Is marriage a romantic or practical thing?
Feb 3, 2008 00:37
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A friend who has recently settled in Sweden taught me a lesson when we chatted on the internet: “In the West, marriage must be a very romantic thing. When a man and a woman live together, they don’t care about the so-called family backgrounds and material conditions. The two who are in love tried their best to savor the sweetness of love. If there is no romance between the lovers, westerners wouldn’t regard it as love.”

Her words reminded me of the situation in China.
In China, the situation is quite different from that in Sweden. Chinese children are repeatedly told by their parents that marriage is a very practical thing. Romance does not belong to marriage. For a long time, there has been a popular saying among Chinese average people: without love you can still get married. “Marry first, then get in love” is popular with the older generation of Chinese people. Their belief is marriage is a very practical (or very realistic) thing. Love can be cultivated gradually after two people get married. In the ancient society, marriage is so practical that a bride (the bride’s parents) only cares about the family background of her fiancé). It is very possible that a bride didn’t see her husband until she entered the bridal chamber.

Now although time has changed, numerous people still viewed marriage as “being realistic and practical”. When a man is introduced to a girl, it is very possible that the first question the girl (more likely, the girls’ parents) asked is whether he has a house”. Certainly, it is a little bit extreme case, but it does happen in modern China where material affluence has been paid too much importance in marriage.

Anyhow, how about the situation in the west? Although I have acquired some knowledge about the western culture, most of which are either from the textbooks or from Hollywood movies that lack enough accountability. I want to hear the voices and the real experiences of the real westerners in the real world. (It sounds a little bit awkward and redundant).

What do you think of the issue? Is marriage a practical thing or a romantic thing?What are your views on “marrying first, then get in love”? Can love be cultivated after two people get married?
Feb 3, 2008 03:17
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This is a difficult question to answer.
In my case I had no parents to seek guidance from in regards to who I should marry.
But I do think that generally people seek partners from the same social class or level. In many cases from the same religious faith
The super rich still decide who their children will marry because the child’s inheritance is on the line.
An example would be the Royal family in Britain. Although painted as a romance in the press it was about the suitability of the Woman to join an exclusive club. She would also be subjected to medical tests to see if she could have children.
On the other hand, a business friend of mine who comes from Pakistan, now living in Australia, once confided in me that one of his greatest fears was that his sons would come home one day with white woman (his word) He thought this would be the greatest calamity to befall his family. He has arranged and chosen and paid for the marriage of all of his sons.
Their first introduction to their future Wife’s was the day before the wedding.( A special concession on his part)
Are these women happy? We will never know as they are now in a strange land and do not, and never will speak English.
I’m not sure if this answers your question.
Feb 3, 2008 16:01
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For me I could never marry if I didnt love the woman and also the reverse, I would never expect a woman to marry me if she didnt love me.
I do understand we have different cultures and different thoughts but I couldnt imagine living the rest of my life with someone I didnt care about.

Feb 3, 2008 19:08
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It would seem to me that by being “realistic and practical”, marriage is all about money and possessions. Guess you can’t fret if you are judged based on you bank accounts alone. LOL! Hey, whatever works for you! Different strokes for different folks.

You can marry two people but you can’t force them to fall in love. As for me, if there is no love, I’d be miserable. In that case, I’d rather stay single. The practicality of marriage alone wouldn’t suffice for me. Love is still the most important element for me to function in it.

In America, the individual decides on who they want to marry, and yes, even the rich people. Family and friends have to respect the individual’s decision. It is not uncommon to hear an heiress marrying a handyman, a gardener or a bodyguard. For many parents, the important thing is their children’s happiness, not the material wealth.
Feb 3, 2008 20:30
GUEST47644 I would marry someone if they were my most favourite man in the world. For me, being very good friends is good enough, because from there love develops quickly. I think that being practical is OK too, but it seems a little too transactional and money-oriented. I don't know. I guess you will find supporters of both methods. I would prefer to marry someone who has enough money so that I don't need to worry about living comfortably, but someone I also really love as well.
Feb 3, 2008 21:20
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Marriage without romance is boring and can't last for long time. But marriage will be impossible if it is only full of romance because you two will be together all your life. Without money to support, how can you live a happy marriage. To have a happy marriage, you must learn to balance it.
Feb 4, 2008 00:45
Being just re-taken the plunge and got married, I can say hand on heart mine is a very romantic marriage, we have so much love for each other it's wonderful.
As long as we work as a partnership it should remain a stable marriage.
Feb 5, 2008 18:33
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Alan!!! (^_^)/ Welcome back and congrats!!! So your wedding went through. Apparently, she didn’t change her mind. Kidding! Hehe... ^_^
Feb 6, 2008 00:58
No, she couldn't wait to get me in there to swap our vows, she really loves me, I told her, nobody has ever shown me as much love for me before, so I was more than happy to respond.
Besides she is very beautiful too, so I'm a very lucky man.
Feb 11, 2008 00:30
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Hey Alan,
Welcome back! How are your wedding and honeymoon? Romantic? I am happy to hear that you seems to have a wonderful wedding. Cherish your love.

To Dodger,
Yes, it is a difficult question to answer and it has confused me a lot. (In your case you had no parents to seek guidance from in regards to who you should marry.) However, in China, children are expected to take their parents' advice into serious consideration. The generation of my parents still holds the belief that marriage is more of practice than romance. Without strong affection, two people can still get married because love can be cultivated gradually. Romance exists only before marriage. I have been told many times about this belief by many experienced married predecessors. I am baffled.

Wish you all a Happy Spring Festival and a honeysweet life in 2008!
Feb 11, 2008 12:41
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Psychologists tell us that romance is a real thing - ie while it lasts we have a different hormonal balance. Unfortunately this only lasts for 2 or 3 years - after that we need something much stronger. Soooooo, 3 year marriages?????? (only joking).
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