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Ken Grubb

What Makes A Marriage To A Turk Work?

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Great story about your in-laws and so typical. I found it really odd and upsetting when I got married that we had to have everything right away. I remember pleading with my wife to be about why we needed a dishwasher right away as there was only the two of us. Fact is when we go back to Istanbul we rarely use the dishwasher as there are never enough things to wash with just the three of us.

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Hi Ben,For me what makes my marriage work is plain and simple, respect.Thats it LOLRespect for cultural differences and respect for differences in religious beliefs and hand on heart no matter how much we love each other if we didnt repect our differences my marriage wouldnt have survived.

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A few thoughts on women not working. It is a middle class fantasy that in the past women did not work outside the home. My mother worked, so did her mother and so did her mother. It was only the middle classes who could afford a stay at home mother.

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Girls, I've got to warn you if you are planning marriage to a Turk that contrary to what others have protested on this forum, it is VERY NORMAL for Turkish men to cheat on their wives, even when they love them. I've lived in Turkey 25 years, been married 20, and I've seen quite a bit, and me and my friends have gone through a lot.There are incredible stresses to life in Turkey that are maybe less evident in other western countries. Money is a big issue. Family is another. Turkish men have a lot of responsibility, I'm not blaming them for cracking up occasionally, and unfortunately it is a widely-held belief that cheating on your wife is normal, even quite a macho thing to do as long as you never get caught out. DONT BELIEVE those who tell you different. It's been dealt with before so I won't state the details, but BEWARE. You (the yabancı gelin) will have to be VERY self-sacrificing, and perhaps lose part of yourself in the process. There comes a stage where you can't return to your country if you have several children (school, contact with father etc). You can feel incredibly isolated.If you can weather all the above, and outlive your mother-in-law, and do not have too much of a language barrier, your marriage may survive. GOOD LUCK. Or better still, don't do it.

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That's a bit of a strange post janh. From reading your post am I right in saying that your husband has cheated on you?I'm married 19 years and to tell the truth I don't know if my husband has ever cheated on me but I honestly don't think so. I've never once regretted marrying him so I unlike you I'd never tell other women not to marry a turkish man as I've never had any bad experiences to back my statement up.

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Of course he has--around the time he went bankrupt. There were lots of mitigating circumstances. The point is I found out years and years later. Like I said, same goes for seven of my friends that I can bring to mind. Turkish men do not look on marriage as a spiritual parnership, or marriage as a sacrament in any way. I never listened to other people, either. Don't try and investigate. My motto is, if you think you're happy, don't dig.

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Regarding women in Turkey not working, I think the government has a part to play in this. Most of the women in my husbands family work, and after having children, they had to return to work very quickly after giving birth and also full time. Three are teachers, ones a nurse, ones a solicitor and the other 2 are at uni (but dont have children). I remember when my sil had her son, she was back at work full time 6 weeks after he was born, and I'm pretty sure it was the same for the others. Also, to find work, they have all had to move away from their hometown, and some live 8-9 hours from their parents. The women that I see who still live in my hubbys town (Havsa, nr Edirne) the majority dont work as there are simply no jobs for them. I have 2 children and work 2 days a week, and the women in hubbys family are so jealous. They say its impossible to work part time in Turkey, but really wish they could. I admire them though (more so after reading these messages) for at least going back to work and helping to support their families. I have noticed though, that some of them treat their children like babies, even though they are 6/7 years old, and I wonder if this is a guilt thing for not being there full time for them? I just think my self lucky that I was able to take a year off work and now only work part time. Janh, there are LOTS of English marriages that fail because one party has an affair, but I wouldn't dream of saying to someone marrying an English man "its NORMAL for an Englishman to have an affair"-how can you generalise like that? Obvioulsy in the circle of friends/family that you have been around in Turkey have experienced this, so its bound to affect your views, but I do think you're wrong to say that its normal for Turkish men to behave like this. To my knowledge, no one in my hubys family has ever had an affair, and are loving family men (the only place they go without the women is the coffe house and we all know theres no women there lol). My husband has very strong morals and hates anyone who has affairs. I know we would be over in a flash if I ever cheated (not that I would lol). I've been with him 17 years now so I know him pretty well.

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It is good to see that someone else has good news about a mixed marriage. QUOTE [ I have noticed though, that some of them treat their children like babies, even though they are 6/7 years old, and I wonder if this is a guilt thing for not being there full time for them?]You are not the only one to notice this as it is a common occurrence and not by mothers who work. Lots of mothers seem to see their role as being there to do EVERYTHING for them, especially boys so the child grows up totally dependent onits mother never having done anything for itself. I have seen lots of children still being fed by their mothers at the age of 5 and 6. I've seen them shouting for their mother until she runs to them and asking for something the child could have easily got for itself. These are but two examples.

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Turkish men do not look on marriage as a spiritual parnership, or marriage as a sacrament in any way. I never listened to other people, either.

There you go again...generalising. For the 35 million male turks there are in Turkey...don't try and tar them all with the one brush and don't try and tell me what kind of man my husband is. Regarding your motto...I'll pass on that one.

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..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 :head_hurts_kr[1]:

Hello to all and thanks for accepting me,First of all, sorry for late answering. I am not a foreigner, I hope it isn't a problem. Maybe I have started with a defensive post, but i just want to call attention to something. I'm here to help with your questions about living in turkey, culture etc. and improve my english happy.gif . I was graduated from university and looking for job. As you can see being nonworking is not my joice,still have hope to find one. I am from İzmir.

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 theirselves, not have it bought and chosen for them by mother/mother in law.,, whose tastes could be very different.

Thank you.You are right, because of not having a developed social system, people want to rely on other people(sometimes on kids).In turkey it is hard to finance your home by all yourself if you are newly-wed. There is an incongruity between the wages and the prices. But that doesn't have to mean if your family helps you financially they all will dominate the choices(even furniture), at least in my circle of family and acquaintances.

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:welcome: 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? confused1[1].gif 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 independant 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 reponsibile 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.

I can't say that you aren't right when you say "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", there are lots of families like that in my country but also there are lots of families which aren't like that. It is something about tradition. If you are bigger or you are parent you have big rights on children. I should say that it isn't a norm -I give you the example of my family and my other relatives and my neigbours etc.-.

There is still a huge difference about traditions between western and eastern part of turkey. Because of the emigration to the big cities which are stated in the western part, you can't understand as a foreigner if some traditions are norms for whole country or not. People who comes from east are generally more traditional and being parent-centered is more common in there and for the people coming from there (these are what happens mostly but not musts-people can be different of course). I think that's what makes the difference.

When it comes to your question about explaining that you can't help them with their bills is, you are totally right. You don't have to. I think if it isn't about an urgent health problem you don't have to help your families. You better discuss it with your spouse -only your spouse can solve this and should explain them that you have own responsibilities and financial problems-. Or another way if your spouse doesn't understand; tell that you have to help with you family's bills too, doing the same is the best way sometimes :head_hurts_kr[1]:. Don't get me wrong, I am sure it is hard to solve this problem but I could try these if I were.

"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?

You got me wrong or I expressed myself wrong. My sister has been working since before her marriage. Sure she bought some part of needs by herself and when she can't have enough to buy more, mother helped her-for example, some furniture- and it caused a financial problem for her. But she handled it. I should have used some part instead of everything, sorry for that.

But there is a big difference here, parents have to grow up and support their children -at least till their marriage or having job- because they are the one who choose to have a child, so they have to guarantee their future.

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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 ? :head_hurts_kr[1]:

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.

Do you know in some part of turkey a woman's working is very shameful? There is a mentality that 'women's place is her home, not outside' and women's main work is growing up child, doing housework etc.. Turkey is a country which men are so very powerful. Some part of them, who has kind of mentality that I mentioned above, doesn't want their wives to work(because of 'some' unfair reasons like jealousy). Families like that kind, grow up their daughters according to that. Wants become habits, habits become rules. Day by day some women think that the only way to live is to rely on a men, because they were grew up like that.

There are women who tries to break this mentality down but we still can't and need time to do it. My mother, sister, both two aunts, cousinsins, next door neigbour etc. has jobs. I am willing to, looking for job everyday. I agree with you, women have to work too.

And, ask that turkish man who runs a kebab shop in UK, why he had 3 kids although he and family have financial problems, I'm sure he could imagine that after the first kid and then after the second kid. Also I'm sure he didn't ask his wife as if they can grow up 3 kids. Thanks to Bensin for saying "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.". That is the point. We need to improve it faster.

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Darling Alison,We must be in the minority....if these posts were t be believed,but as it happens,we disagree with these awful unresearched,(apart from HELLO or TAKE A BREAK) statements.I too love my in laws and they love us unconditionally.My husband is wonderful most of the time lol,but like yours,they come from a great family.Their hearts are clean.If one goes minesweeping down bar street,god knows what you will end up with.We are all career women married to Kurdish business men.Our men have great character and we respect them as they respect us.I have never been happier........ps.....and im not on honeymoon...weve been together for years!!!!

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Thank you Integra for your interesting replies, they must have taken you a long time. The thing is, nobody can say one culture is right and another wrong, it's just difficult when two cultures come together. From what Turkish friends say, they sometimes find things in their cuture irksome too.The replies to the original question 'What makes a marriage to aTurk work?' have highlighted various cultural difficulties that a lot of people encounter that probably they were unaware of when they got married.These posts have shown how important it is to not rush into marriage , especially a mixed marriage, without a lot of research into the different culture and not glaze over bits that you don't like saying 'Ali/Can/Ayse/Ceyda wouldn't do that or expect this.'Anyone contemplating marriage must sit down and have frank discussions (possibly with the family also) about the issues raised here as they seem to be the ones that upset people most.

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Hello Poshscouse. Because you have been fortunate to have a good marriage there is no need to be rude about other people's experiences.[if these posts were t be believed,but as it happens,we disagree with these awful unresearched,(apart from HELLO or TAKE A BREAK) statements.]Most have been the writer's own experiences or those of friends so where you get the' unresearched' from I don't know. I don't understand what your references to those two magazines are about either.

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I am NOT rude.Most people will know what i mean when i talk about whats printed in rag mags.Success stories dont make news.I am very lucky and happy to be living here in Turkey.This forum is for ALL to share their experiences....good and bad.

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Darling Alison,We must be in the minority....if these posts were t be believed,but as it happens,we disagree with these awful unresearched,(apart from HELLO or TAKE A BREAK) statements.I too love my in laws and they love us unconditionally.My husband is wonderful most of the time lol,but like yours,they come from a great family.Their hearts are clean.If one goes minesweeping down bar street,god knows what you will end up with.We are all career women married to Kurdish business men.Our men have great character and we respect them as they respect us.I have never been happier........ps.....and im not on honeymoon...weve been together for years!!!!

Not married to a Turk, then? Just 'together'? With someone from 'Kurdistan', I take it?

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Janh, Poshscouse says QUOTE [My husband is wonderful most of the time] so she is clearly married. What point are you trying to make?

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Sunny I couldn't have put it better myself.Moving onto take a break, i was (not now) in contact with someone who did publish her story about her bad experience with a Tukish man , HOWEVER when the story was published the story was tweaked to give a better read, it was almost unrecognisable to her and it was her own story, when they were contacted they stated they liked the senario but it wasn't juicy enough to make customers buy the mag. This has come from the horses mouth, I have never bought or read the mag but i just want to say don't beleive everything you read and the above has come from someone directly involved with TAB magazine and so feel I can say this goes on.

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a) the 'Kurdish' reference:animatedfear[1]: she says been together as well as married, I thought like many she may just be living with someone. c) had a bad day, sorry. Can't stand women coming over here and shacking up--there are 2 at my workplace. It always ends in tears. What's the point?d) but you know, Turks aren't keen on the 'Kurdish' thing. WE ARE IN TURKEY WE ARE TURKISH end of story.

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I think you will find exactly the same in the UK -'Can't stand women coming over here and shacking up'. In fact I would say it is a lot more common.As to Turkish and Kurdish, surely people should respect their ethnic backgrounds just like people often don't say that they are British but English, Scottish, Welsh or Irish?Sorry to hear you've had a hard day but don't take it out on Posh. :animatedfear[1]:KangalWhy am I not surprised that these trashy magzines hype up the story to make it more dramatic, newsworthy and sellable?

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janh, posh scouse was in a relationship for a few years before they got married about 10 years ago...so sorry to disappoint you, she's not a loose woman just shacking up with a Kurd. And what's all this "we are in Turkey, we are turkish" c**p?? Everyone born in Turkey is a turkish citizen no matter what their ethnic background is. You are only turkish by marriage so you don't have the right to say that!

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Can't stand women coming over here and shacking up

Turks aren't keen on the 'Kurdish' thing

Are you criticising the European Woman and the Kurdish for "shacking up" ........... as there are thousands of Kurdish couples in Turkey that have not had a recognised marriage just done the village thing.....

What's wrong with living together if that's what the couple choose, regardless of which country they are from or living in........ There are couple's who have "shacked up" as you say and have been together for yrs and they have very loving and understanding relationships........Then there are couples who marry and in some cases have divorced less than 12 months later........ There are no guarantees with any relationship regardless of whether your married to each other or not, a piece of paper doesn't make the marriage last, the couple do that....

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