Jump to content
Ken Grubb

What Makes A Marriage To A Turk Work?

Rate this topic

Recommended Posts

[quote 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?]

It is a minefield Ben.

If you don't 'hand over the loot' it is likely to cause a big rift because it is expected.

It is looked upon as very rude to try to limit the length of visiters stay even if they turn up uninvited. To a Turk my house is your house etc.

If you are lucky, like Debbie, and you find some one who understands the different culture then there is a chance for you. If not.........................................?

It is these sort of things that must be discussed and sorted out before marriage but I would guess that most British/Europeans/Americans are not aware of it before they marry.

Share this post


Link to post

Nobody discusses things like that before they get married as it is only after you get married that you are aware of them. Turks are just so hopeless with money. It baffles me, I genuinely cannot understand it. My mother and father in law's way of housekeeping beggars belief. They live so hand to mouth and spend hours and hours a day phoning each other with moans and groans about bills and they do it so accusingly. M in law goes to the street market as it is closing every week so she can get fruit and veg half price and then spends the evening telling all and sundry about how expensive everything is. She won't go to Migros because it is too expensive yet father in law smokes 40 a day drinks beer and raki goes to the bookies and does every kind of scratchard and lottery ticket there is. She is an incredible cook, sews extremely well and can do almost any kind of embroidery yet has never ever worked. I cannot understand how she can bear the hand to mouth existence.The thing about the Turkish family home baffles me to. My logic is that if you have a home in an expensive area yet you cannot afford even basic maintence wouldn't it be better to sell, move to a cheaper area and have a place that you can afford to maintain. But with my in laws the home is sacrosanct and it is a hovel.About not giving handouts but what do you when m in law's ancient washing maching breaks down and they have no money for a new motor (it was the oldest washing machine I had ever seen) she is literally in tears every day as she handwashes everything and her hands are red raw. My wife is crying and in the end we have to pay for the new motor as the situation is unbearable. Turks and starting businesses. They have no concept of business plan or location or competition.

Share this post


Link to post
:unsure: Ahh Toasty ! Everything you say just rings so true --- an echo of what I've seen and heard ! A lot of Turkish people seem to lack planning in everything they do; their priorities are all wrong ! They really do expect the "other" person to do something, but fail to see what they themselves have contributed to their own problem, as in your example of complaining about expensive food, yet freely spending on smokes and gambling.But I also think you are a bit of a softie, Toasty, to allow your in-laws to get away with so much. You'll never change them, but you can do something to stop them taking advantage of you. Your in-laws burden your wife with their problems, but why does she in turn burden you ? It looks to me like they do it in expectation of your "fixing" their problems. Once when our washing machine broke down, I washed everything by hand for 6 months (including heaps of linen after 6 visitors). And I'd do it again rather than expect the magic fairy to buy me a new machine. As Debbie has suggested, just say NO ! Do you think they would expect the same of you if you were Turkish ?If you willingly go along with everything the family expects of you as a 'yabancı damat", then I guess the marriage can be said to be happy and successful. :o But as soon as you make waves, you'll be seen as the troublemaker who didn't let the marriage work !An important thing also is never to let the family know your true financial situation, as it's none of their business (but your wife would have to co-operate here). I wish you luck in dealing with the "out-laws" ! :)

Share this post


Link to post

As to any marriage, I think alot of compromise, talking and sometimes agreeing to differ is the answer.I have been married to my turkish husband for over 15 years, not all easy, but then is any marriage?? It takes 2 to make a marriage work.The first few years which should be the honeymoon period arent the easiest in my experience of a mixed marriage, there is so much getting to know and understand about each others cultures and beliefs.My husband doesnt dictate to me what I do and nor I to him, though we do disagree at times!!We have brought our kids up on what we believe to be our values, not dictated by either religion we may have been brought up on.Marriage is hard work regardless of the nationalities or culture

Share this post


Link to post

..i can vouch for cleopatra .i do think a marriage works with a turkish person,.to what i have seen with her family ,and also she has a lovely hubby (don,t tell him i told you that :o )and 3 lovely kids... :unsure:

Share this post


Link to post

Thanks for your post Cleoptra. It's good to hear from someone else who is in a successful marriage. All the best to you and your family. :o

Share this post


Link to post

Isn't it so cruel? Maybe the turkish mothers who you met are all like that, but where did the 'don't generalise' had gone? My mother is not that kind which you mentioned and the mothers that I know. She still keeps me up in an unconditional way, even I was graduated from university. Bu if she have financial problems, I will gladly help her. My mother always support us financially better than my father. Even she didn't have enough money she gave her all to buy everything for my sister's needs at the time of my sister's marriage(and mother pay them back by herself in a long period after the marriage) . As you can see, mother never cause me and my sister to perceive that she only wants to 'produce' us!I know there are families which toasty mentioned, but aren't there any of that kind of families and mothers in other countries? :thmbdn[1]: The important thing is the balance. If you are married, first your wife/husband and children, then your mother, father etc.

Share this post


Link to post

..a very good post ,and yes it goes without saying ,the spouse has to come first ,as this is the backbone of a marriage,then the children ,and then whoever...also welcome to turkey central Integra, and hope you continue with your constructive posts..and also tell us something about yourself , and travels in Turkey.welcome aboard ..Steve :thmbdn[1]:

Share this post


Link to post

You're right, Integra. :welcome::) I hope I didn't sound like I was generalizing, sometimes I forget to say that in my posts. It's probably true that people talk about various marriages which have these problems than the marriages which are happy ones, human nature I suppose. Thanks for your input on this!

Share this post


Link to post

Hello Integra and welcome to the forum.The thing that lots of other nationalities find difficult, as highlighted by posts on this forum, is the families involvement in the marriage.Our culture is different to yours and although families may be close, they do not for example, expect financial help all the time or if they are loaned money they are expected to pay it back. This may be because our countries have a social system where the statehelps people with things like unemployment and sickness benefit and all receive a pension whether they have paid into it or not.Generally the young marrieds would finance their home by working to buy furniture etc. and they would choose it themselves, not have it bought and chosen for them by mother/mother in law.,, whose tastes could be very different.

Share this post


Link to post

:) Welcome to the forum Integra and thankyou for your input.

QUOTE [i know there are families which toasty mentioned, but aren't there any of that kind of families and mothers in other countries?  The important thing is the balance. If you are married, first your wife/husband and children, then your mother, father etc.]

The answer to your question is, no, usually parents in English speaking contries bring up, love and look after their children and teach them how to live independent lives so that when they reach about 20 or so (or when they finish university)they stand on their own two feet, that is, they are responsible for their own lives and do not expect their parents to keep funding them. And then later the parents do not expect their children to finance their old age like Toasty's in laws and mine for that matter, as we too have contributed to a washing machine and solar panels and other things for my MiL when we did not have much money.

My own mother worked hard all her life and saved so was able to buy her own washing machine., and would have felt humiliated or ashamed if she needed the family to buy it for her, as I would if I had to ask my brothers or children for help, although it would be instantly forthcoming.

You are right when you say that the husband or wife should come first and then the children, the nuclear family, but how do you explain it to the Turkish in laws that no, you can't help them because you have your own bills to pay?

From what I've seen of Turkish families, and I've seen a lot and have many Turkish friends and neighbours, this is the norm rather than the exception.

The other big problem is visits. When my own family and friends visit they phone up first and ask if it's convenient to come on such and such a date for two weeks so I know how to plan for their visit.

The inlaws just turn up or give short notice. You don't know how many are coming or how long they will stay for. The record was 9 of them when I was expecting 7 and they were supposed to stay for 3 days which became 2 weeks.

Share this post


Link to post

"Isn't it so cruel? Maybe the turkish mothers who you met are all like that, but where did the 'don't generalise' had gone? My mother is not that kind which you mentioned and the mothers that I know. She still keeps me up in an unconditional way, even I was graduated from university. Bu if she have financial problems, I will gladly help her. My mother always support us financially better than my father. Even she didn't have enough money she gave her all to buy everything for my sister's needs at the time of my sister's marriage(and mother pay them back by herself in a long period after the marriage) . As you can see, mother never cause me and my sister to perceive that she only wants to 'produce' us!I know there are families which toasty mentioned, but aren't there any of that kind of families and mothers in other countries? The important thing is the balance. If you are married, first your wife/husband and children, then your mother, father etc."Why did she have to buy everything for your sister when she got married? Why didn't your sister work and pay for it herself? If she couldn't afford to get married why didn't she wait?

Share this post


Link to post

The thing about visits does my head in too. It is such an ordeal with my in-laws. Sister in law and her two kids arrive mid morning. She wears a headscarf and has to either eat alone or with the women. She stays in the living room while I am in the sitting room. The kids run riot, change channels and there is non stop shouting and pleading. Mother in law arrives and the terrible moaning over prices, costs, dunyanin parasi etc. etc.. Sister in law has to come by taxi because she cannot drive, besides husband has the car, the buses would take hours etc. Moans and groans over the taxi fare, the inevitable gas bill. Coffee tea and water as well as whatever cake or biscuits have to be provided in two rooms. Lunch and dinner take hours as the kids have to be fed etc. About 10 pm brother in law arrives-coffee tea and another dinner setting have to be arranged. I always mention to my wife why he has to arrive so late but that of course is met with incredulity as I mention the inconvenience of him arriving so late. Washing up has to be done several times as endless plates and cups to back and forth. By the time they leave it is 1am. In that time nobody leaves the house. No walk or visit to the shops, nothing. Mother and sister in law are so needy. Neither can drive, work, have ever been outside Turkey and never want to. Neither have any money, have ever had any money nor never will. Even something as simple as bread-they express disbelief that anyone would want anything other than cheap white bread.

Share this post


Link to post

Amazing about the various values from different cultures. My daughter is staying in rooms above a kebab shop in the UK. The Turkish man runs the shop and sleeps in a back room during the week, going home on weekends. His wife & 3 kids live in their own comfortable home (heavily mortgaged) about 2km away (she refused to live above the shop, rooms "too poky"), and he comes & goes by taxi. Their income is "low" and they get financial assistance courtesy of the British taxpayer. The wife wears a headscarf and constantly wants new and better things for the home (eg. large new fridge, although current fridge is fine), and expects hubby to buy whatever she wants although business isn't that good. In addition, the wife has relatives in the UK who sometimes need "a bit of help". The wife & kids (2 of them 18 & 19) never help out in the shop, nor does the wife consider getting a job because she has to "run the house & watch the kids". Wife & kids go to Turkey every summer but hubby stays back to run the shop. Sadly, he hasn't been "back home" for 15 years. Seems as if the husband is just seen as a money-making machine. I have to wonder at their kind of "family life" ! (I'll be seeing it for myself when I go to the UK in a couple of weeks).I see the concensus of opinion is that the spouse & kids come first (naturally), followed by one's older children, then parents, siblings etc. I've seen other cultures where the parents come first, even before the spouse, eg in Nepal, the wife is secondary to the husband's parents, who command total and absolute loyalty and respect till the day they die !Turkish people do seem to attach greater importance to the needs of their relatives above the needs of their spouses, and conversely, parents and relatives seem too "concerned" (even interfering) with their offspring's lives. or is this too much of a generalisation ? It's not necessarily a bad thing of course, but may be a bone of contention in a mixed marriage where the foreign partner's expectations are different. Toasty, I sympathise with your situation where wife's relatives seem to "take over" your home (which should be your castle). ....... is nothing sacred any more ? :thmbdn[1]:

Share this post


Link to post

I have come across lots of similar situations where the man works away and the woman just stays in the family home. He makes the sacrifice she doesn't. They don't seem to want or expect to work.

Share this post


Link to post

I think perhaps Turkish mothers don't like to let go of their children and that is why they act as almost their slaves while they are growing up, doing absolutely everything for them so they never learn to do anything for themselves and become independant and when they marry they are afraid of being on their own so they involve themselves in the childrens marriage so as not to suffer the 'empty nest syndrome'.As to the man working and the women staying at home. I wonder if it has anything to do with the tradition of arranged marriages and if there is little feeling between husband and wife the wife makes the children her life and expects to be kept (as part of the deal) and fill her house up with objects (keep up with the Jonses?) I know when a sister inlaw married she was going to live in a village house but insisted that she needed a dishwasher but probably didn't have enough plates to fill it!

Share this post


Link to post

Having TEFLed in Turkey :thmbdn[1]: I know what it is like to have twenty somethings who know nothing about anything because the parents have done everything. I guess that is why there is so little rebellion amongst teenagers in Turkey. Why rebel against your parents when mummy gets you out of bed, has your breakfast ready, your clothes washed ironed and ready. Mummy worries endlessly, calls you every day, organises a husband and wife for you as well as somewhere to live.A place I TEFLed at I remember this 30 something Turkish woman teacher who used to tell this harrowing story about she went to uni in Bursa, 3 hours from Istanbul and how hard it was, she came home every weekend and worked so hard because if you get in the top 1 per cent in your first year you can transfer to another uni -she then did the rest of her course at Marmara Uni near her home so she could live at home. She used to tell that story and the other teachers use to be so sympathetic.

Share this post


Link to post

Hello and welcome Integra

Sorry I shouldn't generalise about Turkish Mother's, because there are probably some out there that don't expect their children to contribute all, but it is the minority...

I lived in Turkey with my Hubby for 2yr, we lived in a Holiday resort summer time and in the winter we lived with his Parents in Turkish town nr Istanbul, I have spent lots of time around, what I would class as typical Turkish family's in both places, and I'm sorry to say that in my experience all the family's expected their children to contribute, yes they give for a short time while kids are at school, but I've seen and known of lots of family's who's Son's have been sent out to work at the very young age of about 12/13yrs old....... you see hundreds of young Tea boys running from shop to shop, young boys working in Barber shops, young boys selling things in Tourist towns, kids on streets in Istanbul sat with a weight scale, kids selling pkts of tissue's, my god the list is endless.......and where does the money go..... to their parents.

My own Husband is good example, he used to come home from school and immediately get ready to go work in local cinema in the evenings, he would come home from work eat food (late hour) go to bed then up for school next morning, the money he made from work was not used for his own wants or needs he used to have to give everything to his Mother and Father, this way of life went on until my Hubby went into the Army, where he was expecting his Parents to send a little money each month for his personal needs, apparently he used to only get about

Share this post


Link to post

It's not necessarily a bad thing of course, but may be a bone of contention in a mixed marriage where the foreign partner's expectations are different.

That's what we're discussing here, the differences in culture. It wasn't my intention to start a topic to criticize Turkish culture, just how two people can make a marriage work with the differences in the culture and expectations with the two families.

I have come across lots of similar situations where the man works away and the woman just stays in the family home. He makes the sacrifice she doesn't. They don't seem to want or expect to work.

That assumes that raising children and taking care of a home is an easy job, requiring no sacrifice. In the US, lots of people have opted for less income so the wife can stay home and raise the children rather than putting them in a day care center. At the end of our lives on our death beds, we will probably not say "I wish my wife had gotten a job" or "I wish we had more money." Instead we will probably wish that we had spent more time with family. Turkish families are a LOT closer than the typical American ones, and I can understand why they would expect someone joining their family to be the same way. Additionally, while expats living in Turkey have probably experienced more than one culture as a foreigner, the typical Turkish family has not. I think the same things would happen if a foreign person married into a family and lived in Iowa, Kansas, or West Virginia, I doubt that families their would behave much differently than a Turkish family if a foreigner decided to marry into their family.People from different cultures are going to place different values on different things, it doesn't mean one is wrong or one is right, it just means that there will be differences which could affect a marriage between two people from different cultures who decide to get married. And that's the topic.Let's respect the Turkish family culture while discussing ways to address the cultural differences that impact a marriage.

Share this post


Link to post

I agree with you about daycare but was referring to women not working for the rest of their lives. People place different values on things but I would like to spend more time with my child but have to work and worry because I know that I cannot rely on my wife to bring in any income. As you no doubt know it is very tough to support a family on one income anywhere. Spending time with family implies that you can support that family you want to spend time with.

Share this post


Link to post

Well that's a very good point concerning another difference. If a foreign man wanted to marry a Turkish woman, that's one of the things they'd need to talk about in advance, whether she wants to work or not. I've met Turkish women who want to work, and those who would rather not, and that topic could certainly become an issue later. Most of the girls I knew at Incirlik would love to have a decent job, but their opportunities are very limited there. There was a woman there who was a hairdresser who worked as a bar girl. She was basically living hand-to-mouth raising a son, without much time to do a lot of job-searching. I provided enough for her to take a week off and go, basically, to go to every hairdresser in Adana and Mersin. She eventually found another job, so she got out of the bar, but it wasn't hairdressing. She just needed the opportunity and someone to give her some moral support. I think that was just one example of quite a few others there... In the 1950's 1960's, the US was a lot like this, the traditional marriage being one where the husband worked and the wife took care of the house and children. I remember watching an old clip from a Miss America pageant where the contestant answered a question by saying that the woman's role is in the home and that is where she belonged, it was in a documentary showing how the mentality in the US, even among women, has changed over time.I think those changes are happening in Turkey, women in the workforce are much more common in the major cities. That's not to say Turkey is behind the times, it's just that this kind of change is happening at a different time than it did with our culture. But again, everybody's different and has different expectations.

Share this post


Link to post

I think that in most countries the man is the breadwinner but if you want any jam on it the wife needs to work too, and I agree that many wives want to work but there is nothing wrong with staying at home to bring up children until they reach school age. In fact in my opinion it is much better to bring up your child/children yourself rather than leave them with other people be they relatives, professional carers, or in nurseries. You probably will make enough mistakes in bringing up your child but it's better than having other people make mistakes for you!Once they start school then the situation changes.I think Turkish women get over this by not having another child until the first one reaches school age. Not good for siblings but I don't think they think of that.I wonder if the writer of the articles in Zaman newspaper 'Diary of a Future Bride' has visited this topic because today's article covers many of the points raised. If you have Elle Loftis, we'd love to hear from you if you have time.

[DIARY OF A FUTURE BRIDE] Cultural lines Living in a foreign country, and especially marrying into one, brings up many questions of cultural identity. What traditions can you bend, break or keep? DEAD LINK

Share this post


Link to post

I don't think the original question can be answered....what makes any marriage work these days?

Regarding turkish women leaving their husbands, not a lot of women have the choice. Many can't return to their families so they would have to rent a property, find a job and put their young (under school age) children into daycare/nursery. Now...along with paying for the rent and the daycare, they also have to find the money for bills, food and clothing. What kind of job can pay for all of that? There isn't the security of social benefits here.

I've come across men who are quite willing to send their wives out to work while they sit all day in the tea house (or Lazy B******s Club as I call it). These women then have to come home in the evening after maybe picking cotton all day, make the dinner, do the housework etc while the man does sweet FA.

One of my brothers-in-law got married 2yrs ago to a woman who, as far as I'm aware, has never worked (she was 34 when they got married). They had to rent an apartment in Kusadasi because she didn't like the apartment he owned in Soke. He is a pastry chef and has worked in countries like Morocco, the Maldives etc but couldn't find a well enough paid job in Kusadasi so ended up working in Bodrum. For 18mths the wife sat in the house doing nothing...what was wrong with her going and getting herself a job? She's very modern and not stupid. They complained about their rent, their maintenance charges, electric/water etc....so I say "well tell your wife to get a job!!!". No hope now as she's just had a baby. :D When they got married we paid for her wedding dress, the wedding reception, bought all of their furniture and paid the first 3 mths rent on their apartment; my b-in-law didnt have the money and as my husband is the oldest boy in the family it was more or less expect of him to "help". They went way overboard with the furniture they bought..they chose it, we just gave out the money. It has caused a big rift between the 2 brothers to the extent were my husband only speaks to him if it's really necessary.

Share this post


Link to post

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
×
×
  • Create New...