I was quiet. I have spent a wonderful short break with my son visiting friends, sightseeing elephants, crocodiles, and even wildebeest, enjoying hikes, a gallery visit, and my favourite Thai food. I completely forgot about the outer world. Upon coming back home last Wednesday, we woke up to a different world. I did not feel like saying anything on social media, it felt utterly inadequate. I was processing what was going on, letting myself cry, feel devastated, shocked, scared, angry. After a couple of days, I made some sense out of all this and I am finally ready to share it.
Love will always be there, even if it sounds like the worst cliché ever
Over all the nonsense and destruction of war, there is one thing that helps me right now.
The hope that LOVE will always be there, even in midst of destruction, and who cares what are the nationalities, cultures or religions.
Each of us has a way to cope with the new reality that there is a war now. My own coping strategy is to read the real stories of love during the past wars. I decided to focus on love, in my own life as well as in supporting other women to have the relationships of their dreams.
During the weekend I read a book GI Brides: The Wartime Girls Who Crossed the Atlantic for Love which describes the story of four British women marrying US soldiers during WWII.
Reading about love during the previous world wars gives me hope and an awfully big admiration for what people went through. Their strength to get up every day and keep putting their feet in front of another. Because there was no other choice.
Drawing strength from the past
As many as 300,000 war brides left to the US from the UK, Germany, France, Italy, Philippines, Japan, Australia, or New Zealand after the end of WWII. That included mixed relationships with African American soldiers in the time when interracial marriages were still illegal in a number of US states.
While states were at war, men and women from the enemy (and allied) states were falling in love. There were US soldiers marrying German women, and later on, South Korean and Vietnamese women. Iraq war was no exception and over a thousand Iraqi women married US soldiers.
There were war brides from different countries leaving for Canada, Australia or New Zealand too.
Firstly, I want to share this with you because I find it so inspirational, interesting, and fascinating. Secondly, I think there are many parallels between intercultural couples then and now and we can always learn from others.
GI Brides was an excellent portrait of the cultural and language differences the British war brides had to overcome when moving to a new country and a quite different culture (even if it doesn’t seem so!).
Moving from London to a remote small town in the US Midwest, confronting the imagination of how the US will be with the much harsher reality, realizing that their partners are quite different men when the war was over, getting to know them in the everyday reality, facing hatred for some sectors of society and negative newspaper coverage of opportunism and decline of the marriages (even if the actual divorce rate of war couples was lower than the national average!). Funny language differences of British and American English were another, even if on a lighter note, of many challenges.
Why positivity should ask for permission?
Even if there are many challenges being in intercultural relationships and we hear many voices stating that intercultural relationships don’t work and usually only the worst cases are brought up to the public, I believe that there are many couples who have wonderful relationships even if it was not always easy and they had their good deal of tests.
Our role is to lead by example. To show that it can work. To show, that love is above nationalities, borders, or whims of politicians or dictators who decide if there is peace or war. Sometimes it doesn’t come for free, but which long-lasting relationship does? We are all the same people.
That is why I keep doing what I started even in these trying times. I keep supporting women who have a partner from a different country so they can figure out the challenges and have a wonderful relationship. Every drop in the ocean of love and peace counts. Even if it seems inadequate to talk about improving our relationships and focusing on living the relationship of our dreams compared to the horrors happening right now, what really lifted me up was something my coach, Sarah, said:
“War didn’t ask for permission to destroy beauty. Why beauty should ask permission to come out during the war?”Sarah Walton
And I say, hell yes to beauty. The beauty of love. Brining more negativity into the world does not help anybody. Let´s do our best to inject some positivity into the world.
That is why I am sharing the free video training for you to learn how to avoid the three common mistakes that can seriously destroy your relationship. The training will give you the clarity and confidence to build the relationship of your dreams. Because if the world crumbles, the love can lift us up. If our most important relationship crumbles, everything else crumbles too.
Get the free video training here.
Unfortunately, we get only reminded of how important the people we love and living in the present moment are only during times of crisis. What helps me now is to try to be grateful for every minute we have, with my partner, with my son, with my family and with friends. Maybe this is an opportunity how to start doing things differently, how to live fully, how to repair things that seem broken, and be really grateful for what we have right now. Because we never know, when it will end.
Do what you can to help the people in Ukraine, let yourself cry and feel devastated, but keep walking and making the best of every day which was given to you.
Last, but not least. I am so humbled by the wave of solidarity with Ukraine, including by the people of Syria. I hope we can get inspired by this, because people (and refugees) in every war need such compassion and support, not depending on the region, culture or religion.