Questions About Marriage Culture In The Philippines

I have had many questions about marriage culture in the Philippines. I find this one hard to tackle but thought I’d try to. Filipinos are individuals, each marriage is unique and generalities are problematic. When I start generalizing, I often make someone upset. More often than not though, it is a Filipino that doesn’t live here any more. They may very well be expressing what a local Filipino would object to but not say anything.  I don’t know. I get mostly positive feedback from local Filipinos when I do hear from them. I know the locals I bump into on the street thank me for telling the world about their wonderful little city.

marriage culture in the philippinesI don’t intend to be able to tell you about every Filipino marriage. Or about every foreigner married to a Filipina. Each marriage is made up of individuals and within generalities there will also be large deviations. Deviations that completely invalidate the generality or modify it.

It is also not my style to judge the culture of others. I have nothing but respect for Filipino culture because Filipino people are generally good people. Of course there are exceptions to that.

Also, what is common culture in Filipino marriages for the young will differ more from the traditional. The area one is in will play a major factor in how married individuals behave and what they expect from each other.

I’m not talking about the National Capital Region (NCR) around Manila and especially that of Makati. Makati is a quite different that most of the Philippines but some of these factors will still hold true. Especially for wealthy Filipinos and there are many. People that it is unlikely that I will ever mingle with and have a chance to learn first hand what goes within those circles.

The Filipina And Expectations Of Her Family

The traditional Filipina has intense pressure placed upon her by her family. I don’t think it is often spoken of but the Filipina knows what is expected of her. If you want to make your Filipina wife miserable, ignore these expectations.  I think we foreigners do this out of ignorance mostly though.

You may need to inquire about this with your wife or significant other.  She probably won’t fully explain it to you. She may assume that it is as appearent to you as it is to her. It is her life, it is what she has always known. Her family is of utmost importance to her and you need to understand that.

You can get a hint of it from social sites around the web. Filipina will often say they are a simple girl, they will speak of God and they will very often speak of helping their family as a major goal in their life. They do this because they are sincere about it. Though I often don’t find the Filipina to be simple at all, sporting pictures of bra and panties or bikinis at the beach.  Nothing simple about that. I don’t mind, I even enjoy the pictures, but that’s not a simple girl. Still, it is important to her to be seen that way. That is what is important to know. That and her devotion to her family.

These expectations on the Filipina do play a significant part in the marriage culture of the Philippines. It also likely plays a part in the obedience of the wife in Filipino culture.

Wives Expected To Obey Their Husbands

Oh boy, did I say obey? I feel daggers being cast at me now. Jessie and other Filipina have explained to me that if a wife does not do what her husband ask, he might tell the wive’s family.  The wife fears disappointing her family. This is a very real concern for many Filipina and it can be used by a husband to control his wife. Again, it is not often spoken of. I don’t think that would be proper in Filipino culture from what little I’ve learned. Not used as a threat. It doesn’t need to be, the Filipina already knows it is there.

Wives Not Allowed To Leave The Home — Marriage Culture in the Philippines

Well, it happens. I’ve said it before and this is one of those topics were I was heavily criticized by an OFW. Jessie even asked if he was Filipino and I said but he lives in the USA and is from Makati.  That answer caused her to scoff to indicate he didn’t know what he was talking about. Well, he did because this rule apply less and less.  However it does still happen.

I am very close to one Filipina that lived this in her marriage. She was not allowed to leave the home and was very often left home alone. I have known other married Filipina that told me they are not allowed to leave their home. They have sent me text telling me how lonely and bored they are. They were also still very loyal to their husband. Why would they be? Perhaps it is those pressures I spoke of before. They clearly were not happy.

Jessie has had a man tell her “It is good that your husband allows you to leave the house alone.” He was referring to me. He also thought it was good because he had less than angelic desires. Frankly, I’m amused.

This is still quite common in the Philippines, it is not universal.  I don’t think it is common within the middle class, more and more women are working. Still, in many homes the wife stays home with the kids, the husband tries to find work or in some cases he’s just out having a good time. It is still a part of the marriage culture in the Philippines.

The Wedding Itself

Unfortunately,  I have not witnessed one of these myself. I’m not sure I could take the heat.

There is a formal uniform for men, men wear a barong tagalog. It is a formal silk shirt that is usually embroidered. This shirt is also what is expected to be worn by congressmen in the Philippines. Women also wear these but not at weddings. At a wedding the bride will wear a baro’t saya.

Since this article is getting long, I will close it here. However, I will try to follow up with an article on the marriage culture of the Philippine wedding ceremony.  Actually, I’m going to try to talk Jessie into it. She doesn’t like to write, you see, she is a simple girl and one that sometimes underestimates her abilities and her worth. She wrote one article for me and it was wonderful. I will try to get her to write one for me. About the traditions of a wedding in the Philippines.

There will be at least one more article about marriage culture in the Philippines.


Tagged with:

Filed under: Filipino Culture

Like this post? Subscribe to my RSS feed and get loads more!