What to do when your wife arrives from the Philippines
So, she gets her visa. You’re both hugely excited, and you book the flight for her. She arrives. What now?
I’ve known of men who’ve let her unpack, and have then gone down the pub (without her) to celebrate long into the evening with their mates, and I’ve known others who have gone away for a week’s work. Not good!
I’m borrowing (with permission) an email exchange I had with a client once on this subject.
Jeff ..******* asked me an interesting question … What is she going to do when she comes to australia ….if asked what should she say to immigration in other words what do they want to hear and what do they not want to hear.Is she allowed to work on a fiancee visa?
The conditions are fairly straight-forward, ******.
· She may work.
· She may study.
· She isn’t entitled to Medicare until she gets the 820 Temporary Spouse visa. Therefore, you need to get health coverage for her in the interim period. MBF and a few others can provide fairly reasonable health insurance for this purpose. Just remember to cancel it once she gets her Medicare card.
So yes, she may certainly say “I want to get a job”. I pointed out to her that the job of “housemaid” doesn’t exist here.
Remember that she’s not used to being alone in a house. Filipino society has no place for loneliness. It doesn’t exist, and tolerance of it is therefore fairly low. When Mila arrived, I brought her everywhere with me. In fact I still do. That’s why I hate going overseas by myself! Make sure you do the same? Don’t leave her in the house all day by herself. If you can try to get to know at least one or two couples (Aussie/Filipina couples) before she arrives, it will help a LOT! If she has Maribel or Malou somewhere that she can have a yack to, it will make life a lot easier. Local Catholic Church is a great place to look. BEWARE of social-climbing Filipinas. You recognise them by the designer clothes and copious gold and diamonds weighing them down. And you also find a placid, emotionally-castrated man sitting beside her! Avoid “Filipino Associations”, and they are full of this type.
Make sure you read up (from the book “Making it Easier”, which we give to clients) on the cross cultural relationship stuff. Because once she gets there, you WILL have some tense moments and you WILL have a few squabbles. There’s stuff there that will help you over those hurdles.
Oh, and make sure there is NO evidence of previous females in the house? No old letters. No old photos. No underwear (yes, I knew a bloke who kept a pair of a previous girlfriend’s undies, and got a very savage fight as his reward). A jealous Filipina is a scary sight! Quite innocent stuff can be easily misinterpreted.
The main issues are therefore:
(a) Don’t just leave her alone. Empty houses in silent suburbs with neighbours who don’t know each other, this is unheard-of for Filipinas. It will freak her out, and may cause depression and will certainly exacerbate feelings of homesickness and thoughts of “I’ve made a mistake”. Take some holidays. Adjust your work hours. Get your mum come and visit during the days. And take note of the next point.
(b) Get her some friends. Organise this before she comes here. Bowling up to a Filiina and her hubby, introducing yourself, and saying “I need someone for my new wife to talk to” is NOT an unreasonable request. The Aussie/Filipina couple already understand your situation, because they’ve been there already. And nice Filipinas will always welcome and befriend newcomers.
(c) And seriously, get rid of any evidence of previous relationships. Whilst it may be normal for Aussies to have a complex romantic/sexual history, it is NOT usual for a Filipina. And try not to keep talking about previous girlfriends or ex-wives if you can avoid it? And get rid of the Playboy magazines and get out of the habit of looking up porn on the internet too (if this is your vice)? Perving at other women is fairly insulting to a good wife.
And try to be kind, patient and understanding of all things? This is all new to her. She probably doesn’t know how the washing machine works, and may not know how the stove works. She ALSO doesn’t need to be force-fed lamb chops and vegemite on toast.
☑ Get her a keycard, and explain how much you can afford to spend on food, clothes, etc. Don’t make her beg you for money.
☑ Find the local Asian grocery shop, particularly if there’s one run by Filipinos. Expect plenty of rice to be on the menu.
☑ If you have kids, establish ground-rules right from the start. She is your wife, therefore she speaks with your authority!
☑ Don’t expect her to be OK about dogs and cats being treated like people. Be prepared for Fido to take a back-seat.
☑ Respect her religious beliefs and practices.
☑ If you haven’t done so already, establish (though communication, understanding and compromise, and NOT by “putting your foot down”) limits on assistance given to family members. If you’ve already read our “Making it Easier” book, you’ll be clearer on this. This is an area that goes right to her heart. Don’t dismiss it lightly, as it’s probably the source of more fights and hurt feelings than any other. Talk and listen……BOTH of you.
☑ Just keep loving her. In difficult times, remember the reasons you fell in love with each other, and never forget these reasons.
And please read CULTURAL PROBLEMS AND MISUNDERSTANDINGS for further insights into issues you may have to deal with.