Are The Successes A Small Minority?
OK, I read and enjoy your web site regularly as one of my sources to keep up with what is going on in Thailand. You have finally shamed me in to writing. After 32 years of successful marriage to my beautiful Thai wife, I feel somewhat competent to comment
on about farang-Thai marriages. Since the majority of the Readers Submissions are about the difficulties and problems, I never felt anyone would be interested in a boring success story about an old couple.
I served in the US Army in Bangkok from 1972-1974 when I met and married my wife. We have lived in Texas since that time, but return on vacation to Thailand at least every two years to visit family and friends. We have raised 3 beautiful daughters that are college educated and happily married here in the US. To say that things have changed drastically in both the United States and in Thailand since 1972 is a major understatement. One thing that has not changed is the beauty of my wife, at 50 she looks 30 and wears the same size clothes that she wore when we married.
To quote Stick, “When you look at the fundamental differences between Thais and farangs, these marriages shouldn't work, they really shouldn't.” If you think it is difficult now, try 1972. When we married, the majority of the Thai people felt that any woman that dated or married a farang was a “prostitute”. When we returned to Texas, my wife was a “gook” to the majority of the population of Texas. There were times in the Panhandle of Texas that restaurants would not serve us. We were not accepted in Thailand and we were not accepted in my home state of Texas, but we were in love and did not care what the world thought of us.
As a farang-Thai couple, we experienced all the things talked about in your column as well. We went through all the family and money issues, including her mother wanting us to help my wife’s younger brother buy a motor cycle (my wife refused to help on this one). We helped when we could afford it and enjoyed doing so, but we never sacrificed ourselves or our children. My wife has always put our children and me first, until recently. Now our grandson is definitely put ahead of us all and we would not want it any other way.
The main reason I write is to confirm some of the things that Stick has written about. My wife truly embraced the American culture. She is most proud of her US citizenship and voting on election days. I truly embrace many aspects of the Thai culture and
actually am more tolerant of some Thai ways than my wife. We don’t do everything the “American way” nor do we do everything the “Thai way”. I believe having lived and loved through the prejudice period of not
being accepted in Thailand nor in America, made us rely on each other. If you look at any long term successful relationship, it grows. When you first fall in love you think there is nothing that can come between you. My wife and I were very much
in love when we married, but our love has grown stronger through the years. We can look at each other now and know exactly what the other is thinking.
In another article Stick questioned whether raising a family in a farang-Thai marriage was better in Thailand or a western country. Early in our marriage we had an opportunity to move back to Thailand with a good paying job and I truly wanted to go. My wife convinced me that it would be much better to raise our children in the west. I can now say that raising 3 daughters was definitely easier in the west. I do not believe they would have been as successful or have the confidence that they now have going through the western high school and college experience. My daughters visited Thailand during summer breaks and have continuing relationships with their Thai cousins, but their female Thai cousins are envious of their freedom and success. My wife and I both wanted what is best for our children and I believe our choice has been proven successful.
OK enough of the boring success story. Our success is really no different than any other successful marriage, it boils down to commitment. If two people are committed to each other and to their marriage, even the oddest of couples will be successful.
Just to update, we are now very accepted in both Texas and Thailand. Texas has one of the largest Thai populations in America with Thai temples, markets, restaurants, etc. Our marriage is viewed as very successful by both Americans and Thais. It is fun to sit in a noodle stand when we visit Thailand with everyone asking my wife how it is to live in America and women will say “find me a farang husband; they don’t cheat like Thai men.” My wife tells them there is no difference; there are good farang men and very bad farang men, the same as good and bad Thai men.
Such positive stories are not just welcome, but needed!