Why I Married a Thai Village Girl ...

To begin with, I am sure there are those who would dispute my wife being a “village girl” and they would not be wrong on many levels.  She speaks and writes English well, has a modern sense of fashion and design, with a fondness for western food.  Into fitness, self-improvement, travel, hiking in places as diverse as Mt. Rainer, Arches and the Grand Canyon, and even tried skydiving in Hawaii.  The truth is, however, she was born in the village we presently live in making her at least technically a village girl.

She was never a farmer like her parents and was primarily responsible for taking care of her younger brother and sister.  To this day she speaks fondly of other children, now grown, who were under her care at some time in their infancy.  Having that kind of responsibility at such a young age may go some way to explaining how I was not pressed or badgered on the issue of having offspring, something I have never been in favor of.  Though I did change my mind about getting married, I have never wavered on the issue of children and was clear from the beginning.

I can’t see that she learned much from her family with their lives being as different as night and day.  That said perhaps she did learn what she did not want.  Her goal had always been to escape the village, yet here we are, after both of us having lived most of our lives in Bangkok.  I may come back to this later but I have yet to touch on the topic of why I married my wife instead of someone else and should perhaps move in that direction.

With my years in Thailand and experience across social lines, one might ask why I did not marry into an upper crust Chinese-Thai family or one of the old Thai family names.  It is not like I didn’t know people like that or spend time in their homes when I was in my twenties.  I suppose it might have been possible when I was young and full of potential.  Though I did meet a couple of girls who were heartbroken and their dreams shattered by their unrelenting parents who threatened to disown them if they did not break off relations with their farang boyfriends from university in Europe.  Such a threat from powerful and socially influential parents was too much for them to resist.  I doubt I would have faired much better.

There were a few other stumbling blocks that were quite obvious to me, from the very beginning.  First, being from an academic family, I presented well but really had no money and little prospect of making any in Thailand.  That is of course unless I was willing to work for someone’s daddy.  I have known a few guys who integrated fairly well into that kind of situation but it was definitely not an option for me.  Being under the thumb of some Thai man who controlled both my income and my wife was unthinkable.

Secondly I was not really attracted to the girls I met in those families and getting them away from parental supervision to spend time with them was all but impossible, especially in the evenings or on weekends.  Most importantly I was having too much fun as a single guy and had no intention of ever getting married or having children.  With no interest in ruining mine or anyone else's life, it seemed more prudent to play elsewhere, with other less demanding females and those less fraught with the danger of altering my lifestyle.

Among those who knew me well, I was voted most likely to remain a lifelong bachelor.  We all know how that played out.  My youthful appearance played a major part in the early years but that was later supplemented by various jobs and time spent on Thai TV programs.  As I moved into my forties, with my taste in women not having change much in the last twenty years, it became clear that at some point I would become that desperate dirty old man who surrenders his dignity in pursuit of young Thai girls.  Though on some level I may have resigned myself to that inevitability, it was not something I was looking forward to.

This is roughly where my wife entered the picture.  I was forty-three and she was twenty-three.  A bit older than I was accustomed to but within my age tolerance.  Nothing should have ever come of our meeting because we lived in the same apartment complex and that was high on my list of survival rules, or what I sometimes called my rules of engagement, as something one never does.  I had to make a rather quick and life changing decision as to whether I should pursue a relationship with her or not.

I found her interest in me, despite having been witness to my comings and goings over the previous year, to be quite intriguing.  Not like she was stalking me, but she noticed when I was out of the country and wondered where I went.  She claims that if she had known I spoke Thai she may have summoned the courage to introduce herself instead of leaving that up to fate, which took more than a year.  Where most girls would have been turned off by what they saw during that time she spent watching me, she seemed attracted by my bad-boy persona, the parade of women and maybe even welcomed the challenge.  So from the very beginning I was accepted for who I was.

The proximity provided by our living in the same building paired with her family being far away, ended up playing a big part in our relationship progressing soothly and effortlessly from one stage to the next.  So my rule about not getting involved with someone where I lived was broken and I started down the path of breaking many more of my bachelor rules.  I considered for a moment listing some of those rules but thought better of it.  I don’t want to be responsible for tempting anyone down that potentially hazardous moral path.

Others looked at us and saw little potential for a lasting relationship and we were not disinclined to agree with them in the beginning.  Over time we discovered that from past relationships, we both had developed a list of deal breakers in members of the opposite sex.  Our lists were long and it took some time for us to discover how well we fit each other's lists.  With others that list had always been an easy way to avoid commitment with no one ever coming even close to passing the test.  It didn’t quite turnout that way with her.

Whether a list is scribbled on a piece of paper or indelibly etched into your soul from a lifetime of experience, it should be your list and not someone else’s.  You need to know what you can tolerate and what you can’t.  Obviously that can only come from experience and self-knowledge, something sorely lacking in many individuals I fear.  A list won’t necessarily change who you are attracted to but it should have some bearing on who you choose as a lifelong mate.  Love or lust will not overcome all things.

Smoking, drinking, gambling, verbal or physical abuse, dishonesty, disloyalty, lack of compatibility in areas of finance, fitness and entertainment, lack of free time to spend together and putting others before your partner were examples of things neither one of us were willing to deal with.  Since I spoke Thai, English was not high on the list for me but it was great that she had the interest and potential to sail through all fifteen books at AUA and later go on to take their intensive class, just as a refresher course.

We don’t agree on all things family, social, philosophical or religious but it never becomes an issue.  I very much enjoy and benefit from our differences as much as our similarities.  We are both granted a broad freedom of action and we are only constrained by our mutual respect and desire to please and not disappoint each other.

As much as we love our home and our life here in the village, I sometimes think we have been too successful at filling our time.  After fourteen years together she is still my best friend and confidante.  If anything, I wish we had more free time to spend together with no outside distractions.  Our house is perhaps a bit too big and our pet menagerie far too spoiled but both are problems of our own making.  Our communication is good and our love continues undiminished by the years, so we deal with whatever comes along, as a united team.

I’m not sure I have answered the original question as to why I married a village girl.  I’m not sure that term had or has much meaning for me, though I acknowledge it may be more descriptive and important to others.  Even the term married may mean something different to others than it has meant to us.  Was it luck?  Was it fate?  Was it planned?  I like to think we are committed, communicate well, and perhaps my age and experience have helped to smooth over the rough spots.  Thankfully my wife found me, chose me, forgave me and continues to put up with me after all these years.