6 Things that are totally true when your husband is French

Written by Diane on. Posted in France, on everything else, on life in France

6 Things that are true when you're (1)

If you’re new around here, you should know that I’m married to a pretty cool French dude named Tom. He appreciates a fine meal, dresses sharp and insists on wearing slippers in the house. Being in an intercultural relationship can be quite an experience, so here are 6 things that are totally true when your husband is French!

GO!

Things that are true when your husband is French

This is a humorous look at things in my life as an American married to a French guy and is no way indicative of every French or European guy out there. So please don’t think I’m grouping all French guys together or saying your experience will be anything like mine!

what time do you eat dinner in france

You will argue about what time to eat dinner.

Unless you like eating dinner late, you and your French spouse will probably disagree over what time to eat dinner. We often compromise but if I had it my way, we’d be eating dinner at 7 p.m. nightly. I go to bed early and when we eat late, I feel like I go to bed with a full stomach. Yuck. So how do we decide what time to eat? Sometimes we do rock, paper, scissors and other times I try to get my way and lose. I’ve also said on nights I cook, “Well, If I’m the one cooking, I decide what time dinner is served.” But then Tom counters, “Well, we’re in France, so we should eat late like the French.” Yeah, but I’m American and I want to eat sooner than later. Compromise, friends, compromise. On any given night we probably eat dinner around 8 p.m., sometimes later. I lose a lot.

Quirks you notice about your French husband >>

You’ll have plenty of hilarious misunderstandings that stem from pronunciation errors or word mix-ups.

Just the other night Tom was telling me about something about France, but I kept hearing the word friends and was so confused that I had to stop him and ask what his friends have to do with the rest of the story. I quickly realized he was saying France (something like this is a rarity because his pronunciation is fantastic 99% of the time, so I was really confused). Some other hilarious misunderstandings come from pronunciations of these words.

When you mess up with the in-laws, you can blame it on cultural differences.

Having in-laws that don’t speak your mother tongue is both a blessing and a curse. When I mess up French or set the table wrong or choose the wrong appetizer, I can just say that this is how we do it in the US and since I’m American, it’s totally normal so don’t hold it against me. Most of the time I know how things are done in France but I just opt to do things the American way. Blaming cultural differences gets me out of trouble every time.

when your husband is french

You will always have a cheese course.

No meal is complete without the obligatory cheese course. It doesn’t have to be fancy or include a huge variety of cheeses on a fancy slate if you’re making a simple meal at home. Just make sure you have a hunk of something creamy in the fridge and that should suffice. But if you’re having a special meal? A selection of cheeses is a must!

How to wow your French dining companion >>

You whip out your snacks and he won’t be interested.

Maybe some French people snack but in general the French tend to stick to mealtimes. I’m not talking about scarfing down loads of unhealthy food, but an apple or handful of almonds here or there would not be overly common for a French person. Tom’s gotten on the snacking bandwagon a little bit but I have to say most French people aren’t big snackers (aside from the late afternoon gouter). Even commercials and snack food packages tell the French to NOT snack (which I personally think is off base since snacking can be healthy).

People will butcher your last name.

Diane War-Werg-Varny-Vern. Sorry, how do you say that? In the U.S., that’s something I hear regularly at doctors’ offices, when I have to call my credit card company or any time someone needs to pronounce my full name. If your last name is Smith or something equally simple to pronounce, you might be in for a surprise when the French call you “Smees” since the “th” sound is hard to say and doesn’t exist in French. When you get married, you’ll be psyched about your cool new last name. When a French guy puts a ring on it, it means you get a fancy new last name that will have your friends and family tongue tied!

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Anything you’d add?

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Comments (13)

  • Cynthia

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    This is too cute, Diane ! Of course you know that you will never win when it comes to dinner time ! Chalk it up ! hahaa ! My mother is French and refuses to change. For me to keep the peace, I’ve always had to give in. It doesn’t matter what my schedule may be in life. It’s a tradition that cannot and never will be broken ! But it’s a beautiful way of life ! Enjoy !

    Reply

    • Diane

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      Hi Cynthia, I could have sworn I replied here but now I don’t see it. Anyway, yes sometimes our old habits stay with us for life despite a spouse’s best effort. Oh well, not the worst thing. Thanks again for being a loyal reader!

      Reply

  • Claire

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    Thank you for your lovely posts. I enjoy reading about your life in France and your wonderful Tom.
    In an everyday, at home situation when you only serve one cheese (as mentioned above) and serve it simply, what do you eat with it?

    Reply

    • Diane

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      So happy you enjoy my posts, Claire. I personally like Wasa bread and if it’s a spreadable cheese, I’ll put it on that or even crackers (real American style, I know) like Tucs. Tom usually eats the cheese with toast or a baguette if we have one. 😉

      Reply

    • Diane

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      I believe that. Dinner for most people in that situation would be at 6 and quick!

      Reply

  • Betty Carlson

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    Good points, although I didn’t have a very hard time adjusting to the late dinners. I did have a little problem with the fact that I was expected to be 100% responsible for cooking, though. Maybe your husband is an exception, but I find most wives in France do virtually all of the cooking, including, those much younger than me.
    Betty Carlson recently posted…Backroad Wanderings: Palmas, AveyronMy Profile

    Reply

    • Diane

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      7:30 works for me but most of the time we eat like 8 or 8:30. It’s a mix of not planning in advance, being at the gym late and just not focusing on food. So I can’t blame the lateness on Tom (well not always ha ha ha).

      About cooking duty, I think it just depends on the person/relationship. If one person likes to cook and is happy to take it on, cool. Like my father in law always prepares and cuts the meat and is great at chopping vegetables. My mother in law loves to work over the stove and set the table and clean up after. So they’re a good team. Tom and I share the cooking around here for the most part. I think if I was expected to do everything, I’d have a serious talk with him because I don’t love being responsible for everything, stresses me out. But I’m sure some women enjoy doing the cooking 100% of the time, but maybe the husband cleans up? Again I think it just depends on the relationship and each person’s strengths. Thank you for weighing in!

      Reply

  • arlene

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    He’s not really “angry”, he’s just hungry! (Silent “h”, they dont probounce the h!)

    Reply

    • Diane

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      Yes, have to really listen sometimes. A friend of mine was talking about eating the other day and I kept hearing “heating.” Was so confused!

      Reply

    • RTM

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      So agree with you. I’m dating a french guy. He is a chef. So, every time we talked about his day at work, “Angry” and “Hungry” words really confused me, a loooooot.
      But somehow, i found it cute. It makes me smile every time, even now.

      Reply

  • Jessica B

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    So true! Love this!
    Here’s to our amazing French husbands!!

    Reply

  • Shannon Delplancke

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    This is so true. I’m fact I’m sitting here sulking starving to death cause I’m ready to eat and he’s not ready to eat…. the meat must be at room temperature to grill… it’s been 2 hours since he put the meat out of the fridge. Ahhhhhhh!!! *pulling hair*

    Reply

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