When two USA citizens of similar background get married, the politically correct assumption is that they are in a 50/50 relationship and that they will make financial decisions together. What happens though when one person is an immigrant, and unfamiliar with everything in their new country? Should the couple still try and be politically correct? Should the 2 person family unit be modeled after a partnership or the more common business structure where there is a management hierarchy and a CEO (chief executive officer….boss).
My wife came to the USA for the first time at the age of 25 (from the Philippines). I was 10 years older, and better educated. She struggled with English and couldn’t drive. In a very real sense, she was a trainee. She needed time to get up to speed. Although I had no real desire to be the boss, I had no choice. A considerable amount of time would need to pass before we could consider being politically correct. In reality, that day never really came, and we have now been together almost 26 years. Instead, our marriage has evolved into something the business world calls ‘situational management’. The concept for us is rather simple. We let geography determine who’s the boss.
If my wife looks down and sees United States soil, then I’m the leader. If however, our feet are on Philippine soil, then my wife leads. The reason is simple. She speaks the local dialect and understands the local customs. I don’t. We never sat down and discussed who would be in charge. You don’t need to discuss what is so obvious. We both benefit when I’m the boss, and we both benefit when she’s the boss. For the time being, I don’t wear the pants in the family. It’s too hot anyway, and I’m content in shorts.
One of the reasons I’m enjoying our time in the Philippines is because I don’t have to lead. You see, I’m lazy. My goal in life is to avoid stress. My motto is: “I heard the call to do nothing, and answered it.” In my career (now retired), I never sought a management position. The extra pay wasn’t enough to outweigh the added stress. In my personal life, I was thrust into the role of being in charge because my wife was new to America. Putting her in charge back then would have been cruel to her, and financially dangerous for both of us.
Today, here in the Philippines, my wife pays for just about everything. Her motto is;”Can I have a discount?” It makes economic sense for her to run the household and for me to quietly observe. My current role when shopping is to look stupid and try not to act like a rich foreigner. I’m very good at it, but I can’t take too much credit. It just comes naturally to me. Most store clerks catch on rather quickly to ignore the light skinned dude and concentrate on the woman if they want to make a sale. I barely said a word when we recently bought our 2 multicabs (cars). Wait, that’s not entirely true. I did get to pick the hubcaps. At home, my wife is currently in charge of building a massive new dirty kitchen and entertainment area. She seems to appreciate my lack of input. Yes, we are spending a lot of money, but I’m sure my wife is getting full value for every peso being spent, so I’m good.
On a final note, the decision to move to Cebu was made together. I figure if this Cebu move turns out to be a disaster, then it’s not all my fault. (A good leader covers his ass.) I hope all of you with politically correct marriages are having as much fun as we are with our politically incorrect marriage.