Learning a new language is a great way to grow and challenge yourself, especially if your partner speaks that language.
Showing that you respect their culture shows them how important they are to you. And, if someone puts you down for that, they can leave.
Redditor CT368972 encountered this very issue with her mother-in-law. So she turned to the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for moral judgment.
“AITA For ‘teaching’ my husband Arabic?”
The Original Poster (OP) explained:
“Hi. I (F/31 lebanese) have been married to my husband (M/33 Canadian) for 4 months.”
“I only met his family 3-4 times before/after the wedding because we live far from them. I’m on good terms with his family. But his mom can be a little controlling as I have noticed.”
OP’s parents wanted to get to know her better.
“Last week my husband said his mom invited us for a family dinner. We needed to go because it was arranged for us. I had no problem since he told me his distant relatives wanted to meet me for the first time.”
“We got there and everything was fine til my husband started speaking words in Arabic. He’s not perfect but he’s quick to learn.”
“Him and I were speaking to each other with a bit of Arabic that’s when my mother in law looked upset and stopped eating suddenly.”
“She asked him where he learned to speak Arabic. He told her I was teaching him. She asked me if I was seriously teaching him Arabic. I told her not really I just speak in Arabic at home and he keeps picking up words.”
“While everyone was watching.”
OP’s mother in law took it to the next level.
“She started arguing with me telling me it was not okay for me to ‘force’ my husband to speak my language. I asked how I was forcing him? She said by only talking to him in Arabic.”
“My husband said it’s ok he’s interested in my language and is planning to spend time learning it.”
“She and my sister in law said he was crazy to waste his time learning Arabic since it won’t qualify him for better jobs or anything.”
“I got mad since they implied my language was unworthy in front of everyone.”
“I argued with his mom after she said she and family don’t want neither me nor my husband to speak Arabic in their house again.”
“‘Speak english, english is fine.'”
“I got fed up after mother in law kept berating my husband telling him to not try waste his time learning a third world language that’s useless and not let me interrupt his work with ridiculous stuff.”
“I got up to leave. They wanted me to let it go and finish dinner but I went back to the hotel after my husband said I overreacted and should’ve ignored his mom, that’s just how she is.”
“He argued with me at the hotel basically saying I could’ve let it go and chill but I ruined dinner by escalating and having no regard for his relatives who came to see me.”
“Things have been tense since then. He wants me to go to another dinner before we leave town but I told him I won’t go.”
Redditors gave their opinions on the situation by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
Most Redditors agreed OP was not the a**hole.
“NTA and the MIL is kinda being racist.” ~ Wee-bull
“No kinda about it. She is most definitely being racist.” ~ kalkiki
“The strangest thing is that it’s not a useless language. With the amount of people from the middle east living in western countries, learning Arabic could open up opportunities. Especially in government jobs.” ~ imissspacedicks
“There’s also the fact that they are MARRIED and it will probably be one of the languages spoken by HIS OWN CHILDREN if they choose to have children, as well as the language of his in-laws.”
“But how much you bet if they have kids the MIL is going to throw a fit about the kids having two languages at home.” ~ Errvalunia
Learning another language is always beneficial.
“My wife is Chinese. I am learning Chinese.”
“Regardless of the language, knowing another language is so useful in life and you could never know when it could come in handy. Arabic is a very useful language to know and could open up opportunities later in life.”
“I know I will most definitely be making my kids learn mandarin not only so they can talk to their Chinese family, but like I wrote before it will be useful in their lives. So many Chinese people live here.” ~ imissspacedicks
“I mean… they’re Canadian. Even if they don’t know the native populations of Canada don’t speak English as their mother tongue, don’t tell me they’re not aware their country has TWO official languages and some places speak French rather than English?” ~ retired-penguin
“Not saying everybody speaks French (not that you Québécois speak French anyway heheheheheheh sorry terrible joke), my point is just that the whole Y U NO SPEAK ENGLISH is a terrible attitude for a country where English is neither the only official language, nor the (ab)original language.”
“edit: typo” ~ retired-penguin
Many argued it was just racism.
“Idk why people think Canada is any less racist than the US. It isn’t, Canadians just say please after that’s all.” ~ YellowBinary
“Exactly. That ‘third world country language’ gave her away. I bet she would have started with stories about her European ancestors if she heard Italian, French, German, etc.” ~ judithcooks
OP answered to a comment.
“NTA- Hubby should be sticking up for you, MIL was straight up being rude, condescending and ignorant of your heritage.”
“If you don’t put a stop to this now, what will happen when you have kids? How will she treat them if you teach them Arabic?” ~ Roadgoddess
“Yes. I’m aware of that. And it’s honestly so concerning, and unacceptable. I didn’t know how to deal with this behavior my husband always says the best solution is to ignore them.”
“He says he does this all the time when people try to start arguments with him. He says this way he wins every fight.”
“I understand he doesn’t like to argue but I feel like I was being left to stand up for myself against his mom and sister with him acting like it’s no big deal and constantly telling me to calm down/relax/chill etc.” ~ CT368972
Arabic is an incredible language and OP’s family should be proud of learning it.