I am an achiever and I like keeping a goal setting journal. I am committed to self-improvement in all areas of my life: my health, my mindset, my spirituality, my work life and so on.
However I find it extremely hard to involve my Filipino wife in goal setting, especially in putting goals down in writing.
My experience has taught me that three things keep many Filipinos from setting goals and embarking on a project of self-improvement and those are: addiction to distraction, the tendency to rely on others for support and the tendency to blame others when things don’t work out.
Many Filipinos get up and the very first thing they do is checking their social feed. They rarely start off their days journaling or meditating a little bit or reading uplifting material. Many spend much of their free time on social media, watching TV or YouTube videos and things like that.
Therefore they hardly cut back on distraction to carve out for themselves time to plan, meditate or do anything at all that is somehow related to self-improvement.
They also come from a culture where way too many people rely on their expatriate fellow Filipinos for support and blame the government and corruption if things are not working out in their lives.
Addiction to instant gratification and distraction combined with lack of willingness to take charge of their lives keep most Filipinos stuck in a situation in which they make little progress emotionally, spiritually, financially and so on.
If you marry a Filipina and you are a person who makes goal setting and self-improvement a priority, take into account that you might have a hard time getting your spouse involved in your personal-development projects, as most Filipinos have this rather relaxed, easygoing and casual approach to things.
You might have to let go of certain goals that your wife is just not interested in achieving or, perhaps create an environment where you give her space and you claim space for yourself to pursue goals that matter to you.
For example I have adventure and cultural goals that my wife just doesn’t have. By giving her space she gives me the space to pursue my goals in return. For example a couple of weeks ago I went hiking for 3 days and I spent wonderful moments alone in nature.
What about financial goals?
If your Filipino wife just doesn’t want to hear about budgeting and having a financial journal you might have to keep separate bank accounts and pursue your own saving and investing goals.
Because my wife and I managed to create a win-win atmosphere I give her space to act out her Filipino bahala na ways without attacking her and without feeling miserable because she is behaving “contrary to my expectations”, while carving out for myself space to achieve goals that are extremely important to me.
A lot of Filipinos are deeply entrenched in their mentality. Trying to drag them to do things they are not inclined to do can only get you to experience what the “Culture Shock Philippines” book calls the “frustrated and antagonistic” attitude that many Westerners develop when “the alien culture behaves contrary to their expectations”.
If you are fond of goal setting and your expectation is that your Filipino wife will embark with you on your personal development projects you might find yourself becoming very “frustrated and antagonistic”.
My experience has taught me that the best approach is acceptance, letting go and operating from the idea that I can only achieve certain goals of mine on a personal basis without necessarily involving my wife while, of course, sharing wonderful moments with her.