Opinion / Blog

Thoughts of marriage

By teamkrejados (blog.chinadaily.com.cn) Updated: 2015-08-03 18:55

Perhaps it is my mindset: one should fulfill one's obligations and keep one's promises. Maybe that is what makes me shudder at how this marriage died. And maybe there is a dash of hopeful romantic in me. He married her, after all. He should have brought her to the big city and been there to support her, instead of chastising her for weakness when she cried, long-distance, that she needed him. He should at least meet his baby, if not commit his life to her. Shouldn't he?

The Chinese Formula for Life:

From birth to early 20s: education.

After graduation: find a job.

Once established in a career: get married, have a child.

This formula, once successful in this society, is now damaging it. These days, people are not happy to just do their duty and bear the burden of convention. More and more, couples want romance, love, and status brought by material things: a fine home, a nice car, the latest gadget. They drive themselves to the very pinnacle of success, sacrificing everything in the process, including the possibility of lifelong partnership and the emotional/psychological well-being of their offspring.

Offspring: in spite of looser social standards, having a baby out of wedlock is still taboo in China. Thus, people get married, have a child and then split up. Sometimes, both parents leave, and the child is left with an older family member, or maybe even just a villager. We already see the damage done to 'left-behind' children. Suicides, attachment issues, psychological problems such as depression and fear of abandonment. What about this new generation of children, foresaken by one parent or the other in favor of a better life?

What does this mean for the future of China? Do sociologists in China have to rethink what it means to be family? Maybe if the stigma against divorce and bastard children is lifted; Or should the government step in and enforce family values over emotional ties and/or materialistic desires? Is this yet another birthing pain of modern Chinese society? Are marriages of convenience becoming the norm?

Is that what Joe and his intended are doing?

Possibly. Joe is a mid-30s businessman. Regardless of his professional success, his family is continuously hounding him for a daughter-in-law and an heir. Maybe her family is raining the dreaded 剩女 'sheng nu' (leftover woman) – 'old maid' phrase on her. Perhaps the two know each other professionally and have entered a pact of sorts to help each other save face with their respective families, without changing their lives as they are now.

Is there any love between them?

I don't know. Even though Joe is a weekly visitor here, I've yet to meet or even see a picture of this girl, and he doesn't talk about her much.

I wonder why a person in this day and age would have to marry, but then continue to live a single life that has worked so well for him/her.  

The original blog is at: http://blog.chinadaily.com.cn/blog-1372409-30817.html


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