Why did you get married? Familial Responsibility 家庭责任

I had a fear of marriage, or more specifically of divorce. I wanted to know what everyone else thinks when they say “I do” so I could figure out why some would later say “I want a divorce.” Since I married in China, I asked my Chinese friends.

Whenever my husband goes out of town, I miss him terribly and everyone at work notices. One of my coworkers, Jenny, tried to console me saying that she hardly ever sees her boyfriend.
Jenny and her boyfriend’s situation is actually very common in China, they live and work in different cities and only get to see eachother once or twice a year during the holidays. I suddenly felt bad for complaining about my husband leaving for only a few days.

Only, Jenny didn’t miss her boyfriend.

    -It’s no big deal. You see, I don’t really miss him. I can have my own life here, and we talk to each other on the phone every now and then.
    -Why don’t you miss him?
    -It’s our parents who want us together. We are from the same hometown and my parents are friends with his parents.
    -Do you want to marry him?
    -It would make my parents happy. He is nice and we have known each other for a long time. When we are ready to get married, I’ll quit my job and we will move to the same city. Our parents will be happy.

I didn’t know how to respond to that. She just didn’t seem excited, though she didn’t seem unhappy either. 
I always figured every bride should be excited about getting married. Maybe those who aren’t jumping for joy are the ones who have thought things through  more clearly?
There is nothing wrong with an arranged or semi-arranged marriage; my in-laws had an arranged marriage and they seem happy. Perhaps when you marry out of responsibility, the bonds that hold you in the marriage last longer and you find ways to love each other and grow together as opposed to two people who chose to be together then change and maybe grow apart?


我老公出差时,我会非常的想念他。我的思念会流露出来,同事们都会过来安慰我。我的一个同事,”杰妮” 告诉我她很少见他男朋友,他们俩在不同城市工作,每年只有一两次见面的机会。听到这里,我感觉自己有点不自立,老公不在几天就会一蹶不振。





Filed under Marriage, Why did you get married?

5 responses to “Why did you get married? Familial Responsibility 家庭责任

  1. This is a great topic, Ericka. Reminds me of the book Waiting, by Ha Jin — have you read it? If not you should, because he explores this idea.

    I imagine that people who marry for family responsibility probably do stay together, and tend not to divorce. I think, though, what they get in stability they may lose in sexual intimacy and love.

    On the other hand, from the Chinese perspective, it’s better to have balance. Chinese medicine states that happiness hurts your heart — therefore, if you are too passionate, too much in love, it can be harmful to your health.

    Additionally, think of how Chinese talk about marriage — it’s 解决个人问题 (to solve your “personal problem”). Marriage is simply a solution to the problem of finding someone to spend your life with — something that all Chinese are expected (and often pressured) to do.

    Still, I would never want anything less than the love I have with my husband. I could not imagine a loveless, passionless marriage — but I guess that opinion is just as much a reflection of the culture I come from.

  2. Elise

    Shandong xifu!!!! I’m so glad I found your blog, thanks to Jocelyn!
    I’m also a Shandong xifu! We’re expecting our Shandong-Jianada xiao hai in October.
    And finally I found a blog both my laogong and I can read (he doesn’t speak English at all), actually, it might be a motivation for him to learn.
    I met many couples like that during my years in Asia; Taiwan, Korea and soon to be China. I guess it’s a cultural thing, it’s hard to look at it neutrally though.
    In Taiwan when I was single many people were trying to set up dates for me saying: ‘he has money, jiu hao le!’ I just couldn’t bring myself to considering a marriage prospect like a walking bank to insure my future.
    In Korea, well, my Shandong guy is the first non-work related person I met after landing, so I guess we really have a ‘yuan fen’ together! Still many people in their 20s date whoever they want, and when they reach ‘the age’, they let their parents guide them through arranged dates (of course they can veto.) I was quite shocked when I learned that as when you look at Seoul’s young people, you’d never imagine they would rely on their parents for arranged dates… It is not an easy conversation topic here!

    • I’m really glad you found me too! It sounds like we have a lot in common and I’ve been playing with the idea of moving to Korea for a while now. Congrats on the baobao^^ I’m sure you’ve already heard that hunxue xiaohai are the cutest!
      I know what you mean, my korean friends in Qingdao date attractive Chinese men but know they have to marry a good standing korean man their parents approve of. It’s so odd watching the selection process… the (parent approved) men are so much older a lot of the time and just lather on expensive gifts.
      Which language do you guys speak together, Korean or Chinese?

      • Elise

        Yeah, I’ve got a new cyber friend!!!
        Email me about moving to Korea, I have a lot to say, my hubby too…
        We speak Chinese at home, I didn’t study Korean as I’ve always knew I wouldn’t live here for very long. We’re moving to Beijing in a month, can’t wait!

  3. I came to know of your blog through Jocelyn’s speaking of china blog, which I have been following for some time already recently.

    I think both of you write the best blogs on the subject of western women and Chinese men and on China and your personal experiences of China, the Chinese people and Chinese culture.

    I am a Chinese Malaysian and it has been fascinating for me as a Chinese myself to read your blog and Jocelyn’s.

    An added advantage of your blog is that it is bilingual and it gives me a chance to brush up on my limited Mandarin.

    You see, in Malaysia, unless you were enrolled in what we call here as vernacular school, you don’t get to learn your mother tongue.

    Will continue to follow both your blog and Jocelyn’s.

    Thanks a lot. And do keep on blogging!

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