Bi-cultural marriage: Alex & Ray

By on March 3, 2013

Cross-cultural, multi racial mingling is part and parcel of living in Japan. We invite couples to share their thoughts and speak up about life in our mixed up world.This month, cover girl Sasha’s mom Alex from Belarus, and American dad, Ray join the mix.

TF:  Where did you first meet?
Ray: I met Alex at a wine event held at the Oregon Room in Ginza. I saw her through the crowd and was so amazed at her grace and beauty! One of the popular wineries that was hosting the event only happens to be 10 miles from my father’s house. Last year Alex has visited the winery that made our relationship possible.

TF:  What keeps you together?
Ray: Staying together in any family can sometimes be very difficult. I guess it comes down to loving your family and wanting to be with them more than being apart. With my job, I am away 8-13 nights a month so I quickly figured out that I am miserable
when I am not with my girls.

Alex: We have good days and bad days but it is the bad ones that make the good ones so much sweeter and allow us to fully realize how wonderful we are as a family.

TF: What bugs you most about your spouse?
Our miscommunication is my biggest hurdle to overcome. I think she says one thing and understands another and it turns out we were talking about two completely different things!

For instance, recently, I asked Alex to introduce my friend to her girlfriend. He and I were talking about his divorce and Alex was a bit surprised why I would want to set up my friend who is about to get married! It was obvious she had misunderstood the complete conversation and it gave us all a great laugh!

Alex: I had no idea what I signed up for in marrying a pilot. Living in a foreign country, having no family here and a husband working away a lot makes me feel sometimes overwhelmed and lonely.

TF: What bugs my spouse about me?
Well I am an airline captain, we are used to stating orders and people following through with them without hesitation. I have been at this now for over twenty years and it is deeply ingrained in my lifestyle. That is what keeps our flying public safe.

Unfortunately my wife can’t take it when I tend to bark orders and expect the same response that I would get from my first officer. Problems occur when Alex misunderstands my question and thinks I am angry. I am sure this is a problem for many wives of pilots.

Alex: I wish my husband would understand that spending money sometimes on hair treatment, facials or manicure/pedicure makes me feel good.  A happy wife makes a happy husband and happy home.

TF: What is difficult about international marriages?
US Customs and immigration! Enough said there.

Alex: Sharing emotions. No matter how well you speak the spouse’s language, there are certain situations best expressed in your mother tongue. It takes me so long sometimes to translate some jokes or anecdotes from my language to my husband’s.  On the other side, some cursing happens. It doesn’t sound that bad either. (Laughs)

TF: What do a lot of couples do wrong?
Trying to still be single when they are now a family that has to make choices based on what is best for us all rather than the individual.

Alex: When people are arguing it is always better to cool things off, maybe just walk to another room to calm down.

TF: What interests do you share?
Ray and Alex:
  Travel and the movies! We both love this about each other.

Ray and Alex live in Minato-ku with their daughter Sasha.

We’d love to get your perspectives. To join in the mix, just send your thoughts before the end of the month to He Says, She Says c/o

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