In the last few days I’ve mentioned quite a few traits of the Filipino culture and mentality that create massive culture shock. I’ve touched on bahala na, crab mentality, money (mis)management, the sense of entitlement and many other aspects that a Westerner may find irking.
However no intimate relationship can flourish when you focus on the quote-unquote idiosyncracies of your spouse’s culture. That would amount to demolishing the habitat you yourself have chosen to inhabit.
A few years ago I came across a powerful concept that has immensely helped me to consistently shift my focus away from culture shock and access more resourceful mental states that help me enhance my relationship with a Filipina.
The concept is the three A approach to an intimate relationship. I’ve heard about it surfing the internet in search of valuable information to create a mindset that could help me to massively improve my marriage.
Those As are the following:
A=Appreciation that is focusing on specific positive qualities of your spouse. This is particularly critical in a relationship with a Filipina where culture shock, as I’ve already abundantly mentioned, can create so much fuel for upset that if you don’t consciously focus day in and day out on WHAT’S GREAT ABOUT YOUR RELATIONSHIP weeds will grow automatically.
A=Acceptance. I already touched on this aspect. Filipinos have a very different idea of what constitutes a family-unit than the Westerners. Westerners like to leave their extended family and be as independent as possibile from it while the Filipino like to keep the tie with it very strong. You can hardly change that so you’d better adapt and accept that the culture of your spouse is THE WAY IT IS AND NOT THE WAY YOU WISH IT TO BE.
A=Acknowledgment which simply means empathy that creates true intimacy. If your spouse is upset (and as I keep saying the balat sibuyas characteristic of Filipinos causes them to easily get upset), correcting her is not empathy, telling her how she is wrong is not empathy, defending yourself is not empathy. So, just acknowledge her right to feel upset and empathize with her. You also need to acknowledge the feelings of your extended family that may quickly take sides with your Filipino spouse and be quick to apologize and change the behaviour that causes the upset.
I have the three As written down in my relationship journal and I make sure that I practice them every day.
By practicing the three As you will not even need to explore the Filipino culture in its countless manifestations to enjoy a great relationship.