August 2020

13 Things my Filipina and I Neglected to Discuss Before Marriage

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I have a video series of live streams about questions to ask a Filipina at different stages of getting to know each other; you can find the whole list here at It is safe to say that since my wife and I got married so quickly, a lot of questions were not asked. I felt like I knew what I needed to know about her and she felt like she knew what she needed to know about me and we trusted each other. We’ve been married since May of 2015 and I think we both made the right decision. We wanted to continue to get to know each other after marriage, which is the way it is for anyone. Having been married, there are some things I wish we could have talked about before we did.

Please subscribe to Love Beyond The Sea where my goal is to help foreigners and Filipinas to learn how to work together to have a fulfilling marriage. Also, I want to start having live podcasts and for you to chat or call in on your mobile device, I’d need for you to subscribe to Casting Beyond The Sea and follow on Podbean; you can always listen on your desktop. We know relationships are hard work, I’d like you to be able to learn from my mistakes and successes. Please leave a comment about something you wish you had talked about before getting married to a Filipina, but somehow it slipped your mind or you didn’t think it would be important at the time.

Our past-I will start with this one, which I had not thought about, but my wife mentioned. We did talk about what my wife volunteered to say, not because I asked her about something specific. I did talk a little bit about my past relationships, but there was only one of those, and I went into detail, but we didn’t talk a lot about our childhood or work experience much. I think my focus was on the present, what kind of woman she was and if she what I was looking for. The only time I found out about something she wanted to share with me was on her own initiative, probably because I opened up first. It was never my intention to talk to her about past relationships, I don’t know why, it never occurred to me.

As our marriage has continued, we have both opened up more, and I am glad she has done that. There isn’t anything she could tell me that would make me feel like I shouldn’t have married her anyway. She has the right to keep some things to herself and reveal them at the appropriate time, when she feels comfortable. She did tell me that we will just focus on the future, and start new with our lives, which I thought was good advice.

Night owl-I have always liked the early morning, the cool, the darkness, the feeling that everything is about to wake up, and that I was a little ahead of it. By nine at night I felt like there wasn’t anything left to accomplish or the energy to do it. My wife however, showed signs of not liking to go to bed so early or get up so early. She tried to be on my schedule but as time went by, she opened up that she had a difficult time waking up so early. I had just assumed she would be ok with going to bed at night. I don’t know why but I just didn’t think about it.

My wife tried in the early days but by the time she got a job at the same place I worked. she was more open about how difficult it was for her to get up early for work. It may have been easy for me but it was just as difficult for her. She tells me she is more suited to going to work later in the day. I tell her that I believe it is normal for people to get up about when the sun comes up and to go to bed after it goes down, however, some people I realize, are wired differently. When a night owl is married to an early bird, that brings up another issue.

When we go to bed-My assumption was we would always go to bed at about the same time but that isn’t always going to happen when we are not the same in this way. I am disappointed when we aren’t in bed at the same time, but I realize that, as hard as it is, my wife isn’t tired or “ready” for bed when I am. This is where concessions need to be made to accommodate each other. Even if we had talked about this before marriage, it wouldn’t have been a deal breaker but at least I would have been better prepared for the next thing we didn’t talk about.

Job shift-When I told my wife before she immigrated that I would try to get her a job in the company I worked for 40 years, I assumed it would be a first shift job, like I have always had at this company. For a little less than I year I worked at a radio station in Sturgis, South Dakota, and had no choice but to work starting at six in the evening and leaving around one or two in the morning. It wouldn’t have been my first choice. It felt unnatural and very difficult to socialize. When her job changed to a second shift/night shift position that started at 6:00 pm at night until 6:30 am, a twelve-hour shift, seven days out of 14. That made me feel kind of sick. It has changed again since that.

I’m thinking about having to sleep alone for several days a week and not liking it. I plead my case the best I could but I had to realize that she feels more energized by working at night. Well, it could be worse. I could see she didn’t like getting up early in the morning. She gets ready for work in fifteen minutes, shower included! I get up an hour and a half before work and when I was single, I got up two and a half hours before work so I could cook all my food for the day.

We are not matched up when it comes to this kind of preference but we have to deal with it. I don’t want my wife to work on a shift she doesn’t like. She is helping with a couple of big bills, paying for her own car, paying the lion’s share of our Philippines house and sending money back home. She is a great wife to me, so I figured there was no reason to stand in the way if she could get a job on night shift. What is good for my wife is good for me. She is willing to compromise as she is sympathetic to my need to spend as much time together as we can, so we have talked about what her sleep schedule would be like and how it would be challenging. I have my doubts about not having a regular, regimented sleep schedule, but we will just have to try it and see.

This is something that has been good for our marriage because it revealed that we needed to make a change in something that is best for one but not the first choice of the other. I acquiesced because I want what’s best for her, and she has offered to try to make the necessary concessions to make it easier on me. Of that, I am proud of her.

Money-There are a lot of ways money could be talked about but I am not sure there is much ground you can cover before marrying your Filipina. Are you going to discuss exactly how much to save for retirement, how much to spend on things, how much you need to retire, how much to spend on entertainment, how much to save? It could be many things. We didn’t talk about what my wife would spend her earnings on if she got a job here. I don’t know about anyone else, but she didn’t ask me about money issues and I didn’t bring it up either. Maybe some do and that’s ok, it just wasn’t something we focused on in those days, but now, it is sometimes a prominent topic.

Driving-Here is another topic of discussion that seems like a natural yet we didn’t talk much about it. Eventually I paid for some lessons before she arrived and she drives very well and can get around the city just fine, especially with GPS. I would not tell her she must learn to drive because if your Filipina doesn’t drive in the Philippines and hasn’t been serious with a foreigner before, she probably has not given it any thought. I would let her bring up the topic.

There are always going to be things that come up that you couldn’t have known at first, like the possibility of retiring in the Philippines, building a house there, type of employment she will have in your country and others. Situations come up like a job change or a health issue, and you can’t predict those. The best you can do is believe you have a good grasp of the kind of character she has, and a good handle of her commitment to you.

None of the things I mentioned are deal breakers or cause me to second guess, but perhaps this will help you realize that after doing the best you can, there will probably be some things you would have preferred to know, but it didn’t occur to you.

Eating habits-We got married very quickly and I don’t know how important this would have been to talk about, but neither of us talked about eating habits. I wanted to marry someone who had decent eating habits but I proposed before meeting her. Thankfully she is okay in this area. White rice isn’t the best, but you aren’t likely to change that.

Retirement goals-With my wife being much younger than I am, retirement isn’t on her mind, but it would have made sense for me to talk about any retirement goals I had. I was so focused on her and the visa process coming up that I never got around to any retirement talk. That is something we’ve talked about since we’ve been married.

Having children or adoption-You’d think we would talk about this a little but we didn’t. I didn’t have children and the possibility of having one wasn’t a dealbreaker when I looked for a wife, it just wasn’t something that came up.

Home or apartment-I lived in an apartment when we got married and I assumed we would stay there as long as we needed to, but eventually we bought a house.

Where to go on vacation-This is something you’d talk about when sharing your favorite travel places or places you’d like to see someday. I had been perfectly content where I was and didn’t give any thought to vacation destinations. My wife is interested in sight-seeing and I’ve really enjoyed the places we’ve seen together.

Division of labor-I don’t know if other people talk about who’s going to do what once they are together but I know we didn’t. My wife likes to have the responsibility of cooking, cleaning and shopping, and she even likes to do yardwork. This area has not been a source of conflict for us.

How we dealt with conflict-Talking about how each of us handles conflict is a good idea before getting married. The more time you spend together should reveal differences or similarities in how you handle conflict. It’s on my list of questions to ask each other but wasn’t something we actually did before getting married so quickly.

Again, please subscribe to Casting Beyond The Sea in Podbean and follow so you can know when a live podcast begins. On your mobile device you can chat or call in. I hope to start that soon.

There might have been more than 13 things we neglected to discuss before we got married, but that’s not a problem if you are committed to your Love Beyond The Sea!

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