So You’ve Found A Wonderful Thai Wife.
Your Thai wife adores you and you adore her. It’s time to begin your life together as a family of two. Oh wait! Your Thai wife doesn’t see it that way. To her, you’ve just married into the extended family.
I remember when my Australian husband, Mike, made his first visit to my village. He was surprised to see Uncles and Aunts, Grandpas and Grandmas, even an assortment of various cousins participating in family decisions. Even our choice of wedding date was decided by committee.
You Can’t Change Thai Culture, You Can’t Change Your Thai Wife
As a Thai I expect family involvement. I was honored to consider the family’s suggestions but Mike was a little taken aback. He thought these decisions were personal enough only we should be involved. Mike had to learn Thai families share everything with each other. The sense of personal space is much different for Thai families than it is for Western families.
Your Thai wife and her family will welcome you into the fold. Don’t fight it. You’re not going to change thousands of years of Thai culture. The best thing to do is understand what is happening and embrace it. You’ll learn Thai families go out of their way to help each other. Mike eventually conformed to the Thai way and now he really appreciates it.
The Best Approach To Your Thai Wife
I suggest you sit back a bit at the beginning and learn the dynamics of your Thai wife’s family. Try to understand which family members are the most revered. For Thai there is an order to the respect we show each other. You will eventually earn your place in that order but if you were to be loud or aggressive with her family you would set your status back. Loud and aggressive behaviors are frowned upon in Thai culture.
Smile a lot and be as helpful as you can. Do your best to be part of the family proceedings. For instance, if they go to the temple you should go along. They don’t expect you to be Buddhist but they appreciate your willingness to understand their culture. That’s the way to gain acceptance into the family.
Integrate Yourself Into The Family Of Your Thai Wife
Later, when the family sees you as the wise and calm man you are, your views will gain more weight. Be patient. I know in Western culture you would expect to be number one in your wife’s eyes. For a Thai wife, as crazy as she might be about you, at best you’re number three after her parents and her grand-parents. If she has brothers and sisters she’s close to, you’d be fourth and if she has children…well you get the picture.
Over time your status will grow in her eyes and in her family’s eyes too. You may even be number one some day. But my point is Thai families are so close if you decide to challenge the family and put her in a spot where she has to chose chances are you’ll lose her. You’d never want that to happen and neither would she so the better strategy is to integrate yourself into the family structure.
Love Your New Family
Become a part of what’s going on and accept it for what it is. Be gracious and kind with her family and she’ll feel so proud of you. Her family will start to say your Thai wife’s married well and you’ll gain the love and acceptance you covet.