Maintain Your Expat Marriage

Moving with your spouse is already a stressful situation. Unfortunately, moving across an ocean can prove to be too stressful for some marriages causing some expat couples to divorce.

Moving and living abroad is exciting and challenging, to make it through the experience together, supporting each other is key. Read on for more tips on how to maintain a happy expat marriage abroad.

Manage expectations

As with any move abroad, single or with your spouse, you should manage your expectations. It’s important to discuss each person’s expectations for the move. Is the move a way for you to spend more quality time together? Is the move strictly for work or your studies? How much time do you each expect to devote to certain aspects of your move (tourist attractions, exploring, etc.)? Giving each other a good idea of what to expect during your time in your new country will help with any feelings of disappointment or resentment toward your partner.

Positive interactions

Once you’ve settled in your new country, realize that you two are all each other has during this stressful time. Feelings of homesickness are common among expats and include feelings of isolation and loneliness. Making time to spend with one another is important after a move abroad. You are each other’s support system. Daily positive interactions with each other can go a long way. Spending a few minutes with each other every day can go a long way.

Don’t give too much

If you’re moving overseas because of your spouse’s career, you’ve already given a lot for the journey: your career, your time, your energy and your emotions. When you and your spouse first move overseas, they may be spending more time at work which leads to more stress for them and you. You might be tempted to take on more onto your own plate to help alleviate some of your partner’s stress, but you shouldn’t give and give until you’ve nothing left. If you give of yourself until you’re entirely spent – you may end up angry and resentful toward your partner.

Instead of automatically trying to take more onto your own plate, ask your partner what they need help with and voice the things that YOU need help with. Many people aren’t always comfortable asking for help when they need it leaving their partner to assume they don’t need it, which can lead to problems. Properly communicating your needs to each other is more important than ever during a move abroad.


While communication is healthy for any relationship to thrive, it’s even more important when you’re moving internationally. Each spouse is a stakeholder in the move which means that each person needs to be kept in the loop about the process. If either spouse has a concern about the moving process or at any point during or after the move overseas, it should be voiced and dealt with appropriately instead of being shrugged aside.

Leaving your comfort zones for an entirely new country is daunting – no matter what. Television shows and movies romanticize the idea of moving abroad for love or moving abroad with your love that it seems like there is no downside to taking the leap. As any relationship takes work and dedication in order to survive, a move abroad requires it even more so when there isn’t the safety net of family and friends to lean on in your new home.

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