China

'If you're happy': Chill Chinese parents tell daughter to marry for love, not them

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A Chinese couple who went against the grain by not forcing their 34-year-old daughter to marry have been praised in China, where the cultural norm is to push children into marriage as soon as possible.

The unnamed daughter, from Shanghai, eastern China, said she was surprised when her parents told her they hoped she could live the life she wanted, instead of being pushed into an arranged or loveless marriage, Sina News reported this week.

The woman said she had many friends who were under intense pressure to marry by demanding parents, or had already done so. She said she found this hard to relate to as she has never experienced this with her parents.

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As a result, she decided to ask her parents why they were so different from most other parents on the subject.

“Why don’t you push me to marry?” the woman asked her father.

The father replied: “Why do I have to do that?”

She burst into laughter, and said that she is getting older.

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However, her father said that as long as she lives the life she wants, it will all be fine.

He continued: “What good is pushing you? Would a forced marriage make you happy?”

She then asked her mother the same question.

“You enjoy your life, right? If you are happy and aware of what you are doing, that’s no problem. I will never impose pressure,” her mother said.

The attitude of her parents has been praised on mainland social media, with many saying the couple have set a good example by not trying to force their daughter to get married just for the sake of it.

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One person commented: “The parents are very open-minded, and the family atmosphere is really harmonious. I think the daughter will have a good parenting style.”

Another said: “I support the parents. What would be the point if married life was worse than single life.”

In mainland China, pressuring young people to get married, and in some cases, forcing them to, remains a dominant cultural norm.

In May this year, a father from Hebei province in northern China, without his son’s knowledge, went to a local matchmaker for help. He offered nearly 20 properties as wedding gifts hoping they would lure a wife for his son.

In an official survey released in 2016, the data showed in that year the provinces of Henan, Sichuan and Shandong were the worst offenders when it came to parents forcing their children into marriage.

This article was first published in South China Morning Post.

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