The Reading Habits of Filipinos and their Impact on a Filipino-Western Marriage

Most Filipinos who come to my country have college degrees, even though they hardly use them as they mostly work as domestic helpers.

One of the things that blow mind though, is that, few Filipinos whom I know who have college education, no matter how highly educated they are, hardly read.

As I keep saying in this blog, Filipinos are fond of forms of entertainment that cater to instant gratification such as watching TV, aimlessly surfing the Internet etc.

Highly educated Filipinos, at least the ones I have regular dealings with, are no exception.

It seems to me that study and reading for a Filipino is a means to an end, not an end in and of itself. They generally graduate in technical subjects like engineering, economics, computer science and seldom study humanistic subjects or arts and once they graduate they stick their books on a shelf and part with them for good.

I come from a culture where a lot of people read for the sake of reading and lifting their broadmindedness. Granted, not everyone who is an avid reader in this country ends up elevating his level of consciousness and humanity, actually we have many corrupt politicians in Italy who are fond of reading and read a lot.

Nevertheless, only by reading one can have a chance of broadening his perspectives, there is no guarantee of course that this will happen, but if one doesn’t read anything at all he doesn’t even have a chance to lift his level of consciousness.

Limited reading equals limited mental pictures, it equals watching the world through a tiny hole and being very superficial and hasty in attaching a label and a meaning to people and situations.

I believe that the ability to consistently ask yourself the question “what else could this behaviour or situation mean?” is one of the keys to enjoying a great romantic relationship.

As I already mentioned in a previous post, Filipinos are very hasty in jumping to conclusions, they are very impulsive and emotional and quickly lose their cool.

I believe that this is largely the result of pursuing instant gratification which is akin to lack of self-control and lack of interest in reading is closely related to the pursuit of quick gratification.

Reading a book from cover to cover gives a person a much greater chance to cultivate self-control than reaching for comfort food does, than watching TV does or chatting on social media does. It also gives a person a better chance to become someone who does not hastily jump to superficial conclusions, which is one of the most destructive forces in a marriage.

I come from a culture where a lot of people read for the sake of reading while my wife comes from a place where most educated people whom I know seem to end up reading very little. How do I create a bridge?

A principle that has immensely helped me is the idea that people do what they know how to do given the environment they were raised in, given the circumstances of their lives. If I had grown up in the Philippines I would most likely be acting out the same patterns as most Filipinos do.

So, by coming from a place of understanding I let go of frustration, which creates walls, and I replace it with curiosity about why my wife does what she does and this creates empathy and empathy is the most powerful tool to build bridges.

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