6 Things I Learned about Relationships While Living in Asia

1. Courtship is Sacred

It’s common to base a new relationship off of the quality and duration of the courtship in Asia.

Some courtships lasting from a few months to a few years! In my own case, my husband courted me for 6 months.

During the duration of a courtship, it is common and OK for the lady to entertain more than one suitor. Meaning if you have 3 men courting you, it is totally OK to go on dates which each of them to find that winning guy! Asian men really want to make a show of their efforts and intentions with the lady they’re pursuing to prove that their love is true…

2. Family & Friends Included

More interestingly, some suitors will go as far as courting the friends and family of the girl he is wooing.

It is almost an expected for the man to generally court the family, but some like to take their game a little further and touch base with her close friends.

Anything from sending small gifts to planning dinners so he can better get to know them, and vice versa. This has happened to me a few times, as the friend, and it’s nice and comforting to give your girl friend some feedback as to whether or not you think he’s a good match for her or not. And effort always counts!

3. Food Is The Way To The Heart, Really.

In any part of the world, food is an ice breaker. But I’ve noticed some extreme sweet things that I’ve only ever seen in Asia.

Along with courting, it’s not uncommon for the suitor to have food randomly delivered to your place or to even come over and cook for you and your parents (my husband has done this! Haha!)

Walk into any restaurant or cafe in the Philippines and you’ll be able to quickly point out the couples, because even if it’s just the two of them at the table, they sit on the same side to be closer. It’s not uncommon to see men plating and pouring their lady’s food and drink and vice versa. My husband always opens any bottle of juice, water etc, for me the moment it gets to the table and he likes to serve my food before I can get to it.

4. Monthsaries are a Thing!

I’ve been living in Asia for nearly a decade and I still can’t get my head around it… Monthsaries, where you celebrate every month, on the day, that you’ve been together is actually a VERY big deal. Its not uncommon to hear someone’s 156th monthsary dinner is coming up or flowers being delivered every month to your friend who’s boyfriend insists on celebrating every month they’ve been together. It’s sweet, but definitely not for me or my husband…

5. The Art of The Healing Silence

Asians really know how to pick and choose their battles. Sure, you’ll overhear the occasional argument between a couple in a mall or park… But I’ve never encountered such discipline and strength when it comes time to put an end to a never-ending battle, the best way is to just shut up.

Leaving the argument open-ended and unresolved, in a way somehow, seems to resolve itself with just silence. After all, in most fights between couples, is there ever really a winner?

I’m used to the culture of ‘women are always right’, but coming to Asia I see how pride is not something a lot of Asians take into their relationships. Women are ok with losing at arguments, sometimes, just by keeping quiet and vice versa for men, when they know it’s no longer worth the energy. I’ve had to marvel and wonder at some of my girl friends and guy friends who are in relationships and are strong enough to allow abrupt silence to heal an issue.

6. Living with the parents is OK at first, and kind of expected!

This was shocking to me at first, but I’ll be honest, I lived through it. Although my story may be different from others, there are many reasons for couples to live under one of the parents’ roofs in the beginnng of their relationship. In my case, I found it very hard to cope with at first. But my in laws are so amazing, and I think it was during the duration of living under my in-laws roof where I really got the chance and time to know them. Eventually we moved out, but other couples will continue to live with parents even through their marriage and having their own children.

In Asia, elders are far more respected and ‘Homes for the Elderly’ just don’t exist here, so generations tend to live together to take care of one another.

I’ve happily become accustomed to this and as we are building our dream home at the moment, we reserved special guest rooms for both my husband’s mother and my mother.

Living in Asia has been an overload of culture shock, but I have to say, most of the changes are for the better. I’ve learned patience and persistent effort in relationships goes a long way and will show for both your partner and yourself… And more importantly, there’s nothing shameful about “house-sharing” with parents and your own family. My ideas of family were far more different when I was living in the States compared to what they are now, and that’s all for the better.

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