Saturday, March 27, 2010

Some cross-cultural problems in our marriage

I have been having some ongoing issues with my wife that unfortunately aren't going away.

It involves children.

Firstly, I have been hoping to having a second child, but it seems my wife is not receptive to this. She is of the view that another child will get in the way of her career. Although this may be true, I just don't think one child is optimal, and it is actually not fair on our first born either.

I keep telling my wife that there is no one-child policy in Australia, but she simply won't budge.

At the end of the day I have to respect her wishes, but what she told me the other day really upset me.

By way of explaining why she didn't want another child, my wife told me that she asked her mother whether she should have one, and then her sister in China whether she should have one. They both told her that it is too expensive to have another child, and for her to refuse my requests.

I became very upset by this revelation, because my wife should be discussing these matters with me, not her mother and her sister.

It seems that important decisions about my family are being made by an elderly lady whose view of the world is of a by-gone era, and by a woman who lives in China and was only allowed to have one child.

Well, what about my views? What about our child who has often asked for baby brother?

And regarding it being too expensive, well I am a medical professional for heavens sake. Money is simply not an issue.

What really bothers me is that she would not have told me this if I didn't push her. She simply decided, between herself, her mothera nd her sister, and I would have not even been informed of this very important decision had I not been persistent.

In her defense, she claims that Chinese women do not involve men in these decisions. I told her that I find that quite remarkable, that this is a human right, and that no father would willingly take no interest in the size of his family.

She keeps trying to explain things by saying that as a Westerner, I do not understand.

I think that's true, I do not understand. But that does not excuse her behaviour.

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

I don't believe it's bcos of the culture problem, it's simply just your wife's problem, I do agree with u, the matter is only between you and ur wife, yes, she can ask for her family's opinion, but at the end it's still her choice isn't it? I don't think it's abt having Chinese background, even if both of you are from the same nation, this kind of disagreement can be still happen, we are all individuals, obiviously we have our own mind, we can't change other's by just clicking their head, what we need here is respect and communication, being husband and wife is not easy, to have different background, it may be even harder, why not look beyond the culture thing, and work on better relationship? Good luck bro:)

Anonymous said...

I am from a background that is very similar to your wife's and I can say with all honesty that your wife's decision and actions are not culturally based. I feel that your wife's reaction to homosexuality, decision to not have more children, frequent need to spit (!!!) and petty competition such as fighting for park space extremely disconcerting. Such backward thinking is quite contrary to the behaviour of other educated modern Chinese "yuppies" like myself. It is understandable that one would mistake odd behaviours of a beloved wife as "cultural differences", but sometimes it takes a complete stranger to recognise that the "oddness" is due to the character of the person and not the person's race. I fear I may have typed too much but your candid posts compel me to respond. Wishing you all the best and may the duplicity not continue.

dr_luv said...

Hi,

Lets look slight deeper on her pespective instead of blaming the culture.

You have a 7 year old son and now you are looking for 2nd kid. 7 years gap is quite long for some one who already pass the "babysitting, frequent diapers change, sleepness night, constast feed, 24 hours monitoring, unable to leave home, unable to go vacation, movie, shopping, constant grumpy, moodiness, endless tired and the list go on.

And now you want her to go back this stage. Not everyone can take it. That why, the experts advice if you want have more children and please have 1-2 years gap so the you can complete most of the tasks at one go and leave the rest of years for them to grow.

Now your son is in the growing stage. Your wife has a lot of downtime which is basically she is like living a single cum married life. She can be his mom, your wife and career woman at all times without any hiccup.

Once you have another toddler, her life will change, she may need to resign from her work to look after 2nd child. One child is easy. When you have 2nd child its double the workload.

When if you one child, your wife still maintain at workforce, when you 2nd child, she is 50/50 at work/home, when you have 3rd child, she has to leave the job and become a housewife.

Not everyone are please with housewife jobs. Talk to your wife. If she is not interested with 2nd child, than let it go. If you force her than its not good for the baby as she will not show the 100% love to the baby.

Regards
dr_luv

Anonymous said...

I think the fact that you have to specify and call your wife 'my Chinese wife' says it all.

Anonymous said...

I think what she says is true -- in most chinese / asia, man often times make decision without involving their wives. :)
But maybe you should tell her, since she is married to a westener, she has to open up her mind.
Say to her, isn't it better that in making any decision, we discuss it together ?

good luck man ! :)

Anonymous said...

As far as I know a Chinese will be always Chinese, and will try to change the world around..but never consider to change herself. My gf is trying to "export" her culture to me. By saying "I know you like to eat Chinese" she always tries to cook chinese and we always go for shopping at the Chinese supermarket, etc...
She will try to "conquer" your space but you cannot ask to understand your point of view. They have not bee trained to do so. There is one and only one perspective: their one.
Same for her kid from a previous marriage. Her parents decided for the kid and will decide in the future. The marriage will not change her culture and I know that her parents will play a pivotal role in the education of our kids. Cinese culture is following chinese people.
Same approach for everything: a chinese will act according to her parents' inputs and will never accept a different point of view.
Instead of tryign to explain her, the best should be to convince her parents. If they will say YES then you will succeed.
In their mind one person can decide since there is one leader only. There is no room for discussion and different options. If you cannot be the leader..try ot be friend with her leaders (her parents). And remember: they have been trained to obey...so if you will have her aprents on your side, then she will accept your decision without further discussions.

Anonymous said...

Ideally this is something discussed before marriage. My wife and I agreed to a certain number of children before marriage. We have that number, but I do find myself wanting another child. However, our children are older, child-rearing does fall predominantly on the mother, my wife wants to restart her career, and it must be a joint decision.

How important is it to you? Are you willing to give up *your* job to raise another child? How about working half-time? What sacrifices would you be willing to make? Buying expensive gifts for your wife's family to soften them up a bit? Would you divorce your wife if she did not want another child?

Why don't you ask her if there is something *you* can do which would make another child acceptable to her and her family?

By the way, I have great admiration for the Chinese culture. There is nothing wrong with adopting elements of the Chinese culture for yourself.

Also, different people are different, and I find your wife's behavior (exclusive of the secret emails/cell phone calls) idiosyncratic, but not abnormal.

-DB

baines said...

hi everybody,,magic is real,just believed that some weeks ago i guess,and the funny thing is i learnt it the hard way..i had been married for four years with two kids and thought everything in my marriage was perfect and extraordinary,my husband was the most loving and my whole family was happy until everything changed..don't know how or what happened but i guess i didn't believe it was my fault.he started hitting me and my kids,cheating and we started having dept cos he was gambling quite much and he had lost his job..A friend introduced me to some counselors and therapist but it didn't get well,it was getting worse so i decided to go the spiritual angle..After several attempts with different spell casters and magicians nothing happened.i met some people online who claimed to know someone who claimed to be able to help but it was all false,i lost a lot of money,was scammed several times and cheated on...i guess i was too desperate for a quick solution,but it all changed when i was introduced to a spell caster online,i thought he was going to be fake,maybe try to scam me again so i was prepared this time,i thought at least i could get him caught or something..but he wasn't what it thought he was,he did some spell which i used playing along,but he was right,he was true..everything stated to turn around,my husband came home,he was changing and everything was going back to normal..and now after three weeks,everything is perfect and much more..my family is back,he has a new job,i do too..and we are happy as ever..i guess magic truly exist but in the right people with the right heart..magic is real and out there so is the person who saved my marriage,my family and i...
bainessuseee gmail com

baines said...

hi everybody,,magic is real,just believed that some weeks ago i guess,and the funny thing is i learnt it the hard way..i had been married for four years with two kids and thought everything in my marriage was perfect and extraordinary,my husband was the most loving and my whole family was happy until everything changed..don't know how or what happened but i guess i didn't believe it was my fault.he started hitting me and my kids,cheating and we started having dept cos he was gambling quite much and he had lost his job..A friend introduced me to some counselors and therapist but it didn't get well,it was getting worse so i decided to go the spiritual angle..After several attempts with different spell casters and magicians nothing happened.i met some people online who claimed to know someone who claimed to be able to help but it was all false,i lost a lot of money,was scammed several times and cheated on...i guess i was too desperate for a quick solution,but it all changed when i was introduced to a spell caster online,i thought he was going to be fake,maybe try to scam me again so i was prepared this time,i thought at least i could get him caught or something..but he wasn't what it thought he was,he did some spell which i used playing along,but he was right,he was true..everything stated to turn around,my husband came home,he was changing and everything was going back to normal..and now after three weeks,everything is perfect and much more..my family is back,he has a new job,i do too..and we are happy as ever..i guess magic truly exist but in the right people with the right heart..magic is real and out there so is the person who saved my marriage,my family and i..
bainessuseee gmail com

Anonymous said...

If she told you that Chinese women do not involve their husbands in making private and vital family decisions such as child planning, she is bull-shitting you. This has nothing to do with culture. Do not buy all that she tells you about China. Do not let her use culture as excuses to fool you. Do not let yourself fooled either.

Anonymous said...

My wife was born in Shanghai, grew up in Hong Kong, and went to university in the United States and is the polar opposite of the woman you describe as your wife.

I can only conclude that your wife is using "Chinese culture" as an excuse for her own poor behavior and moral character.

dreganism said...

My wife is the most bull-headed person I have ever met. She comes to conclusions after meaningful discussion with her mother, father and sister and is then set in her opinion and refuses to discuss any options or other points of view.

The scary thing about the meaningful discussions she has is that everyone in her family has the same point of view and they are very very narrow-minded as a function of the way life was in China in the 60's (i.e. their view of everything is based on experiences that do not correlate to the here and now of American life).

I have begun telling her recently that I will not have a conversation about anything substantive unless a paid professional is acting as referee.

I am very tired of every conversation devolving into a petty bickering match. We used to be much more than the sum of our parts, now we are collectively less than a normal human being.

She told me recently that she only married me to get her green card and get her family to the USA. I know it is the truth now, although in the past I thought we were lucky in love :-) Now I think she saw me as the weakest suitor who could be manipulated to get what she wanted.

I believe she wants to drive me out of our house by being a complete A.H. She has mastered the complete A. H. behavioral thing, but I stopped reacting to it.

I also believe she thinks we will end our 15 year marriage and she will have me gone, take everything we've made together for herself and her family and start a new life with me out of the picture.

If it was not for our kids, I would have been gone many years ago. I toy with the idea of going to an island and becoming a fisherman for the rest of my life, but we know that won't happen. I've conjured-up some seriously vicious battle plans in the event she wants to go to a power-play to force me out of my children's lives.

Only problem with battle plans is that my kids will get hurt more than my wife or her A.H. family.

I have a few things I may do to interest US immigration, which would likely deprive her entire family of their permanent residency. Obviously, this would be a last resort, since it would ruin all of their lives. There are issues involving large portions of income not being reported to IRS, stealing intellectual property for use in China - very serious stuff that makes me want to puke.

I have so much anger and distrust, because I know that they have been working against me for years and now they openly admit it.

Clearly this has gone beyond cultural differences and interracial marriage challenges.

Strangely, we had a harmonious marriage until I began questioning the rationales behind my having to do everything their way. Now, I am the enemy. I also realized that the only time they show any interest in me is when they want something from me.

I don't know how to walk away without my kids getting hurt, but then again, they know their parents hate each other, which is going to screw them up worse than their mixed heritage with all its conflicts and and negativity.

WOW, when I read this over, I realize I am in a world of shit now - without a clue.

Anonymous said...

@dreganism - Shit Happens. But don't lose heart. Sit down calmly. Talk to a trusted non fair weather friend. you will be able to find a path that will give your kids and yourself a win. to a person with bad motives -When push comes to shove, you should do it.

Anonymous said...

And oh, so ,many chinese chicks hook up with for the Green Card thing, they want to escape out of China.

dreganism said...

The note if for the last comments directed to me - thanks for your taking time to write your thoughts. Things are very nasty at this point, but I remain hopeful that I can still create a good life for my kids as they grow-up.

Anonymous said...

Dregonism - wow your commentary is hard to read but important for me or any guy marrying a chinese woman to read. They do see marriage to an american as contract job more than seeking utopia. I really think after 30 years of living in China, its hard to change the woman. But you know what most american wives after 15 years are s---heads too.
PersonallyI would spend every moment possible with your kids and enjoy that. The rest is not likely to get better...but you could slap her around a little, most old school men in china do..must work.

CF said...

It doesn't take such a long time to know a person. You two could have been divorced in the first a few years if the different cultures was a big issue. I know almost all marriages encounter difficult time after 7 or 8 years, even those couple from the same backgrounds.

Anonymous said...

This is absolutely a cultural problem! I'm Chinese and I totally understand what your wife is talking about. It's not right or wrong but just culture, if you meet some other Chinese girls or boys who have good relations with her family at home. She will do the same thing, discuss something with her family without telling you.

Anonymous said...

Totally cultural... Anyone that disagrees has not been exposed to it. I am the American mother in law and my heart is broken to see the disrespect.. He deserved so much more but evidently he doesn't think so... You have validated my observations.. My son thinks I am the problem...at least now I know it's not me.. Very difficult to watch ... Are you men blind?? These woman are manipulating you and does love have anything to do with this ???

Anonymous said...

I don't think you will ever understand because cultural opposites...in the beginning you never realize core values are that different and that your partner will try to be that. Stubborn. They do not compromise and you probably cannot compromise enough... It is never enough

ANITA said...

My name is Anita,i live in Canada .A very big problem occurred in my family seven months ago,between me and my husband.so terrible that he took the case to court for a divorce.He said that he never wanted to stay with me again,and that he didn't love me anymore.So he packed out of my house and made me and my children passed through severe pain. I tried all my possible means to get her back,after much begging,but all to no avail.and he confirmed it that he has made her decision,and he never wanted to see me again.
So on one evening,i met a friend of mine who asked of my wife.So i explained every thing to her,so she told me that the only way i can get my wife back,is to visit a spell caster,because it has really worked for her too when she was disturbed with evil night mare of imminent death which was confirmed by one prophet Thomas v. James.I never believed in spell,but i had no other choice,than to took her advice. Then she gave me the email address of the spell caster whom she visited.{loveandhealthspell@gmail.com}.
So the next morning,i sent a mail to the address she gave to me,and the spell caster assured me that i will get my Husband back in few days.What an amazing statement!! I never believed.He told me everything that i need to do. , So surprisingly, my Husband who didn't call me for the past three {3}months,gave me a call to inform me that he was coming back,after the third day i did what Dr.usman told me to do.So Amazing!! So that was how he came back to me and my children.
So, i will advice you out there to contact Dr.usmansaheed of the LOVE AND HEALTH @{loveandhealthspell@gmail.com},IF YOU ARE IN THIS CONDITION,OR YOU HAVE ANY PROBLEM RELATED TO RELATIONSHIP OR HEALTH ISSUE AND SPIRITUAL MATTERS
Thanks to Dr.Usman Saheed for bringing back my husband,and brought great joy to my family once again.

Sociable

What do you like/dislike most about Chinese women?