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I was reading the blog of a girl and from link to link I ended up reading an interview of an American woman who has married a Saudi man. I liked this idea and since myself, I married a foreigner (an Iranian), I was thinking it would be nice to publish an interview with our dearest friends: Jean and Reza. I have come to meet them thanks to my husband and I can say they are one of those people who are as good as they get.

Jean, Reza and Odie at Caledonia waterfall, Cyprus

Nationality
American

Years married
25 years this year

Children & ages
3 children ages 30,19 and 17. The oldest is my husband's stepson, so you see what a good person my husband is that he's accepted my oldest son as his own son (and it was really a necessary requirement too). The oldest even has my husband's surname. I think that puts holes in any stereotype someone may have that Iranian men would not be as all embracing in family life as Western men.

How did you two meet?
We met in Haifa, Israel on Pilgrimage to visit the Baha'i holy places. We met on the last day at an informal talk in the Old Pilgrim house. I sat with the Iranians listening to Hand of the Cause Mr. Furatan who was speaking in Persian, even though I didn't understand a word; I loved being with the Iranians and listening to his voice speaking that language.

How has your life changed since you married an Iranian man?
Hugely, I would still be in my rural hometown of 8,000 people in Oregon probably living next door to my family. We have lived in five countries, traveled to many more, my children have had wonderful multi-cultural open-minded life experiences plus they have learned much about duty, responsibility and dignity that is not in my culture - it is what their Iranian father contributes to. In other words, my limited world has expanded in a physical way so imagine how my mind and attitudes have changed.

What do you appreciate most about the Iranian culture?
Most Iranians are genuinely courteous, kind, sincere, generous, sociable and have a fun-loving approach and great curiosity of foreigners, and also a certain open-handed innocence that is very lovable.

What was your first cultural shock in your relationship with your husband?
Remember this was 25 years ago: I thought of young Iranian men as being, at first, possessive and a bit jealous, so when we first married I became very cautious not to speak to or even look at other men as a way of showing my loyalty. Many years have past and it's much different for us as an old married couple who now wish to be very loving and friendly with all.

Have your in-laws accepted you when you were first introduced to them?
I was a bit of a disappointment to them by not dressing so glamorously, not wearing enough make-up and my inability to sing, dance or recite poetry nor to speak Farsi, which was a surprise to my husband's sisters who are so fluent themselves in other languages. Now it's a different story, I know they appreciate my Western strengths to get on with things in the face of difficulties.


Did your parents accept your choice of husband?
Yes, my father had already passed away and my mother, who was a very loving person yet had the prejudices of Americans at that time, was worried not that he was Iranian, but that he might be 'black'. She gave her consent for us to marry. We married in London and when they met many years afterwards, she loved him very much.


What is your favorite Iranian food?
It has to be Ghormeh Sabzi. My husband's sisters taught me to cook it and I've learned that there is no exact right recipe. Iranian food tastes good even if you have to change a few ingredients or leave something out when you can't find it when you live abroad. Also everyone likes even burnt Tahdig.


How do you think the marriage to an Iranian man has changed you?
I like to think we have kept the good parts of each other's cultures and thrown out the useless ones. Marrying into a different culture requires many more adjustments than marrying someone of a different race. I've had to strip away many cultural norms that Americans might take for granted because we need to peacefully get on with our lives so: no overt American patriotism and changed expectations about being on time to appointments.

Do you celebrate the Iranian festivals and which ones?
We have only found common ground to celebrate Naw-Ruz and American Halloween!


Tell us a funny story about a cultural difference that you experienced.
My husband is an architect, so at the time, our house had pristine white modern walls with a minimalist design. When my husband's father first came to stay with us from Iran (he had been unable to get a visa for many years) he came through the front door, he looked around the house somehow not realizing the great architectural statement we were trying to make, and very kindly offered to hammer a nail into the wall as it seemed there was no place for him to hang his hat.

What advice would you give to other girls who are engaged to an Iranian man?
Learn to speak Persian, you life will be easier. Resist all Iranian social pressure to: wear black on all special occasions, demand your children become doctors or engineers, haggle with a shop keeper down to the lowest price (your future husband can do that!) Relax, and become part of the family very quickly.

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Comments

( 19 comments — Leave a comment )
(Anonymous)
May. 24th, 2010 12:43 pm (UTC)
:)
Like
Guy K
eshgheman
May. 25th, 2010 06:58 am (UTC)
Re: :)
:)
(Anonymous)
May. 24th, 2010 03:09 pm (UTC)
What a beautiful story of love and tolerance. I like to read things like this.
Laura
eshgheman
May. 25th, 2010 06:58 am (UTC)
I will post more of these.
(Anonymous)
May. 24th, 2010 06:04 pm (UTC)
Great, no-nonsense interview with Jean, just ss one would expect...
Thank you Dianne - may you also enjoy the next 25 tyears with your Iranian husband!
Love to both couples,
Bibhas & Carolyn
eshgheman
May. 25th, 2010 06:59 am (UTC)
Thank you!
(Anonymous)
May. 28th, 2010 01:09 pm (UTC)
Regards
Warm Regards to Jean and Reza.
-Rajvi and Janmesh.
eshgheman
May. 28th, 2010 01:57 pm (UTC)
Re: Regards
Will tell them.
(Anonymous)
Jun. 27th, 2010 12:25 pm (UTC)
:)
Thanks for sharing that! I'm a young American expat about to marry an Iranian man I met while in Korea. I hope that my married life can turn out to be just as happy as yours is. Thanks for sharing!
(Anonymous)
Jun. 27th, 2010 12:27 pm (UTC)
Re: :)
p.s. I love that your profile name is "my love" really cute!
(Anonymous)
Aug. 21st, 2010 11:01 pm (UTC)
ت
I love this story! I'm really looking 4word to marrying an iranian in the future......
(Anonymous)
Oct. 9th, 2010 02:46 pm (UTC)
Liked it
It seems it's pretty awesome to have Iranian husband. I have to find one. :)
Nina Seyedali
Jun. 24th, 2011 04:37 am (UTC)
....really
This story seemed nice except for the fact that after 25 years of marriage you say "learn to speak Persian." Wow, first off persian is an ethnicity not a language. It's called Farsi and you clearly don't know a single word of it. Sorry to say, but this sounds like a sad story to me where the culture is lost on an ignorant American women.
eshgheman
Jun. 24th, 2011 11:26 am (UTC)
Re: ....really
Not knowing English is not your greatest fault, Nina, being judgmental is.
Before giving English lessons to "an ignorant American women", note that the whole article is written in this language and not in the Persian language (Farsi), you should check your English. "an ignorant American women" hahaha - that you also are!
pg_two_in_one
Nov. 20th, 2011 12:42 pm (UTC)
Thank you!
Salam!
Thank you so much this fantastic interview which gives me much power and lots of positive energy concerning the future relationship with my boyfriend. I loved to read it! Thank you! I feel much better and more encouraged than before and therefore i am convinced about a future created together between us.

All the best for both couples!!

(There should be much more of those encouraging articles in the net.)
Parveen Pedrami
Nov. 9th, 2012 08:22 am (UTC)
married to iranian
I to am married to an iranian man however so far for almost four years, I truely enjoyed your story reminds me of my parents who have been married for 40 plus years my my dad is iranian and my mom is from ok. She lived in iran and even learned farsi unfortunatly I have not nor have my sibillings, I regreat this deeply and have begun rosetta stone lesson and it is one of the reasons I wanted to marry an iranian male. I grew up here in america and my husband in iran, and while he is very modern it has been quite a cultural shock for us both. I would add to your advice please discuss household cleaning duties before your marry and try to understand what "his" expectations of "good taste or house hold upkeep are" I feel like I will never meet his expectations, even though I try.
mrmojo2013
Feb. 8th, 2013 03:35 am (UTC)
nice
This is a cute story. I have seen several couples with similar stories but mine was very different. I think your marriage to an iranian depends on how much of the culture your iranian spouse brought with them, and how passive you are. Is he/she willing to accept your differences and meet you in the middle, or is his/her culture, language, and religion superior to yours, and you must follow along without question?

During my marriage to an Iranian woman, I met many couples, mostly Baha'is, and 90% married to other Iranians. My ex wife, and most of her relatives, placed much of their focus on funding and spreading the Baha'i religion, and very little effort towards following the Baha'i teachings. They did not love their mothers, they were obsessed with them. I met so many beautiful, educated Iranian women in their 30's who still lived with their families. over time, I tried to understand their reasoning, and their explanation of the situation was what westerners call separation anxiety.

Even the hospitality became an issue. I loved how loving they were when I first met the whole family, but once she lived with me, I would be yelled at if I did not change everything about myself and the house to please the guests. I was not allowed to be myself in front of people and my wife would become a completely different person every time someone walked in the door. After a while, I began to see the Iranian hospitality as desperate need for approval.

We did not have children, But I noticed children in the Iranian culture are treated poorly when guests are present. Misbehaving children are corrected more harshly when guests are present. They are not allowed to share their opinion or even speak in front of guests, but they are often asked to sing or dance for them. I found most Iranian children lack confidence due to being treated as second class citizens. An adults opinion, regardless of how wrong it maybe, will always be more valid than a child's.

I filed for divorce after I decided that her entire family was simply jealous of the love my wife had for me, and since pleasing them was her priority, I was doomed.

After I filed for divorce. 50 angry Iranians were trying to help her destroy me. Luckily, being a business man, I had consulted attorneys before I even got married. 10 years before the marriage, I had purchased 2 businesses and 3 condos, and she thought after a 14 month marriage, she was entitled to all of them. Luckily our state law says both parties walk away with what they brought in, which meant she walked away with nothing. Finally she resorted to taking household items and was gone for good.

Edited at 2013-02-08 10:15 am (UTC)
MissyTeTe
Oct. 20th, 2013 09:59 am (UTC)
quastion
I am in love with Iranian guy, i have so many questions for you. Please, can you write me your email?

Thank you so much, i dont have anyone to ask about this :(
hamidservat
Feb. 17th, 2014 07:36 am (UTC)
Hi
Hi everyone
I am iranian,I live in Iran and i really like foreign people
I want to married with foreign girl
this is my account in facebook
I tell you more information about Iran and Iranian people
( 19 comments — Leave a comment )

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