Pressure and Marriage

Recently I read this very interesting article on BBC magazine:

China's 'leftover women', unmarried at 27


The story wrote that women above the age of 27 will be labelled as "leftover" in China. In more layman terminology, it is called "nobody wants" or 没人要. The phenomenon is consistent with my observations during my trips in China. I learned over there that people normally marry young, by the age of 25 or even younger. Local customs and practices make it easier for the couples to get married, primarily because the parents will pay for the expenses pertaining to the ceremony, pertaining to the housing and even pertaining to the car. 

One side of the story is that people will then be pressurised to marry early, at the expense of thinking and working thru their relationship and building the foundation of marriage. This is after all not the days of their forefathers where marriages are arranged and fixed. In those cases, it gets easier because the couples knew from the start that they have no choice and hence are most likely determined to make things work. For the couples today, in an environment where decisions were made solely by the couples based on "free love," it gets dangerous for any couple to get married hastily without building the foundation since most of them might just end up marrying in the spur of the moment. 

Pastorally speaking, I observed that this has created a lot of problematic marriages in China, at least for those parts which I visit. I have seen married couples divorcing and having bad relationship with one another. Some are even leaders in their churches. 

Another problem mentioned in the article is not unheard of in Singapore as well. This is an observation quoted in the article:
It continues: "These girls hope to further their education in order to increase their competitiveness. The tragedy is, they don't realise that as women age, they are worth less and less. So by the time they get their MA or PhD, they are already old - like yellowed pearls."
BBC quoted this from the website of the All-China Federation of Women and as much discriminating as it sounds, it is true that women who are focused on their careers or educations are normally disadvantaged when it comes to finding the right one. Perhaps it is because of their education that they are more careful in choosing the right guy, and perhaps it is because of their education that they turn off the guys. This situation happens in Singapore too, although I must say that Singaporean guys, from my observation, are seldom turned off by women smarter or more educated than them.

There is a dilemma here, I suppose. In the first place, I know that most girls, from my own social circle, want to get married to the right guy. But they sabotaged their own effort with their own actions and caused guys to become disinterested. But on the other hand, I am in favor of girls getting educated so that they are more aware of the tricks and patterns that a guy can come out with in their relationships, thus allowing them to make wiser decisions pertaining to marriage. In the context of parenting, this is important because I think it would be unfair to their future children if they enter into a marriage without wisdom and understanding, as their future children are likely to grow up in a broken environment.

I suppose this is one question that our society will continue to ask and will continue to explore how can we help couples to build healthier families and relationships.

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