Want to have a good relationship with your Korean wife?
Living a happy married life can be challenging, even with someone from the same culture.
I’m writing this post to help you get along with your Korean spouse. 🙂
Let’s find out
- what to call your wife in Korean
- pros and cons of Korean wives
- their expectations and fears
- how to communicate better
- what they celebrate
- gift ideas
What do you call your wife in Korean?
The Korean title for wife is “아내 (ahnae)”, “집사람 (jibsaram)” and “와이프 (waipeu)”. “신부 (shinbu)” only refers to a bride up until the wedding.
- You can call your Korean wife by saying 여보 (yeobo or yobo), 자기 (jagi), or her name. These are good Korean pet names similar to “honey” or “baby” in English.
🚫Avoid calling her “야 (ya)”, because it sounds like you’re picking a fight. (It’s okay to say “ya” if you’re being playful with smile. For example, when you’re play fighting.)
Other helpful spouse-related Korean words are:
- 배우자 (baewooja): Spouse
- 부부 (booboo): Married couple
- 유부남 (yooboonam): Married man
- 유부녀 (yooboonyeo): Married woman
What are the pros and cons of having a Korean wife?
Everybody is different. This is merely a generalization of Korean wives to give you an idea of what to expect. Experiences will vary depending on how westernized she is and her personality.
- fashionable: Korean women care about appearances including their skin, weight, clothes, bags, etc.
- devoted: Korean wives are committed to their family, work and self-development.
- good at housework: Most Korean women are good at cooking and cleaning as traditional wifely duties. But not all!
- hygiene: Korean women shower 1-2 times a day. They don’t have body odor in general.
- loyal: Korean wives are loyal. Koreans call it 의리 (euiri, which is mostly used for brotherhood) and 전우애 (jeonwooae, which literally means camaraderie) as you go through hardship together.
- straightforward: as long as you provide for the family, you’ll be fine in general.
- whiny: Korean wives can be whiny, and it’s called 징징 (jingjing in Korean). You just need to ride it out.
- aegyo: Although 애교 (aegyo) can be cute when they’re young, it can be a bit annoying as it looks immature and is used when they want something from you.
- upset, pouty or sulky: Korean women can be 삐지다 (ppijida) without telling you why. They tend to be emotional as well.
- poor communicators: Korean wives communicate through nunchi. You can’t take what they say at face value.
- materialistic: Korean women can be very materialistic as they spend a lot on skincare, grooming and the latest fashion items.
- possessive: Korean wives expect you to focus more on them than your social life. They normally don’t like it when you go out drinking with your friends. Compared to most Korean men, you’ll probably under the limit for this one.
What are their expectations?
In general, Korean wives expect you to be sweet, express affection, converse more, and be family-oriented.
Deep down inside, they want you to be successful and make a lot of money, so they can enjoy that social status.
In Korea, it’s common for a married couple to merge all their assets and the wife takes full control over the family finances. So, your Korean wife might expect to manage all your money and give you an allowance. However, this tradition is changing and more couples choose to split living costs and keep their own money.
What do they fear?
I think the biggest fear of a Korean wife is becoming a divorcee, because of how Korean society views divorce.
It’s no longer surprising to see divorcees around me in Korea and it’s better to end an unhappy, miserable marriage, but Koreans are still afraid of getting divorced.
Korean wives, like most women, are afraid of their husbands cheating on them at work.
I’ve heard from a few friends that there are so many “office wife/husband” relationships happening.
불륜 (bullyoon or adultery) is becoming more common in Korea, as it was depicted in the K-drama, “The World of the Married (부부의 세계)”.
How to communicate better with your Korean wife
It’s important to try to understand what she wants to say and be patient.
Keep in mind that there’s a language barrier as English is not her mother tongue. On top of that, it can be frustrating since Korean women don’t really tell you what they want (they expect you to just get it without saying it).
If you really don’t understand what she wants, simply ask her, or ask her to choose between two options.
When your Korean wife says, “알아서 해 (araseo hae)” or “do as you like / up to you”, DON’T! This is equivalent to “It’s fine” in English. It’s a trap!
How to apologize to your Korean wife
After an argument, you can say “미안해 (mianhae)” to apologize. Some might ask you why you’re sorry by saying “뭐가? (mwoga?)” or “뭐가 미안한데? (mwoga mianhandae?)”.
Then, you can say “____해서 미안해 (____ haesuh mianhae)”, which means “I’m sorry for ______”.
If you caused an argument, you can apologize by saying “잘못했어 (jalmothaessuh)”, which means “I was wrong”.
What do Korean married couples celebrate?
Korean married couples celebrate their wedding anniversary every year. It’s called 결혼기념일 (gyeolhon ginyumil) or 결기 (gyeolgi) as a shortened version.
Most couples celebrate by going to a nice restaurant and having steak or pasta. They also like to travel, celebrating their wedding anniversary.
Korean married couples also celebrate each other’s birthdays and Christmas. You don’t always have to buy something expensive, but make sure to set reminders on your phone to show you care.
Gift ideas to make your Korean spouse happier
If you want to really impress your Korean wife without spending much money on a regular day, make her “tteokbokki (떡볶이)”, which is soul food for almost every Korean woman. Just remember that tteokbokki will be a perfect surprise gift for a non-special day. Ditto for sweets and desserts she likes. These will especially go a long way during her period.
I’ve seen my friends who are Korean wives being very happy after receiving Tiffany and Co. accessories or LV bags on their wedding anniversary.
Other common anniversary gifts are: necklaces, flower bouquets and cash (you might be surprised but she’ll like cash!)
You can get her a subscription to a streaming service that has K-dramas, if you want to keep her busy for a while.
Another option is to go on a short trip and shift the focus to non-material gifts. Koreans are enjoying travel more and more these days. You just might have to take lots of pics for her Instagram. Also, learning how to take nice pictures of her is a free way to score points.
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Did we miss anything?
Let us know your thoughts or questions about Korean wives in the comments!
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