Dating and Marrying a Filipina: The Five Greatest Challenges

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I am extremely happy with the life that my Filipina wife and I have together.  I can’t imagine being with anyone else or being married to someone of my own race/culture.  Our love is a beautiful thing that has enhanced my life in ways I could never fully describe.

But I never want to present being married to a Pinay as some kind of panacea or fairy tale.  All marriages require work, and mine is no exception.  Marrying a woman from the Philippines, in fact, will come with some unique challenges that you wouldn’t face if you just dated someone from your own country.  Here are a few that come to mind:

Challenge #1: Choosing with Limited Information

This isn’t always a big factor for those of us who have spent time in the Philippines and dated while living/visiting there.  But most Filipino-American couples first meet online.  Usually this means the man joined a dating website (like Christian Filipina–the one I recommend), met a pretty Filipina, and started communicating via email and chat.  This works out well for most of the couples that I’ve met, but it is arguably more risky than being able to meet/date in more traditional or conventional ways.  In other words, the men usually have to make a decision based on very limited face-to-face time with their girlfriends.

Challenge #2: The Visa Process

Let’s say you do find a great woman (as so many do) and are 100% sure you want to marry her.  The next challenge is enduring the process of getting her spousal/fiancee visa so she can move to your country and (eventually) become a citizen there.  The process is doable but it does require a lot of patience on your part.  The government agencies involved get your tax dollars regardless of their inefficiencies and can be frustrating to deal with.  I have recommended a service to help you do things correctly, but it takes a few months even under the best circumstances.

Challenge #3: The Distance

The most difficult thing about being married to a Filipina is you are always going to be far away from either her family or yours.  This usually means being far from hers because of the better opportunities available in America (or other Western countries).  There are exceptions–guys who decide to live as expats in the Philippines.  Either way you’re going to live halfway across the world from someone’s family.  Family ties are extremely important in the Filipino culture, so you can imagine how difficult this can be.  Being able to chat via Skype does help, but the dilemma is still there regardless.

Challenge #4: Money Issues

Money issues are probably the biggest cause of divorce worldwide. This issue can be especially challenging if you’re married to a Filipina because sharing resources with family members is deeply ingrained in Filipino culture.  This is a potential source of conflict if the husband and wife don’t have good communication with each other or healthy boundaries with family members back in the Philippines.  The couple has to find a balance of sharing with family while making sure they are not putting themselves in a bad financial situation.

Challenge #5 Cultural Differences

A Filipina and a Westerner have grown up in two completely different cultural contexts.  Their respective worldviews have been shaped by factors that go back centuries.  This can also be a source of conflict if one of them is xenophobic or can’t learn how to be open to another point of view.

Conclusion and Final Thoughts

These are just a few of the most significant challenges that come to mind when I think of my own marriage and the other couples that my wife and I have met.  Here’s the good news: I can honestly say it has been 100% worth it for me.  I think there’s a good chance you’ll feel the same way, but be sure you are going into any relationship with eyes wide open.