Tuesday, February 27, 2007

French Husband, American Wife...


This is a little late for Valentine's Day, but I know a lot of my readers are American women married to French men. If you have love on your mind at the moment, you might be intrigued by the release of a new book by Polly Platt due out in September 2007. Entitled "Love à la française, The Supreme French Exception", it deals with marriages between French men and American women.

The first three tips for success, according to an advance article about the book on Expatica, are:

"— First and foremost, learn the language.
— Learn to cook. 'It's not essential, but it helps.'
— Learn to get along with your mother-in-law. 'Have every Sunday lunch if you have to!'"

Does this advice seem pertinent to you? What do you think of the whole list of ten tips which can be found in the article? They seem rather stereotypical and old-fashioned to me, but perhaps they'll ring true to some of you....
(Image courtesy of Hugh Macleod from gapingvoid -- and do check out his great blog of "cartoons drawn on the back of business cards.")

10 comments:

Jennifer said...

I don't see why learning to cook would be critical to success. Because this country is known for its love of good food? Still, I don't think that item belongs in the "marriage success" department.

Betty C. said...

It may be different in big cities, but I find that in rural France the women still do almost all of the cooking, even if they work and even if the couple is from a fairly "educated" background.

Fortunately I like to cook, also my hubby "takes what he gets" -- he understands if the food is not so great during the week when I'm busy. But I have a hard time imagining his taking over cooking duties, and I don't know many couples where this task is shared.

meredith said...

I agree completely with number one, learn the language or eachother's languages, but as for the rest of the list, I think it depends on the people involved.

Jann said...

I love Polly Platt-what more can i say!

barbara said...

Hi Betty,
This is my first time at your blog !
I have had the oppurtunity to take a course on "Living in France" by Polly Platt in Paris.
She was a very interesting lecturer that had tons of experience .

We are also a French-US couple.
The language part was correct... , my French improved, and his English got worse !!
The cooking part, not so for us,
but belle-maman...
She was a hard nut to crack.

See you soon !

Betty C. said...

Linda of "Frenchless in France" (www.lindamathieu.com) sent me the following comment but was not able to publish it for some reason.

Betty-I just tried to leave a message on your blog but my message wasn't allowed since my computer blocks some sort of cookies. I just said that there isn't that much difference between marriage to a Frenchman and an American. My French husband knows a mistress is a deal breaker and I am out of here and says it is a cliche. His mother died years ago so that isn't an issue. Food is important to him. Luckily, I like to cook. I don't know how Patty can write this article as she has never been married to a Frenchman. Interesting.

Tinsie said...

Learning the language and becoming familiar with household administration is essential. Showing respect to the "host" family (not just the MiL) and keeping your sense of humour also help. The rest... well, let's say I know several mixed marriages (including my own) where none of these apply, and they're still successful.

IslandGirl4Ever2 said...

First of all, I read her other book.. French or Foe, was it? She said it wasn't a good thing to smile at people in Paris, lest they find you simple-minded.. I find this untrue and have encountered many friendly French people in Paris.. in fact, all over France.. I speak French.. maybe that helps.. Anyhow.. I am American/hubby is French.. et VOILA.. we are true soul-mates and we met online... Yahoo Recontre's a few years ago... I LOVE to cook, I speak French, and we go chez belle-maman.. ALMOST every Sunday... so all three apply and work for me.. but if I didn't speak French.. we would have NEVER met in the first place since he doesn't speak English.. well, at least my friend's say he is pretty good in English.. we have not yet had a conversation in English.. As I said, I LOVE to cook.. but if I didn't or couldn't we'd definitely be in BIG trouble cuz he doesn't cook... I read the top ten list a while ago so I don't remember what it said.. but I don't really believe in all of those things anyhow.. It depends more on the relationship the couple has with one another and each of their personalities...

Betty C. said...

I think the "no smile" behaviour was more prevalent twenty years ago. It's true that the French aren't big toothy smilers like Americans, but I see them smiling more and more in customer service situations.

cityfarmer said...

I just re read your advice....

let's chat sometime