Wednesday, August 14, 2019

How To Be A Good Hmong Husband


Many of us are wondering if there is any content out in the world about how to be a good Hmong husband.
We question our marriage every now and then: How come my husband wasn't publicly lectured at our wedding? Why is it alright for him to go out late at night but not me? How come I'm expected to cook and clean and serve him and his family? How is it okay for him to treat my parents, who birthed and raised me this way?

And we also ask the critical questions too: How will I stop this patriarchal Hmong tradition? How will I raise my children so that they don't buy into this system? What can I do to help my husband see how hurtful our Hmong community can be?

I don’t know the answer to these questions, but I do know that if you are married to someone who doesn't respect you, you need to get out. If you're married to someone who is physically or emotionally abusing you, you need to get out of that relationship and seek help. If you are married to someone absent from your marriage, you also need to seek advice. Marriage is a partnership. It is not your responsibility to carry the tasks of two people. It is not your job to change a grown adult who is putting their own needs before yours and your family.

This blog post is for the marriages where your husband is trying as much as you are. He respects your opinions and values your experiences. I believe that my husband also does not want to keep these unhealthy patriarchal traditions. Many young folx have decided to disassociate themselves away from cultural ceremonies and practices because they believe this is the only way to stop the cycle of looking at womyn as second class citizens. This is not a robust solution. We need to do better to celebrate and elevate our Hmong identity.

Creating change in our patriarchal tradition need to start with our Hmong men in collaboration with our Hmong women. It is both our job to raise each other up into the best parent we can be. In this, I think it is my job, as a Hmong wife, to help my husband see how our traditions are affecting Hmong womyn. I cannot sit and hope that someone will speak to him about these issues, because no one will. I educate him any chance possible about how harmful some of our traditions are to our Hmong community. Together, we can create the world we want for our children.

So, how does someone become a good Hmong Husband?

1. Stay humble. Understand that we all have some growing to do, including you. It is important to remember that marriage is a journey, and things will never be perfect. Know that you'll have to change a little to make room for growth.

2. Listen to your wife. Her opinion matters, and more importantly, her feelings. She is your companion for life, so do not take her for granted. Listen to her ideas and bring it into account when you do something.

3. Love both sets of parents equally. You are a member of both families, yours and your wife's. Stop thinking that you only have to help your side of the family as per cultural traditions. Part of dismantling our patriarchal traditions is valuing both sides of the family. Treat each family like you are their son and help without being asked to.

4. Love your family before the community. Do not take your family for granted. Like a garden, they need tender loving care to grow and prosper into who they will become. As Mother Teresa said, "If you want to change the world, go home and love your family."

So, I say to this generation of young Hmong people, stop waiting for someone to save your marriage and your community. Stop waiting for someone to teach you how to be a better parent. You are the change you've been waiting for.

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Read How To Be A Good Hmong Wife here.

2 comments on "How To Be A Good Hmong Husband"
  1. I agree with this. As a hmong husband, I understand that traditionally we do not treat our women equally. They eat after us, they clean after us, they cook for us and so on. I'm not embarrassed to be "hmong" but that part makes me wish i was not "hmong". I'm in my late 30's and i can say that i do not treat my wife like she is my slave. She is my partner and she chose me and i know she doesn't have to stay with me.

    Why do hmong husband wonder where their wife are all the time? controlling. She picked you, she will come back to you. If she doesn't, that is your own fault.

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  2. Again -- kudo for the effort. But missed the mark big time.

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