’.

Anytime Jeff wonders where his Ukrainian lady is or what she has going on, he only needs to open his cell phone and there are all of her events in pink on his calendar (his events are in blue). This strategy helps a lot as Jeff doesn’t have to ask her what’s going on – he simply checks his phone.

Sharing their calendars isn’t sufficient. They also have a rule that if the other person needs to be present at an event they have scheduled, they should send them a calendar invite, and they can’t assume that they will see the event themselves and know they should be present. For example, if Jeff has planned a movie night, he sends her a Google calendar invite. If his Ukrainian woman has scheduled a date night, she sends him an invite. If they are meeting a plumber together, Jeff sends her an invite. In this way, they have saved lots of arguments caused by misunderstanding and lack of clarity. Google calendar invite is the best invention ever because they don’t have to depend on their ability to remember to tell the other person events when they are together in person. What a game changer! Some households may prefer to have a physical calendar up on the wall or on the fridge where everybody in the family could see it and add their own events to the calendar. Jeff and his Ukrainian wife will implement this strategy when their kids are a bit older. For now, they simply have their calendars on their phones and computers, so no matter where they are, they know what’s going on in their lives.

Regular meetings at home:

Jeff and his lady from Ukraine run an online business, so they work from home. Don’t assume that the shared calendars as well as calendar invites should be enough to keep them on the same page in terms of scheduling. In reality, there are things that come up unexpectedly, leaving one or the other of them feeling disappointed or unsupported. As a result, Jeff and his wife have decided to have a weekly meeting at home where they talk through the week, day by day, to highlight the important events during this week. This usually happens on Sunday night so that they can get ready for the next week. They oftentimes realize during their weekly meeting that they have to hire a babysitter who they have forgotten to hire, that they must ask their neighbor to watch their son for two hours to give them a grace period to get back from urgent appointments, or that one or the other of them has made an appointment and forgotten to send an invite. They usually look at the coming week carefully and give the next week a quick overview. In this way, they have a good idea of what’s going on.

“Overcommunicating about scheduling may look overkill, it’s one of the most important strategies to make sure our lives run smoothly,” says Jeff, “Neither me nor my Ukrainian wife feels like we are the only one thinking about the household schedule. Instead of having scheduling surprises rock up that leave us scrambling, we could use the element of surprise in our marriage for surprising presents or an unexpected date night.”

During their weekly meetings, Jeff and his woman from Ukraine also check in with each other. They see whether anything has rocked up during the previous week that needs to be talked about emotionally or logistically. Oftentimes, this part of the meeting is only several minutes, yet occasionally it can be two hours heart-to-heart that has made them feel more connected and more supported. Apart from that, Jeff and his Ukrainian mail-order bride also have a fortnightly financial meeting which usually happens every second Tuesday. Showing up together for their finances once a fortnight is important. During their financial meeting, they look at what’s in their business bank account, they transfer a certain amount of money into another bank account for their daily necessities, one for their personal wants, one for savings, and one for taxes. Although they can make these automatic online; however, they enjoy doing it manually. Then this couple look at their financial goals and check in with what’s happening with their money and how they are feeling about their personal finances.

“Love isn’t about looking at each other’s eyes all the time. Love is about two people looking at the samedirection.”

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