What Women Want in a Man

The reason why I am addressing this topic is because I entered my relationship without having any clues about how relationships work and about how women think and what they really want.

I had to figure it out years down the road and this caused me a lot of unnecessary problems.

There is actually one thing I figured out before committing and that is that women are incredibly drawn to men who have plenty of options and don’t actually need a relationship to be happy.

I was that way at age 32, when I met the Filipina who 5 years later became my wife: getting married and setting up a family was the very last thing I wanted because my life was very very comfortable. I could afford to travel abroad up to three times a year, I was saving up for the future, I was engaged in a very rewarding international volunteer work and I had plenty of free time for my passions like hiking and a bunch of other things that were filling my life with a lot of pleasure.

So I was not really desperate about getting married, let alone having kids.

When I bumped into the woman whom I eventually married I basically told her that I liked her a lot but I didn’t want to give up my freedom.

What I started noticing was that the more I tried to push her away the more attractive I became which led me to draw my first conclusion about what women want in a man:

  • they want a man who is not needy and who has plenty of options

In other words they want a man whose life is much bigger than the relationship itself, a man who will not fall into the darkness of despair should his wife die or leave him, precisely because his life and life purpose are more than the relationship itself.

This was the first and only insight that I had about what women want in a man before even committing to my wife.

But apart from this early insight there a lot of things that I had to figure out by trial and error years down the road.

After only about one year of marriage, it became pretty obvious that I was not really meeting my wife’s needs.

I used to think that if I only could get my wife to give me a list of what she wanted then I would have given her everything she wanted on a silver platter.

I started to naively push my wife to spend long weekends together once in a while and I tried countless times, to no avail, to get her to use these opportunities to get clear about what we wanted from each other and I was suggesting to her to sit down and take pen and paper so that she would give me a list of what she really expected of me and I would do the same, such that we could get crystal clear about what we expected of each other.

This never happened (and never will).

  • I realized that women want their man to figure out what they want and they will never be the ones to give you a “grocery” list of the things they want so that you can effortlessly know what these things are and give them to her.

We did actually have plenty of long weekends together but I never managed during those weekends to get her to do what I thought was right, namely to get clear once and for all about what we both wanted and write it down on a “list”

So, after years of chasing my tail around in circles, the second conclusion I was able to draw about what women want in a man is that they want a man who has enough sensitivity to figure out for himself what they want and need. Directly asking them pushes them away.

Another insight that I have acquired is that for a woman

  • little things are more important than big ones

A little thing that drives my wife crazy, if I fail to do it, is that she wants me to always, and I mean always, close the lid of the toilet’s bowl no matter how early I wake up to go to work, how in a hurry I am because I have to rush to work and how many hours I need to work.

In my mind if I am making the huge sacrifice to get up early and support the family I can afford to neglect a little thing like closing the lid of the toilet’s bowl. Not so from the standpoint of my wife! The huge sacrifices I make for the family count for absolutely nothing if I fail to honor the little things that are important to her.

Another thing that, based on my experience, women want in a man is:

  • they want a man willing to give them emotional connection when they need it not when he is ready and they want a man who is willing to push aside even important things like necessary and urgent work

Last Friday night, for example, I received a very important WhatsApp message from a potential new client but, between 9 and 10 pm, I usually give my wife a massage. Well, she made it clear that in that moment the massage was more important than getting that new client…

  • Presence of mind: we got a new dog and my wife is trying hard to train this unruly dog and she needs me to watch if there is any cats around when we walk the dog but I forget and I forget and I forget and get distracted and she can’t stand it.
  • They want to be heard and they don’t want a man to give them solutions

and all the more so because my wife is Filipino.
She comes from a culture where men themselves don’t think in terms of solutions and are rather emotional so offering solutions to an emotional Filipina and trying to get her to think in rational terms when all she needs is emotional connection doesn’t work. It doesn’t work with a Filipina and I am assuming that it doesn’t work with women in general.

  • They don’t like when you measure what they blame on you against what they are doing wrong or in other words they hate it when you make them wrong in response to their lashing out.

They can make you wrong all day long but you are not supposed to mention a single thing they did wrong.

This is, more or less, the list of things that, based on my experience with a Filipino wife and on my personal judgement, women want in a man, or at least what my wife wants in a man, which, I assume, applies by extention to more or less all relationships.

I will create a part 2 of this post should I come up with more insights….

How to Avoid Arguing in a Relationship

When I feel the urge to argue I remind myself that my wife and I are on the same boat

When I use the English word relationship to talk about my marriage (I can do so in three languages but, because most material I have read on intimate relationships is in English, the English language is my language of choice when it comes to this particular domain of life) my focus goes on the last four letters that make up this word.

What is the wise thing to do if the (relation)ship is sinking? Is it finding fault with our (relation)ship mate? Will proving our (relation)ship mate wrong and ourselves right keep the (relation)ship from sinking?

The idea of being on the same boat (or on the same ship: I am in a relationship with a Filipina and she comes from a country where the kin-group culture is rather strong so I need a ‘larger vessel’ to also accomodate my wife’s extended family…) with my partner and the (relation)ship metaphor (I think I heard this metaphor from Tony Robbins) are powerful ways to remind myself, over and over again, that it doesn’t make any sense to argue about who is right and who is wrong in an intimate relationship.

I rather put my attention on what can be done to direct the (relation)ship to the beautiful destination we both want to get to, who did something wrong doesn’t matter as long as we both work in unison to correct our course.

I once heard a great illustration: the past is like the wake of a boat. The wake does not direct the boat, rather it’s the rudder, it’s the one who is at the helm.

Attacking our partner for what he or she did wrong is like staring at the trail that is left behind rather than controlling the rudder.

What our (relation)ship mate did wrong is nothing but a trail that is left behind: staring at it (by dwelling on it and arguing about it) is pointless and dangerous…

A Great Book on Relationships that all Couples Should Read

One of my objectives in this blog is to share ideas and strategies that have immensely helped me to take my marriage to the next level.

I am in an interracial marriage and this kind of relationship is particularly tricky and so I have made it a point to regularly read as many books as I can on how to have a thriving relationship.

One of the books that have immensely helped me to really boost my love life is a book I stumbled upon a couple of years ago written by an American psychologist by the name of Jonathan Robinson.

The book is entitled “Communication Miracles for Couples”.

What’s great about this book is the fact that, by applying the suggestions you find in the first few pages, you can immediately start noticing incredible changes in your relationship, even if your relationship has been suffering from the bad consequences of poor communication for a long time, which is the number one reason why many relationships fail.

As doctor Robinson says, most of us are more acquainted with how to fix a car than with how effective communication works and, sadly, very few people really invest serious time in learning how to communicate effectively with their spouse.

I used to be a very bad communicator and, as men generally do, I used to dole out advice to my wife without really understanding and acknowledging her feelings.

The book stresses the importance of giving our spouse 3 absolutely critical things: Acknowledgment, Appreciation and Acceptance.

There is an interesting passage in chapter one that says:

“Even if your partner is very upset, the key to get him to be able to hear you is to give him plenty of acknowledgment, appreciation, and acceptance. The three As are like deposits for your partner’s self-esteem bank account. When you give your mate the three As, his self-esteem bank “balance” temporarily goes up. As his bank balance goes up, he will naturally become more loving, more giving, and better able to listen. Therefore, when your partner is feeling stressed, the best thing you can do is make a “deposit” into his selfesteem bank account. Almost like magic, he will become more agreeable toward you. As he is better able to listen to you with love, you’ll feel better too. The destructive cycle will be over”.

The reason why our partner is often reluctant to listen to what we have to say is because we fail to acknowledge his or her experience and feelings and we say things that don’t take into any account how our partner feels.

I have made this mistake way too many times: on many occasions I have said or done things that have upset my wife (my wife comes from a culture that is characterized by high emotionalism and, in fact, one of the traits of Filipinos is balat sibuyas, meaning that their metaphorical “skin” is as thin as the sibuyas or onion and, therefore, it is very easy to get under their thin skin and upset them) and I have dismissed her upsets with such expressions as “come on”, “give me a break”, “you get upset too easily” or something along these lines.

The point that Dr. Robinson makes is that if our spouse is upset, instead of dismissing or minimizing her (or his) upset, we must fully honor and acknowledge her or his right to feel upset.

Dr. Robinson offers a very powerful communication tool called the “acknowledgment formula”:

It sounds like (or, It seems) you . . . Paraphrase in a sentence or two what your partner’s experience seems to be. That must feel . . . Guess as to how such an experience must feel. I’m sorry you feel . . . Guess as to what they’re feeling.

In addition to Acknowledgment, the book talks about two more As being Appreciation (meaning specific appreciation, as vague and generic appreciation has very little power) and Acceptance.

I am in an interracial marriage and my wife’s culture has a lot of things that are difficult to accept for a Westerner but if I want my marriage to thrive I cannot bash the environment that I myself have chosen to inhabit. The Filipino culture is what it is and the only way I can expect to enjoy a great relationship is by accepting my partner’s culture the way it is, flaws and all.

The 3A formula has proved to be a great game changer for my marriage and I recommend that everyone who is in an intimate relationship tries out practicing Appreciation, Acknowledgment and Acceptance and I think “Communication Miracles for Couples” by Dr. Robinson is a great resource to learn how to practice these 3 As.

COMMUNICATION MIRACLES FOR COUPLES BY JONATHAN ROBINSON (The following link is an affiliate link)

True vs Fake Morality

The Philippines is a very religious country
Materialism and wanton consumption are very widespread in the Philippines (along with many other not very religious things and practices)

The Philippines, my wife’s country, is one of those countries where there is a very high number of churches and religious denominations and yet such problems as alcohol abuse, corruption, violence and so on abound (just like in many other countries).

I used to be an atheist (during my teens) and yet my level of morality was probably higher than that of most religious people I used to interact with.

Now that I am no longer an atheist my level of morality is more or less the same as when I was an atheist.

I have never craved having casual sex or cheating on my spouse, getting drunk, I have never even considered the possibility to pay or accept a bribe.

Having become a believer almost hasn’t changed anything: most of the practices I used to avoid as an atheist I am still shunning and avoiding today and so my level of morality hasn’t changed much.

I think the main reason why most religious people who moralize a lot end up doing the exact opposite of what they condemn and moralize about is because they haven’t learned how to truly trascend and outgrow their quote-unquote sinful cravings.

I think that when the only reason why a person abstain from things like casual sex, alcohol abuse and so on is because a book says so or the Bible says so or their parents said so or because society says so what this person is really saying is “I would love to have casual sex or cheat on my spouse, get drunk, have drugs etc but I can’t“.

I recently heard a great illustration that explains this point rather nicely: if you are full of cravings and the only reason why you hold back from caving in to those cravings is because you can’t (because the Bible says so or your parents said so etc), but you actually would like to, this is like you are trying to dig a hole in the middle of the ocean.

The pressure of the water symbolizes your cravings and the hole represents your list of dos and donts. In much the same way as the pressure of the ocean is going to break your hole, the pressure of your cravings and desires is eventually going to get the better of your dos and donts.

That is why most Filipinos (in this blog I am talking about the Philippines but the same logic applies to everyone) officially believe that alcohol abuse is bad, corruption is wrong, violence, materialism, gossip and many other things that are pretty common in the Philippines are inappropriate but these very things are very deeply rooted in the Filipino culture.

So I believe that as long as the only reason why people try to resist their urges to do what’s quote-unquote “immoral” is because an external authority says so and they fail to understand why those things are bad and not inherently fulfilling, there is no way people can truly act moral.

There is actually an interesting passage in the Bible (which is the religious book most Filipinos believe in), but the same logic applies even if someone doesn’t believe the Bible or any other religious book, and this passage says something along the lines that the Creator teaches you to “benefit yourself” – Isaias 48:17.

Actually this concept could be appreciated and understood even if we left the Creator out of the picture and simply reasoned in strictly secular and rational terms.

The famous motivational speaker Tony Robbins talks about the idea of getting rid of such habits as heavy drinking, drugs and so on by learning to link more pleasure to having energy and vitality than to indulging in drinking, overeating etc.

So, regardless of whether one is religious or not the key to true morality is when we learn to dwell on the benefits of parting with negative and toxic habits thereby trascending and outgrowing them rather than simply trying to put up a hard fight to stay away from things that we, deep within, crave and, secretly, like doing simply because some external authority says so and, if you are a Christian, the only way you can accept and internalize what your Creator says is wrong is by understanding why this is the case and dwelling on the benefits of acting moral.

How to Endure Cultural Fatigue in a Multiethnic Marriage

My relationship with a Filipina has taught me that there exists a kind of fatigue that is heavier than physical and mental fatigue put together. It is actually a kind of fatigue that drains your physical, your mental and your emotional energy.

I think the expression cultural fatigue is more appropriate than culture shock as, the word shock kind of conveys the idea of a jolt, like and electric shock, something that lasts a few seconds and then you get over it (if you survive it). The word fatigue kind of conveys the idea of a prolonged strain and that is precisely what keeping score day in and day out between the cultural differences between two entirely different models of the world is: a prolonged strain, a very heavy fatigue that lasts for a very long time and it drains all your energy.

I like how the “Culture Shock Philippines” book by Alfredo and Grace Roces describes this fatigue on pages 4 and 5: “cultural fatigue is the physical and emotional exhaustion (so there are two components to it: physical and, most importantly, emotional and the book, instead of using the term tiredness uses the really fitting term “exhaustion”) required for long-term survival (long-term survival entails that you don’t just experience an initial shock or jolt) in an alien culture. Living and working overseas (or being married to a Filipina, even in your own country) generally requires that one must suspend his automatic evaluations (for example we in the Western world automatically assume that once you get married you live your parents for good and form your own family unit, we also assume quite automatically that you first pay the rent and the bills and if you have money left then you buy a car and the list of “automatic evaluations” that a Westerner must suspend could go on forever)…and he must supply new interpretations to seemingly familiar behaviour (like getting married and forming a family of your own which seems familiar but the Westerners interpret it in a way and Filipinos in a radically different way) and that he must demand of himself constant alterations in the style and content of his activity (notice the expression constant alterations: this is an ongoing and a very prolonged effort, not just a “jolt”)”. The book goes on to say that “this process consumes an enormous amount of energy”.

I like the expression that a Westerner must suspend his automatic evaluations or, in other words, in order to thrive in this kind of relationship and to be able to withstand a very prolonged fatigue, a Westerner cannot be stuck in his automatic perceptions that are the result of his upbringing and exposure to the Western culture.

An interesting point that the “Culture Shock Philippines book” makes on page 7 is that the solution of the cultural conflict lies, in fact, in the arena of “perception” rather than in a locked battle between irreconcilable values. What this means, as the book says on page 6, is that Filipinos value pretty much the same things as the Westerners (family, honesty, sincerity and so on), it is not as if Westerners have a certain set of values while Filipinos have totally different values, as if Filipinos and Westerners belonged to a different species. This is certainly not how it is, we share the same humanity and the same core values. The values are the same, it is just that such values as family, sincerity etc are viewed and perceived from different viewpoints and this, of course, calls for an outstanding ability to suspend, as the book says, one’s automatic evaluations and be ready to experience constant alterations in the style and content of one’s activity.

My granpa was a farmer and in his life he experienced a great deal of physical fatigue but very little mental fatigue, I studied hard my whole life and experienced a lot of intellectual fatigue and (at least when a was a teenager) very little physical fatigue. Since I married a Filipina I’ve experienced cultural fatigue, a combination of both physical and intellectual (and, most of all, emotional) fatigue, something a lot heavier and trickier than any other form of fatigue, this is, in fact, the ultimate fatigue.

What you Gain and What you Lose if you Marry a Filipina

I have been raised with the idea that, to be any kind of successful human being, one must be a person who adds value to people’s life. To be a person who adds value means that whatever I touch and whatever I impact must get better.

In a marriage creating value, to me, means that if I enter a relationship I must contribute to make the other person a better one. Similarly I expect that, by being in a relationship with someone else, that relationship will make me a better man.

Does marrying a Filipina create added value?

It may seem that in certain areas of your life, by being in a relationship with a Filipina, you lose.

From a surface point of view it may appear that, by and large, Filipinos are not people who touch something and it gets better.

The city of Baguio, situated on the Cordillera Mountains, is a case in point and an interesting metaphor:

Baguio City was designed by an American named Daniel Burnham and, according to the original design, was supposed to become a “garden-city”. Under many aspects it is a “garden-city”, as there are several parks like Wright Park, Mines View, the John Hay Camp and the central Burnham Park. Yet, if you only walk a couple of blocks away from Burnham Park you find yourself in neighborhoods that are not any different from the Quiapo area in Manila

Filipinos were given a garden-city and they turned it into a congested mess, at least a large portion of it.

If you marry a Filipina, certain areas of your life may end up just like Baguio city.

Perhaps right now you have saving and investing plans to grow your money and be well equipped before age 65 rolls around. Because many Filipinos seem to lack financial education and become spenders rather than lenders and want to support way too many relatives in the Philippines, by entering a relationship with a Filipina, you will hardly grow your wealth and your financial goals might go down the drain.

The bahala-na or casual approach to life of most Filipinos to money budgeting and other domains of life may give a Western husband of a Filipina the impression that he is losing out.

On the other hand this relationship has created great value in other areas of my life: the Bayanihan spirit has taught me to become more unselfish, the gregarious Pakikisama spirit has helped me to become more outgoing. Living with my wife’s extended family has helped me to reconsider my relationship with my own family of origin and value them much more.

Because Filipinos, including my wife, are highly emotional, learning to deal with emotional people has given me the motivation to be a much better listener and learn empathy.

I consider myself a better man so I can positively say that my marriage has definitely added value to my life and even though I’ve lost something in terms of my economics, career life and goal setting, my overall level of consciousness and humanity has made a giant leap.

In a marriage with a Filipina you may lose something in terms of career, productivity and financial goals but, if you go about it the right way and with the right mindset, you will definitely raise your communication skills, your level of emotional intelligence, your ability to share, your view of elderly people and family ties.

I don’t regret having married a Filipina and I can definitely say that being in this relationship has brought great value into my life.

Seeing the Divine Worth in Your Foreign Spouse

I have been sharing in my posts, for quite a while now, many of the cultural traits of Filipinos that really put to the test a Westerner’s ability to endure culture shock.

In some of my previous posts I’ve touched on how the only way an interracial relationship like this can not just function but actually thrive is by removing any hint of negativity or judgement towards the most irking aspects of the Filipino culture and replacing them with feelings of appreciation and an attitude of acceptance.

If a Western partner of a Filipina begins to moan, whine and complain about bahala na, ako muna, utang na loob, isang kahig isang tuka etc. it will not be long before the relationship collapses or begins to barely coast along with very little love and passion.

So, shifting from frustration to appreciation is critical in any relationship but much more so in this kind of interracial relationship.

Those who stress the importance of appreciation in an intimate relationship usually say that the way you appreciate your partner is by focusing on his or her good qualities.

I believe that this attitude can be taken to a much higher level thereby creating much higher levels of intimacy if we, instead of just focusing on what’s positive or even great about our spouse, choose to focus on our partner’s potential to display divine traits.

An ancient scripture says that humans have been created in “God’s image” or with the potential to display godlike qualities.

This awareness gets me to consistently look through the idiosyncracies of the Filipino culture and look, not just for what’s merely good in it and in my spouse, but rather for how my wife has the potential to mirror godlike qualities.

If you choose to operate from this frame you will see your Filipina as a potentially extraordinary human beings with whom, by lifting your level of spiritual and emotional mastery, you can build an outstanding relationship, actually a quote-unquote “divine” one.

Let me share with you a brief thought from the Persian poet Hafiz (quoted by Dr. Wayne Dyer in “The Power of Intention” chapter 5):

“When you sit before a Master like me,
Even if you are a drooling mess,
My eyes sing with Excitement
They see your Divine Worth”
— Hafiz

To me the way to turn a relationship with a person, who comes from a culture filled with aspects that, by the Western standards, could be viewed as “messy”, into something really extraordinary is by adopting an extraordinary ability to look through the quote-unquote “mess” and look for the divine worth of your partner.

I believe that divine qualities are hardwired into each and every one of us but they are largely clouded by human imperfection and by the fact that humans have deflected themselves from their Creator thereby creating countries and cultures that are all filled with idiosyncrasies and traits that are light years away from divine perfection (and that also applies to Western countries of course).

In an intimate relationship, and particularly in a multiethnic one, partners can help each other to dredge up those qualities and enjoy an outstanding relationship instead of allowing frustration and resentment toward each other’s culture to spoil a relationship that has a great potential to be a “divine” one.

If my Filipino Wife Lives in my Country Why do I have to be the One to Adjust to her Culture?

A Filipino sari-sari store in Rome

My short answer is: because chances are that your Filipino wife and, most of all, her extended family (if they live with you) might never be the ones to adjust.

It may appear that, because Filipinos are so well-travelled (my wife for example worked in several Asian countries and in the USA before she came to Italy), they should easily and readily be able to broaden their perspective and embrace other cultures.

What I’ve realized is that, although they have moved their BODIES to a different country, their HEARTS and MINDS STILL LIVE IN THE PHILIPPINES.

They spend their free time chatting with their friends and relatives in the Philippines through Skype or Facebook and associating with the Filipino community in the country where they work and rarely do they widen out and make friends with the people of the host country.

Before I married my wife I travelled abroad less than my wife did, but, like most Westerners, I travelled moved by a spirit of adventure and a burning desire to EXPLORE OTHER CULTURES.

So, I’ve come to the conclusion that, although my wife is the “immigrant” here in Italy, I, as her Western husband, am in a better position to open up to other cultures because I have a background that is made up of years of travelling for the purpose of expanding my mental and cultural horizons while many Filipinos only move their bodies to another country but, emotionally speaking, they never really leave the Philippines.

But, apart from the cultural diversities that exist in a multiethnic marriage, I think that anyone who enters any intimate relationship, interracial or not, should, as a general criterion, always be the first one to make the move of going the extra mile instead of expecting his or her spouse to make the first move because the cardinal rule for a successful marriage of any sort, not necessarily a mixed one, is giving and yielding.

https://italpinoy1967.com/2019/11/05/filipinos-in-italy-and-integration/

https://italpinoy1967.com/2019/11/27/the-misleading-western-veneer-of-the-philippines-part-1/

The Misleading Western Veneer of the Philippines

The reason why I am using the expression “misleading” with regard to the Western veneer of the Philippines is because, basically, when I first met my wife I had a vague idea that the Philippines is an ex Spanish and US colony and that Filipinos are usually fluent in English, and so I kind of fell into the trap of assuming that I wouldn’t have to work really hard at building rapport with my wife’s culture precisely because I thought that the Philippines was essentially a Western country or, at least, a country that was heavily influenced by its former Western colonizers.

Yet, before long (and I mean less than three months into the marriage) I started noticing that my wife was akin to us Westerners only on the surface and I started noticing a bunch of things that set the Filipino community very far apart from the West.

For example, as I have already mentioned in one of my posts, I noticed that both my wife and her friends and relatives would hardly associate with local people and that 99,9% of my social life was only taking place within the context of Filipino social gatherings. My old friends hardly existed for my wife and I had to really insist to get her to spend an evening with my former friends.

This isn’t just my wife’s mentality but rather a very widespread characteristic of the Filipino community here in Rome: they basically form a very closed sort of “enclave” and they almost only socialize with other Filipinos.

The gap between the Western veneer of the Philippines and the actual reality became more evident to me the first time I set foot in the Philippines. When I got out of the N.A.I.A. airport I found myself almost immediately on the Roxas Boulevard (which is very close to the airport) and because it was 11 pm the boulevard was full of neon lights.

A view of the Makati City Skyline from the EDSA Avenue (the “Western veneer” of the Philippines)

I had visited quite a few cities that have some American style skyscrapers and neon lights but nothing like what I saw in Manila in terms of the amount of neon lights and skyscrapers and the size of the shopping malls.

 

A typical house compound in San Ildefonso Bulacan where relatives live in close proximity (the reality behind the “veneer”)

So my very first impression of Manila by night, with it’s buildings entirely covered with neon lights, those massive fast-food restaurants, malls and skyscrapers (and the contrast between these things and the various Spanish-style Christian churches that I was noticing along the way) plus the huge karatula, most of which written in English, was that I had really landed in a Western country.

But when I arrived in San Ildefonso, Bulacan (my wife’s town) an entirely different reality revealed itself.

For example I noticed that my wife’s house compound was structured in such a way that the entire extended family lived in very close proximity and, as I walked along the M. Valte Road, I observed that, more or less, all compounds were structured in a similar way.

So I became aware that Filipinos have a concept of what constitutes a family that is miles away from the Western idea of family.

When I was in my mid-twenties my parents were eager to get rid of me and wanted me to find work and my own house as soon as possible, while in the Philippines parents expect their married sons and daughters to build their house in the family compound and never leave.

My brother lives 50 km away from me and we only see each other four or five times a year while my wife and her brother call each other every single day.

Although my mother is invalid she prefers paying a katulong to getting a bigger house where my wife and I could live close to her and give her some assistance while my wife’s mother lives with us.

So, yes, the Filipino concept of what constitutes a family is one of those areas in which the contrast between the Western veneer of the Philippines and its actual mentality is quite striking

So, if you are contemplating the idea of marrying a Filipina, don’t assume that you are going to marry a Western woman.

If you assume that you will pretty soon discover the truthfulness of what the “Culture Shock Philippines” book by Alfredo and Grace Roces says: “The Western visitor (or anyone who has long term relationships with Filipinos) may find he is speaking the same language but not communicating at all. With a sinking feeling he realises he is not in America or England or Canada, but in an entirely different world. Feeling betrayed, the Westerner retreats into his own shell”

To avoid finding yourself in the position described by the above mentioned book you need to operate from the premise that the various trappings of the Western world that abound in the Philippines only constitute a veneer and underneath this coating there is a culture that has a radically different concept of what constitutes a family.

But the kin-group culture is just one of the many aspects that set the Filipino society very far apart from the Western model of the world.

In past articles I have touched on other areas in which the Filipino culture is a vast universe, underneath the “Western coating”, that a Western husband of a Filipina needs to explore with huge amounts of radical openmindedness if he wants to avoid finding himself in the position of “speaking the same language while not being able to communicate at all”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Culture Shock! Philippines: A Survival Guide to Customs and Etiquette