How to learn best with your native speaking partner / friends?

Hello everyone!
I have a question about language learning with a native speaker, maybe someone has some experiences or a useful advice for me.

First of all, I am engaged with a wonderful person from Italy, yet it is still a weekend long distance relationship, as I live in Germany. The main language we speak is German, but my future mother in law for example just speaks Italian. So, I want to communicate with her but also with the people around in the country better. To explain, I know the Italian gramma perfectly and I can almost understand all they say, but I am not quite comfortable in speaking Italian.
We Skype every day when we are not together during the week. Often, I say: “Can we talk more in Italian, so I can practice?” but after a short time we change back to German or English.
Can anyone give me a tip how we can practice effectively?

Thank you very much and best regards from Bavaria
Erik

I think your partner needs to be the one pushing you to speak Italian, not the other way around. So she needs to be invested in your path to fluency too, otherwise she might consider it a chore for her to have to converse with you in Italian if it’s easier to do it in another language.

I have friends who are a Dutch/Colombian couple. They met and got together speaking English and neither of them spoke the other’s native language. They did long distance for a while but eventually she (the Colombian) moved to the Netherlands. From the minute she landed, the boyfriend started speaking to her exclusively in Dutch, which she didn’t understand. It made her miserable for months but he insisted and it was his insistence that helped her learn Dutch much more quickly than she otherwise would have.

This is an extreme example but the point is that it was the partner, rather than the learner, who was driving the learning. Maybe your girlfriend needs to realise that you speaking better Italian is beneficial for her too and worth her putting in the effort for. It would make family gatherings better, like you mentioned with her mother. It would mean that you and your partner could hang out naturally with her Italian-speaking friends. It means you might be able to get a good/better job in Italy if that’s what you want, etc.

Buona fortuna!

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