From Korea with Love

"I carry your heart with me… always."

Filipina Wife vs. Korean Husband (Part 1)

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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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Just How Thoughtful Can a Korean Husband Be? (Episode 1)

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Finally!!! After bugging my naturally shy husband a dozen times to do this project with me, he gave in. ^^

Every week, hubby and I are going to post short videos about our everyday silliness and experiences as an intercultural couple. We’d like this to be entertaining not only for us but also for our followers, so we won’t be delving into the more serious aspects of intercultural marriage here. We’ll play around a bit, but of course, everything you’ll see in the videos are “based on actual events”. We are not claiming that they happen to all intercultural couples in Korea, but they may be similar to what some of them experience.

We hope you enjoy our first video. ^^

In most K-dramas, men are often depicted as controlling, stubborn, rude and tough, but once they fall in love, they act the exact opposite. They become gentler, more affectionate and more romantic to the woman they adore. This, however, is in dramas where everything can happen. In real life, Korean men are just like any other men who try their best to meet women’s high standards of what an ideal boyfriend or husband should be.

One of the questions I am often asked about my Korean husband is whether he is romantic or not. The truth is, he is far from being romantic… but he can be thoughful. Sometimes he comes home bringing me my favorite treats or little things he gets from 뽑기 or crane machines. He never forgets my birthday, our wedding anniversaries (We had three wedding ceremonies.) and other special days. He is not the type of man who gives his woman a bouquet or surprises her with a lavish dinner, but he has his own ways of making my heart flutter… even when he is actually being annoying.

I remember reading a post in one Facebook group where a woman was asking for advice because her husband forgot her birthday, and she felt disappointed when he left for work without even greeting her. Most of the pieces of advice she got from other women in the group had something to do with not expecting too much from her Korean husband because Korean men are not that romantic. Some women scolded her for being too sensitive and childish. She then posted an update, and said that when her husband came home from work, he surprised her with a cake and a present.

Korean husbands may appear to be cold and domineering at times, because to most of them, hard work and responsibility matter more. A Korean husband may be in haste to leave the house without kissing his wife goodbye, but that doesn’t mean that he is cold. Perhaps he just doesn’t want to be late for work. (Read more about why Koreans are always in a hurry here.) A Korean will not leave work early or call in sick just so he can take his wife on a special date for their anniversary.

Some women, though, are more fortunate to have husbands who know how to sweep their wives off their feet. I have seen a couple of photos of fancy anniversary gifts and romantic dinners on Facebook, and posts about lovey-dovey moments with Korean husbands… but hey, come to think of this… if your husband isn’t Mr. Romantico, will that make him less of a man?

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