Society Pressure Puts Stress on Marriages


The longer I stay in China the more I noticed how society here pressures the Chinese man and thus causing stress on marriages.

I will explain.  As if it were not difficult enough living in another country trying to adapt to the languages, the food, the climate and the people in general; the society here puts a lot of pressure on a man to achieve a certain amount of success to be of value.  Not unlike other countries, the man is motivated to try to be as successful as he can and to provide for his family the best he can.  However, in China it is taken to a whole other level.

Right out of the gate of high school, young men are pushed to achieve the highest score possible to go to a well-known school.  Not due to their own wants to attend these schools but due to the pressure of the parents.  If your child goes to a good school, or even abroad.. that gives them bragging rights.  They can tell all their friends how well their child is doing.   After entering the University of their parents choice.. they are then told what majors they should take that would not only give the family “face”  but also make a lot of money.

Directly out of University… if you are not continuing your education abroad.  You will then be brought back home to learn the family business and begin looking for your wife.   It is pressured that a single woman who is not married by age 28 to 30.. is well past her time and will not find an acceptable”  husband.    The man is then pressured to do well enough at age 23 to purchase a house, (between 100,000 to millions of RMBs); purchase a car (50,000) and make enough money that his wife will be comfortable.   The wife he must find must fit the requirements of coming from a good family and having a good background, and be reasonably attractive.   After marriage before age 30, they are required to have a baby within the first year so their parents can have a grandchild, preferably a boy.

Then they spend the rest of their life, trying to make enough money to take care of their parents when they grow old and prepare for their child’s future.  All the while, he needs to keep up the pretense that he is a well-to-do businessman and everything is right in the world, so other people will not gossip or say things to make him look bad.

This is a lot of stress on any person, But it has become a very difficult point for my husband.  One big reason is that he has went the non-traditional route.   China is like this one big world of same-ness.   Everyone has to look the same, eat the same, dress the same, act the same… and fit into the same little box to be accepted.   If you do not … they make your life very, very difficult.

Case in point, my husband is married to me; it is hard to deal with the comments of others with all the jokes and laughing. But on top of that ,I am older than him, which in China is really not acceptable.  The man should never be younger than the woman.  However, the man can go as young as he wants.  Then there is the fact that I have adult children.  Although, they are in another country and living their own successful lives the point is I have them.   Also we are coming to a two-year point in our marriage… and there is no baby.

My husband comes from a poor family so there is not help with buying these expensive ass houses.. and it will be a little while before we can get the car.  (you have to pay cash for most things here still).

So although we are very happy in our relationship and love each other very much; the issues that we have come from the outside.

Now.. in most cases as Americans we think , just ignore them, forget having face, and forget what people about you.   If we were in America that would be easy to do.  But here in China it is like they are all brainwashed to believe things that are so out of date and unbelievable you just cannot ignore it.  Well, I can a little because some of it I cannot understand.. but my husband hears it all the time.   The jabs about having me as his wife, the comments about why we do not have a baby yet, the pressure from his family to take care of them.  I can see the weight that is on his shoulders every time he comes home from work.    It makes him irritable and depressed.

He tells me that he feel like he is in the middle… I am on one side and his family and all of China is on the other.

I cannot even start to understand the feelings that go thru his head, or all the expectations that he has to face.  We are pioneers here,  and I want to tell you it is not easy dealing with all the drama.   I kept telling myself that all the gossip, jabs, laughing, pointing, face and pressures will stop soon, because it is putting a lot of stress on our marriage.

Now I know why most Blasian Couples move to America… because it is not that they cannot make a relationship work.. it is the society pressure that hurts them.

One student told me one day…. a foreigner and a Chinese man marriage never works.  I said why?  He said the cultural differences are too great.  I told him.. no it has nothing to do with cultural differences… it has to do with the other people in China.    They cause the marriages to have problems.

I am here to tell you.. I am not going down like that.  I told my husband.. buck up… we are not going to let them take us down.  We are going to stand strong and united; fighting all the way.   I try to give him the support he needs to overcome all these adversity he is going through.

The only problem is … who is going to support me?

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17 thoughts on “Society Pressure Puts Stress on Marriages

  1. Pingback: Four Social Trends Redefining Modern Chinese Culture. - Littleredbook

  2. jackie

    I am here for you! My husband and I also just passed the 2-year anniversary and no baby. In fact we’re not planning to have a baby at all. So we’ll all stand tall for the lives we choose, not the ones others decide for us.

    Really wish the best for you.

  3. Ning Ning

    Ouch, considering the bias towards baby girls, how many of them are still abandoned in orphanages or “adopted” (sold) as future wives and the quality of Chinese orpanages, that attitude is just cruel. Adults don’t need a trophy-doll, but kids definitely need parents. How about adopting a Southeast-asian kid? I mean if you want to have children, you obviously shouldn’t have one only for the in-laws. My point is that a southasian could “pass” as your biological child so you wouldn’t have the pressure from complete starngers (it’s weird how people need to impress ppl they don’t know and don’t care about, right?)… And the immediate family should accept it because who doesn’t love kids?

    1. thanks for reading and your comments…. My husband and have been talking about adopting later on… if he wants to have a child. But he doesnt seem too worried about it right now…. so we will wait and see.

  4. Randy

    My mom and I were talking the other day about marriage (secretly I think she’s ready for me to get married and have a family, but she won’t say so. She also knows i’m not ready yet even though I’m planning to marry myself in April..Yes MYSELF).

    She was telling me about how a man wouldn’t put up with half the stuff we put up with from them. And that we are the one’s who always have to be strong. I remembered always hearing how women are the backbone of the man and family, and often wondered who or were does our backbone come from? To be a woman is to be strong. To be a black woman we usually have to be stronger. We deal with so much just being who we are. We walk through the door automatically being stereotyped despite us not “fitting the description”.

    On a side note, I had a the strange dream. I often read dreams in opposite. For instance, if they are good it means bad, if they are bad it means worst…. or something like that. clearly not an optimist. But in it was a person professing his love for me and wanting me to be with him and leave saint louis because we both hated it….. and me making excuses why I couldn’t.

    What’s wrong with me????

    I didn’t get the finish the dream it was interrupted with a phone call and usually I don’t redream a dream. I wondered how it turned out. haha….. Irony in the dream… He was Philippino and short haha but I was crazy about him.

    sorry this post is so long… but you’re my big sister and I wanted to share it 🙂

  5. Though the distance between us is great I support you. I can only imagine how hard it is to still give him the encouragement and support he needs and genuinely feel it within yourself. Good luck and remember to talk about your feeling and don’t bottle it up.

  6. Ouch! Hang in there, jo! I’ve also been struggling here in SG to get my hubby a new job so that we won’t need to go back to China. It’s hard, I’m doing the best I can and sometimes I think who’s gonna have my back while I’m all his backup. Exactly the same thought as yours. Anyways, keep up the good spirit, when you’re together you’re stronger than ever!

    XOXO!!

  7. i can’t help but wonder… if you were white instead of black, do you think you’d still get the same amount of stares and pointed fingers? i ask because i heard that the chinese DO NOT like fellow chinese to marry a foreigner, but if they do, the foreigner in question should be an asian… or white. is this true?

    1. this is true… the fact that I am black .. doesnt help the cause…. i am lucky in many ways that I am not very dark.. so they are a little confused about what race I actually am…. and the fact that I have been here for over two years.. i have proved myself to be a good person.. and accepting… but it is still very hard… I hear some of my fellow foreigners get points and stares..also… but… i am more of a site for them…. because I am more rare… it is hard… it is like i went back into time.

  8. Boy, can I relate — I’m 6 years into my marriage w/ John, still no kid, every time I go to China, I get the questions. It’s especially hard if I hear it from my mother-in-law, who I still do love to death, but who has a very traditional expectation.

    Even everyone we meet always asks if we have a child, and if we don’t, when will we? Aiya!

    The whole idea that now is not the right time, that we simply cannot, is hard for many to believe.

    1. well. many things.. but mainly.. that he doesnt own a house, or a car, or that he wasnt good enough to get a chinese girl… and things like that… the baby stuff comes from the family…. although.. many people have asked us over and over .. when we were having children… they just want to see what the child would look like…and say they have a grandchild.. nothing else.

      They problem is this… I cant have any more children…. so there wont be… and if you adopt here.. it is like you not a man because you didnt have your own child… understand? all kind of childish, high school stuff… but a fact of life here.

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