Over the time ive been involved and then married my wife I have met people from all walks of life. Some are rich some are poor but mainly all are looking for a partner in life. A lot of the problems that occur between foreign and Filipina relationships are due to the simple fact that foreigners are seen as rich and virtually anything is possible. Quickly to be raised onto a pillar that is easy to fall from. The first thing that you need to do is set ground rules and explain the real world. Yes you can earn X amount in the West but it also leads to the fact that the taxes and expenses are in similar order. Explaining in terms that can be related to day to day life is important. Petrol costs, electricity, gas, rent all these things are a lot higher in most western countries and you should give examples so people can really understand what a £,$ or Euro is really worth. Why is this myth such a big problem? a lot of it is to do with the fact of people when visiting going on spending sprees, yes your on holiday or your first visit but people can see money literally pouring out your pockets like no tomorrow. Most people wont even realise that you have spent 6 – 12 months saving for the trip and in fact this only happens once a year. So control your spending doesn’t mean you have to not spend just do it not so openly. Otherwise you will open a wallet you will later find hard to close.
Family is everything to most and this is becoming a bit of twisted truth lately. If you have time i advise looking up a film called “Caregiver” that gives it from the Filipino Overseas Workers prospective that many Filipinos back in the Philippines aren’t really aware of. There has also been several documentaries on television lately all showing the fact that a lot of OFWs are under huge pressure from families to send money home. A lot of this is to do with custom involving the transition from child to adult where the parent looked after the child and now the child is responsible for the well-being of the parents. But also times of hardship where people clubbed together to get through the days and weeks. Having an overseas relative that can put they’re kids through school is expected by many. This is why so many OFWs are working multiple jobs the majority of Filipinos don’t really know what hardships the people are putting up with abroad just to send money each month. Not only are they working hard to make ends meet like the rest of us but they may be supporting several families as well.
So whats this got to do with you? Well if your lucky enough to get your visa approved for your spouse to move to your home country be aware she will be expected to send money home. You have to allow for this it may not seem normal to a Westerner but you’re not marrying a Western woman. Be prepared for your partner to work an extra job or to expect to work. You should allow your wife to work as not only does this give her independence and familiarity with the area she will be happier knowing she is doing her bit rather than relying on you. Back in Worcester there was a woman I worked alongside who worked a full-time day job as this was the “house money” to help with the bills on the house then each evening she worked 4 hrs making cakes at a factory this was her allowance she sent back to the Philippines. Now this is where the problems begin if you imagine she sent home £280 a month to family and a family can survive on around £100 they were having an easy ride of things back in the Philippines. Extra money was also sent to help with repairs and renovations on the family home. But a year later she returned for a visit to find that none of the work had been completed and in fact a lot of the repairs were nothing more than pure lies to get more money out of her. But the money had disappeared. This is very common and OFWs seem to be starting to change the way they do things. I know of people who only send Balikbayan boxes and no cash anymore for similar reasons. All these complications believe me will come in some form to you and your new wife if they don’t im glad they haven’t as it spares a lot of tears,hardship and missing cash.
So what do I personally do about this scenario? Well to be honest im one for people helping themselves I wasn’t born with a silver spoon in my mouth and I actually paid myself through college. So when people expect or ask for a free ride just explain there is no such thing in life. If they want something they will have to work for it like everyone else. There is always opportunities to make money in the Philippines and someones needs wont be as expensive to fill as your own so one or two well-managed projects creates independence but at the same time takes pressure off your wife/girlfriend.
Culture shock is a big thing for many.. i hear people here grumble about things and i have to admit i do it sometimes. But in the Philippines you need to let off steam sometimes head off and meet with a few expats either as a social gathering or if it doesn’t go well at least you know why you prefer to stay away from expats… either way its a good stress relief. Always explain things that are bothering you and ask your partner what is bothering them you wont always get an answer as many things are seen as “sibling or family issues” which really don’t bother you.. but you need to explain if your wife/girlfriend is bothered then it’s already bothering you. Getting everything out in the open can be difficult at times but its something that must be done to create harmony not only between you and your partner but with your new family.
When you head to your home country its worth noting your wife is likely to have friends/family there already and trying to make the effort for them to meet regular or long phone calls is good for everyone as people always miss home at some point and its good to have friends nearby that can relate to the situation.
Understanding sometimes there is no logic. There are many things that you will find over time that simply don’t make any sense. But that’s life. I find it daily in the Philippines I look at something and wonder why is someone doing this or that.. a prime example was yesterday when driving back from the City and we could see people swimming in the ocean near outbound pipes from the fish market waste. April said they are immune to it.. this is when we sat and chatted about the fact that the raw sewage from toilets and waste chemicals are coming out the pipes and at some point there will be people who are sick. Maybe with Cholera or something else and people will say there is an outbreak an epidemic or some other excuse when the truth is people are literally swimming in waste. It has no logic like I said sometimes you just need to accept that things sometimes just don’t make any sense.
The house is normally the women’s domain. Something im not used to as I am a keen cook and don’t mind doing housework especially if im bored. But ive heard it from a few people including my wife that she is happy to look after the house. Not sure why but maybe partly tradition and partly seen as taking care of the children and husband is normal here. An example of this was someone who had a live in girlfriend each morning before he left his house he would give his shoes a last-minute polish. Then kiss his girlfriend as he went out the door and each day she looked disappointed as he left. About a week of this went on to the point he asked what the problem was. Which is when she said its her job to make sure her partner is clean and tidy for work in the morning, him cleaning his shoes was seen by her as a failing on her part. So letting her do the shoes creates harmony. Before anyone decides to shoot me down as a sexist im more into equality but real equality. I expect a woman who wants to do the same job as me to have the same commitments and complete every part of the role exactly the same.
Either way nearly everything written above can be defined by doing one word “Communication” asking each other how the day went, how are you feeling as well as a 1
00 and 1 other things each day will create harmony in your home..