The Beauty of an Anglo-Greek Marriage

The Beauty of an Anglo-Greek Marriage

I talk a lot about my Anglo-Greek marriage—I’ve published a few books about it. Read on as I share the beauty of it.

An Anglo-Greek marriage

The Spartans had a well-established tradition centuries ago. Before sending their men into battle, wives and mothers uttered the famous quote: “ἢ τὰν ἢ ἐπὶ τᾶς,” which translates to “Either with your shield or on it.” This meant that they must return victorious or face an honourable death. Ever since our marriage, my wife has embarked on a mission to transform me into a true Greek. Second best is simply not sufficient. Alex was determined to transform me into a true Greek, resembling Achilles with a sharp sword and a matching wit.

But, as a raw Englishman, my marriage into Greek culture has been exciting, unpredictable, but always hilarious. Let me explain.


Anglo-Greek marriage_Alex with flag. Image of a woman with long blond hair wearing a blue and white striped hat waving a Greek flag
Alex is fiercely proud of her Greek heritage.



Mighty Greek women

Greek history is littered with the stories of powerful women. Some, like the Amazons, were fierce warriors. Gorgo, Queen of Sparta, gained a well-known reputation for her deep wisdom. The daughter of one king, and wife to another, influenced both.

I have had the honour to be married into a Greek family with its share of wise women.

Alex’s grandmother was the wife of a sea captain who worked against the Nazis during WWII. When her husband was arrested and sentenced to death for working with the resistance, and subsequent escape, she spent the remaining war years alone doing her best to ease starvation in her village,

Her mother, Debbie, was an incredibly kind woman. She led her family with love and gentleness, never raising her voice in anger. Yet, behind her soft exterior, her eyes held a deep wisdom.

Alex inherited her grandmother’s strength. She also inherited her mother’s kindness and wisdom. She combined these qualities with the courage and bravery of her warrior ancestors. Then I came along.

Right from the start of our relationship, I knew I had arrived in the storm’s eye. Her fiery nature was a revelation. I was used to living in a polite society with rules. Alex was a free spirit. Her combination of laughter, philosophy, and passion had me hooked from the start.


Greek bureaucracy

Although Greece is a beautiful place to live. There are everyday challenges which require a certain skill developed over time to cope with everyday life. If you need to visit the hospital, deal with your electricity or water bills, buy a car—or anything else you want to do—usually involves the dreaded and world-famous Greek bureaucracy.

The surprising aspect about this is that everyone hates these officials, but everyone aspires to be one. People look upon it as a cushy job, with decent money and no prospect of being sacked. So, who wouldn’t want a job like that?

Over the last few years, the antiquated wheels of bureaucracy are beginning to turn a little faster. Direct debits to pay bills, internet banking helps. But there will always be little dark offices containing characters who are just waiting for an opportunity to ruin your day. But with the rapid growth of things to make life easier, the bureaucrats have realised judgment day is coming, so they slow down even more to justify their existence.

Dealing with government departments has been likened to the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and finally–acceptance.

But Alex’s five stages are a little different. Despite her angelic face and captivating smile, Alex’s mind is like a scalpel. She will dissect any foolish statement, examine every syllable, and only then allow further discussion.


Anglo-Greek marriage_Alex on tractor. Imahe of a long blondhaired woman driving a tractor
Never underestimate Alex–or get in her way. She will do whatever it takes to get things done.



Alex’s five stages for dealing with bureaucracy

  1. Sweetness. She will approach the official with a smile and a kind word. As most of the obnoxious officials are men, a pretty face sometimes works.
  2. Logic. Alex will assure him that once he provides her with the necessary paperwork, he will be able to proceed to the next person in line and experience a sense of satisfaction knowing that the job was well done. However, it is highly unlikely that this approach will be successful. He has been trained to create obstacles and is no inclination towards rationality.
  3. Swearing. The aim is to make the official take notice. Swearing at them clearly achieves this. Hopefully, he will see you have reached your limit and apply the final rubber stamp to your document.
  4. Threats of violence. This is useful for provoking a reaction. By threatening to insert his rubber stamp in a dark bodily orifice, while stuffing him in a filing cabinet and throwing away the key, she will usually gain his attention. But this is the point we usually get thrown out.
  5. The Apology. Alex will knock lightly on his door. She will smile sheepishly and apologise for her outburst. Both parties have now been through a shared stressful experience. This has formed a bond that allows differences to be patched up. He is satisfied that he has caused the most amount of difficulty possible. We are satisfied with our new document. We can all part as friends.


Socrates had a fiery wife, too

Greek philosophers were also known for their stubbornness. When Socrates was accused of corrupting the youth and not believing in the state’s gods, he suggested a good meal as punishment. However, his accusers rejected this and gave him the choice of exile or hemlock. He chose the latter.

Unlike me, Socrates had a different motivation for choosing a powerful Greek wife. Drawn to her fiery temper, he philosopher chose Xanthippe because he believed her argumentative nature would sharpen his philosophical reasoning. He suggested that one would learn more by riding a bad-tempered horse than a gentle one:


“If the person learns to manage the wild horse, then it follows that I could manage all kinds of horses.”


He wanted to converse with all sorts of people, and if he learned to get along with his difficult wife, he could get along with anybody.

According to Plato, she was a dutiful mother and wife, but one of the hardest women to agree with. She was quarrelsome and oppressive and made Socrates’ life miserable.

Xanthippe often verbally attacked Socrates, who would then walk away and sit on the doorstep. One day, she sent him to the market, but he forgot to buy one item. She unleashed a brutal verbal attack, causing him to walk slowly to the doorstep. He sat there and found solace in deep philosophical thoughts. Suddenly, Xanthippe came out with a bucket of water and poured it on Socrates’ head. Neighbours asked why he didn’t respond to his wife. As he wiped the water off his face, Socrates offered a simply reply:


“This is quite natural. After thunder comes rain.”


Am I like Socrates?

Maybe I am a modern-day philosopher. Like Socrates, I also married a fiery Greek. But thankfully, my experience is far different from poor Socrates. Unlike Xanthippe, Alex is a philosopher in her own right. And instead of being difficult to live with, she is an exciting ball of fire with the face of an angel. She leads by the example of all ancient Greek philosophers and gives every situation deep thought…. Eventually… That is, after turning the air blue with a selection of interesting profanities, throwing things at the person who has caused offence, and burning down their houses. Then the logic kicks in as her heritage comes to bear.


Anglo-Greek marriage_Peter and Alex_Image of a man with light hair and glasses wearing a black shirt holding a book, his arm around a woman with long blond hair wearing a white top
Thankfully, Alex channels her fire to support all that I do.



Our Anglo-Greek marriage

But as an Anglo-Greek marriage, we have merged to coexist in a beautiful relationship of fire and water.

I have found a better way to live. The love of my life still surprises me every day with her energy, sparky nature, and unpredictability. We wake up together every morning, be that in Greece or England, a true multicultural marriage that spans both countries.

Yes, Greek wives are fiery. But they make us better. But sometimes we just need to sit on the naughty step for a while to think about it.



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Read more:

Don’t Eat the Oranges!

Wildlife on a Greek Beach


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