Why won’t he just change? Why nobody believes in us as a couple? What if you had that huge argument, is that the end? How to differentiate real feelings from emotions?
If you’ve been wondering about this, this is an episode for you! In this interview with Anna-Marie Donkor, we dive into her intercultural relationship and explore her real experience, with her Ghanaian husband.
At first, nobody believed in Anna-Marie and her husband, the cultural differences seemed too huge. Nobody believed they will last. Now, people are asking how is it possible that Anna-Marie has such an amazing relationship with a man who happens to be her husband.
We chat through the importance of marrying somebody for whom he really is and accepting him, his family, his culture, his issues and instead of trying to change him, seeking more understanding and ways how you can function as a couple.
Anna-Marie says her mindset completely changed when she got married and this shift actually deepen their relationship. Knowing they are in it for the long run and the importance of really understanding what can make your partner happy or can cause him pain.
She also shares how important it is for her to understand her emotions and be able to resist seeing her partner through the emotions in the heat of the moment.
We get excited talking about the importance of building relationship not only with our partners but mostly with ourselves and being able to motivate ourselves because sometimes were the only person who can lift us up when we are down.
So, even if your relationship and life is like a rollercoaster, pop in those headphones and decide to Screw Being Unhappy!
Connect with Anna-Marie
Connect with Zuzana
Subscribe to the Podcast: Available on 6 platforms!
or watch on YouTube!
Leave a review
Thank you so much listening to my podcast! I’m thrilled you’re here and would be so grateful if you could leave a quick review on Apple podcasts by clicking here, scrolling to the bottom , and clicking „Write a Review“ (Here is a quick video how to do that) or rating the podcast on Spotify (this is how).
Then we’ll get to help even more women to choose to Screw Being Unhappy!
Zuzana Mukumayi 0:11
Hello Anna I am so excited to have you here today. And welcome to the podcast.
Anna-Marie Donkor 0:17
Hi, thank you so much for having me. I’m so happy to be here.
Zuzana Mukumayi 0:21
And let’s start this interview strong. Can you share with us one story about you and your partner you absolutely love sharing with others? And what did you learn from this story?
Anna-Marie Donkor 0:34
Yes, so it’s gonna be a story maybe inspiring, like, inspirational story, because since I started dating my husband, we weren’t even married yet. We just started dating, everybody was telling me like, you will not last long with him. Because it’s due to different cultures, it’s very hard to know. And I was like, love is love, you know? Like, if we love each other, we will last. So now I’m in a stage where even my friends are coming to me and asking me, How can I have this beautiful relationship with my men that you have with your husband? And I’m like, You’re the same people who didn’t actually believe in me and and in our story, but now you see, it’s broken. And you want the advice? You know? That is something that I think is really inspiring. And I’m happy about it.
Zuzana Mukumayi 1:41
yeah, that’s absolutely amazing. And I’m sure as the questions can, we will still dive deeper into why people that are not believing that you want last summer. And I wanted to ask, what were the biggest surprises for you having a partner from Ghana? What surprised you most?
Anna-Marie Donkor 2:04
Before I met him, I didn’t know almost anything about the culture in Africa, or Western Africa, in Ghana, I didn’t know much about it, maybe nothing even. So everything was such a huge chance. We started living together. And I didn’t know how to cook his food. I didn’t know his language. But yeah, he was speaking English. But still, you know. I didn’t understand like his point of view. I didn’t understand the traditions, I didn’t understand the music. Nothing like everything was new for me, when I first entered African church. Wow, that was such a culture shock. I remember till till this day, that was such a cultural shock. So everything was so new. So everything, everything was just a small challenge, you know?
Zuzana Mukumayi 3:10
And actually, what was the toughest thing you ever experienced as a couple? And how did you overcome it? So the amazing women who are listening, maybe that in similar situations, so they can inspire them?
Anna-Marie Donkor 3:24
I think we had to learn how to mix our cultures together. Because my culture is strong. My husband’s culture is strong. And I know that sometimes, some girls that live here in Czech Republic can tell me, but he’s such an African proud African man, and he doesn’t want to change. And I’m like, Girl, if you marry him, why should he change? You both need to find out, find what works for you, but you cannot be 100% African, and he cannot be 100% European, you know, if he wants you to cook his dishes, and you want him to be super affectionate and just like any other European guy, then it’s very hard for you to actually accomplish that. Because you have to learn a lot. You have to understand each other a lot. You have to listen to each other a lot. And so I think don’t try to change anybody. And don’t let anybody completely change. You just find what works for you what works for both of you, and then go from there. Yeah, so I think the hardest thing was to actually not about how people were racist towards us or anything like that. What was really hard was to keep the relationship strong. But inside, not outside, inside, like I know why I chose him. And he should know why he chose me. And what what why are we sticking together? What are we trying to accomplish? Trying to understand each other, although it’s super hard sometimes, especially on the beginnings, because his culture, his whole life is like different than my life. And you have to respect it, because my life isn’t better and his life isn’t better, is just now the mixed and now our life is the best, you know?
Zuzana Mukumayi 5:32
Yeah. And I love that you are saying that I didn’t marry him so I can change him, I embarrass him because he’s the way he is. And that’s what I love about him. So I really love that you’re saying it. And I 100% agree that, I think, I don’t know, if women try to do that more, I have that kind of feeling that we as women, we always aspire to change our men. But that’s exactly why the relationship won’t work. Because the men, we cannot change anybody except of us, right.
Anna-Marie Donkor 6:06
And I really feel like a lot of women, especially women, all types of women here, want to just change their partner is not really what you should expect to do when you’re in a relationship, because it’s like you rather should focus on understanding the partner. And maybe if you don’t trust him fix if you don’t have trust issues, you know, start with yourself. So and when you are dating, or when you are married, interracially it’s even harder, because there’s not even one think that he would do the same way as you, you know. So it’s even harder to be more respectful and to work on yourself and beaten, like, understand that you are not always right. You know.
Zuzana Mukumayi 7:05
And actually, what I also liked, and I was, what I want to pinpoint is that you mentioned that it’s not like one of you or one of your culture is better, like he has his culture, you have yours. And I just love that you mentioned it that because I think this desire to change our partner as women, it often doesn’t come from a bad place. It comes more from like, trying to do better for him trying to do better for the relationship. But inside of it, if we dig deeper, there is this belief that me somehow I am better, that somehow my thinking is better. Somehow my culture is better. So that’s why I really love that you mentioned it that there are two cultures that are very different. And they’re on the same place. There is no one which is better or worse.
Anna-Marie Donkor 7:56
All right, I definitely feel that a lot of what you just said that. Some people may think, Oh, my culture is better than yours. Like, I even know, a girl here in Czech, and, uh, she is she’s not like my friend, we are not that close, like, but I know that she told me that her husband is from some part of Africa, you know? And I was asking her, Okay, are you going there with him? You know? And she said, No, like, she wouldn’t go there, you know? Because, like, what will she do there? You know, she married him and like, what? Why should she go there? You know, for what reason? And, and I asked her, like, did he even want to go with you? And he she said, No, she didn’t even want me to go with him, you know. But I’m like, I’m thinking, if you marry somebody, you marry him, you marry his family, you marry his issues, his illnesses, his goals, but also like, everything about him, you marry it, and you accept it. So me, I cannot imagine being like, I will never go to Ghana, because he has his family there. And that’s my family. We are on the phone every day, messaging each other, talking to each other all the time. So and there are girls that don’t know their husband’s families only because they don’t live in the same country.
Zuzana Mukumayi 9:32
Yeah, no, it’s super important like to really accept that we are not marrying only demand but so many more things. And yeah, thank you for mentioning that because I think often there are some events. I think being in a healthy relationship means that you are able to see and accept even those things you are not so comfortable with or maybe you feel like you don’t like them so much. But I think it’s super important to accept it all and then not try to change it later on. So if it’s fine now, like we, we are in it together, right?
Anna-Marie Donkor 10:13
Yeah, exactly. It’s, of course, like, when you’re dating, interracially everything going to be a problem. But if you really want to stay with the person, and if you’re not the type of person that would break up over anything, then just take it as challenges, you know, and either, you will actually really gain a lot of knowledge. You know, it’s amazing.
Zuzana Mukumayi 10:40
And as we were chatting before I hit the record button you mentioned with your husband you met over two years ago, and you have been married for over a year. So I wanted to ask, like, if you compare yourself now, and in the beginning of your relationship, what changed and why?
Anna-Marie Donkor 11:01
Well, I feel like everything changed, because when he married, when he married, I think that’s when we really started like seeing our life. So seriously, we are always serious, we met each other, we fell in love. And we were like, Okay, let’s find flat, so we can live in that flat. You know, we started planning since the very first start of our relationship. But as soon as we got married, I think we really started being even more. More about that about the planning. My husband always says that now I cook better, because now I’m the wife. So now I know, and I cook everything better. But I take that as a joke, because like, I think I always cook goods, you know. But I definitely think that the mindset is different. Now, when you are a married person, we are both Christians, with my husband. So when you get married, like the mentality, kind of like changes as well. And you also are here for the long run, you know, so you can just divorce just like that because you fight or because you have a misunderstanding or something. So you really start thinking about what makes your partner husband feel good. If maybe this what you said hurt him. So how can you prevent yourself from saying that again, because you don’t want a marriage? Who fights nobody? Fool would want that, you know, so you really work, work work on yourself. And it is really true that marriage equals hard, hard work, you know.
Zuzana Mukumayi 12:54
And I wish I, I was kind of listening to this interview when I was married for the first time. And that’s why I think it’s so important. You’re mentioning that we are in it for a long run. And that we should really stop. But I mean, we are still individuals, but we are also one. And as you said, like thinking, is this what I do or say it does it impact my partner, my husband? How does it impact to him? It’s so important. And this is I think, in the European culture, like in our generation, this is what got lost from the meaning of marriage. Especially you mentioned your Christian, but most of the people in the Czech Republic are not. And I think marriage is something which it lost this kind of feeling we are in it forever. I often we approached the marriage as something, in case it doesn’t work out, we can divorce. And that was my case when I was married for the first time because I completely did not understand what does it mean to be married. We never talked about it before. And I only start understanding it with my husband now. And I have completely different mindset when it comes to marriage as compared to my first marriage. So I’m very happy that you mentioned and I think it’s very helpful for the women who are listening and maybe considering to marry somebody to really sit together and discuss what does it mean to be married and what does it mean also for us? Are we in it for a long run?
Anna-Marie Donkor 14:39
Yeah. I think a lot of people especially in Czech Republic, or Europe, but I think Czech Republic mostly are like, okay, marriage can come and go, you know, what does it mean? It’s just a paper and if it doesn’t work, we take we put the paper away you know and like They don’t take marriage seriously, they don’t work on the marriage. But marriage really, really equals a lot of hard work, you know? So I can see that we are even evolving every day every day. And yeah, of course, there are going to be times when you want to, like, break up with the partner, because oh God, how can he do this? Do that? Or how can she be like this, be like that. But when you’re married, those are the moments where the small challenges come, and you have to learn how to overcome them. Because after all, you love the person so deeply that you cannot imagine living without them again. And that’s really a good message. Because I think many people are just breaking up or divorcing over problems that I think can be fixed, either best therapy, pastors, talk in common communication, anything, but many times those problems can be fixed.
Zuzana Mukumayi 16:04
Yeah, and I think, as you mentioned, that marriage and I think General relationships are really hard, hard work, just learning how to cook with the mindset of when we have arguments, it doesn’t mean it’s the end of the relationship, I think I had a definitely and I believe that many other women are experiencing the same, the moment when we had a bad argument. And when we get really worked up with something that our partner is doing. In our head, we start creating the story like this is the end, I should pack my bags and go back to my country. And we have this kind of catastrophic thinking, and just learning to, to tell our brains that we are arguing it doesn’t mean it’s the end of the relationship. This is really hard, hard work.
Anna-Marie Donkor 16:53
Yeah, yeah. I think the most important part in this process is to really understand your emotions and know in how to actually work with them. So they don’t, they don’t pop in the wrong time, you know, because it’s good to feel the emotions, like I’m hurt, I’m mad, I’m sad, I’m disappointed, whatever. But it shouldn’t be like, the emotion gets so bad, and so big that it gets over your head. And now it’s not you see, in your partner, you’re seeing the partner through the eyes of the emotion, you know, the emotion inside you. So I think it’s a very good advice to start working on the emotions. So you can like, really calm down. Even when you are mad, when you are really ready to fight, you can just calm down and view the situation, clearly, because sometimes we even are like, Oh my god, I really did. overreact. And I shouldn’t have. And maybe I shouldn’t have said that. Maybe I should said that. The other thing you know, and you start thinking like that. So sometimes it’s really good to try to regulate the emotions.
Zuzana Mukumayi 18:19
And to reflect, as you mentioned, like that, often we blow up, some of us start throwing plates, others get quiet hide in the bedroom, we all have different reactions. But what I believe it’s super important is actually to calm down and then reflect back like, what was how could he be feeling why I was feeling this way? Could I react differently in a better way. So I think this is super important. And that’s actually what we do with my clients all the time is to trying to dissect what was going on, reflect and to see how to do it better next time.
Anna-Marie Donkor 18:56
Exactly. And train yourself not to get too into the emotions, like feel them. But that doesn’t mean that when you feel them everybody in the room has to see what is going on. You know, like,
Zuzana Mukumayi 19:11
I love the metaphor, like the the emotions are like the clouds, when there is a big storm, we just see the black clouds. You don’t see any sun and the blue piece of the cloud, but the sun is still there. So that’s the same, we have all these negative emotions. The real person is still inside, even if it’s not seen. So just to share this metaphor because I really love it. And I think it really makes us to look at this in a different way. Yeah. And Anna because this podcast is not only about relationship is generally about life, about work about life abroad about productivity. I wanted to ask, what is really tough for you right now, in any area of your life.
Anna-Marie Donkor 20:02
Right now, for me, it would be my job right now. I don’t mean like, tough, tough, but it’s something that I’m really focused on. And I’m spending a lot of time at work. Plus, I have to be a wife, I do my school. So it’s a lot, it’s a lot of, I have a lot to do, you know, I have a lot of on my schedule. But maybe if you’re talking about love, then I would think what is tough is to sometimes be able, like, allow yourself to feel the pain when somebody comments on you and your partner, you know, because it happens a lot. It happens a lot. On my Instagram, people are messaging me daily. Some people even on the streets, or you know, you get those like stares and stuff like that. So sometimes I just because I usually I’m like, I don’t I don’t feel it. I don’t care if anybody has anything to say they should say it. But sometimes you feel it, you know. So I think the hardest is to like, allow yourself to actually be sad about it that somebody said something sad to you, about you and your partner. Yeah,
Zuzana Mukumayi 21:35
yeah. Yeah. Thank you for sharing that. And why I asked this question is, because we all have shitty days, we all have days, which really suck when you feel like you want to just lie in the bed, eat chocolate and watch Netflix. But what is so important is just to get up the next day and keep working. So thank you for being vulnerable and actually sharing that it’s sometimes hard. And I feel you with the stairs with comments with racism. I know it’s really hard.
Anna-Marie Donkor 22:09
It is it is. But I think the best way is not to comment on it back. You know, when that happens, I don’t really fight back or anything. And as I said, I just rather spend time focusing on me and on my husband, you know, when we relax, we watch a movie, we cuddle and everything is okay. Just like that, you know? So it’s really important to also don’t let all the stress in the world. Get to you and under your skin. And really allow yourself to relax and give yourself some free. Me Time.
Zuzana Mukumayi 22:56
Yes, exactly me time. We all need it. And often we just don’t schedule it, we postpone it. But it’s super important. And actually, this is a perfect segment to the question I wanted to ask, like, what is the one thing that really helps you if you feel down on one of these days, when you feel like you want to just be in a bed and eat chocolate or whatever? What is the one thing which lifts you up?
Anna-Marie Donkor 23:24
My husband? He’s the biggest motivational speaker, you know. So whenever he says I’m sad, or I’m tired, or I’m stressed out for any reason, he comes to me and he starts asking me what is wrong and let’s make you happy. You know, and he he really is amazing in that like, he is a feeler he can feel when you don’t feel good, you know, so he knows what to do how to talk to you. He give me a massage. He starts talking to me and he calmed me down he know how to calm me down but he also know how to motivate me to achieve more, which I think is so important. So that’s something I appreciate what I do when I feel down and low. I just dance or I think or because that’s something I enjoy doing. Or I go I cook you know, those are things that I enjoy doing and I don’t really have to think about them. So yeah, that’s what I do.
Zuzana Mukumayi 24:34
Some amazing tips like when we feel down because by I asked these questions also to get new ideas also for me and for the women who are listening, what we can try when we have sucky day. So having a person who always lifts us out who can give us the pep talk and make us feel excited about the next day or just cooking dancing dancing is amazing ever Just dancing with my son earlier on to his toy, and you can feel the energy. So it always helps. And thank you for sharing that. And the last question I have for you is, what inspires you and why?
Anna-Marie Donkor 25:18
For me, it’s got, because me and my husband, we are Christians, we go to church, so, of course, it’s God. And then it’s my husband, he inspires me a lot. He, because what I love about him is that he sets the goals, and he really achieves them anything that he sets, he is going to achieve it, you know, so that’s such a motivation, you know, when you have a person like that, and then who motivates me. I don’t know what me, me, I motivate myself as well. Because I think sometimes you have to, like, if you feel bad, you know, and you, you don’t feel bad. When you feel bad, just look in the mirror and talk to yourself, you know, and, and imagine where you will be in one year, or five years. And how inspiring that would be if you would achieve it. And not be sad looking at yourself in the mirror, but actually go and do something, you know. So yeah, I think that is something that you can try as well.
Zuzana Mukumayi 26:36
And, actually, my cheeks are painting right now because I keep smiling. And I think this was a perfect thing, how to end this interview, that we should be the main people who motivate ourselves because sometimes we don’t have the amazing partner. Sometimes we don’t have the friends or family and the only person we always have, it’s ourselves. And it’s so important to find this relationship with ourselves. And as you said, to look in the mirror, smile, make high five or whatever and just say, look, what I have done, what they have achieved, and I can do anything I want in my life. So thank you for sharing this.
Anna-Marie Donkor 27:20
It is so important. Because if you don’t have a partner, or if you even have him, you don’t know nothing, something can happen, you will lose your partner, you will break up and now you would lose yourself. So always, always know that you will be fine. Even if you don’t have the partner. Not that I am telling you don’t be with him about just like make sure that you are strong and that you are okay. If you have him or not. Yeah,
Zuzana Mukumayi 27:54
yeah, thank you, Anna Marie, for being here with us today. super inspiring. And you share your journey on Instagram. And yeah, I think following there. i That’s how we actually met because I started reading both your writing and where can people find you?
Anna-Marie Donkor 28:18
You can find me on my instagram, at @annamariedonkor I don’t know how to pronounce it for you because you won’t be I think maybe you can write that in the show notes as well.
Zuzana Mukumayi 28:30
It will be in the show notes and thank you again for being here today. It was super exciting to have you by doubleheader bread bread social cinema.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai