I used to believe that by studying Tagalog, learning all about Filipino songs, movies, food etc. I would create incredible rapport with my wife and her kin-group.
Unfortunately it turned out that the more I immersed myself into the Filipino culture the less the relationship thrived.
I already explained, in one of my previous posts, that one of the reasons was that I was merely trying to build a cultural bridge and I was going about it intellectually. In other words I WAS TRYING TO CREATE A BRIDGE BETWEEN TWO CULTURES RATHER THAN TWO SOULS.
Because we ALL SHARE THE SAME HUMANITY AND THE SAME UNDERLYING PSYCHOLOGY, I’ve found out that my relationship ONLY STARTED TAKING A HUGE TURN when I shifted from investing time and energy to LEARN TAGALOG (and the other aspects of her culture) to LEARNING AND MASTERING WHAT WORKS CROSS-CULTURALLY.
Let me just give you an example that will make this point clearer: one of the things that women most want, NO MATTER WHERE THEY COME FROM, is BEING HEARD but I was not a good listener.
To this very day, I am still struggling with a deeply rooted tendency to be immersed in my own thoughts in situations that call for presence of mind.
Learning how to speak Tagalog didn’t change anything. If you are not a good listener when somebody speaks to you in your own tongue, you won’t get any better if you learn your spouse’s native language.
It’s a MINDSET that has to CHANGE. Becoming a GIVER VS A TAKER. Becoming more interested in your partner’s needs than your own and it doesn’t come with INJECTING YOURSELF INTO YOUR WIFE’S CULTURE.
So, I began working on my ability to FOCUS ON MY SPOUSE RATHER THAN MYSELF and that was the REAL GAME CHANGER.
Remember: the Filipino culture is light years away from the Western model of the world but there are CROSS-CULTURAL PRINCIPLES that if you master them you will not need to EXPLORE THE FILIPINO CULTURE IN ALL IT’S AVENUES TO TRY TO DESPERATELY BUILD A BRIDGE and one of these is FOCUS ON YOUR SPOUSE’S NEEDS AND GIVE HER A LISTENING HEAR.