Excerpts from Cross-Cultural
Reprinted from Single Again Magazine, July 1996
The U.S. is a multi-cultural nation with wide, global interests. One of the ways these interests have been manifested has been in the large number of American- foreign marriages which have taken place throughout our history; perhaps far more native-foreign marriages than in any other nation.
This article will examine this phenomenon and offer some practical advise for those interested in pursuing this option. Statements made here are generalities, perceptions held by many people. These statements are not intended to represent all cases, nor are all perceptions necessarily true.
There have been many historical reasons for trends in American-foreign marriages. Currently, there seem to be two major reasons: ethnic minorities seeking people from their ancestral countries to be able to marry within their ethnic group and people seeking cultural qualities deemed to be lacking within American culture. The vast majority of Americans seeking foreign spouses are men. When asked, most men say that they are looking for more "feminine" women, women who hold family values high and who are happy with a traditional division of male/female roles. Although not to the same degree, women also seek foreign husbands. The most common reasons seem to be the perception that foreign men, primarily European and Latin American, are more romantic, sensuous, and better at "treating a lady like a lady."
Non-Americans seek American spouses for various reasons. Some undoubtedly are seeking economic relief. Others are seeking what they perceive to be a society where gender is not a handicap. But the vast majority profess to believe that Americans make the best partners and parents in the world. This belief is widely held from Latin America to Asia to Europe.
Whatever the reasons are for these matches and from whatever country the foreign spouse comes, these marriages generally work out. Various studies have shown that between 75% and 66% of all American-foreign marriages survive compared to the 50% of American-American marriages.
Someone interested in exploring the possibility of finding a foreign spouse needs to determine which culture best fits his or her personality, then how he or she can begin to meet people from that culture. This can be either a nerve-wracking experience or an exciting time of discovery and love.
While there are many similarities between all cultures, and individuals within a culture differ greatly, there are some commonly held perceptions concerning the cultural norms where foreign spouses are commonly sought. Once again, these are not firm rules, only non-empirical observations. To truly get to know a culture, a person needs to make friends within that culture and spend time with them.
There are more marriages between Americans and Filipinos than between Americans and any other country. Part of this is undoubtedly because of the long relationship between the two nations, the history of U.S. military presence in the Philippines (although the U.S. bases are now closed), and the wide usage of English throughout the islands. Generally speaking, Filipinas (women of the Philippines) are not as concerned with age differences and economic status as people from many other cultures. Family is deemed paramount. And due perhaps to their strong Roman Catholic faith, divorce is avoided at all costs. Care for the extended family left back in the Philippines is usual.
The number of marriages between Americans and Japanese or Koreans has fallen over the years as the economies of those two nations has improved. However, marriages still occur through chance meetings or through organized groups. The impetus here seems to be for the perceived freedom offered women in the U.S. as well as the perceived fidelity of American men. Japanese and Korean women seeking American husbands are generally somewhat independent with career aspirations. Religion is not usually a major factor in their lives.
China offers another significant source of both men and women seeking American spouses. The Chinese government has taken various stances on this trend and periodically bans organized groups which introduce Chines to foreigners. The Chinese offer an interesting melange of modern beliefs with superstition and political dogma.
Another major region of spouses for Americans is Latin America. Latinas are perceived to be very sensuous and conscious of their appearance. They are noted for having a love of life which is manifested in parties, festivals, music, and food. Overall, the ladies joining the marriage agencies may not be as educated as their counterparts from other regions, but they are perhaps more familiar with American pop culture than Asians or Eastern Europeans. They are possibly the most racially tolerant of the major groups of prospective spouses. Most are Roman Catholics, although this Catholicism has often adopted many indigenous practices which would not be familiar to the practicing Roman Catholic here in the States.
The third major region of prospective spouses is Eastern Europe, notably Russia. Eastern Europe has only recently been opened to foreign visitors, so the long tradition existing in the Philippines and Latin America does not exist there. However, the growing number of marriage agencies centered in Russia attests to the interest in the region. Russians joining these services tend to be well educated and cognizant of world events. Russians are considered quite feminine with a European outlook on life. While more racially tolerant than their Asian counterparts, they are perhaps not as tolerant as their Latina counterparts. The motivation of Russian women seems to be a desire for a strong family life. Russian men have developed a reputation of being abusive husbands and poor fathers due to their alcohol abuse. Whether true or not, this perception has driven Russian women to seek better mates from within the American population. Russian women generally want to marry an older man, and while the age spread between the man and woman may not be as great as with the Philippines, differences of 20 to 30 years are not uncommon.
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The modern world has changed the way in which people meet each other. More and more people are finding that falling in love with a foreign spouse is easy and the right direction for them to take. There are many agencies which specialize, with varying degrees of success, in assisting this process. But no matter how feminine, sensuous, beautiful, family oriented, or loyal an American views a certain culture, it still boils down to two people falling in love and living together for the rest of their lives, perhaps bringing in new life between them into this world. A good agency can set the stage, but it comes down to two individuals and those poorly understood factors which result in love blossoming. No one else can dictate this. The country or culture really has very little importance in the long run; love does not grow between an American and a Russian or a Filipina, after all, but between a man and a woman.
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International love can provide the wife or husband you seek as the love of your life. There are a lot of people in the world, people desperately seeking love. Women from Russia, the Philippines, Korea, Ukraine, Poland, Ireland, Indonesia, China, Taiwan, Thailand, Romania, Bulgaria, India, South Africa, Columbia, Mexicoa, and yes, in the United States, Canada, Great Britain, and Germany too. Asian girls, Latina girls, white girls and black girls, all seeking good men as husbands. From every continent, North America, South America, Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australia, people want love and marriage. Worldwide Love tries to bridge the distances to enable people to find their soulmate. Being in another country should not be an obstacle to a happy life. Cultural differences should be celebrated, not feared. Love and marriage make the world go around, so why not find your match? Why not let love blossom? This is not a mail order bride. We have personal ads from women seeking marriage. The rest is up to you.