Wed the World is our opportunity to learn the differences and similarities of how each culture expresses love by getting married in every country we travel to, but ultimately what this project really does is allows us to be able to share with the world about the one thing we inherently have in common – LOVE. This experience has turned into a great opportunity for Branden and me to learn valuable lessons on love to share within our marriage, and tell the story on what we’ve learned about love to all of you.
So here are the 6 things I learned about love in Vietnam
1. The Vietnamese are incredibly romantic and poetic.
In every day happenings spending time with family and friends, the Vietnamese wear their hearts on their sleeves. You can tell by the incredible amount of love songs they sing on a regular basis (and all know the words to by heart), and their quick recital of poetry off the cuff in their usual talk to one another. We were wowwed and woo’ed over and over again by the beautiful words and loving acts of this country full of hopeless romantics.
2. Talk behind each other’s backs instead of saying it to their face
No, I don’t mean the Vietnamese insult their spouses. I learned to honor your spouse, it is a greater sign of affection to sing their praises behind their back instead of complimenting them to their face. Telling your whole family and the community you know how wonderful your partner is and the good deeds they do for you and your family is a high honor of love and respect.
3. Sing (and dance) your heart out.
The Vietnamese language is sing-songy, as in each word they speak is spoken with one of the six different tones that changes the meaning of the word depending on how you say it – or should I say sing it. Because of these tonal changes, it is said the Vietnamese “sing” their words instead of speaking them. This is probably a big reason why the Vietnamese love to sing (and dance) so much when expressing their love. Everyone, and I mean everyone, sings in Vietnam, and they all know the words to the greatest love songs that are usually folk songs of their country. On multiple occasions, our family was breaking out in song at any given moment to express how they were feeling. It was a musical weekend!
4. They move-in with their family when they get married instead of moving out
In Vietnam, the family unit is extremely important – even after getting married it’s very common to still live in the same house as your parents, or at least in the near vicinity of your parents, siblings, and extended family. And although you do share love with each other, above all what this does is you can really feel your love being shared more so throughout the entire family. It’s truly a familial thing, not just an individual couple thing.
5. Goodbyes don’t always end love, it can build enduring love.
My parents left Vietnam in 1975 and for the most part have not returned home. Even though it’s been almost 40 years since they’ve been back, their families share tremendous love for my parents in their memories, photographs, and well wishes for my parents. My first day in Vietnam, my Uncle #4 showed me all the pictures that my dad has sent back to him including inscriptions on the back such as this one, reading: “Whenever you are lonely, just look at this photo and think of me with love” (*ahem* please refer to point #1-yes my dad is always very poetic when speaking of love). In every word, gesture, kiss, every smile – I could feel my families enduring love for my parents.
6. No matter where you are, always lean on the other for support through it all.
Vietnam was an emotional place for both Branden and I. It’s so hard to even describe everything that we experienced and felt there, but it took a lot of mental and emotional strength to give and receive such an overwhelming amount of love. I do know that whenever we look at each other and talk about what happened in ‘Nam, there is a very deep, shared love that we will never forget, and something only the two of us can understand. I learned in Vietnam that no matter where we are, leaning on each other for support will give us the strength and love needed to endure all things.
We will take wholeheartedly the lessons we learned about love in Vietnam, and keep it in a special place in our hearts from this point forward individually and within our growing relationship. We can’t wait to see what Japan will be teaching us in the next wedding 🙂
Stay tuned for our Japan wedding on April 4th and pictures from two weeks of galavanting the country with our wedding guests: Photographer Conor Musgrave, my brother Binh, and our friends Marlon Jordan and Christian Richman.