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Shohar-Khaleh - Foreign Husbands of Iranian Women
Shohar-Khaleh: Foreign Husbands of Iranian Women

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Taking the Best and Booting the Rest

The Iranian culture is rich in history, replete with beautiful customs, stories, and arts and a glorious heritage our children may all be proud of. The American culture, while rather young in comparison, offers a diversity, joi de vive and light of hope which energizes and challenges its citizens in the spirit of invention.

We, as parents, have the unique opportunity of picking and choosing the best from both cultures and incorporating them into the traditions of our own familiy units. We can reap from the macro-societies which are Iran and America and utilize these bountiful harvests in the micro sphere of our own homes. We have found the most successful Iranian-American families, are those who have blended the attentions and generosity of the Iranian family with the independence and perseverence of the American family. I have found the husbands,wives and children of Iranian -American families who have met the challenge of holding both languages (Farsi and English) dear, able to cross a bridge which oft times seems uncrossable without the language links to culture.

I have found an acceptance of families by both sides to be of paramount importance in establishing the family as a whole. No one has to agree or relinquish all of their own beliefs to satisfy another. All of us MUST compromise and respect the beliefs of each other to be whole and healthy. If there are individuals among the group who make a harmonious family life impossible, they must be worked around. What is important is to always accept the spirit of compromise and look for the good.

Please give us your thoughts and experiences which have enabled or prevented you from being a whole and healthy Iranian-American family. Maybe, we can learn from each others victories and defeats.
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(Please let us know if you don't want your email or name to be included in your posting.)

I need help understanding my Iranian Wife

Dear sirs,

I have been in love with an iranian woman now for two years but I still can't seem to understand her. I'm an Irish man and I have travelled intensively over the world and have been in contact with many other cultures before but for some reason I just can't seem to get through to my wife. Are Iranians always so closed? Why can't she show her feelings? I would like to learn more about her culture but I can't find any relevant sites. Maybe you can help me.

Yours sincerely, Gary

Looking for English People Living in Mashhad

I am English moved to Mashad 2 yrs ago I would love to hear from any other English people residing here in Mashad. Best wishes - J.

Need insight into the issues or influences that an Iranian woman in the US may be feeling or dealing with

Name = Brandon
Email =
Country & City = United States, San Diego
Category of Submission = Issues

HI. I'm a 28 year old male living in San Diego, and I have a 25 year old Iranian fiancee living in Tehran that I'm trying to bring to the US. Unfortunately, it appears she wasn't selected for the 2005 diversity lottery, so we are considering using the K-1 fiancee visa to have her immigrate.

I was hoping there is someone with some insight into this procedure, and in particular the difficulties that may arise from her being a young Iranian woman.

Thank You. Brandon

Need insight into the issues or influences that an Iranian woman in the US may be feeling or dealing with

Dear Shohar-Khaleh,

I have been dating an Iranian woman for 2 1/2 years. Unfortunately, we are currently not together, although I am trying to reconcile things. Through all of my time with her, though, she has always been very vocal about her preference for very American looking men. I am as about as "apple pie" looking as they come, so that is a good thing, I guess. But, because of her preference, as well as her desire to almost remove herself from her Persian background (note: she came to US when she was 7 years old), I never spent a lot of time really learning about her culture and how that may have impacted her experience here in the US. I also think that my lack of knowledge in this area may have, at times, permitted me to say or do things that were offensive (although they were not intended to be offensive in the least). Is there a book or article(s) that you could recommend that would give me insight into the issues or influences that an Iranian woman in the US may be feeling or dealing with, or simply a text that would educate me about a young woman's past in Iran so I can better appreciate what she may be feeling and going through.

Thank you very much, Curry

Hello Curry,

Unfortunately I do not know of any such book although I could have used one myself at times.

I am sure your girl friend is greatly influenced by her family. She might have become very American but how about her mother, her family? I have found that Iranian women are very much influenced and at times controlled by their parents - perhaps more than boys. It is very important for them to be fully accepted by their family. If you get a chance to patch things up, spend more time with her family to get to know them. My wife, came to us after her college and was alone here when I met her so I may not be able to related to your experience. I will forward your email to others married to Iranian women on my list and hopefully they would be able to help more. Best of luck, Tony

Living together as a family??

I have concerns and deep misunderstandings as to the normal behavior of the Persian extended family. I am recently married to an American, whose mother is Persian and father is American. We now have my husband's brother living with us in our home. I find this offensive, disrespectful, and imposing on my marriage and new family. I need some information as to what is the normal Persian family behavior? Does everybody live to together under one roof? Is it normal for someone in the family to live with siblings etc? I am lost and trying to understand where my husband's beliefs are coming from. I would not have gotten married to him, had I know these deep rooted connections and dedications to immediate family first...over one's own wife. Please help me.

My Girl Friend's Parents Don't Know about Our Relationship

Please can you help i have an Iranian girlfriend, i live in the uk, we have been seeing each other for 8 months but her parents do not know, i am worried about this, she tells me she cannot tell her parents as yet, they seem to be very strict, do you have any advice as to what i can do, is this bad..?

Please help .. Tell me what I should do? Should I be concerned?

Thank you - Barry

Dundee, Scotland, UK

Name = ann macrae
Years Married = 1
Number of Children = 0
Country & City = australia,
Category of Submission = Issues
Add Email to mailing list = No
Include Email to posting = YES
Comments = Dear Barry,
I can understand your situation, I was with my iranian boyfriend for about the same time before he told them about me. I could not understand why he would not tell them about me, and felt quite hurt. I think that it is important to understand that in some Iranian families that the idea of a boyfriend/girlfriend type relationship is quite alien to them. If you are having a relationship, then the next step is marriage! I know that when I finally met my boyfriend's parents they kept referring to me as their daughter in law! Give your girlfriend time and realise that by admitting your relationship, your girlfriend may have lots and lots of pressure to get married and quickly. I dont know if this is the case in your particular situation, I can only talk about my own experiences. Try to be understanding, its not that your not good enough, but maybe the pressure will just be too great for your girlfriend if you met her parents.
From a fellow Scot all the way from Australia
good luck! Barry,

Need more information on Iranian Women

I'm dating a woman who grew up in Iran and am wondering where to find out more online info on Iranian women--what to expect in the way of personality characteristics, expectations, behavior, norms, etc. Thx! - Craig
Thank you for visiting ShoharKhaleh and thank you for sharing your concerns.

As you have noticed by now, dating an Iranian Woman is different and requires some special understanings. Of course, each woman is different and whether she was raised in US or in Iran and how long she has been living in US and whether she still lives with her family and how close she is with her mother makes a lot of difference.

I guess the best way to know her (and not generally all Iranian Women) is to take the time and be patient with her and open up to her and listen. From my own experience, it takes them longer to develop the trust to open up but it is worth it.

Meanwhile you can visit some of the online resources listed in PersianWeb;

Good luck and keep us informed. - ShoharKhaleh2

I have some questions about the religion, Culture and Language!!

Dear Shohar-Khaleh!

Thank you very much for informing me about your new internet page! My name is Walter and I am Austrian living near Vienna. Since more than one year I am together with Shabnam, a very lovely, pretty, nice and intelligent Iranian girl. We are planning to marry next year after the finish of our studies and are looking forward to our live together. We are sure to overcome all problems and that our love will be strong enough. We are very happy that our families like each other as well (Well, they have only met one time when her parents visited Austria). But we still do have some questions but they will be answered, maybe in your new internet page.

First I would be interested in some aspects of religion: We both do not want to change our religions (Catholic and Muslim) and respect the religion of our partner. But her parents would not allow her to marry a Christian (it can be dangerous for her with a Christian husband if she visits Iran again). My parents could never understand if I would change my religion without beeing really convinced (which would also be a problem for me). So I never could even tell them about this. At the moment the situation is following: I did tell her parents that I will change my religion "just on the paper". I did tell my parents that of course I never will change my religion. How do similar couples deal with this problem? I fear I will have no other chance than to change my religion "just on the paper" and to stay Catholic. I can tell you, this is far away from an ideal solution and I really feel angry about the Muslim law which doesn't allow Christian men to marry Muslim woman but does allow Muslim men to marry Christian women.

The second point is "language and children": My girl speaks very well German (and three other foreign languages) so we never speak Farsi and after more than one year I know only a few words. I learn languages quite easy and speak already four, but I fear Farsi I will never learn good enough to understand our children when they start to speak. Of course they will also learn German, but..... Does anybody have experiences with such a situation? For this mail I think it is enough..... I hope your internet page will develop fast!

Greetings from Vienna! Send me an Email Walter

Very pleased to know this initiative is off the ground!

Salam --

Very pleased to know this initiative is off the ground! I live in Tallahassee, FL with my (Iranian) wife and two children -- Naseemeh (age 12) and Naveed (age 9). Happily, my wife's mother lives with us as well, which helps give the kids a linguistic immersion in Farsi, as well as providing a wonderful grandmotherly/ mamanjunesh presence. We are trying to raise them bi-culturally, including major efforts on my wife's part to keep them working on their reading and writing skills in Farsi. We hope to be able to spend some time back in Iran in the next two or three years with members of the family who are still there, insh'Allah.


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