[Note : please read the companion post how OFWs make good wives or life partners in accidentalmigrant.wordpress.com coming out very soon, maraming salamat po!]
AFTER FINDING LOVE, FAMILY AND GOOD HEALTH, for many Filipinos (Pinoys) what remains on top of the list of desirable things ? I can hazard a few guesses, like a job you like, fulfillment in your career, and travel. Put this all together in one situation, and you get the life of an OFW (Overseas Filipino Worker) right?
Well, not all the time. Often, our countrymen pick up the first job available overseas, borrow money from family members, and send money home to their young and growing brood as soon as they can. They work long hours, sometimes under hostile conditions, and just get by and do the best they can. All for the people they love. This is why I know, deep in my heart, that Filipinos make good husbands and fathers.
Still I’d like to make a list detailing the relationship between being an OFW and being a good husband. It is completely unscientific, unsupported by any evidence. Just good old haka-haka and asking around:
Responsibility – You can’t just talk the talk, you have to walk the walk. If you asked for her hand in marriage, did the wedding video and got a dozen pairs of godparents, afterwards you have to be a dutiful husband. If you gave your gorgeous wife three kids in two years, took all the perfect baby photos and posted the binyag (baptismals) on Facebook and Instagram, you have to match it with good, solid head-of-the-family work: provide for your family.
Because the type of income you need won’t be generated by trabahador work in the Philippines, you have to be more creative and look for better work overseas. A short vocational course can lead you anywhere in the building industries worldwide. If you’re not choosy, you can work on a ship, lead a lonely life a couple years, but come back to a healthy wife and bouncing toddlers to meet you at the airport in what you’ll later realize was just a wink of an eye. All because you did your job, literally, and got responsible.
Being responsible is probably the one good asset all husbands need to have in their back pockets if they want to impress the wife, the wife’s barkada and the future in-laws. You can be a slob, have a ten-word vocabulary, or be a charmless caveman. If you’re responsible, know what you need to do, and do it every day of your life, you will have a happy wife. And as Confucius say: happy wife, happy life.
Discipline – Work is work, anywhere and everywhere. You wake up early just to be at work on time. You get along with people you don’t like. And you listen to the boss and do everything he/she says, even though the latter is frankly, someone who got the job just because he/she put in more time at the company before everyone else. If you think it’s hard, imagine the same situation, except for the fact that nobody else is Filipino. That’s right, there is only one or two of you in the group, no one is cutting you any slack, and if anything, because of the famous work ethic of Pinoys, your being brown is actually an expectation that you will work at least as hard as anyone on site.
AND SURPRISING EVERYONE, most of all yourself, you DO work hard, because you want to to keep your job, because everyone thinks that you, being the smallest, lightest and scrawniest worker, will give up and give all sorts of excuses to leave your job. But you don’t, leave, you don’t complain, and in fact you do your job quietly, patiently, and without incident. You become the hardest worker, and actually (though it’s not noticed), the best worker. All because you stuck to your guns. All because of discipline.
Transfer this discipline to married life, and you’ve got it made. Do the chores. Wake up on time. Work every day of the week (act like you love your job, because it’s the only job you’ve got). Hug and kiss your wife as if you appreciate her (because you do!). Marriage is like a muscle. If you keep working out on your discipline, sooner or later, you won’t need to flex your marriage muscles. You’ll be so impressive, you look good just standing there.
Patience. So you’re the most junior worker around. So you’re the least impressive looking. And so you’re the one with the least credentials. Of course, without saying a word, everyone else makes you aware of your junior status, least impressive stature, and least credentials tag. You don’t care. You just do your thing, go the extra mile when needed, smile everytime you’re asked to communicate, and be a team player.
Slowly you’re appreciated. Slowly you’re acknowledged. Before anyone knows it, you’re up for supervisor, without asking for it, without lobbying for it, and without brown-nosing for the post (well, a little food-sharing here and there never hurt). And you know what? Everyone likes you, everyone approves of you, and you end up being the team leader. You’re the natural choice, and everyone wonders why you didn’t get there sooner. But you don’t wonder. You got there because you were patient. After everyone else effed up on the team leader job, you were the last man/woman standing, and you just opened your hands to receive the promotion.
If you wait for the right moment, don’t fall or trip over yourself trying to develop a relationship, believe me kabayan, it will show. Patience is a virtue not just at work or in your career, but in everything you do. Sure there are situations where going for your gut and following your impulse is a good thing. But unless you’re a psychic and know that the girl in front of you is the love of your life, patience works and works nine times out of ten.
And that’s why women love patience, too. OFWs who do well overseas are usually responsible, disciplined, and patient, and will almost always make good husband material. Too bad, because at that point, most of them are already taken. Word of advice for those with OFW suitors: snatch him up, sis, before somebody else does!
Mabuhay, thanks for reading!