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Discuss culture, living, traveling, relocating, dating or anything related to the Asian countries - China, The Philippines, Thailand, etc.
I'm married to an Indonesian. I'd like to share some of the benefits of marrying an Indonesian woman.
1. Cooking and housekeeping.
My wife says if an Indonesian woman doesn't know how to cook, she'd be ashamed to say that to other women. She's a woman. She knows how to cook.
I used to work in an office with a bunch of married women. They could cook, and they'd bring stuff to work. I started bringing in fruit every day to pull my weight. They all had an ethic of keeping the house that I could pick up on from conversations. My wife is an excellent gourmet cook. Indonesian food is really good stuff. It's not too common in the US where I'm from, but it is really good, and there are multiple ethnic groups with their own cuisine and my wife cooks all kinds of stuff. The gatherings of Indonesians have had some pretty good food, like for independence day.
2. Low divorce rates.
Among Christians, divorce seems to be rather rare. Some of the Muslim groups have high divorce rates, and their divorce rates have gone up recently. With mixed marriages in the US city I live in, there are maybe 2 or 300 couples here, mostly Indonesian women with American men of Caucasian or Asian ethnicity. I haven't heard of a single couple divorcing or separating in five years out of the whole group. I can think of a couple of them who had been divorced, but one was probably a Muslim at the time.
Marrying a virgin decreases your chances of divorce over marrying a woman who has had multiple sexual partners. Virginity at marriage seems to be the norm. I know some men seem to think of virginity as a turn off. I don't get it. Why would another man's fluids having been in certain places be attractive? Marrying a virgin is a lot better for reducing the chances of disease, and IMO, it's probably a better bet if you don't want your wife to be the type to cheat on you.
4. Positive attitude toward sex in marriage.
When Indonesians joke about sex, it's usually along the lines of married couples having sex. They joke about newly weds having sex. The expectation seems to be if you are married, you have sex. In the US, it seems like people joke about sex drying up when you get married. It's a different mind-set. Indonesians in general seem to think if you are married, you are supposed to have sex with your spouse. A wife will likely consider it part of her duty as a wife, too.
5. Submission to husbands.
The most common religion in Indonesia is Islam. Christianity follows after that. The average Indonesian woman would probably agree with the statement that a wife is supposed to submit to her husband and that the husband is supposed to be the leader of the home.
Women are women and you have to manage your relationship. If you always say, "I don't know dear, what do you think" you may end up in a kind of warped relationship. But if you are a man and you play the role of a confident leader, the woman submitting is a cultural 'script' an Indonesian woman should have been exposed to. She should see that as the way things ought to be. So you don't usually have to fight with some kind of feminist mindset or philosophy if the woman is from Indonesia.
6. Hard workers.
A lot of Indonesian women are hard workers. My tip if you are looking for one is to find a woman who grew up hand washing her family's laundry, instead of a rich girl who ordered the maid to wash her laundry.
7. Status for foreigners.
Marrying a foreigner is considered high status. Now there are also some stereotypes about foreigners divorcing a lot, and in their country, some of the oil men get temporary contract wives. But for the most part, marrying a foreigner is considered a plus, at least marrying a Caucasian and probably even an Asian from a developing country. They'd be okay with marrying Filippinos. There does seem to be a bit of a negative attitude toward Africans among some people (like the police at times), though I know of Africans who have intermarried with Indonesians, too.
An average looking Caucasian may be considered good-looking in Indonesia. Light skin and a western nose are considered attractive traits, and he looks kind of exotic to the women there.
Someone on one of these forums said that western men usually marry ugly Asians, physically speaking. That hasn't been my experience for the most part. I have seen some western men whose wives did not seem attractive to me at all. But I see that with guys who marry white women from their own countries quite a bit, too. In general, it seems like white men marry attractive Asians. If they live there, it's easy to do that, since a lot of women may be interested. They don't always show it. Some do. I had a woman I talked to for a minute or two give me a name card with her number on it. Other girls flirted overtly. Some did not, but paid a lot of attention. A couple of girls from church had me give my mom gifts when I went home for the holidays. Someone explained they may by trying to soften up a potential mother-in-law.
My wife is really pretty, and I know it's not just my thinking that because of all the Facebook spam she gets from guys that she tells me about and deletes from time to time. There is also a South American man in my city here in the US married to a beautiful Javanese girl in her 20's. Some of the old guys get pretty wives there. If the girls are a bit brown, locals consider them ugly, even if their features are beautiful.
For looks, for me personally, if when I was looking, in the US, maybe 1 out 100 college-aged girls met up to my standards of someone who I was attracted enough to for me consider as a potential marriage partner, it was probably 1 out of 200 for Indonesian girls. But I was probably considered 5 times more desirable. Jakarta is a crowded city with lots of people. I was selective and met someone who had the type of character I was looking for, too.
Spectacular OP! Welcome to the forum!
Congrats on marrying a good woman.
Thanks for the info. Surprised to hear Christians are 2nd religion there, thought it was Hindus. Where are Christians found?
I had thought about going to Kuching (Malaysian Sarawak/Borneo) to find pretty Christian SEA girls...
"Well actually, she's not REALLY my daughter. But she does like to call me Daddy... at certain moments..."
Thanks to you and everyone for the warm welcome.
I don't know much about Kucing, except that it means 'cat.' Are the pretty girls there Chinese or some kind of Malayu people or Dayak tribes people?
There are Christians all over Indonesia. In Sumatra, the Batak mostly profess Christianity, mostly Lutheran, though Pentecostal churches are also found in Batak areas these days. There are also Roman Cathaolics. In the Southern areas where Batak lives, there are a couple of Muslim clans. A lot of the other local people-groups I am familiar with, Aceh, Padang and Minang, Malayu and a lot of the other people-groups from there tend to be predominantly Muslim. But there are ethnic groups from all over. Churches will have people from a variety of people-groups, usually, but some people-groups have only a tiny percent Christian and are strongly Islamic.
In Java, there are people from all over the country in a lot of the cities. Most Javanese are Muslim, but there are millions of Christians, too. Sundanese are prodominantly Muslim, and so are Betawi. Jakarta has millions of Christians. There are also lots of Christians among the Chinese minority. I would not be surprised if Christianity has overtaken Buddhism as the predominant religion among Chinese Indonesians. There are also various d
I hear some of the villagers in Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo, call their pagan beliefs 'Hindu Keharingan', too. On Borneo there are Muslims and Christians. There are local Dayak tribes people and migrants from other parts of Indonesia. Bali is predominantly Hindu. Lombok is Muslim. Going east through Flores and Timor there are a lot of Roman Catholics. The Malukus have churches of Dutch Reformed heritage, though over time Muslims migrated there and there were those jihad type wars back in the late 1990's among the two peoplegroups and a lot of persecution. Sulaweisi/Celebes has predominantly traditionally Christian areas like Manado, and a lot of predominantly Islamic areas. If you go out to Papua, there are a lot of native aboriginal tribes who have converted to Christianity and a lot of Muslim migrants there in the big cities.
MrMan, Very, very nice writeup and pretty much covers the basics regarding Indonesian women. Indonesian women seems like a nice alternative to Filipinas.
What is her family like and your relations with them? As with Filipinas, when you marry a Fililpina, you marry the family. Same setup/understanding? Does your wife regularly send remittance to her family? Do they look to you for support and are you expected to support them?
What about her Muslim beliefs, assuming she is a Muslim? Did you experience any problems adjusting to their concepts of marriage and family responsibilities and expectations? I knew an American man who married an Indonesian woman. First mistake he made was introducing the concept of "equality" and "democracy" in the marriage. He had trouble adjusting to his wife's expectation that HE should be the LEADER and make the decisions. She felt uncomfortable with his insistence that she provide input/opinion during the decision-making process. Her typical response, "UP TO YOU" frustrated him to no end.
Sounds like you and the wife discussed the ground rules very carefully and each understands their duties, responsibilities and expectations....hence a very nice relationship as it should be.
He needs to abide by the rules, and then he can post there. I wouldn't make exceptions to people whom I've never seen and/or met in person. If the administrators want to bend and/or break the rules, that's on them.
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My wife's family said that-- when you marry, you marry the family, when I was getting married. And it's true in some ways, wherever you are. I got adopted into her tribe and got another mom and dad and was made her first cousin, according to their social custom, to marry her.
I don't know about other families, but my wife and I would occasionally give something to her parents, usually if they visited us or we visited them when we lived in Indonesia. We send them about $100 for the holidays around Christmas and New Years. We haven't helped that much financially since I've been a poor grad student with nothing to send, though we have sent money for Christmas. I get the impression that Filippinos and Vietnamese might have more rigid expectations about support from children.
I don't mind sending more money to her parents when I graduate and get a decent job. In developing countries, less money goes a long way. I'm into the idea of honoring parents, too. I consider those values in her culture to be a good thing.
My wife is a Christian. That was a non-negotiable criteria for both of us. Islam allows for divorce, and relatives might push for it if the husband won't convert. At least, I know one Arab guy who converted to Christianity from Islam whose family was pushing her to divorce. I knew another American guy who actually converted to Islam, probably to appease his wife's family. I tried to talk him out of it.
I didn't do a good job of 'laying down the law' when we first married. If I had it to do over again, I probably would have talked about this in more detail the first year of marriage and brought up the topic a lot for discussion. I can't remember having a real argument for the first year of marriage. She got a little upset when I bought a soap holder with suction cups after she bought a soap holder. It cost about 50 cents and didn't fall into the water reservoir like the one she bought. After a few minutes, she realized she was wrong to act so moody. That's what I remember.
While dating, we both said we believed in wives submitting to their husbands. I remember my wife said she wanted to polish her husbands shoes. I remembered that a few weeks ago and said I don't remember her polishing my shoes once. She said she's too busy with the kids these days to think of doing that. Maybe she did polish them early on and I don't recall. But she does do a really good job of taking care of the house. She feeds the kids better than I do, and we eat, really, really, really well. It's like living in a restaurant.
With my wife, I was a bit too indecisive making family decisions. I could have adapted more of a leader frame early on and she would have fallen in line. But I was a bit too nice guy and passive. She was a pretty good wife all along, but occasionally should show some disrespect. (Maybe not to the degree of the average American woman.) So a few years ago, we re-thought some of these issues. Mainly, she felt like God wanted her to be more respectful and submissive. And she's been improving ever since.
My wife grew up through middle school with her parents, watching a kiosk in middle school selling stuff there by herself at times. After middle school, she moved to Jakarta and bounced around between aunt and uncles houses. She did their laundry and cooked and sold fried snacks to pay her school tuition. So she learned to be a hard worker. I suspect, though, that a girl who grew up in her own father's house would have been more inclined to have a 'yes sir', 'up to you dear' attitude when she married. My wife is a go-getter, which is good.
If a single American man is looking for a good wife who will take care of him, cook, clean, submit and not give him a lot of drama, probably a kind of poorer or lower middle class girl is something to consider. If she grew up washing everyone's laundry by hand, she probably will be self-motivated to keep the house clean and work hard. If you marry a rich girl who always shad a maid who doesn't know how to clean a kitchen or a bathroom, who had everything provided for her, she'll have to learn this sort of thing.
Last edited by MrMan on August 1st, 2014, 6:57 am, edited 1 time in total.
I went to Indonesia to teach English. It's pretty easy to find a job on ESL CafÃ© online if you want to work there and have a degree. I dont' know that a degree is necessary if you have some other qualifications and want to work at some kind of institute, like it is in Korea or Japan. The problem is, the jobs that advertise usually pay low compared to Korea or Japan. I think Indonesia pays just under $1000 a month these days, while Korea pays maybe $1800 a month plus an apartment, typically. For qualified teachers, international schools pay better. There are also lots of expats making big bucks who typically get sent over by the companies they work for.
If your typical, reasonably okay-looking Caucasian goes to work over there, a lot of women will be interested. Some of them don't let on but are still friendly. Some flirt, kind of in a middle school way.
I can't tell if a guy is good-looking. My mom said I was good-looking. But rarely did a girl seem to like me in the US. (I was kind of oblivious, especially if I wasn't attracted to her.) In Indonesia, lots of girls flirted with me. I went to this Korean food stand, and this kind of cute worker there literally stared at me the whole time. I was looking for wholesome wife material, and a girl that would stare like that seemed high risk. Plus, I wanted to know if a girl was serious about her faith as a Christian before I'd date her. I wasn't looking to date Muslims or Buddhists.
I haven't heard of any online dating scams involving Indonesians, but I'm not up on all the online dating scams. But I know one guy who had a Filippina online try to scam him, and another fellow who had some kind of chat with a Filippina that didn't seem good. I think Filippinas can make good wives, btw. I suspect a dating-con industry just hasn't sprung up in Indonesia.
As far as people-groups go, Javanese women are kind of known for being submissive. Once I said something to my wife about being more submissive, and she said I could have married a Javanese woman. Javanese act nice and polite to you, they say, until they are so angry they want to kill you. That's how Indonesians say they hide or bottle up their feelings. I like the Javanese. They are very hospitable and try to make people feel comfortable. Bataks tend to be very pro-marriage, anti-divorce, and patriarchal. They are more outspoken and share their thoughts and feelings. The Sunda tend to be Muslim and have higher divorce rates, I hear, than most other people-groups. Padang tend to be strongly Islamic. The food is great, but the culture is matriarchal. Inheritance passes through the women. Women used to decide who the king would be. I've got some in-laws living there, but I wouldn't recommend marrying into the Padang culture.
I use a handle to remain a bit anonymous, so I'll just say I live in the US.
About polygamy, my experience was that it was rare. I remember meeting one polygamist in all the years I was there. It was a taxi driver who secretly married his second wife and his first found out and eventually accepted it. It was hard for him to juggle having two wives. His second wife made decent money, apparently, and he didn't have to fully provide for her, I think he said.
There was also an Islamic cleric who had a TV show who took a second wife. It was televised and was a big deal.
Only Muslims can do polygamy over there legally. If I understand right, the government just recognizes marriages done in mosques and some mosques will do polygamist marriages. I think foreigners who marry have to sign something saying or swearing they don't have any other wives and provide divorce or death certificates. Government employees are not allowed to be polygamous.
After I left there, I heard my wife's uncle, a government employee actually, took a second wife. he wasn't Muslim thought, and sometimes they say 'second wife' there to mean a mistress. His wife couldn't have kids, so he had one with a girlfriend. It was weird. The wife kind of took her as a daughter and she called her the equivalent of 'mom.' The uncle died and left his side-business and money to his legal wife. I think she was going to use the money partly to provide for the child. It was a weird situation, and other Indonesians would have thought so to. We weren't there for that.
In general, though, polygamy isn't a usual thing. When it occurs, it seems its just affairs and they kind of put polygamous labels on it. The girlfriend on the side gets called a 'second wife.' If all are Muslims, she may marry in the mosque. I think the first wife is supposed to have to consent in Islam, but I'm not sure.
My impression was that most Muslim Indonesian women wouldn't agree with marrying a man who wanted to be polygamous. Some radical religious groups might be up for that, but it wasn't common when I was there.
If you go there and want to find a wife, you could meet some couples where an Indonesian woman is married to an expat man. Then you could ask the wife if she had any friends who'd asked her if she knew any white men who wanted to get married. That may be a way of finding a date. My wife had women ask her that quite a bit. "How did you find your husband? How do you marry a man like that?" They don't ask her that here in the US. But back when I was young living there, she'd probably be asked that several times a year.
I also got the impression that some of the women who went to English-speaking church services would have been interested in a Christian foreigner for a husband. Lots of young women would ask me how my week was before or after church back when I was single. The could have been being friendly.