Filipina Wives · Perry Gamsby

Leadership, not control – in Australian Filipina marriages (Part 1)

Western men are attracted to Philippine women is their attention to keep their family and marriage going. Children to mixed relationships are often happier and live a life envied by many

There is a stereotype out there that Asian women are subservient to their husbands. They treat him like a king and do everything for him, are great mothers, loyal partners and hot in the cot. Stereotypes, good or bad, have to come from somewhere and there is a lot of truth in that opening sentence. There is, however, a lot of ‘not so true’ in there also.

First of all, Asia is a big place with billions of people, about half of them female. Without stating the obvious (that all women, like men, are individuals), it is true that there are traits shared by people of the same race, culture or community. Asian women do, for the most part, respect and even revere their husbands. The thing is, this respect comes, like any ‘right’, with responsibilities.


The City Or the Province?

If we focus on Filipinas and put aside for a moment Thai, Chinese, Vietnamese, Malay, Indonesian, Korean or Japanese women, just to list a few, there are still big differences between Filipinas from one part of the country to another. Seven thousand islands and dozens of dialects means there are similarities but many, many differences between a Filipina from, say, Manila, to one from the second biggest city, Cebu, or Davao. When we start comparing Filipinas from the cities to those from ‘da probince’ (province or rural areas), the differences are even more and varied.

Without opening that can of worms, let’s focus on one similarity all Filipinas, and for that matter all Asian women and most western ones too, share. Women want a man who is a leader. Someone who will make the hard decisions and take the initiative. They want a man to be the head of the family and provide emotional security as much as physical and financial security.


It Is Not About Control

What they don’t want is a man who controls them. Someone who is jealous of them having other friends, even female ones. A leader is not a jailer, nor is he someone who is so insecure in himself he has to control every action his spouse makes. Sadly, many western men who find themselves attracted to Filipinas because of the qualities listed in the opening sentence behave badly.

That behaviour comes in two basic formats. The first is the control freak and control is a form of domestic abuse. That too often slides into domestic violence and criminal assault. Some men who had difficulty maintaining loving relationships with western women erroneously think they will be happier with an Asian wife, yet they do nothing to change their behaviour that created so much angst in their other relationships.


Consult, Discuss, Decide

The other form of failure is the man who expects his wife to make all the decisions. This may be a misguided belief that he is giving her freedom and respecting her as an equal. She doesn’t want to be dragged down to your level, but to remain on the pedestal you have placed her upon. This means you need to consult, to discuss but in the end, to decide. Did I say this was going to be easy? No marriage is easy, not if it is truly a partnership destined to last.


Perry Gamsby, D.Lit, MA(Writing), Dip.Bus, Dip. Mktg is a writer and lecturer who lives with his Cebuana wife and five Aus-Fil daughters in Western Sydney. The author of a series of best-selling ‘self-help’ books for expats and those married to Filipinas, he is also a Master of Filipino Martial Arts and a former World Stickfighting Champion who has lived, worked and vacationed in the Philippines since 1988. Perry and his family return to the Philippines on a yearly basis. You can read more of his writing on Philippines topics at


This article and website sponsored by Down Under Visa, Australian Registered Migration Agents in Manila – The Australian Partner Visa Specialists

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