Jo Gan is a multi-lingual, fellow world adventurer that has gained a legion of followers as she writes about life in China, she took time out to share an interesting article on an aspect of Chinese life that is often misunderstood. It’s something that she has developed a unique perspective on as she watches it play out first hand.
I decided that I wanted to express myself and my feelings the best way I knew how, through words. I also wanted to share what it was like to live in a foreign country. Where things are not what you expect and people are not what you think. Follow me through my experiences, my joys and my pains.. but most of all live through me what you are not ready to do yourself. I hope to inspire all of you to live your life the way you want and to not be afraid of the unknown. Live outside the box…. do not only “Dream it… Do it”
~Jo Gan, a Black American bride in China
Relationships are difficult in the United States with the process of trying to find your perfect match or soul mate. However, in China, relationships are a whole other deal all together; a business deal that is…
China’s dating and marriage social and cultural norm is a very complicated issue. More than people actually realize. Dating and marriage involves the entire family. Let us start with the fact that dating is only a means to get a wife. To qualify to be a potential suitor a man must first have a house, a car, and a decent job that can make sure that the woman will be taken care of at the same level or higher than the way her parents have taken care of her. There is also a required bride price. A price that must be paid to the parents after approval, this ranges from 80,000 RMB to 200,000 RMB (Thats roughly $13,000 – $32,000) or more depending on the family and the area in China where they live.
You may wonder why a bride price is needed. This expense is necessary for two reasons; one is to pay back the parents for what it cost to take care of her all these years and the second is to help take care of her parents since you will be taking her away from them. Yes, this is a considerable piece of change by any standard.
I am sure you are thinking, “What is the requirement of the woman?” Well, girls are only required to look pretty and have a son after marriage. I know, I know, science has proven that the sex of a child is determined by the fathers’ contribution. I guess China did not get the memo. Nevertheless, the girl will be blamed if a boy baby doesn’t arrive. Now, they do not throw away girl babies anymore and parents are overjoyed with any baby that they get that is healthy; but the grandparents will still favor the baby boy.
After a one-year to five-year engagement, depending on the age, a very large and expensive wedding is planned. This is to show everyone in his or her social network that they are wealthy and for the parents to show off a little.
After the marriage, the wife’s job is to first have a baby within the first year and to cook and clean. The irony of the situation is that most young single girls do not know how to cook and barely know how to clean. They hire a maid to do the cooking and cleaning and caring for the baby or the parents will step in and take care of everything.
Now after the child is born majority of Chinese women find that their duties as wife are complete. They have done their job. Scary huh? Some women even stop having sex with their husbands. I know?!! This opens up the door to China’s second wife or third person relationships. They say if you do not take care of the duties at home, someone else will take care of them for you. This is exactly the approach Chinese men take after their wives become cold. This is an illegal, secretive, but well-recognized type of behavior that is common practice in China. It’s one of the main symptoms of marriages that are created by financial reasons and not love. There have been reported incidents of wealthy men having more than 14 second wives or mistresses.
The wives usually find out about these other women eventually but due to the male dominated laws of society the woman could end up with nothing. So, they usually stay in the relationship for financial reasons and to look good in front of others. Nobody wants people to know your husband has other women.
Such a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive.
Such a fitting quote for the marriage and dating culture in China. They say the social pressures and traditions are changing and the couples do not agree to these kinds tactics in finding a mate; however, as I have heard in China since I have lived here…”We have done it this way for more than 7000 years…hard to change it.” It makes me feel that change is not in the near future.