Welcoming her into the Asian Family

There is a process, oh yes. Even if you never thought it before, there is a clear process of how a non Asian woman gets welcomed into an Asian family. Not only have I experienced this myself, but also I have had the privilege is see and hear about many other women who go through this “rite of passage”.

Pre- Engagement Meetings

The first time a women meets the Asian family, it is usually at a family style gathering. You may attend a few of these. Maybe the family is already celebrating someone’s birthday, memorial day, or etc, and it’s a perfect opportunity for everyone to get a glimpse at the women he has chosen. Now we know that an Asian man would never bring home women unless he was serious about her, and the family knows that too. So these meeting are often not only the first few times the family will see you, but the first impression they have of you. Often you will find that your Asian guy’s cousins or friends may be at this party and will talk and welcome you. You may also find although that the uncles/aunts and grandparents may not. Why is that? Well, it’s not that they have anything personal against you, but you are an outsider and they are not always confident about making contact with you. Some will and some wont, but don’t take it to heart, because in time they will. So although this initial meeting may seem a bit uncomfortable, even more so than meeting his parents, don’t worry.

The Engagement Party

So after some time your Asian man pops the question and you say, YES!  He most likely visited your parents, and asked for your hand in marriage with respect and honor. The next thing will most likely be a gathering held in your honor, nothing fancy, just a time for the families to come together and officially meet.  There will be lots of homemade foods, champagne, and a cake. His father will make a speech about how he welcomes you and your family into theirs, and your parents may do the same. Everyone eats and drinks, and life is good. You will start to talk about your wedding plans, yes already, and talk will come up about where, when, how, and if you’re going to do anything traditional. Keep an open mind, and try not to feel pressured. Yes, you may have to compromise by maybe having a small traditional ceremony and also a western wedding, but know that it’s just that the family now see’s and welcomes you as one of their own.  Again, some of the uncles/aunts/ grandparents still may not talk to you all that much but just wait till your married, because the next things you will hear from them will be, when are you going to have  kids?..lol, yup really, and you may hear it until you actually do…lol

Committing to the Asian Family

When a woman commits herself to an Asian man, she also commits herself to his culture and all the duties that go along with it; anything from frequently visiting the family, new foods, holidays, and language. At first it may seem a bit intimidating and even scary at times, but as you go through this “rite of passage” you see how wonderful it can be. For you and for him, nothing will be more memorable as looking back at that journey you took together…. the first time east meets west.

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10 Responses to Welcoming her into the Asian Family

  1. Albert says:

    Excellent article. Adding on to the discussion, the tradition of bringing the bride-to-be in the family not only applies to amwf relationships in which the husband-to-be is “fresh off the boat.” First generation asians like myself who have been born and raised in America, but whose parents and relatives were born and raised abroad, will likely have a very similar asian traditional wedding. I know this might be daunting for some western women, yet exciting for others, but it is a great way to bring closure to the wedding and to re-unite the asian man with his roots. Very important indeed.

  2. Sarah says:

    its a bit different though when your husbands parents live in Asia and don’t speak any English.

  3. Hummingbird says:

    Any thoughts on an meeting the family before you’re even really a couple? I met an AM while we were traveling, and since we have had a long distance more-than-pen-pals-not-really-dating relationship. (He lives in China; I’m a WF in North America.) He has arranged for family members who live relatively close by to meet me. I have been told this is a good sign of his intentions.

    What about meeting the family when you’re not 20-somethings any more, but middle aged and divorced with almost-grown kids? Is there still that formality? Does it depend on how Westernized his family is and what his parents want? Do 50-something men still do what their parents ask?

    P.S. Really enjoy your blog and probably would have bailed on this potential relationship (assuming he wasn’t interested) were it not for you and a few other bloggers that changed my perspective.

    • Albert says:

      I am Taiwanese, not Chinese, but I may be able to shed some light still. First, there is a misconception that asians will only accept a wife who is young (20-25 yrs). While this is preferable, this is not realistic, especially in this modern age. I think you implied in your message that your AM in China is middle-aged. Those relatives who come visit you should understand that at his age, a middle-aged wife is appropriate (definitely not out of the ordinary). Second, while divorces may be looked down upon in many asian cultures, and while the divorce rate is lower in China than it is in North America, it is still a fact of life over there. I say these two things to put some things in perspective and hopefully to soothe some of your anxieties.

      As for advice, I’ll leave that to Laura, as she is a better expert on the subject than I am. Good luck!

    • AMWF Love says:

      Most Asian men do not bring a women to meet his family unless they are serious. So if he wants you to meet them, he means business. Expectations, even from Asian parents/ family differ for their children as the age. He is a grown man and most likely they will accept you and your relationship with him. Times have changed a lot, especially in china, and divorces are more common now. His family may be westernized, but they will understand the situation even if they may not really be.
      -Laura

    • AMWF Love says:

      Laura and Albert both bring good points.

      Of course when we discuss AMWF relationships it’s generally around the age range from 17-35. In your situation I doubt the AM you are in contact with falls in this category.

      As we get into a different life stage, expectations begin to shift. We don’t really care if you are the most drop dead gorgeous woman in the world by the time the AM is in his 50’s. It even doesn’t matter if you have kids. It’s like saying maybe if the man has hair on his head in his 50’s that’s pretty good.

      The family system is a strong value ingrained in Asian culture for over 2000 years, so it’s very important that he has family approval before he does anything. Otherwise he will have to face a lifetime of “shame”. Since you haven’t completely provided information, I’ll go through the possible scenarios:

      1. He’s divorced/widowed – it doesn’t matter if you have kids. Maybe he has kids too. It’s really hard to find someone else who isn’t after his wealth. Chinese females tend to be on the materialistic side.
      2. He’s been single all his life – Unlikely. I have no idea about his physical traits.
      3. He wants a US/Canadian citizenship – Very possible – but it should not be his primary intention(s)
      4. He’s hiding criminal activity – highly unlikely, unless he wants to escape from possible incarceration.

      Chances are that he is probably the first situation. He’s making an effort for a serious relationship, so you should give him a chance. However, please keep in mind if he’s hiding anything. As much as we promote AMWF relationship, it is not a perfect relationship by any means. It requires a lot of work for any kind of relationship, but it’s definately worth it in the end.

      – Brian

      • Hummingbird says:

        Thanks for the quick responses, all of you! Sorry if I was vague in my post. I am in my 40’s, he in his 50’s, and we are both divorced with young adult children. He has lived in both the US and China, but was born in China, where his parents still live.

        He has family members in the US near me, so I have met some of them, and it went well. We had a meal together, talked, exchanged contact information, etc. His family invited me afterward to keep in touch and come visit again soon, so I assume I passed muster. I have not met the parents, however, and wouldn’t expect to unless we were more serious.

        I don’t think he’s hiding anything, and he is who he says he is (he is high profile enough to have a picture or two in online Chinese magazines with his name and title). So far he’s been extremely polite and appropriate (if anything a little too reserved) for the better part of a year, and I don’t think he has ulterior motives. I would guess he’s trying to figure out the logistics of advancing the relationship within the confines of long distance and without seeming too forward. When he visits his family here, we will be able to spend some time face-to-face, and I’m sure that will help.

        I think I’m just trying to figure out if meeting the family at our age has the same implications as it does for never-married younger people. I got the feeling it was his way of sort of cementing the relationship a little bit more until we can meet again in person. I was pleased because it was the first time he had take the initiative to move forward. Previously, as expected, any advances in the relationship have come after me giving him a signal that it’s OK.

        Of course, LOL, there’s been no actual conversation about an actual *relationship*. After a while, it just seemed implied. As I wrote before, without blogs like yours, I never would have picked up on the subtleties of communication that let me believe he was genuinely interested. Much appreciated!

  4. It’s exactly this reservation that makes me so confused about where I am at with my guy, and his intentions towards me. 😦

    • AMWF Love says:

      When you are accepted by his family, it is “official” official. Asian Males are under the scrutiny of the community around him. Asians love to gossip. 🙂

      The problem is that Asian Parents (especially the mom) will like to tear you apart to see if you are worthy first. Sometimes they do have prejudices against Caucasians/Europeans (hedonistic and poor money management). I suppose it’s just the mom ensuring that her future daughter in law will listen and respect her like an Asian daughter would.

      – Brian

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