When I was in Thailand (1999-2002), I encountered numerous foreign guys looking for Thai wives or Thai women dreaming of finding foreign husbands. Granted that some of these Thai/foreign couples have wonderful and happy marriages, it was my observation that the majority of these marriage fell far short of what a marriage could and should be. First of all, the foreign guy usally speaks little to no Thai and the Thai women has little to no English. How can you know that you want to marry someone if you can hardly talk with them on a deep level? The answer is that you have low expectations for what you want out of marriage. As you can see from the article below (from "The Nation", one of Bangkok's English language newspapers), many Thai women see foreign husbands as an opportunity for financial security, greater social status. And the foreign guys are often seeking out a beautiful submissive Asian woman to cook, clean, and take care of their other "physical needs" (if you know what I mean).
On the plus side, foreign guys have a greater reputation for marital fidelity and not abusing their wives to their wives than do Thai men. This is a generalization, I know. I have known many Thai men who by all outward appearances love their wives very much, been faithful, and treatly them wonderfully. However, many Thai women have had the exact opposite experience and seek out foreign husbands in hopes of avoiding the abuse and heartache of their previous relationship(s).
When Sun and I are in Thailand, we hope to have an opportunity to minister to some of these Thai women (and foreigners too) who are have had great heartache in previous relationships and are looking for something better. I don't think that marrying someone whose language you hardly speak, and culture you barely understand, is the best way to heal these issues. Sin needs to be acknowledged and people need to put their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ to be healed of these hurts and heartaches in life. Only when a person's hope is in God's promises and joy in God's glory, can healthy and whole relationships really and truly be established.
Foreign husbands pay off for Thais
Cross-cultural marriages between Thai women and foreign men are better received in Thai communities, a recent study has revealed, with northeastern villagers in particular praising their foreign sons-in-law for better supporting their new Thai family.
With many northeastern villages organising "Bai Sri Soo Kwan" blessing ceremonies for foreign husbands during the Thai New Year festival, Asst Professor Buaphan Promphak-ping of Khon Kaen University called this a meaningful honour resulting from a cultural change in Thai communities.
The National Culture Commission Office sponsored a study on "cross-cultural marriages of Thai women in the northeastern region" to investigate cultural changes in Thai rural areas resulting from such marriages.
Twelve Thai women - from one community with Western-Thai marriages and three communities with Eastern-Thai marriages (husbands from Hong Kong and Japan) - took part in the study.
Most of the women married to Western men had been married before, to Thai men, and most had intentionally
sought a new foreign husband, the study revealed.
The wives of Asian men were either divorcees or previously single and most had met their husbands through serendipity.
The women's ages when they married ranged from 19 to 47 and none had used the Internet as a means to meet their husband due to a lack of computer literacy.
Following marriage, the women's financial status had improved, with foreign husbands bringing steady income to the family, the study said. The marriages also brought the women more respect from neighbours, enabling them to move up the social ladder in their community.
The marriages were accepted within the communities and even encouraged by the women's relatives, as they were
seen as a way to gain income. Foreign sons-in-law were better able to financially support the family than Thai husbands, the study said.
Udon Thani villager Supira TraiPhu, 42, said she had been married to a German national, Peter Volk, for nearly 15 years and initially lived with him in Germany. Four years ago they moved back to Thailand as Supira was worried about her teenage son - fathered by her previous Thai husband - and because her German husband had retired from work. The family built a Bt2-million house, the biggest in the village, and had gained the respect of the neighbours, she said.
"At first, the neighbours were critical of my bringing a foreign husband home, but then they realised we did not cause them any trouble and brought good things here, so everyone wanted to talk with my husband and invite him to join their merit-making activities and parties," she said. With her husband's pension of about Bt20,000 a month to support the family, she said they lived happily and comfortably enough.
Describing her husband as a good and understanding man, Supira said all her relatives were happy and her Thai son loved and obeyed his stepfather as much as he did his mother. "If I were to have another chance to choose a husband, I would choose Peter again because he is wonderful and treats me nicely," Supira said.
Khamdee Phromlee, 70, a Roi Et villager who had recently gained a British son-in-law, said she did not mind her daughter marrying a foreigner if she loved him and he loved and treated her well.
Speaking no English at all, Khamdee said the downside of having a foreign son-in-law was the difficulty in communication, but her daughter's family now lived and ran a restaurant in Prachuap Khiri Khan's Hua Hin district and only visited her once in a while.
She recalled that her daughter's marriage ceremony was a grand occasion admired by neighbours. Khamdee said she was not certain that if she had a Thai son-in-law, they would have had the chance to hold such a wedding ceremony in a five-star hotel.
Khamdee said her daughter had lived a difficult life following a break-up with her Thai husband, who left her with their nine-year-old child to raise alone.
"Supporting an ageing mother while raising her kid as a single mother was not easy," she said, adding that since her daughter married her British husband, her life had been comfortable, running their restaurant with many employees.
Article found in "The Nation", an English language newspaper in Bangkok, Thailand (http://www.nationmultimedia.com/2006/08/27/headlines/headlines_30012082.php)