- Gender and Relationships»
I realize that for those of you who know me a little, my writing on the topic of Asian brides probably seems very incongruous. I know it's not the sort of topic I would normally write about, however I recently read an article from a well-to-do Asian country recounting the problems they're having integrating Asian brides from other cultures into their society. I had the wonderful opportunity of living abroad as an expat for about fifteen years in countries including Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and Taiwan. As such, I do have some insight into the pitfalls facing Asian brides and the problems they encounter. I am also aware of the difficulties of integrating Asian brides into another culture and the complexities of mixed culture relationships or marriages.
In my younger years abroad I had a fair share of Asian girlfriends. They were wonderful, warm, enthusiastic and fun companions. As long as the relationship stayed simple, everything was fine. However, difficulties often came with a deepening relationship.I have seen many successful, happy inter-cultural marriages. Asian brides are wonderful companions. I have many friends, Westerners, married to Thais or Taiwanese. A very close friend of mine married a wonderful Malaysian woman (he had to become a Muslim in order to marry her) and they're going to be celebrating their silver wedding anniversary shortly.
What is it that attracts Westerners to Asian Women?
Why would a man seek an Asian bride over a bride from any other country? Many women have asked me this, they seem perplexed and they want to know what the other woman has that they don't have. It is usually a very sensitive topic to talk about.
When a man actively seeks out an Asian bride, I know what he is looking for. While you do meet Asian women who are fiercely independent, on the whole many Asian women make perfect partners because their mentality lends itself towards home-making, pleasing their husband and serving. They respect the man in their life and (sometimes unfortunately) often will not question what he does.
I am married to a robust, healthily independent western woman who is the love of my life. She challenges my every decision and is currently making more money than I am on a monthly basis. She is also a wonderful wife, a caring and intuitive mother and a heck of a lot of fun to live with. If she doesn’t agree with me, she'll say so. If she thinks I'm railroading my ideas through she'll argue with me till I finally acquiesce and see her side. She is anything but passive and while she is happy to serve others, she doesn't live for it. I am happily married and I have no desire for an Asian wife or lover.
I do understand men who do desire an Asian wife. Some of them are my good friends. What I am looking for in a life partner and what they are looking for is different. My wife wonders why Joe is going after the cute Asian girl in the three piece suit, after all blond-haired Sophie is chasing his pants off and she's smart and forceful and she's not the least bit a wimp.I smile and say nothing. I know why Joe is chasing Lee Lin, and I know Lee Lin isn't a pushover either, even though she may outwardly appear to be.
Asian Brides to Be?Click thumbnail to view full-size
The Asian Bride and Happiness
Asian women who marry outside their culture, those wonderful ladies who are labeled as Asian brides, have more to them than meets the eye. They live a life filled with challenges. They must fit in with the culture that they've married into, yet they often desperately want to cling to their own culture. Many are mystified with their new lives.
One trend I have seen that I don't agree with, is the 'Asian mail order bride' phenomena. I know woman in some countries are desperate to find a better position in life. Vietnamese brides are common in Taiwan and Japan. They are looking for a better life, quick money and a stable situation. Sadly, while promised, these things often don't pan out for them.
A relationship must be built on trust and honesty. Anything built on less than that is unlikely to survive the rigors that a long term relationship puts you through. I look at the offers for asian brides online and my heart sinks. I know many women agreeing to such proposals are not going to get what they expect and while things might be rosy initially, later they're not going to be happy. If they're not happy, their husband or boyfriend will not be happy either. He'll get upset with them. After all, he's probably invested quite a bit into their relationship only to find that his wife complains. She will want to go back to visit her mother often, she'll complain about the food and the weather. Pretty soon things at their home will be in the grey zone.
I believe that a successful inter-cultural relationship takes more investment and time than a regular relationship. Asian brides often feel cut off from the rest of society, particularly if they've relocated and are without friends or family. They don’t know who to turn to when things become sour in their relationship. Sadly, many tolerate beating and abuse just because they have been offered the opportunity for a 'better' life. They often can't communicate and feel isolated from their children and husband.
Having said that, I want to reiterate that I have seen, and am friends with, quite a few mixed-marriage people. Successful inter cultural marriages thrive. I am not meaning to stereotype women from any culture.
But, sadly, there are problems with this. Asian brides make wonderful companions if you get to know them, learn about their culture and respect their values. Without that, your relationship will become troubled over time. I suppose that's true of any relationship, though, isn't it?