Nuptial Affairs


I’ve been asked by the elders of my extended Brazilian family to participate in an intervention for a relative’s marriage.

As much fun as it is to offer an unsolicited opinion on the marriage of say, someone on a reality television show, it is not fun to think about doing this with someone I know. Sure, I’ve given advice in the past when asked, but it was most often ignored. This means either 1) my advice on other people’s marriages sucks or 2) people really don’t want your opinion, they just want to tell you their side and receive sympathy. So I can’t imagine how well it would go over if I (the foreigner) actively splattered marital advice over an unprepared and unwilling subject. Not well is what I am thinking.

I come from a polite society in which, outside of abuse and excessive drug use, we pretend things are just fine. Especially in marriages. Sure, the marital problems of others are discussed, but only in whispers, late at night in the back room. Unless, as mentioned, one or more members of the married couple has sought out attention on national television or is a movie star.

I think this must be a Brazilian thing. Since we’ve arrived, I’ve been privy to the plotting of at least four intervention on various subject including someone working too hard and the wrong name selection for a yet-to-be-born child. Most disturbing to me is not to have to participate in one of these interventions, but to be the subject of one. I’m certain that at some point… my time will come.

 

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6 Responses to Nuptial Affairs

  1. ojeitobrasileiro says:

    interesting you would mention this, as I’ve noticed that too. People I shouldn’t know anything about, I know info about.

  2. TupiniquimNosEUA says:

    One might think that when you say “I come from a polite society” you would be implying that Brazilians aren’t polite. I guess it all depends of what people are used to.

    Think of it this way: You are privileged, in that “they” (whoever they are) have accepted you and are including you in their lives. You are in the loop.

    What you think of as unsolicited advice means to Brazilians that the person giving it cares enough about the other person to the point of intervening in the hopes of preventing him/her some unnecessary suffering.

    Yeah, it is unsolicited… yeah, it may be unreasonable…. yeah, it may make you unconfortable… But so is love. So when you become the subject of an intervention (notice that I didn’t say “if”), remember that they are doing it because they love you.

    • Hey… are you one of my Brazilian relatives??
      In my reference to polite society, “polite” is defined as “would rather not get involved in your problems because getting involved might have a negative impact on me.” Of course Brazilians are polite, just more of a Webster Dictionary definition of polite.
      And yes, I do feel privileged to be in the inner circle, just not liking my first assignment 🙂
      I guess we have the same thing in the U.S., only it’s referred to as tough love.
      Thanks for your comment!

  3. Zoe says:

    My husband and his 50-odd cousins (please no one misinterpret that as me saying they’re weird, there are just a lot of them 🙂 and some of their spouses all participate in a yahoo email group (something that I so, so hope I never get asked to subscribe to). They once spent a good 2 months discussing the marital problems of one cousin, always excluding the actual cousin from the discussion. In the end they actually all pooled together and sent the couple on a little cruise, and I know they really love them, but the amount of talking behind their backs really made me feel awful. My own relationship was also a hot topic for a LONG time, although none of the issues anyone had were ever brought up to my or my husband’s face. I’m totally accepted now but there is still a lot of information that my husband chooses to withhold from everyone so they don’t run off and start gabbing about it. His family has an amazing amount of love for each other, but there is ALWAYS gossip and judgment being made behind everyone’s backs. So, it’s a little comforting to hear it’s not just his family… I guess.

    • HA. Uh, yeah. I guess the only comfort is that it must be a cultural thing. I broke down and told the bride in my situation that there was an intervention storming and she didn’t seem too surprised. (I’m with you, I can’t stand talking behind people’s back unless, again, it’s about someone on a reality television show…)
      I also just told her I would take the kids anytime so that she and her hubby could spend some time together, and that I was always around to talk if she needed it. What else can I do?
      Thanks for your comment. It does make me feel better that I’m not the only one in this situation. 🙂

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