Readers' Submissions

Importing Wives

  • Written by Anonymous
  • October 23rd, 2014
  • 4 min read

This submission is partly in response to Bringing Your Thai Partner West.

I agree with most of Joe's suggestions with regard to climate, food, Thai friends and temples; they're the minimum requisites to make a Thai woman comfortable and adjustable to a Western country.

My inputs are more to the issues of compatibility between the partners and the cultural differences which will crop up.

I'll never forget when during the Vietnam War many American servicemen came to Sydney on R&R and because of my business I had the opportunity to meet and chat with them. Some of those married Vietnamese girls and took them to live in the US. One of them said to me that he wouldn't recommend it. He said that the Asian traits that attracted him to his wife eventually disappeared as she slowly became assimilated to the American way of life and “liberated women” syndrome, precisely that which caused him to divorce his first American wife. The weird or let's say lack of sense of humour and jealousy which were part of her personality too, remained. He felt he was a two-time loser. He reckoned a farang marrying an Asian wife should live in Asia.

Is this why there are so many farangs live in Thailand with their Thai wives? It could be one of the reasons.

I think should you wish to import a Thai wife to a Western country it'd be advisable to give it a trial run first and observe her reactions. A lot of Thais have unreasonable expectations of the West and also what economic pecking order their prospective husband is in his own country. A lot of Westerners appear to be rich when in Thailand but once they're on home turf it's a different story and then the penny drops for the wife. It is important to come clean and not to paint a false picture for the bride.

Here is a practical suggestion for you as a start; she should be able to cook. This is not a joke, and some Thai women can't cook except for boiling rice. They don't have to, as buying street food from vendors or in food courts can be cheaper and certainly quicker and less messy. In the West it's not practical and eating out is costly. Get her into a cooking course if needed – it's a good investment.

Make sure that her foreign language skills are at least mediocre before she leaves the shores of Thailand, otherwise she'll have to rely on you for all administrative functions and that is quite burdensome. Get her to learn to drive a car too as bicycles aren't so handy on western roads.

Try and get her into a job ASAP. You don't want to let her stay home waiting for you come home from work and be frustrated being bored all day. A part time job to start with and slowly getting a resume together.

Get her accepted into your family and circle of friends from the get go. She needs to be part of a group instead of isolated and lonely. Otherwise you'll be the only avenue of social interaction with her and that is quite stressful.

I think the shifting from Thailand to the West is a major lifestyle change which has to be managed with understanding and compassion. Many books have been written about culture shock for farangs moving to Thailand but the reverse is just as relevant. An unhappy wife will be a nag, she'll want to go home often because of homesickness and loneliness. If your loved one isn't adaptable you've got problems. In any case, the first 2 to 3 years will be an adjustment period, factor that into the immigration scenario and be tolerant.

Once she has a routine established and she feels productive things should work out. I don't actually believe what the American guy told me that many years ago. Maybe he wasn't prepared himself and expected too much. In a partnership you have to make allowances. But yeah, as Joe said, the food is very, very important. Thai women can't live on bread and potatoes. When I lived in Thailand I couldn't just live on a rice related diet alone. I had to find a good bakery. Fortunately in Thailand it is easily doable.

You live in the Wild West in America and there are no Asian grocers around? Here is a business opportunity for you and your wife: import food products from Thailand and supply your locals.

I think there are many advantages of having an Asian wife which can outweigh the minuses. I've had both and wouldn't trade mine in for a Caucasian. I'm too much in tune to her and her traits to make drastic changes. Then again, maybe if I was happily married with my first Caucasian wife I would have never had the opportunity to know the difference. That's life. Roll with the punches.

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