10 Years of Blog Archive

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Marriage & Life Abroad: 10 Marital Benefits to Living in a Latin American Culture

We’re not implying that single or divorced people won’t have these same benefits…this is just our opinion since we don’t know what it would be like to be single and move abroad; we have heard however, that single people are prone to loneliness and are more apt to go back home sooner than married folks. 
Enjoying our day in the super huge Albrook Shopping Mall in Panama City
To be sure, married folks (can) share in these same benefits no matter where in the world they live; we just happen to live abroad.

1. Married folks have each other to share in the adventures and the everyday ups and downs of Latin America life.  When you feel overwhelmed or flustered, common sense tells us that married couples wouldn’t get as lonely or homesick to flee back home because they have each other.

2. Having your spouse with you on those first few weeks upon arrival to a foreign land makes things easier and less stressful.  You’ve heard the saying, “two are better than one”, right? Well surely then, two will get a lot more accomplished in less time when they both do what each does best, working together as a team.

3. When one falls ill the other is there to be the nursemaid. Believe me, if and when you fall ill, you’re going to be glad you have your significant other to take care of you until you get your health back on track. (I have been sick with food poisoning several times and another time caught some strange virus with bad fever and could barely get out of bed).

We also know of a handful of couples personally where one of them got sick and the other took care of them. I don’t know what one does when they are so sick they can barely move and they are in a foreign country with no one to take care of them…I guess they have to call the emergency room and check themselves into the hospital.  Regardless what you’ve heard, better bring a pile of cash.

4. When one spouse needs encouragement and support, the other is there to lift them up. This is what marriage is for, the good times and the bad times. Sometimes a person just needs some encouragement and TLC and there is no better place to get your needs met than from the man or woman you married!

5. You can learn and then speak Spanish together and then you can test each other on who knows the most Spanish! But usually what happens is one spouse ends up speaking the most Spanish and gets better and better at it, while the other spouse tends to lean on the one who speaks it better.  Don’t do this or you will never learn it!

6.  Renew your honeymoon abroad. In retirement, after spending many years working and many hours of the day away from each other you learn new aspects about each other you didn’t know existed.  Seriously, some older expats have told us they become closer and we’re enjoying a second honeymoon together after they moved to Cuenca.  Once we noticed them walking down the street holding hands, it was so cute.

7.  Wife has the protection of her husband.  I know you don’t need protected; that’s not politically correct. Well, come to Latin America at your own risk.  Ladies, let me put it this way, those sexual innuendos at the office are nothing compared to what can lurk behind the corner in a Latin American culture, for a single woman alone.  The “disrespectful cowards” are much more aggressive than you might think.

In fact, there are solo women travelers to Latin countries writing about the negative encounters all over the Internet, while some are in fear of traveling alone in Latin America. We think the machismo thing gets way too much attention and is actually not how “real men” behave toward women but how a “disrespectful coward” behaves towards a woman.

Overtime words and their meanings lose their validity and this one has evolved into meaning something inaccurate and inappropriate.

Macho means male and machismo means maleness: while both should be expressed as a man behaving as a (gentle)man towards a woman, not a disrespectful coward.  How in the world did men cat-calling, whistling, leering and using foul-mouthed language towards women become maleness? Again, inappropriate and incorrect word usage of ‘machismo’. Come on dictionaries, get it right.

8. Husband has the help of his wife as his right arm.  Generally speaking, (most) women are usually a bit more motivated to get all the nitty-gritty details about something, finding the good places to eat and shop, and knowing where to get the hard-to-find items and doing the online research, etc, etc…and then she tells her husband everything she has learned; while he is more of the plotter and planner about the bigger stuff such as contemplating the future for the two of them, determined to do everything right and make it the best it can be…which translates into protecting your retirement together. What would our men do without us? What would we do without our men?

9. It is safer when traveling in a Latin American country when walking in pairs, especially if you get stuck out at night and when walking around in a new city. One might notice something the other doesn’t, or if something happens negatively to one spouse the other is there to calm them and fuss over them until the shock subsides. You’re basically on your own in Latin America cultures.

10. Two retirement incomes will provide a lot more possibilities and traveling abilities than only one income.  When you look at it from a budget standpoint, food and utilities costs will not be that much more for two people. The biggest expense with two people is the health insurance (if you buy into that program) and rent. 

Renting a one or two bedroom anywhere in Latin America is not that much compared to renting a three or four bedroom. Couples can easily stay under the $400 dollar mark for rent when traveling anywhere in Latin America. That’s because all they really need is a one or two bedroom apartment, not a four bedroom, office, maids quarters, workout room, sewing room, etc, etc.

Until we write again.

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We're an Expat Family of Five, Living Frugal, Healthy and Happy Abroad. We live in Cuenca, Ecuador and travel the Ecuador coast whenever we get a chance. We just adventured throughout the country of Panama for five weeks! Come along and enjoy some of our experiences with us!


  1. One can have all those things with a partner or a roommate. You don't need to be married! Also, I was in Cuenca for six-weeks and encountered not one "disrespectful coward," no leering, not sexual harassment, nothing.

    1. Hi Dena Jo, thanks for sharing. we're glad you didn't have any issues with that, other women aren't so lucky; this is not our opinion but a well-known fact and behavior about Latin American cultures. Take care.


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