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Chinese marriage, family still first

Popularity 8Viewed 6303 times 2014-9-3 11:50 |System category:Life| marriage, Chinese, family

Some people say that marriage is the tomb of love; and I think this word is genuinely true in a Chinese marriage where romantic love either dies out or replaced by the affection between family members.

 

家境”-the social status, property, and background of all the family members in a household-is still a considerable factor influencing the relationship of couples under married or cohabiting in China, despite the ideology of young Chinese has been more or less “westernized”. Young Chinese have gained more freedom of love-a reckless and irresponsible behavior of immature young people in the light of seniors; but it is never the case of the freedom of marriage-a much more serious issue concerning the afternoon of one’s life and two families. Marriage is just beyond a business of two people. What contributes to this?

 

First comes to my mind is the family structure of Chinese family. It is definitely a truth that we have successfully cut down a large number of Big Family into smaller sizes with decades’ efforts of family planning to keep pace with urbanization. But is toady’s nuclear family of China simply equal to that of industrialized Western world? The major difference between the two nuclear structures is that they are differently shaped: Chinese nuclear family structure is mostly vertical; while Western nuclear family structure is mostly parallel. Conditionally, both two systems make sense.

 

Marriage maybe the happy ending of a love story, but it is also the start of a longtime “grinding-in” between two families in China. Should parents step into the marriage life of their children? However the answer is for sure for the majority of today’s young Chinese, who may have just worked for several years before finishing marriage and are still on the “up curve” of their career. It’s almost impossible for the most of them to save much, as their primary job is still to figure out how earn more. However, they have to start to assume the burden of forming their own home-buying a house and preparing for a coming baby. The Chinese“家”or home, composites of two parts-the upper part is a shelter referring to house, and the lower part is the livestock pig referring to income. It’s a simple word, but turns out to be hard job particular in current real estate bubble. Who will be so generous to offer them that financial support which they may never return but do it the same way for their own children? It must be their parents. Such huge amount of money that concerns two families at a time is due to make the situation of the new-founded family more complicated. However problems are never restricted to financial issue although it may be most tricky. Other subjects such as the education of next generation are also potential subjects that grandparents should lend a hand in.

 

The vertical structure not only works from couples’ own family to couples, but also from couples to their children. Today, the major responsibility of child nursing and caring is still widely accepted as the business of women in China, despite Chinese women’s financial and social status much improved. It may be the nature of women that they are also inclined to shift their major focus to their children even if it means to achieve less in their career. This is also particular true among the increasing number of highly educated women who place great hope on their children. As a matter of fact, most of them attach more attention to their children than their husbands. I believe that the role of today’s Chinese woman is more of a mother and less of a wife. But a good mother doesn’t make a good wife. Admittedly, they live together and spend more time with than anyone else, but I wonder do they really have a lovers’ world? I think this partly contributes to current failure relationship between couples. However, the theory that good mother just makes good wife dominates in China where feminism is still not robust.  

 

In this vertical world of marriage, when one looks up, it’s parents; and down, it’s children. While in the horizon world of marriage, it’s just a business of a couple. It explains a lot. The reason why Chinese mostly discourage divorce even if the affection or the so called love is gone between couples is that the price is too expensively to pay from all aspects. It also explains why romantic love without consideration of social and financial disparity can’t be a popular way leading to marriage in China.     

(Opinions of the writer in this blog don't represent those of China Daily.)


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Reply Report wpywood 2014-9-14 17:52
seneca: Love is, as the Communists decreed, a "bourgeois" thing - not worthy of communist subjects. It is good to know that Communism in China has m ...
I think those who cheat are not necessarily the moneybags. Those who involve in an extramarital affair may also be the ordinary people. Monogamy is actually imported goods for Chinese because we had a long history of polygamy as routine even for the dirt poor people who marry the child bribe. Some criticize that polygamy is the nature of Chinese males as they would rather choose to have mistresses than have a legitimate divorce. Love the new and loathe the old is actually the nature of humankind even for women the most advocates of monogamy. And that's why we need a marriage out of both love and utilitarianism. Love is delicate flower requiring fertile soil. The beauty of flower and stability of ground make a happy marriage.

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  • Chinese marriage, family still first 2014-9-14 17:52

    seneca: Love is, as the Communists decreed, a "bourgeois" thing - not worthy of communist subjects. It is good to know that Communism in China has m ...
    I think those who cheat are not necessarily the moneybags. Those who involve in an extramarital affair may also be the ordinary people. Monogamy is actually imported goods for Chinese because we had a long history of polygamy as routine even for the dirt poor people who marry the child bribe. Some criticize that polygamy is the nature of Chinese males as they would rather choose to have mistresses than have a legitimate divorce. Love the new and loathe the old is actually the nature of humankind even for women the most advocates of monogamy. And that's why we need a marriage out of both love and utilitarianism. Love is delicate flower requiring fertile soil. The beauty of flower and stability of ground make a happy marriage.

  • Chinese marriage, family still first 2014-9-12 13:27

    Love is, as the Communists decreed, a "bourgeois" thing - not worthy of communist subjects. It is good to know that Communism in China has made women more equal with men in that a man can now only marry one. But marriages contracted out of pure love are the West's ideal, and such ideals spread easily in societies so inexperienced in romance as the Chinese. It is typically the women who wish to be seen in a white bridesgown and to do their ceremony in a church; Chinese males are absolutely passive and oblige without much enthusiasm, but oblige they often do.

    Neither marriages out of love nor the utilitarian marriages of convenience favoured by the Chinese hold the promise of everlasting bliss: we in the West divorce too frequently, and in China, the wealthy men almost invariably maintain mistresses and second wives as if polygamy had never been abolished. They may not divorce - but then they cheat, and often they cheat with their legitimate wife's tacit acknowledgement. Once the woman is past her child-bearing age she will not want to be alone and on her own, and the man might not wish to lose face.

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