Readers' Submissions

It Depends on the Individual




There have been a lot of posts over the years on Stickman regarding whether or not a Farang should marry a Thai, with a fresh flurry of submissions over the last couple of weeks. I probably have a different perspective than most of the Stickman contributors or readers in that I have been happily married to my first and only wife for over 25 years now, so for me the question is moot, and hopefully remains that way!

My wife and I are both Caucasians from the USA, but we have friends [couples] who are Thai/American, Japanese/American, Chilean/American, Mexican/American, Canadian/American, British/American, Swiss/American, Chinese/American, etc. And I am only thinking about those who have what appear to be stable, reasonably happy marriages, with reasonably happy, stable children, so my comments that follow are based both on my personal experience and my observations of a lot of other good marriages, as well as a lot that were/are not so good.

So, would I recommend that a Farang friend marry a Thai woman? If the question is asked in a generic sense, my answer would have to be, "Probably not." Not that I have anything against Thai women, but the odds of being successful in marriage are diminished in proportion to the obstacles that you and your spouse have to overcome, and the cultural differences, language barriers, etc., that are typically encountered in Thai/Farang marriages can be a lot to overcome, beyond the challenges that every marriage faces.

However, if the question is more specific, as in, "I have met a Thai woman that I really feel comfortable with, and do you think I should marry her," then my answer might be quite different. It all depends upon the individual. However, here are some of the questions that I would ask.

Are you both trustworthy? This question transcends race, religion, and nationality, and is fundamental to ANY good marriage. And it is equally important for both the man and the woman. Too many people [men and women] spend too much time and effort LOOKING for the "right" person, rather than working to BECOME the right person. There are many ways in which we are attracted to people whose nature is complementary to our own, and in many ways, a husband and wife need to have complementary natures or skills, but in the case of being trustworthy, like attracts like. If you [speaking to the men, who appear to make up the vast majority of Stickman readers] are trustworthy, then you are not likely to actually marry a woman who is untrustworthy. And in most cases where it does happen, the guy had plenty of warning signs beforehand, but because of infatuation he chose to ignore or rationalize them. And of course, the same is true for women.

A large part of trustworthiness has to do with sexual fidelity, but it involves a lot of other aspects of marriage as well. Does your marriage mean enough to you that you are willing to give up habits or avoid behavior that might threaten the marriage? This can have to do with spending habits [money problems cause a LOT of divorces], drinking or drugs, and an unwillingness to give up "single" behavior. Family loyalty can be a virtue, but not when it overrides loyalty to one's spouse, as numerous Stickman writers have noted.

Do you have a language in common that you are both fluent in, or at least competent? If you are considering taking her to your home country, then she REALLY NEEDS to be comfortable in your native language, and if you are planning to remain in Thailand, then you better be fluent in Thai, or at least working toward that end. This means being able to talk to anyone about anything, and not just the vocabulary you need to get around from day to day. And if she is from Isaan, then it would be a very good idea for you to learn both Thai and at least some Lao so that you can understand what is said when she and her family talk to each other.

How long have you known her? The old saying, "Marry in haste, repent at leisure," is nowhere truer than in Farang/Thai marriages. Have you met her family, and are you comfortable with them? Likewise with her friends and social circle. Has she met YOUR family and friends? Each of you is marrying into the other's family, and the impact this will have on your marriage is largely determined by which country you make your home. And of course, if you have met her family, but are unable to talk to them, except insofar as she acts as your translator, then how much do you really know them, or they you? If you were to take her to meet your family and friends, would you be proud to have them meet her, or embarrassed?

Aside from language, are you comfortable visiting her family? As Stickman has pointed out more than once, socioeconomic compatibility may be more important than ethnic similarity in determining marital success, and most of the Thai women that Farangs develop relationships with do NOT come from families who have a socioeconomic background similar to that of the Farang.

What are your attitudes toward children? If it turns out that she wants children and you don't, she is likely to prevail on the issue, at least if you still produce viable sperm. If she becomes pregnant with your child, will you feel trapped or cheated? And if you decide that you are OK with raising children, will you be content to raise them in Thailand? And do either of you bring minor children to the marriage? How do you feel about helping to raise any children she may already have? Or taking in children that are her nieces or nephews? This is not uncommon in Thailand, especially if her siblings are financially not so well off.

What do you have in common? Many years ago, when I was in my late twenties, and starting to really consider marriage, I had an older friend who gave me some very profound advice. He said that I should look for a wife who would be happy with what I had to offer, so as I was dating and getting to know women, I kept that advice in mind, and it has turned out very well.

In conclusion, and as I reread what I have written, very little of this is specific to Thai/Farang marriages, although it is certainly relevant. Good marriages [and who wants to be in any other kind?] take a lot of effort and good will. If you and she are both willing to do what it takes to succeed, and have the maturity and self-discipline to put the success of your marriage ahead of anything else, then go for it, and I'll wish you the best.

Stickman's thoughts:

This all sounds like good, solid advice.