The Challenge of Getting your Filipino Spouse to Widen Out

As I keep repeating in my posts, Filipinos move their bodies to other countries but their hearts and minds seem to remain in the Philippines and, as a result, they spend a large portion

of their free time chatting with relatives or friends in the Philippines and associating with other expatriate Filipinos rather than mingling with local people.

I live in the city of Rome, Italy, where the Filipino community is so huge that Filipinos have their own churches in Tagalog, their Filipino clubs, Filipino banks, a newspaper in Tagalog ( “Ako ay Pilipino” or and so on. This means that in this city they have very little motivation to learn Italian properly and hang out with local people.

This can be a challenge for a Western husband who might find himself spending almost all his free time going to Filipino parties and neglecting his family and his friends.

For many Filipino wives of Italians whom I know the Italian relatives or friends of their husbands hardly exist.

This is one of the several challenging situations in which a Westerner married to a Filipina finds himself in a position where he seems to have not merely married a woman but the entire Filipino community that is very jealous and possessive and reluctant to widen out. This is at least what I observe here in Rome where there is a community of over 50,000 Filipino Overseas Workers, may be in rural areas where Filipinos are more scattered and hardly have a chance to gather together Filipinos are more likely to associate with locals.

Again, as I keep saying in this blog, this is not a personal weakness of a Filipino wife of a Western husband but a deeply entrenched cultural trait of expatriate Filipinos who, by and large, haven’t moved abroad to explore other cultures and to widen their perspective but only to work and support their families, so their hearts and minds remain in the Philippines, especially if they live in a big city that has a very large Filipino community they can associate with.

By endeavoring to understand what causes Filipinos to behave the way they behave and by letting go of being critical and judgmental I am little by little getting my wife to widen out a lot more than when I used to resort to moaning, complaining and attacking her for being not very open to other cultures.

Nowadays I am enjoying a win-win situation that is the result of having exercised patience and practiced yielding.

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