there is no vaccine against culture stress there is no medicine that can remove the symptoms but laughter can dull the pain a hug can make you feel at home and God can give you a joyful heart.

I’m sick of it! Part 2

The Red Sludge

A few years ago Hungary hit world news when toxic red sludge burst through a dam at Kolontar. Kolontar is a village about 75km south of us and, at the time, we didn’t know what impact it would have on us.  On the Thursday after the disaster the water in the rivers flowing through our city was tested, the ph was much higher than it should have been. Thankfully the situation was soon under control. We no longer had to drink bottled water, and life returned to normal.

Red toxic sludge. Families living abroad have to deal with the sludge of culture stress. Stress that comes from things being different, often confusing, and often difficult to understand. This sludge can easily adversely affect the way expat couples relate to each other.

Stress Can Make You Sick

Roy and I realised that we dealt with it in two different ways I was pretty stressed about whether everything was safe and Roy was pretty relaxed.  As I was researching the area of cultural stress, I stumbled across the following under the category, ‘Results of cultural stress.’

  • Illness (stress suppresses the immune system), concern about germs, fear of what might be in the food

We are very blessed to live in a developed country. We may not always like the food, but we don’t have to fear what is in it. Our most difficult question about what we eat is ‘Can so much paprika be good for us?’ and that is only ever in jest. The Kolontar disaster was our first experience of wondering about our safety. It gave us a little taste of what it must be like for others living in countries where the water isn’t safe to drink.

Unfortunately, though we have experienced all too often the illness that comes from stress, the children experienced even more cultural stress than we do. They had to go to school every day. They had to work in Hungarian, speak in Hungarian, take tests like the Hungarians, and it wasn’t easy! We used to put their illness down to a bad case of Iskolaitis (iskola is the Hungarian word for school) now we are more aware of the true cause.

When You’re Stressed You Need a Good Support System

Having a good family support system is essential to help us through times of stress and times of illness. Cultural stress can’t be avoided, but you can go through it with more strength if you are all aware of it.

Remember it isn’t a competition. Don’t fall into the habit of comparing how ill you are or how stressed you are; that really doesn’t help.

Help. Understand. Go to God.

Galatians 6:2 Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way, you will fulfil the law of Christ.

Bringing Worlds Together Book

Many couples struggle to get on the same page in marriage. Whether you are newlyweds or have been married for years Bringing Worlds Together will help you blend together. Expect to learn more about your spouse, gain insight and be challenged.

Are you ready to move closer rather than drift apart?

Available in print and ebook formats.

Adjusting Expectations Book

No-one enters marriage expectation free. Adjusting Expectations helps identify how expectations were formed and whether or not they were realistic. Most expectations need some adjustment; they are often too high but can also be set too low. The good news is expectations can be reset!

Find out what you should expect and what God expects from you.

Available in print and ebook formats.

Improving Communication Book

Most couples would willingly admit that their communication could do with some improvement; although many people also point the finger of blame squarely at their spouse for communication failures. Whether you believe it’s your fault, their fault or that you’re both to blame, this book is for you! There is always room for improvement.

Available in print and ebook formats.

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