Readers' Submissions

A Thai Farang Success Story

  • Written by Flip Jaroo
  • August 29th, 2005
  • 7 min read




There’s a lot of bad stories on Stick’s site (Nothing against Stick or the site, I love it dearly and read it religiously). However, it seems like most of the stories have bad endings. So here’s another one of the few positive submissions to give the rest of you hope.

My wife. Three years older than me. From Isaan. We’ve been married nearly seven and a half years now.

She’s smart. Not all Isaan girls are intellectually challenged. My wife loves to learn English. She spent three years at American Baptist in Krung Thep before I met her. She came to America and pushed me to help her go into language school. I gladly obliged. I did not push it on her. She went on to earn her US high school diploma (much different than earning the Thai HS diploma she has, and she’s the first to admit that). She loves to read books, watch the National Geographic channel and Learning Channel. She would much rather watch an educational program about the extinction of the dinosaurs, or medical breakthroughs, of the science of tornadoes than watch cartoons (although we all watch cartoons every now and then when we’re flipping through the channels). She also spends hours each week teaching our two-year old daughter to not only speak Thai, but read and write as well. The reason: she appreciates all of the advantages that being multi-lingual and educated have.

Can she get mad and show that typical Thai temper? Yes, but it happens quite infrequently these days. By that I mean we probably now have serious arguments about once a year as opposed to once every week (like we did years ago when we first met). That’s a pretty big transformation if you ask me. I think living in the US and seeing that other people don’t typically react with anger like Thais do has made her take a closer look at herself. And honestly, when we first started seeing each other, her fits of rage were my biggest concern as to whether this would work out long term. But it really has become a thing of the past. I’ve been patient because for me the potential outcome of years of happiness was worth it. When she would get mad, I would learn to subtly manipulate her into questioning why it was that she was so mad (often for stupid reasons). Stick has often said that the farang is the one who must compromise the most. That is probably true. But as long as the compromises aren’t unreasonable, I believe they are worth it in the long run. I’m living proof of that. My wife is now quite level headed, it just took some time. Trust me; I’ve been in several relationships before with farang women and making compromises neither something new nor something we shouldn’t be willing to make. But, it’s important that the woman is willing to make compromises too, and luckily for me my wife does that as well.

She’s not obsessed with money. She has never asked for money since the day we met. Do I give it to her, of course I do. I make a comfortable middle income but nothing extravagant. But I always tell her that if she needs more to just tell me. She realizes that I’m not a walking ATM. I never once asked her to work here in the US. I made it clear to her the day I proposed in Thailand years ago that it was completely up to her what she would do once we were married. She could go to school, work, or do nothing at all. Up to her, as long as she was happy. But she has a strong work ethic and immediately asked me to help her get a job here. She likes the idea of earning her own money because she doesn’t think it’s fair that we just live on mine. And she helps to pay the bills. Again, this was her idea. I did not ask for it or push for it. After years together, this honestly becomes much less of an issue than when you first start seeing someone (especially a Thai, as can be seen by most of the submissions on this site). Once years go by and trust becomes more solid, money becomes much less of a point of contention (granted, there must be sufficient money for all parties to be secure. If not, that is when true problems arise and many a marriage has ended because of it). All I’m saying is that you get past the initial paranoia, guardedness, and issues of trust with money as the years progress.

She’s not obsessed with her family. We don’t send them money. She never calls them (I actually have to push her to call every now and then to see how every one is doing). This is mainly just because she’s not crazy about talking on the phone (can you imagine that, a Thai who doesn’t like talking on the phone). Her dad, who she was closest to, died several years ago. She can’t stand her mother and sisters who are completely dysfunctional and only ask for money on the rare occasions that we see them or my wife talks to them. Her older brother is the only one who is what I would call “normal” by farang standards. My wife adores her brother. And I think he really is a stand up guy as well. Works hard, takes care of his family, is honest and trustworthy, etc. He looks after our house and land when we are not in Thailand, so I personally send him a couple hundred dollars three or four times a year. He never asks for money, yet he works hard to take care of our house. So I send it to him anyway. Just as with my wife, I find it easier to give money to someone who doesn’t ask for it but works hard to deserve it.

She’s adapted to life in a foreign country. She’s not afraid to get out and do the things that any westerner does. She’ll drive herself to the supermarket or her friend’s house or to work. She’s not afraid to try new foods (although Thai food is both of our favorite and the food that we cook at home most often). She’s not afraid to talk to people here. Overall, I must say that she’s very open-minded.

My best advice for anyone bringing a Thai to their own country is to take it easy and don’t force anything on her too fast. Don’t push her to go eat Thai food at a local Thai restaurant the day she arrives because you think that will make her happy (unless she asks to do that, of course). And likewise, don’t push her to do farang “things” right away (like get a driver’s license or go to language school) unless she asks for it. This is a sensitive time, whether you realize it or not, or she tells you or not. Just take it easy and be very observant and receptive to what she needs. As time goes by, she will either adapt or I suppose it will become very obvious that she is incapable of assimilation.

We’re very happy. We’re still like teenagers in love after many years together. We’re both in our mid 30s, but you wouldn’t know it by the pranks and jokes we play on each other. No, it’s not always perfect. It’s not always roses and rainbows. But trust me as a man who knows, no relationship is always perfect. Relationships take, give and take, but the give and take must be reasonably equal from both parties. So anyway, I just wanted to pass on a positive story in a sea of rather negative ones. Thais and farangs can make it work, and better yet, they can make it work in a country other than Thailand. Good luck.

Stickman's thoughts:

"the give and take must be reasonably equal from both parties" – GREAT quote this! So true!