Its a single word that very few people don’t understand. But the causes in most cases could have been prevented a long time ago. I’m a strong believer in marrying once. Not out of religious grounds but the fact of responsibility and commitment. Recently I have seen a rise of topics regarding divorce and what is most surprising most of the issues are not directly related to the couples. Infact the husband and wife generally aren’t the ones causing the issues that result in the divorce. One of the first things me and April discussed before marriage is primary families. Your primary family is you, your partner and your children. Secondary is you and your partners parents and siblings, third is aunts,cousins etc.

Now the thing is ground rules should be set in stone from day one and its something I’ve had some success and some headaches with but the actions that followed are what made the difference. The primary family unit should always come first and then things filter downwards into the other members “By choice” something I have a habit of saying is if I choose to give something its a “gift” if its expected I wont give a thing. Not because I’m tight on the wallet or stubborn but the fact it creates more problems than its worth.

Getting back to the issues that are currently cursing several peoples marriages. One is a brother in-law who after 12 years (yes 12 years! of support) from his sister and her husband. Living in a house with all the bills paid and an allowance wont go to work.. would you?? the trap was set 12 years earlier when the new husband took responsibility and didn’t set any guidelines.. e.g. I will “pay for your study time and once you graduate you are on your own”. Would have been it for me because at the end of the day no  one picks up my tab and the guy is lucky that he has had so much opportunity to even finish his schooling. Another was a couple who helped the family by buying a Tricycle to allow the relatives to earn a living as they were very poor.


Not this exact model but something similar. Now bearing in mind a lot of other families have to “hire” these from people to earn a living so maybe paying someone a few hundred pesos a day for the use which means as a driver your not earning a lot. But this was a “gift” which allowed them to start several rungs on the ladder above many people in the area, a major lift up but what happened? The buyer returned back to the Philippines 6 months later to find the motorbike no longer worked. The reason being the relatives complained there was no oil! they had run the engine until it burned out instead of buying oil because they “expected” the buyer to also maintain the unit.

Now your probably wondering how do these things make a long-term issue? well its simply down to this “responsibility” children are expected in most cases to take care of parents and siblings problem with this is its getting abused so much not only by people married to foreign nationals but OFWs are getting the same bad treatment so don’t think your alone! I currently know of someone who has his wife abroad who sent money back for house renovations and the money has mainly gone on gambling. His wife will return home to find not a thing has been done to the house and not a penny remains.

So in a marriage especially with Western husbands in a crisis for example (like the economy collapse at the moment) the burden is a major issue because the wife in many cases is taken out of the picture financially. A husband is indirectly supporting his wife’s family because she can not put money on the “primary” families table because she is sending it back to the Philippines. Major arguments happen between the husband and wife due to this issue especially when family in the Philippines uses blackmail pressure on the wife. So how do you solve this problem?

  • Before marriage talk with your wife’s parents and explain the “real situation” IF you can help you will if you cant you wont.
  • There are NO freeloaders, siblings or parents that don’t want to work don’t help them! I work on a 50/50 initiative where I will invest to help people and will get a return at the same time. This also works well for the Primary family triangle (that ill add below) because if you can afford to invest for a year then at the end of the year take your 50% divide it in two. One for you and your wife towards a house or expenses. The other 25% towards another family venture in the Secondary section.
  • Only invest in Primary and secondary ventures. Get other family members to pass down through the triangle. If they choose not to then make it aware about the primary triangle and the way it filters good fortune down. If family members above them choose not to its not your concern you have started it and its “other” members responsibility to make it work. The reason you do this is family members already know which other relatives will bleed you dry so if they wont invest they’re money why should you?
  • Main thing is communication with your wife and make it all straight talking anything about finances cant be hazy and half truths as it will complicate the marriage. Find out what “she” wants to do after marriage and the responsibilities your wife will take. Also explain the costs of western life and that your wife shouldn’t commit to anything until she understands what it really means to live in the West. Same goes for the Philippines we are all on fixed budgets of some kind.

So the marriage is still going sour even after all this work has been done? Problem is you are likely to have introduced measures late in the relationship to stop it your going to have to create rules which will not be popular each relationship and marriage will need different solutions because not all the problems are straight forward. But the main thing if its destroying the marriage is sit at the table with your wife and discuss the problems as well as listen. Because there is no doubt things going on you don’t know about. Culturally many things are kept “secret” because they are brother to sister, mother to child etc. etc. But you need to make it clear when it comes out of your wallet its all husband to wife and as the primary earners and main route of income for the families should be open to each other.



Where are the grandparents? Simple answer.. look at the number of relatives below you.. They have maybe 20+ relatives already that can assist them. Your key aim is to get the main members of family that can keep more junior members work and earn incomes to all work together. Not an easy task and this is why I designed the triangle. You and your wife’s parents will want the best for you and are the heads of the secondary triangle. Your brothers and sisters same as your wife’s should follow the parents keeping them under control and in close check. The third triangle is the same all the way down. Because culture in the Philippines is based on senior members and the structure of the triangle should be a solution to helping a family out of poverty. Because you will only feed the triangle below you and the same with the triangle below etc. etc. filtering downwards. Idea being it creates trust between members because if they abuse it they stop help from above and that stops help for those below.

I would love feedback on this idea as its something I am still working on and not sure how well its working. In 2007 I assisted at the Third level and I lost a house. But since then only work in Secondary and we have made a steady profit in several ventures.

Getting back to divorce it should always be the last resort main thing is communication and trying to solve the problems. Because starting a new relationship will also bring new problems and if you love each other that should keep bond going while solutions are found and hopefully lead you back to a happy marriage.