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Ken Grubb

What Makes A Marriage To A Turk Work?

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I don't think that Toasty is saying his situation is special Eve,he is giving examples of how money is expected from him being a foreigner as suggested by Baykus and Debbie. The situation makes him angry as it does most foreigners. We are brought up to stand on our own two feet and be independent and if you can't afford something you don't need you certainly don't ask other people to buy it for you, as with the Excercise machine his sister in law wanted.I was speaking about this to a friend and she said well why doesn't she put the children in a pushchair and take them for a walk and get excercise that way - her daughter in law does this with 3 children under 4.Tradition has a lot to answer for!

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I'm sure (as Debbie says) that the men who don't want their wives to work, do this to keep them under control -- to stop them from going out and gaining a measure of emotional & financial independence (as this would threaten their control), AND possibly out of fear that they may meet another man they'd prefer to be with ! For the same reason, many village fathers don't send their daughters to school. These men are against anything that threatens male sovereignty !Just last week in the paper, a woman aged 22 took her 5-year-old daughter {obviously married at 16?) & left her husband to live with a man she had met in a chat room. After 5 months her older brother tracked them down in Izmir & lay in wait. They didn't go out much because a family member had tipped them off. But this day they went out in the morning, arm-in-arm, looking for work. The brother came up behind them & shot them both dead in the street, to "avenge the family honour". Many similar stories are in the papers virtually every day.As for Toasty's examples, I can well believe them ! I've seen and/or heard of many similar scenarios where they just don't have their priorities right ! Sister-in-law "rationalising" her situation -- after all, it was obviously quite out of the question to expect her to think of a better way out of her predicament ! :huh:

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Wow, what great posts here, what a stimulating topic! The differences in our cultures, that is, Turkish and European/English/American are in many cases very great. So in your opinion, does the success of a marriage between a Turk and a European/Briton/American depend on how westernized the Turk, and the Turk's family is? Is that the key to a successful marriage?And would it work the other way as well, would a European/Briton/American experience a happy marriage to a very traditional Turk and a Turkish family if they were willing to assimilate into their lifestyle?

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Unless someone is prapared to forget their own culture and be totally absorbed in Turkish culture I could not see a marriage to a traditional Turk and family working. Although they have lots of experience of foreign ways due to the influence of television they don't seem to absorb and note the differences.As you can see by the posts even in marriages where the couple live away from the family there are still serious bones of contention.

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does the success of a marriage between a Turk and a European/Briton/American depend on how westernized the Turk, and the Turk's family is?

Hi Ben

I certainly think so.

And of course how much influence the Turkish Husband allows his family to have on his own life and family............ my Husband doesn't let anything his family may do or say influence him, basically he does what he wants, having said that they are very westernised in a lot of their ways, but don't seem to be able to grasp, no matter how many times you explain that "no money" means no money, they just seem to think that now my Husband is living in UK he must be loaded........... I'm not saying they ask for money, it's the comments they make, like we must be able to afford to do everything and anything because we live in UK and money is no problem, my Husband has spent quite a lot of time out of work this last yr and they know this but still comment :huh:

And their always asking "when you coming over to see us" so far we have been every yr, just for a week, but they keep asking, like we can just walk to the bottom of the garden and pick

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About the holiday thing. They seem to have this fantasy that because they believe that Turkey is paradise that you would want to spend every second of your free time there. My wife thinks my side of the family are rude because they don't want to come to Turkey. My father in law keeps asking why my sister doesn't want to come to Turkey but the real reason is that they are fed up with the place. They have all been to Turkey loads of times and prefer to go on holiday to other countries. In fact the last time my sister came to Turkey my wife took her out for a meal at a posh restaurant in a non touristy part of Istanbul and the waiter asked my sister in front of my wife if she would marry him so that he could get a visa to UK. She then went to Side for a week and said that every Turk she met was poncing off the tourists. People get fed up of it.

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All societies have status whether it be high or low and it is impotant to people in that society even though it might not be obvious to outsiders.Personally, I would have thought that a marriage would only be successful if generally the couple's ideas were similar with both partners being prepared to compromise on some issues.

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[DIARY OF A FUTURE BRIDE] Location, location, location As a little girl dreaming about my wedding day, I never would have guessed it would be in a place as exotic as İstanbul. Living in Turkey’s biggest city for almost six years, I still find it hard to believe that I will celebrate my big day here. From the moment Can and I got engaged, we talked about where we would hold our ceremony. At first, we thought to have two ceremonies, one in America and one in Turkey, like many other multinational couples. I am the last in a family of three daughters to tie the knot, while Can is the first in his family. I decided that since most of my life is now in İstanbul, we would have one ceremony and it would be here in Turkey.To read the rest of this article click on the link. DEAD LINK

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What do people find so interesting about this "diary.?" She writes as if thousands of foreigners don't get married every year to Turks. The thing about the ordu evi is bollox. I have been to one in the company of a dozen Turks of which only one was a retired member of the military and nobody batted an eyelid nor did we have to phone them first.

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Perhaps you're not interested Toasty but please be tolerant of other people's interests and ideas. The things she has been writing about, in a series of articles, cover some of the things we've been talking about in this topic.I too have been to a dinner at an Ordu Evi with a group of teachers and students but it was organised by a student of mine who was a major.

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The she writes about the gun toting soldier is nonsense. Sure there are gun toting soldiers in pill boxes but when you go in the front gates there are young soldiers in black trousers and white shirts and you are never confronted by gun toting soldiers.

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Well all the military places in Turkey I've seen are all guarded by gun toting soldiers very few of whom were in 'pill boxes' and that includes Istanbul, Ankara Izmir, Adana and lots of other places as well! I don't thinkthe young soldiers in black trousers and white shirts were on guard duty, more like they were on mess duty and acting as waiters etc. Anyway if she wants to exagerate a bit, so what?Perhaps you are thinking of some other country?Anyway this is off topic. :huh:

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[quote The differences in our cultures, that is, Turkish and European/English/American are in many cases very great. So in your opinion, does the success of a marriage between a Turk and a European/Briton/American depend on how westernised the Turk, and the Turk's family is? Is that the key to a successful marriage?

And would it work the other way as well, would a European/Briton/American experience a happy marriage to a very traditional Turk and a Turkish family if they were willing to assimilate into their lifestyle? ]

I think to make a success of a mixed marriage at least one member has to be very tolerant and understanding. If both partners are strong characters I doubt its success.

It's easy when you're in love to go along with new ideas and comply with what your partner wants but after a while things could start to get on your nerves. Not necessarily big things but small everyday things, like the old joke about getting divorced because he squeezed the toothpaste in the middle! :huh:

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I think that's very true, I think my main reluctance to marrying a Turkish woman is as they say "you marry the whole family."I had a friend who was getting divorced from a Turkish woman. I asked "Did her family visit you a lot?" And he said "when did they leave???!!!"Apparently there was at least one family member in his house constantly, often more. There was always someone sleeping on the couch in the living room (again that's one example and not indicative of every situation, but I've heard that one a lot). That's certainly a difference in culture which would have a severe impact. Americans, at least, like to keep a "comfortable distance" and place a lot more value on privacy and independence. But how would you get around that major difference without alienating or even insulting the family? Or the other differences for that matter?

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Are there no people out there who can answer Ben's original question - What makes a marriage to a Turk work?

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Hi Sunny

I think to make a success of a mixed marriage at least one member has to be very tolerant and understanding. If both partners are strong characters I doubt its success.

I think both me and my Husband have strong characters, but I'm definitely the more tolerant and understanding one, I make allowances for my Husband, not because of anything Turkish I might add, but just the fact that sometimes he's just a pratt, he's younger than me and I make allowances for his age, he's immature in some things he does and says, he sometimes will say something just to get a reaction, and I let it go I don't bite, I just think, been there done that worn out the T-shirt, this sometimes infuriates him more, but I just ignore him, he soon gets tired of talking to himself.......

Also wouldn't you agree that all couples have arguments, but we are able to argue about something and 5 mins later put it straight behind us, it's like the air is cleared so lets move on.......... my ex-husband and I could never do this, we would sometimes not talk for days......... or maybe that was because there was always deep founded problems there in the first place. it just took me 17 yrs to finally say "enough is enough"

Ben.......

Americans, at least, like to keep a "comfortable distance" and place a lot more value on privacy and independence

I think most English people would feel the same, I certainly do, and since living in England my Husband has experienced the privacy which has come from living away from his Family, and he likes it that way..............and although he says he would never want to live with his Parents full time or have them staying with us, I'm hoping that when we move over to Turkey permanently they are made to understand this........... it may help that we will be living about 13 hours away so it's not like they can keep popping over..........

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What about whether the couple live in Turkey or the UK ? Or some other country ? And does it make any difference if it's the husband or the wife who's the Turkish partner ? Many factors come into play, and this is even before you consider individual differences ! And if, say, the couple live in the UK where British culture dominates, does the way they interact change if they then move to Turkey ?There are so many variables, it becomes difficult to generalise really. There are so many Turkish Love Rat stories, but as Ben says, we can't tar them all with the same brush ! Does anyone have any stories about why it didn't work out with a Turkish WIFE ? :clapping[1]:

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Sunny, I can't answer Ben original question, but would say if anyone are bothered by the families popping in or them staying for long visits is to get a large Kangal and tell them it has full access to the whole house including sleeping inside at night.If you live in a flat, get a cat. I know Ben was trying to rehome his cat a while back. :clapping[1]:

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I have been married to a Turkish woman for nearly 11 years and we live abroad, not in UK but have lived in Turkey for 5 years. We have a four year old but I would say the biggest frustration is money and the family. Just yesterday my wife announced that her sister's gas bill is 2-300 YTL a month. My first reaction is why does her sister burden us with her gas bill and why doesn't she get a job. My family don't ring up with their gas bills. It seems to me that we are always having to worry about family members who have problems ranging from the trivial to the serious and there is no let up. I don't think there is much difference in what country you live in if you are married to a Turk.

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Sunny, I can't answer Ben original question, but would say if anyone are bothered by the families popping in or them staying for long visits is to get a large Kangal and tell them it has full access to the whole house including sleeping inside at night.If you live in a flat, get a cat. I know Ben was trying to rehome his cat a while back. :clapping[1]:

I have always found it amazing how in-laws make decisions about things that would never happen in UK. For example a few years back my wife, son and I arrived back at our place in Istanbul after a long and harrowing series of flights and car journeys to be greeted by mother-in law and to be told that my wife's cousin was arriving in a few hours to stay as she had some kind of admin thing to do in Istanbul. When I protested that we needed a shower, sleep etc. I was taken into the other room and my wife went mad. Cousin arrives, we listen to all her harrowing problems, wants to get married, fiancee and her have no jobs, she wants to learn English but courses cost 'the world's money,' cost of getting married, finding a flat etc. She sleeps on the sofa, food, breakfast, putting her on the bus etc. What can you do?

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She sleeps on the sofa, food, breakfast, putting her on the bus etc. What can you do?

Toasty

You say NO and mean it, sorry if this sounds personal but why do you allow your wife to dictate all the time what happens in your house, haven't we been saying that a successful happy marriage is about give and take and compromising with your different cultures, I can only go on what you have been writing here but YOU seem to be the one that's compromising constantly, and your wife seems to be constantly reminding you of HER families money problems.......

You say you have been married 11 yrs, but it sounds like you bite your tongue all the time, not wanting to upset your wife, but what about you........ you seem to be tolerating so much, which makes you sound....forgive me, well not very happy in your marriage"

When your wife told you about her sister's gas bill, why not actually say "so what, our gas bill is ***** what do they want me to do about it"

If my Husband was to constantly remind me of his family's lack of money (and they do live hand to mouth I've lived with them so I know) I would be asking the question "why he feels the need to tell me in the first place, because he feels I should contribute" ?

Maybe in the beginning you have used your good nature to help your wife's family out, and because of this your wife seems to just expect you to foot the bill for anything and everything her family desire all the time now......... I would be feeling very used to be honest......

Isn't it part of Turkish culture that when the sons start work they help out with finances and when they marry they normally move their wife into their parents house to live together, I've not heard of many Daughters Husbands footing the bill for everything.........

I have commented many times to my Husband and other people about Turkish Mothers........ That it seems to me they only want to produce children (boys and in some cases girls) for the sole reason of them contributing financially after about 12 /13 yrs.........

I've had 2 boys and have never taken anything from them only ever given, it was my duty as a Mother to care and provide for my Children not the other way round......even now me and my Husband have had some very difficult times of late financially and my Youngest son earns twice as much as I do a week but I wouldn't dream if burdening him with my problems and god forbid ask him to help out with money, that's the difference between Turkish and English Mother's.........One Takes all the time while the other gives.......it's called unconditional love...

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A very good post Debbie. You and hubby seem to have got a sensible atitude. I must say though, in my experience, that although husbands/wives might compromise, the family usually makes no effort at all to do so - I don't even think that they are aware that other nationalities do things differently.During a conversation a few years ago with my sister in law she told me I should be doing things the Turkish way because I was a Turkish 'Gelen' (bride or daughter in law) to which my reply (unusually quick for me) was that as I was financing our marriage my husband was an English 'Damat' (groom or son in law)!Another thing a friend experienced recently, she was in hospital and just wanted to be left in peace and quiet to get over her operation, but what happens? She is inundated by visitors every day who don't just pop in and leave but stay for quite a while, which leaves her exhasted and slows down her recovery.Abi, I think that having a dog is a very good idea. We have had up to five at one time, the 2 yorkies living in the house, but sadly are down to one outside dog now. It's certainly limited the visits.

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Wow. Great info here although I feel like I've kicked a hornet's nest... So much to reply to!

That it seems to me they only want to produce children (boys and in some cases girls) for the sole reason of them contributing financially after about 12 /13 yrs.........I've had 2 boys and have never taken anything from them only ever given, it was my duty as a Mother to care and provide for my Children not the other way round......even now me and my Husband have had some very difficult times of late financially and my Youngest son earns twice as much as I do a week but I wouldn't dream if burdening him with my problems and god forbid ask him to help out with money, that's the difference between Turkish and English Mother's.

I think that system has worked well over the last few thousand years. That tight family relationship has probably helped a lot of people who have fallen on hard times, and traditions aren't easily broken. So I think there's a reason for it, however, that's not the case for the typical American or Brit, at least not for those of us living in Turkey. I think for us, the ability to take care of oneself is a valued, expected, and admired trait in our cultures. With that understanding that American culture came from British culture, (although my friend Bushman would say "American culture is a contradiction in terms")! :flag_uk: That said, I've never expected anything from anybody. I sacrificed (a lot), and taken a few calculated risks to make a living and accumulate enough to retire, and I have never asked for charity. Nobody was ever around to help me out other that God and the US Military. But I do tend to have a soft heart for those in need, and have been taken advantage of more than a few times, I think, because of that.Yet what about when it's the "poor unfortunate unemployed brother" of your very wife, or even her parents? How do you back out of that one without making the entire family angry with you? I know that people have already posted about this, and that it depends on who you marry... But for those who have had this problem, how did it work out in the end... after refusing, did they eventually get over it? Or did you just hand over the loot? What was the spouse's reaction?Did you make sure they knew that you wouldn't be providing money to their family before you got married? Did you discuss that frequent visits/long stayovers were out of the question?If I married a Turkish woman, what could I do to avoid these kinds of problems that we've talked about here? I'm all ears.

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