Why yes I am, unnecessarily concerned man or woman. Thank you for your unnecessary concern!
After four months of being married to a Russian (yup, just had to count that out on my fingers), I am clearly an expert on marriage and international relations (of the heart). I’m clearly kidding, but when people figure out I’m married to a Russian they either a. reel backwards, clutching their metaphorical pearls in horror; or b. start bombarding me about legal issues. (Trust me, we’ve had more than enough of our own to figure out!)
Here are some of the sweeping generalizations I’ve heard about being married to a Russian:
He only married you for a Green Card.
I imagine this is some sort of jokey thing that everyone who’s married to a foreigner has heard at least once. I’d wager that the instances skyrocket when the spouse in question is from a (perceived) ‘undesirable’ country. Like Russia. Because yes, it is difficult to come to America. Particularly if you’re just a normal person getting screwed by a tense political relationship.
The instances of immigrant visas being issued to Russians have dropped significantly in the last decade: since 2004, there was a 51% decrease in immigrant visas issued. In 2013, the number stood at 3,871 which, while a decent number, is still nothing as compared to earlier rates. Whether this is because of tightening US restrictions or a lack of interest on the Russian side, overall I think we can see a trend of immigrant visas getting more and more difficult to obtain.
That being said, no, actually, the Russky didn’t marry me for Green Card purposes, as flattering as that is the suggest to someone. And beyond that we don’t have any immediate plans to apply for one or live in America. Whaaaaat?
So in conclusion: don’t joke about mine being a Green Card arrangement, and I won’t comment on how you only married that old guy for his money.
You must hate all the cooking and cleaning.
Obviously you don’t know me that well.
It’s true that Russia really embraces traditional gender roles. Men are supposed to be the leaders: the macho, forceful breadwinners. Women are supposed to remain submissive, cooking, cleaning, and taking care of children. OH, and thanks to the societal ‘equality’ put in place by the USSR, they should also work. I’ve seen the trope played out a million times, even in the relationships of Russian people I would consider progressive. Something so deeply ingrained in the culture is hard to buck, especially if you don’t really want to. So women remain overworked and underpaid, just like all over the world.
That being said, of course there are exceptions. Of course. The Russky is one of them. And I mean, thank god. Can you imagine anyone trying to make me do something I don’t want to do? I’m not saying it’s impossible, but it’s very rarely worth the effort.
For the record, we share the distribution of doing things pretty evenly – either we’re both doing something, or we’re both to lazy to get organized. Being Russian doesn’t necessarily mean what you think it means.
He must be so excited to have kids.
So this isn’t just me and it isn’t solely reserved for Russians. As soon as you start dating / get married to someone, there is always a huge crop of older women who immediately begin to harass you about your vagina and when you’re going to get using it for its god-given purpose. Ugh.
Somehow there’s this stereotype that all Russian men are family men and love children. (Not sure how that all coincides with the other ‘all Russian men are drunks’ stereotypes, but I’m not getting into that.) I guess this is true? I guess where it comes from is the inherent expectation of Russians that everyone will have a kid. That’s just what you do. America is, in some respects, the same way. However, in America it is possible to say that you don’t want children and not have people look at you like you’re imbalanced. In Russia, a woman saying that she doesn’t want kids is reacted to in one of two ways. First, abject horror (and maybe tears if it’s from your future MIL or babushka). Second — and this usually comes from the men — you’ll be laughed at and told you just don’t know what you want.
Yeah, that’s it.
Are there any misconceptions about your country and marriage? I think for America, it would be that the women immediately get fat (or is this everywhere?) And the men are impotent but endearing.