PERSONAL NOTE: I DECIDED TO SHARE my book with my friends and students in mainland China because the book is not available in mainland China, It costs too much to order a copy from USA. Enjoy it and share it. Steve, China, January 1, 2019, Stephenehling@hotmail,com wechat 1962816801 https://getting2knowyou-china.com
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Timed with Chinese Valentine’s Day (August 13), Touchmedia, a major in-taxi media company in China, polled 1.59 million taxi passengers in five cities, including Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, over a period of a month. The survey, posted August 15, 2013 in China Daily, found that the concept of naked marriage, or marrying without a house and car, is gaining currency. It found 45 percent of those polled “approve of the idea”. But less than 30 percent would “practice a naked marriage”. And over 70 percent of the interviewees said they were ready to share their mortgage payments with their spouse after marriage. (The new marriage law in China states that if an apartment belongs to the man before his marriage, the woman cannot claim any part of it when they divorce.) More than half picture themselves getting married before the age of 29. As prices of everything soar throughout mainland China, more couples are opting for naked marriages, without the once-required trappings of a car, a house, a good job and a fat bank account. Today, time-honored truths are losing their luster for those living in a different world from their parents, especially those born after China introduced its one-child policy in 1979. A courageous couple can dispense with the house and car and the traditional costly wedding ceremony. All they need is to pay just 9 yuan for a marriage license, get their papers together, and go to the registry office.
Sun Wenkui, a biology PhD student at Sichuan University, lives in a rented apartment with his wife. They were married in 2011. Unlike other couples that have luxury sedans pick up their brides, Sun used eight tricycles. Sun says their relationship is simpler than a marriage with a well prepared material foundation. In his words: “The most important part of a relationship is love. I believe our living conditions will gradually get better.”
Prof. Hu Guangwei, Sichuan Academy of Social Sciences, believes that as living costs continue to rise, naked marriage will become more popular in the future.
According to a survey conducted by sohu.com, about 40 percent of the 3,500 people surveyed liked the idea of a naked marriage. About 80 percent of men supported naked marriages, while 70 percent of women did not support the idea. Some women thought naked marriage would not be stable. Many believe marriage simply means love. Naked marriage is more than just a challenge to traditional marriage customs. It shows that young people are finding new ways to pursue personal happiness. In America, a major cause for divorces is financial instability though some believe money should not override the core spirit of marriage which is love.
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There are many loud voices in China but here are four anti-naked marriage supporters.
“I watched the TV series called ‘Naked Marriage’ and concluded I would never ever marry a guy with nothing. Marriage means you are separated from your original family and build up a whole new one with your life partner. We need to think about a lot of issues. No car, no money, no apartment means you live a terrible life. There is no joy at all. For example, the anniversary of marriage is coming and you don’t have the money to celebrate it. It is a heartbreaking moment. There is an old saying in China…‘poor couple would fight against each other because of trivial matters’. There will always be arguments. The worse is the breakdown of the family. I believe prevention is better than cure. I would definitely not choose naked marriage, after watching the TV series.”
“I do not support naked marriage. My parents are an example. They chose naked marriage when they were young. My father had nothing except a bed. After they married, they rented a house. They later bought an apartment. After 15 years, our family just began to get better. My mother told me it was tough and they always had fights just because of money. And now we have the money and everything is better than before. Money is the basis of a happy marriage.”
“I do not support naked marriage. It is a day dream for a poor boy, dreaming one day a gorgeous princess will show up and marry him only for love. She will not care whether he has money or not. I am a poor boy but I am not one of them. I will not get married before I have some money. I will not rush to get married until I become rich. A man must have the ability to keep his love from worries, and money is the root of worries. Once you get married, you must provide a good environment for your wife and parents, and you can do nothing for them without money.”
“I do not support naked marriage. I think people who support it are too naïve. Love is romantic but life is realistic. Love doesn’t need anything as long as two people are together. A saying goes, marriage is the tomb of love. We can tell after marriage there are many issues in a couple’s life. They need material rather than spiritual comfort. They may fight because of breakfast or what to eat at next meal. So in order to avoid such problems and live a happy life, naked marriage is not a promising option. Because live on food, not love. Both lovers should get prepared before marriage rather than get the pain in their ass after marriage, thinking what to eat in the morning?”
Here are four pro-naked marriage voices.
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“I support naked marriage. Why do people get married? Not for cars, not for houses but a loving couple can live together and have their own baby. It is not necessary to
hold a traditional Chinese wedding which costs a lot of money and waste a lot of time. Chinese young people now are facing more pressure in their careers and earning money. Cars and houses cost a large amount of money which will overwhelm them. A better way to save money is to invest in their child and live a better life. A couple in our community live in a rented apartment and go to work by bus. They are still very happy. Traditional Chinese marriages are not necessary in recent Chinese history. Naked marriage is a good alternative.”
“I support naked marriage because I marry for love, not money. Sometimes money matters, but happiness has little to do with money. A marriage is based on mutual trust and respect and care. Couples share same values and care for each other and keep their commitment. That is what marriage means. Money is just a segment of it. Sure lack of money can cause troubles. But I think if I love my boyfriend, I would marry him even if he does not have a house. We can work together and get our own house, not just waiting for someone with a house.”
“I support naked marriage. In some traditional Chinese marriage, man should have money, car and an apartment so that he can marry a girl. I think this is ridiculous. I believe marriage is based on love, not on money. Girls need to marry to the one she truly loves and not marry to money. As long as the couples love each other, they can work hard together and then buy the apartment and car through their own efforts. This is true love.”
“I support naked marriage. Most of the young people today can’t afford high housing price in major cities of China, such as Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and so on. Although some banks provide lower loan rate, they also can’t afford the down payment for the apartments. In modern China, high housing price means high stress for the young people and their parents. With the development of Chinese economy, people’s investment of their money vary greatly. Some think highly of China’s property market, and they think the best way of investment is to buy their own houses. As for me, I hope my marriage will be based on love, not on money or housing. I think love provides a way to escape from all the difficulties of all aspects of life.”
You have to know Chinese parents if you want to understand the importance of a traditional Chinese wedding. Most would save money so their son or the parents could have a proper wedding. Primarily to save “face” and saving face is an inherent part of Chinese life and culture. In fact I knew of a student who told me his parents could not send his young brother to college because “my parents are saving money for my
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eldest brother’s wedding.” A traditional wedding is an imperative for a filial son. So it did not surprise me that a brother’s wedding is more important than giving the
youngest son a college education. You are not Chinese, so you do not understand this. In China, it is all about “saving face”. People talk. Neighbors talk. The whole town is talking about how lavish the wedding of your son or daughter. The public is curious because of the mass media, how much jewelry the bride will be wearing on wedding’s day. Saving face is part and parcel of a good wedding in China today. Forget naked marriage, for most Chinese parents. This is China.
What about my students? What do they think of naked marriage? The truth is most students are not worried about this because everything will be done for them by their parents. I know of parents who are saving and buying apartments for their sons. One parent said to me, “That is why we continue to work and work, so we can buy an apartment for our son. That is why we are parents. We want to make sure he will have a good life after we are gone.” This is one voice among many in China.
Here is one irony to think about. This man is a professor in a big university. He came to USA as a visiting scholar and we met. He told me about his son, that he and his son seldom talk. “My son and I have very little in common. And I could not talk to him when he was growing up.” Now this son had finished post-graduate studies. And he is working in Shanghai, the most expensive city in China. Yet, my friend bought him an apartment, because “I am still the father and no matter what, my wife and I decided to buy him an apartment. He could never afford to buy one, not in Shanghai.”
This is China.