So Why Did I Marry a Thai Woman?
Thanks to Korski, this is definitely the question de jour, so I thought I might as well venture my thoughts on the subject. First of all I should say that Korski made it perfectly clear that his opinions were entirely subjective. The man knows what he is looking for in a potential wife (as opposed to a short term horizontal relationship), and he doesn’t begrudge others who have decided to marry an Asian woman.
I have no “facts” to make a general case for or against Asian woman in general. The truth be told, I have only my personal experiences in Thailand to base my opinions on. When it comes to affairs of the heart however, one’s personal experiences carry a hell of a lot of weight, and in the end that’s all that really matters.
To understand why I married a Thai woman, you need to understand my previous marriage, which gives new meaning to the old phrase, “hell on earth”. I won’t bore you to tears with a blow by blow recitation of the many ways we didn’t get along. But suffice it to say that my ex-wife didn’t show me much respect or TLC. The only good thing to come out of this 26 year debacle was our children. In the end it was gratifying to know that she didn’t just hate me, but men in general. It turned out that the two of us shared at least one thing in common…we both liked girls! (Dana, I know this will amuse you!) It was definitely time to move on and start a new life.
I have recounted in great detail in How It All Began how I met and later married my teerak, so I won’t go into that story in this piece. Suffice it to say that after almost nine years of marriage I have had time to form an opinion of at least one particular woman, from one particular social class…and of course her family! There are without a doubt many pluses and minuses when it comes to marrying a 24 year old girl from Buriram.
Let’s start with my specific entries in the plus column.
- personality: I am one lucky fellow to have married one of the dearest women you could ever hope to meet. I do not know of a single person, either here in Thailand, or in America where we lived for five years, who does not simply adore her. She is a very kind, caring and giving person. During my near brushes with the Grim Reaper we found out how much we mean to each other.
- determination: My wife was born into about as poor a family as you could ever find in rural Issan. I mean dirt poor! My wife never had a Coke until she was in her twenties. Her two sisters had to drop out of elementary school and do hard construction, just so that the family had food on the table. Not surprisingly there was not a single book in their home. What is a surprise is that my wife in addition to working her butt off in the family rice fields went on not only to graduate from high school, but went on to get a university degree in Computer Science. That kind of dogged determination to pull her self up by her own boot straps was one of the things that initially attracted me to her.
- virtue: My wife possesses a set of morals that far outshine my own…and she lives them day to day. She does not drink, smoke or gamble, unlike the rest of her family. She would never dream of lying or cheating, unlike the rest of her family. She is not avaricious, unlike the rest of her family. She’s no saint, but she ain’t a bargirl either! And unlike many other girls in Issan with well polished heals gained in Bangkok or Pattaya, she went to our marriage bed a virgin.
- motherhood: As I’ve talked about before in other submissions, having another child at my age was not part of my master plan. Having been down that road three times before, I had no need to go there again. But after my first heart attack here, I found that I could not deny my wife the one thing she really wanted, a child to call her own. From the moment our son was born she has devoted 100% of her energy to being as good a mother as she can be. She has even read the English parenting books I got her. Last month our little Sam was two years old. He is one handsome, smart little monkey.
- Careful with a baht: My ex-wife was a spendthrift. Granted I was earning good money back then, but it never stayed around for very long. The list of expensive things which were an absolute necessity was huge. The worst of the lot were horses. At one point we had four hay-burners in residence. I shudder to this day when I think of how much money that little hobby ate up! My Thai wife is quite the opposite when it comes to money. She is constantly thinking of reasons why we don’t have the money for this or that. Frankly it can be a bit excessive sometimes, but on the whole it’s nice to know that someone is actually thinking about our finances!
Okay that’s my “short list” of positives… Oh I forgot to mention that my teerak is quite pretty…now on to the negatives.
- family: I’ve written a few episodes from the Thai Soap Opera that is my wife’s family. After a recent incident my wife confessed that she was afraid that if she had told me everything about her family when we first met, I might never have wanted to marry her! I think she may have had a point. If any of you out there are contemplating marrying a Thai lass please note: You will be marrying her family as well! You would be well advised to spend some “quality time” with these fine folks and imagine having them around long term. Given a chance they often will attempt to bleed you dry. I’ve done more than my fair share of helping out over the years, but that era is over and done with. The ATM is out of cash. Even my wife has come on board with a “no more money” policy.
- lack of privacy: My wife has no concept of “personal space”. She has no qualms about opening my mail. Back when we first were married that resulted in her learning of a brief relationship I had had with a bar girl, back before I had ever met her. Needless to say, Thank God for secure e-mail! Not that I have had any further girl related correspondence, but I like my damned privacy, thank you very much. That’s something Thai woman don’t seem to understand. Sometimes I want to sit in peace and read a book without being pestered. Just leave me alone for a quiet hour! And if I want to go out for a while, I feel no need to file a god damned “flight plan”! I will be home!
- lack of intellectual stimulation: My wife is no dummy. She has a better than average education for Thailand, but then again that’s not saying much. I remember back in the U.S. going with her for a visit to a local State Park that is noted for spectacular ice age rock formations. She flat out refused to believe me when I described how much of the world was once covered with kilometers of ice. Somehow the basic history of the world was not covered in her Thai classes. Now of course that I actually teach in Thai schools, I’m not surprised one bit! Given her upbringing, I understand why she now has no great love of reading. While in America she did see the value in attending college courses, but despite those efforts, there will always be an enormous intellectual gulf between us. Of course my ex-wife had a Masters degree and could hold her own in a conversation, but that didn’t exactly bring me any great joy in the end. Now I don’t know any hi-so Thai women, so I can’t speak from personal knowledge about their intellectual capacities, but somehow I don’t think they have ever heard of Plato or Aristotle, do you? In general even educated Thais have an appalling lack of basic knowledge, but that’s another issue altogether!
Well that’s my list of “negatives”. For sake of necessity I’m simplifying things quite a bit. So, how does it all balance out in the end? I wouldn’t want to give the impression that our life together is all peaches and cream. We’ve had our share of disagreements over the years. We’ve had a few spectacular fights (all non physical I must say). That’s marriage folks…or at least mine. On the whole I am happy to wake up to my Thai sweetheart. At this point in my life, that’s about as good as it gets.
I like your style outlining the positives and the negatives. Having had the pleasure of meeting your wife, I can honestly say you're one of the lucky ones.