The Importance Of Family
After reading Caveman’s excellent piece, I decided to add an additional two cents to the mix. I’m two years short of 70 years old so my perspective is undoubtedly different from most readers and submitters. However I’ve been married to a Thai wife for 17 years, going on 18. We were married when I was 50 after writing letters and then meeting over a period of about 2½ years. As reported in a previous submission, this was my second marriage which occurred quite a few years after a disastrous divorce.
I had written a list of things I wanted in a wife and was eventually introduced to my wife by a business associate. Three things I’ll mention here was that I wanted her age to be close to mine, never married and for her to come from a good family. I had a good business relationship with the person who introduced my future wife to me and he checked her background thoroughly before introducing us which may have given me a leg up. Another thing that I had in the back of my mind is that I wanted someone who had had a tough life – not an easy one. Someone once said that there is good and bad in the world, but you can’t appreciate the good until you have experienced the bad. For me the worst woman for marriage would be a beautiful woman who has been surrounded by people saying “yes” to whatever she wanted all of her life.
I’ve been happily married and my wife tells me she is too. However, no marriage that I’m aware of is all peaches and cream all the time. If there’s anything I learned from my first failed marriage is that you can’t take anything for granted. You have to keep working at it after getting married. Any married couple who tells you that they never have an argument from time to time is not telling the truth. However we seem to be able to iron out our occasional differences. As stated above I can’t take anything for granted and can’t foretell the future, but the present relationship is the best I’ve ever experienced.
In this submission I want to dwell on the importance of my wife coming from a good family. Of course each partner to marriage is looking to better his/her situation or marriage wouldn’t be a consideration for both. If the man can’t offer the woman a better life than she currently has, why would she want to consider marriage? One thing a woman wants is financial security. My wife’s number one desire was probably to have a home of her own. I personally feel that the happiest people have adequate income so that they are not pressed for money, but not excessively wealthy.
Look at Tiger Woods. Women knew if they had children with him and/or married him they would instantly be worth half of Tiger’s billion dollars. I’m sure hundreds or thousands of women were scheming to get in the sack with him and have kids. It may seem nice to a man in that position until the trap snaps shut and he realizes that a sweet talking woman has him by the balls. Are those the type of women who will make a man happy in the end? I don’t think so. They can never think in terms of “we”, which is so necessary in a marriage. They only think me, me, and me.
For most men sex is an important part of the equation. Of course it was and is for me. However, when putting things on paper I found other things to be just as important, if not more so. For me one was a lonely number and I wanted companionship. I also wanted someone who I felt would support me come what may. Part of me winding up with a good wife was luck pure and simple. It is impossible to know absolutely in advance that things will work out right. Until you go through a few rough spots together you can’t be certain that your wife will support you when the going gets tough. However, I feel that I stacked the odds in my favor by thinking about things and putting my desires on paper. I also put on paper what I thought I could offer to a woman. This allowed me to say no to quite a few situations that looked very attractive at the time.
It’s ok if you just want a roll in the hay with a succession of women. I have no problem with that. And anyone who has been to Pattaya or Bangkok knows that there is no better place to exercise that desire. However, if that is your primary goal then I would suggest that you stick with a succession of bargirls and leave marriage to others. If all you want is the sex then paying a bargirl for the pleasure that she bestows is a fair exchange. The girl gets what she wants – money. The man gets what he wants – sex and companionship for the night. Different men have told me that this approach is cheaper and less complicated than wining and dining a woman to get her in the sack and I agree with that assessment. And it is much safer and cheaper than marriage too.
Are too many relationships brought to the marriage state because the man is letting his penis do the thinking for him? Does this leave him open to gold diggers simply because he is not thinking things through with his head? The classic Asian situation where the marriage is prearranged by parents is uniformly condemned in the west. However, this approach has many advantages. Parents will want what is best for their children and will consider things that a young couple in “love” will ignore. Things like how will the couple support themselves? Will the potential partner be compatible with my child in the long run? When things get tough, and they always do at some point in time, will the couple be able to face things together and work though the things that life will throw at them? The least important thing that parents will probably consider is how satisfying the sex will be. The classic model assumes that when two people of the opposite sex have these other problems addressed, then sex and love will follow as surely as night and day.
Getting back to my situation, both of us decided that we would like to move our relationship toward marriage. The next step was for me to meet her parents. I looked forward to meeting her parents. However I would not be telling the truth if I said I wasn’t very nervous. I was almost 50 year old, but I knew if her parents didn’t like me I was through. A traditional Thai woman would never go against her parents if they didn’t give their ok. Lucky for me everything went great and I was accepted into a wonderful Thai family. My wife has three sisters and a brother. Her father was a professional man. All accepted me into the family once mother and father gave the ok. However, I’m sure her family did their check on me before I met the parents. An extended Thai family can double check that you are working where you said. Once they know the job they can ballpark your income pretty close.
Because of the way my children were used against me during the divorce from my first wife, I didn’t want more children. As I’ve said before, courts rob from men, give to women and say they are doing it for the good of the children. I discussed this openly with my future wife and her family. I think this was the one thing that came closest to ending my chances with my wife. However, in the end they accepted my desire here and the issue was never raised again.
The second item that I openly discussed was a prenuptial agreement – something I feel every man should have. I was going into my second marriage with the desire to have it “until death do us part”. However, I wanted everything down on paper if it didn’t work out. This turned out to be less of a problem than wanting no more children. In fact my wife came to the states on a fiancée visa and we weren’t married until 3 months after she arrived – another safety factor to make sure we were compatible.
So my feeling is that if the woman comes from a good Thai family and you are accepted into the family, then half the battle toward a successful marriage is won. My wife’s family never asked for a dowry, although we gave her parents money on a semi-regular basis until they passed away.
Even when we were not in Thailand, her family has contributed in a positive way. One example will suffice. My wife was a still living with her parents when we connected. She had a good job and commuted to work every day. Her advice about sex came primarily from her mother and sisters. Sex has been like night and day compared to my first wife. To not get an excuse about “not having sex today” was a pleasant eye opener. Only several years after we were married did I learn that my wife talked to one of her married sisters with a question that went something like this. “Do all men want sex all the time?” Well her sister apparently told her something like “Of course this is normal. Just make sure he has all he wants, but only with you.” After I learned of this conversation, I remembered her saying shortly after we were married how I would really hurt her if I had sex with other women. She has been so good to me in the sex department that I have remembered her words on more than one occasion when I was in Thailand by myself on business.
This takes me back to the importance of the family. Imagine the effect on me if my wife was a typical western woman who talked to her sister and got different advice from a sister. Something like “you have to take charge in the sex department – let him know who is boss – if you don’t feel like it he doesn’t have a right to it”. Etc. etc.
Another thing that I know her mother asked her after we were married a couple of years. “Does he ever hit you?” The truthful answer was of course “No”. I’ve always wondered what the result to me would have been if the answer was “Yes”.
Well this has been enough rambling for now. I hope others who find something useful on Stick’s website contribute a submission now and then. It took me a lot of years of enjoying this website to finally take the plunge and give a few thoughts in repayment for the enjoyment that I get reading about Thailand and Southeast Asia from people in the know.