From Korea with Love

"I carry your heart with me… always."

Filipina Wife vs. Korean Husband (Part 1)


2As a couple who lives in a marriage with two different cultures, my husband and I don’t usually see eye to eye on many things. Our hobbies are quite different and our personalities are incompatible. He’s got some habits that I’m not crazy about, and I’m certain that some of my habits also drive him bonkers.

Pettifogging used to be a normal thing for us, but now we usually just laugh off little misunderstandings.

Below is a short video of some of my Korean husband’s habits that irk me.

Do you know anyone who has the same habit?

I will attempt to explain why some Korean husbands behave the way they do, but on this post, I will talk about only three habits that may be true about some Korean husbands or husbands in general.

Help me with the chores, please.

In Korea, husbands rarely help with household chores.

According to a report issued by the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development), South Korea got the lowest rank among 29 countries in a survey of how many hours husbands spend on performing household chores. Korean men are often overworked that even until the age of 71, they continue working to fend for their families. Because of this, most Korean men refuse to participate in housework.

How about husbands who are unemployed?

According to an article I have read in the Korea Times a few years ago, even jobless men are reluctant to do household chores. Statistics revealed that unemployed husbands spent 1.6 to 3.2 hours doing household tasks, while their wives spent 3.1 to 4.8 hours. While it is common for men to evade housework, Korea’s patriarchal society  may be the main reason why most Korean men spend less time helping their wives at home. As my father-in-law once said, “Housework is for women. Men should not be in the kitchen washing dishes.”

Nowadays, more younger couples in Korea are changing this belief. I am grateful that my husband can be easily swayed to help me at home when housework is too much for me. Of course, he complains, but in the end, he helps out, as I always put my “nagging skills” to use. Sometimes I don’t even have to ask him for help. He’ll cook dinner, wash the dishes or take out the trash when he knows how exhausted I am.

Don’t overfeed me!

Recently, muk-bang or ‘eating broadcasts’ have become a trend in South Korea, but before there were TV shows and livestreams of Koreans eating gluttonously while chatting with their viewers, Koreans had long been gourmands (lovers of good food or people who eat too much). Why not? There are tons of delectable dishes to enjoy in Korea.

I love Korean food, but no matter how I love, let’s say Korean garlic chicken, don’t expect me to wolf it down when I just finished dinner and I’m still feeling stuffed. This may seem too trivial, but my husband’s habit of “eating again” after we’ve just eaten drives me nuts! I don’t think it’s only my husband or his family who does this. I’ve noticed other Koreans do it, too. This is one Korean habit that my husband can’t change, which gives me a legit excuse for gaining weight. ^^

It’s time to change that stinky shirt!

All right, before I talk about this, please know that I AM NOT TALKING ABOUT ALL KOREAN MEN. I repeat, NOT ALL KOREAN MEN… so I hope no Korean will be offended. ^^V

My husband has the habit of wearing the same clothes for days, and this gives me a migraine! He doesn’t smell like a skunk, but being an OC, I just can’t tolerate it. My mother-in-law explained to me that some Koreans don’t change clothes everyday, especially in winter, for the following reasons 1.) they don’t sweat much, because it’s freezing 2.) winter clothes are heavy and take a long time to dry after they are washed  3.) they are busy and have no time to think about what clothes to wear the next day 4.) older Koreans don’t care much about fashion.

I asked my husband why he just can’t part with his three-day (sometimes four/five-day) old shirts and his answer was: “I’m lazy!” ^^

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On Dating a Korean


1I have always known that my husband isn’t a pro on dating. When we were boyfriend and girlfriend, we would either go out to see a movie or have dinner in the same restaurants or bars. Our first date was memorable, because it was our first “official” date, and the first time ever that I saw him get nervous around me; however, that date lasted only a few minutes, because instead of bringing his own car, he borrowed his friend’s car which he had to return soon. On our first date as a married couple in Korea, he brought me to the zoo. Yes, the zoo! He was so excited about it that I didn’t have the heart to tell him that the zoo isn’t on a woman’s list of “the best places to go on a date”.

We have been married for five years now, and when it comes to our dates, I usually decide where to go. You know, to avoid going on a “zoo date” again or something similar to that. ^^

Here are a few of the things I have learned about dating a Korean:

  • Korean men dress to impress, especially on a first date. When my husband and I had our first official date, he made sure that he looked (and smelled) good. He was clean-shaven and his hair was gelled up. He looked like he was going to attend a wedding in his white collared semi-fitted shirt that matched the color of his sneakers. I was not only impressed by how seemly he was that day, but also delighted that he made every effort to look his best, which to me meant that our date was special.

  • Korean men will treat you like a princess on the first few dates. If you are one of those dreamy women who think that K-dramas can happen in real life, well, you will love it when the Korean you are dating opens the door for you, takes your hand, gives you his jacket when you are cold, holds an umbrella for you when it rains, offers to carry your bag, waits for you and follows you around while shopping, etc. Enjoy it while it lasts, because once you are already in a serious relationship (or if you end up getting married), he won’t be pampering you that way. Yes, there will still be mushy moments with him, but the K-drama fantasy will have to end at some point. My husband used to carry my bag for me even when I didn’t want him to, but now he won’t do it. He used to go shopping with me when we were BF and GF, and I actually thought that he liked it, because he never complained. After we got married, I found out how he loathes shopping, because he is always in a hurry to leave.

  • One of a Korean man’s most prized possessions has got to be his machismo. He feels good when his woman relies on him and treats him like her knight in shining armor. For this reason, calling a Korean man whom you are dating or in a relationship with oppa (오빠: older brother), even if you are of the same age or he is younger than you, is music to his ears. As your oppa, he feels obliged to pick up the tab everytime you go out and do little favors for you. While other men find confident, independent and outspoken women to be more attractive, Korean men may get intimidated by women who bear these qualities. No wonder most Korean men find women who do the aegyo (애교) more adorable. (For those who are not familiar with aegyo, just picture a young lady or a woman talking and acting like a child to look charming or cute to a man.) Most women I know who are married to Koreans call their husbands oppa, though there are other terms of endearment in Korean. As for me, I cringe every time I use the word oppa in referring to my husband, so I would never call him that.

  • Group dates are common in Korea. Although this is usually done by younger couples, older couples can sometimes be seen enjoying a night out with their couple friends in a hof (호프: bar) or a norae bang (노래방: videoke room).

  • I have read tons of articles that say PDA (public display of affection) is not so typical in Korea. Perhaps this is true several years ago, but not these days. Younger couples tend to be more expressive of their affection towards their boyfriend or girlfriend even in public. They have developed such thick skins that the glares of ajumma and ajossi (아줌마, 아저씨: older/married woman and man) don’t scare them anymore. I have seen younger couples in Korea kiss and embrace in public, but the most common PDA here is holding hands and doing side hugs. If you and your Korean man have been dating for a while, but he hasn’t held your hand or stolen a kiss from you yet, don’t you fret. Again, this isn’t K-drama. Give the man some time. Haha! ^^

What you have read from this article may be true about most, if not, some Korean men, but of course, everyone of them is unique, so the best thing to do is to not set a standard for the man you are dating. Let him be him, and from there you will know if he is the right person for you. After all, Korean men are simply MEN.  🙂

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