This is a question I pondered for many years early on in my marriage to a Filipina lady. Men and women each have different "key drivers" of happiness. In addition, every multicultural marriage must deal with the fact that each party in the marriage comes to the union with a completely diverse data base of experiences as to what is morally right and wrong behavior, what is socially acceptable and unacceptable behavior, what are important and significant customs and mores, what is an appropriate conflict resolution style, what is appropriate dress and tone of communication, and on and on – all the myriad of cultural differences which surface (most commonly in times of stress and conflict).
Dictionaries define happiness as being in a condition of enjoyment, or characterized by well-being and contentment. Those are nice pretty words, but when trying to separate fact from fiction as to what is a state of enjoyment, well being and contentment, one must first learn what are those conditions.
A Filipina lady's key conditions of happiness generally are one or more of the following: (i) material possessions, (ii) high academic or professional achievement, (iv) lots of pleasure, (v) recognition, and (vi) strong and harmonious family relations. Whereas Westerners pride themselves on their independence, a Filipina's sense of self is derived from her family. The family is at the core of her existence. To be alone would be considered the ultimate curse.
Yet, a Western man is programmed from his youth onward that true happiness generally comes from one or more of the following: (i) material possessions, (ii) high academic or professional achievement, (iii) a grand reputation, (iv) lots of pleasure, and (v) freedom and independence. It is only after years of "climbing the corporate ladder" and "running the race" that one finally realizes that happiness is not a destination, but rather is a state of being during the journey.
Once we men get past the surface (usually after much self inflicted pain and suffering), we finally come to the realization that the true meaning of happiness is comfort, contentment and joy.
The crux of the matter therefore in WHAT makes a Filipina wife happy comes down to how to serve her so as to provide her attainment of each of the "key drivers" of happiness. It is all about joining into a deeper relationship which creates a condition of comfort, contentment, and joy for her – while still maintaining one's individual uniqueness as a human being. It is all about service. It is all about out serving your wife on a daily basis. Make it a goal every day to serve her in a way that emphasizes family and friends. Her strongest social urge is to be around people. Individualism is a very difficult concept for her to embrace.
A Filipina wife views a Western man as God-fearing, hardworking and deserving of much love, respect and admiration. Consequently, she looks to her husband for high moral and spiritual integrity. As such, she thinks he will be a spiritual, financial and moral leader of a family, providing comfort and protection. The essential in this regard is for the husband to lead in the marriage. Men crave respect, and a Filipina wife will keep her husband happy by showering him with respect, provided he leads and serves her with great sensitivity to her cultural values.