I see occasionally - here in Australia - a man with a wife or partner who is obviously an immigrant. The man comes across - to me at any rate - as the sort of person who would struggle to find a partner in the normal way. Insecure, poorly groomed, inarticulate etc.

There were (maybe still are) agencies who promise to introduce Australian men to attractive women from overseas. Women from developing nations who would find it difficult to immigrate on their own, but get a free pass if married to an Australian.

And it works. Both gain a lot from such a relationship. The man gains a young, attractive woman to share the marital bed, the woman finds a new life in a new country where her prospects are brighter.

I make no doubt that many of these marriages work well; human beings have a boundless capacity for love, and a shared life can draw people closer.

But I also wonder about the capacity for an enduring love when the basis is not love or consideration, but more mercenary factors, and two individuals turn to each other for reasons that are not deeply personal.

Domestic violence is still a mighty problem here. And some don't make it out alive. Usually the woman - of course. Which raises the question of just what a man expects from his life partner. An equal partner to support each other through life, or something less noble. In many ways women are regarded as property by some men, and that is never going to work out well.


Britni Pepper has always enjoyed telling stories. About people, places and pleasures.

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