I love it when this blog virtually writes itself. A few days ago I posted an excellent article from reader Peter. I chose to make it into a featured article because I felt Peter had a lot of good advice and that we all should get the benefit of his 8 plus years in toe Philippines.
Well not only did many people enjoy Peter’s advice, abut along came another reader, Bernie, who added on a wealth of further information and cogent thoughts. Thanks, Bernie.
Some good advice from Peter.
One area he just touches on is one that the starry-eyed foreigner needs to consider when presented with a beautiful, young, potential bride.
First though, as mature age foreigners, it’s highly likely that we have already made various major decisions in life, including financial matters, location, and others. They all require a ‘due-diligence’ procedure to be followed to make sure it is the correct decision for us, and that we are prepared to accept any potential downsides.
Peter correctly mentions the Pinay’s goal of locking in the source of her ‘better life’ via you the foreigner. What better way is there of securing her future than becoming pregnant to her foreign ‘beau’? Task accomplished!
I didn’t want to get caught with that situation, nor to end up married to a virtual child, so like Peter, I was able to firstly find a woman in her 50′s, and then to have the assurance that because of powerful common background similarities it was almost a fool-proof arrangement for success – almost.
In practice what I have found is an inability/unwillingness for the lady to adapt to her foreigner, and this appears to be a common feature of a number of local ‘foreigner’ marriages. The foreigner is expected to comply with the wife’s direction and culture as do their local men, and not always from choice.
If you are happy with that, and are prepared to take a back seat in your extended family (apart from providing the family’s income) then that is part of the cost of ‘doing business’ with your Pinay.
That this should be an outcome from your relationship is unlikely to be obvious in the early days while the euphoria is rampant. This is where due diligence can play its part. Check out the expat websites, forums, search generally on the web for experiences and advice. Then use your own intelligence, using as I think Dave has said before, the head sitting on your shoulders and not the one lower down!
You are absolutely have that right. Also, something which amazes me is the number of foreigners who come here and rush into marriage with the “love of their lives” without even having met her father, mother and brothers and sisters who still live in the Philippines,
A lot is made of the culture where where the children are so much closer to their parents. And especially this one …”Children Respect Their Elders”. Who among us here have not heard, or even said that one? And to some extent, it’s true.
But how many have stopped and thought about the “real world” effects of this? Your wife is her parent’s child. You “love” how children respect their parents and elders, right? Also, you may not be totally aware of this but there’s a really special “respect” shown by daughters to their parents. And yet, when a daughter (your wife) seems unable to say “No” to the idea of paying for her mother’s operation, or unable to say “No” to her father’s request for “help”, you suddenly become surprised and even angry that she doesn’t seem to be putting “you” ever first in her life?
You can’t always have it both ways, guys.
I was married before for many years. And, although it was many years ago, my mother and my father both came from families and thus had parents of their own as well as “in-laws”. Some I remember very warmly. Others? Well not so0 much.
Are their really so m nay of you out there that have no interaction, no occasional family arguments, no contributing to help pay grandma’s nursing home bill, etc., etc.? I don’t think so.
The Philippine “dedication to family” is not all that much different from US family values.
When you marry a girl you are marrying her famaily too. There is no way around it, unless you are living in a “lust-induced” dream world, which is what Bernie is trying to warn us about.
If her mother is a cantankerous shrew or her dad is a shiftless drunkard, guess what? You are going to be “married” to them for years, and when they die, you are going to shoulder most of the cost of burying them. Also, under Philippine law, if you wife dies before you do, you do not inherit the half of everything you two own together which you think you might.
You only inherit 50% of what she owns, and her parents, siblings and others called “Mandatory Heirs” inherit the other half of her half.
So if you want to marry the girl, invest a couple million pesos in a house with your =name on the title, be advised if you outlive her, that “shabu smoking brother-in-law or some other family member you weren’t thinking about is going to own 25% of your “Dream Home”.
You can ignore this advice if you wish to, but you do so at your peril, I can assure you. Think it through guys, right after you take a cold shower.
Like Peter, I think this is a lovely country, as are many of the people. But keep your wits about you, for often here things are not what they seem and extreme poverty creates some amazing efforts and attempts to get financial relief.
You may also like some of the information in this article: Reality Check — You’ve Been Warned.