Chinese girls who are on the quest for their Mr. Right are often accused of being too materialistic (or simply – “gold-diggers”). This is an interesting topic which in the future I’d like to explore more in depth. But right now I want to take a look at some of my friends many of whom are already married (ding, ding – this is a hint to my boyfriend who will proofread the post before I publish it :-) ) and see how money issue influences their relationships.
My relative Caicai whose story was described in one of the previous posts didn’t have money even for a wedding. She and her husband have the dreams of better future and so far they are really happy.
Yang is my friend from primary school. She began dating her future husband in university. At the time when they married they had a small business (related to toll highways). It wasn’t very profitable at the beginning but slowly and steadily it grew and now they are expanding. There is no doubt that they are a very happy family. And among all the couples I know they are the only one who plan to have a second baby.
Lin is my other long-term friend. Both she and her husband came to Chongqing from Sichuan. He made few attempts to run his own business but every time failed. Since his income wasn’t very stable the family sometimes had to rely on Lin’s salary. But the last attempt had a better outcome. Her husband signed few deals with big clients and in a very short time made a good profit. Unfortunately, this change of luck was accompanied by a worsening of their relationship: Lin and her husband started quarreling and fighting and some time ago their marriage was at the brink of divorce.
Some readers know already the story of Ling and her jealous husband. What I haven’t mentioned is that for a long time she was the main bread-winner of the family. And only recently her husband’s salary became bigger. I won’t repeat what kind of bad treatment she receives from him now.
My ex-roommate Xiao Mi is currently single. Well, she has a boyfriend but is not ready to marry him for a very simple reason: he doesn’t have a house.
My other friend from middle school Yan has even higher expectations for her future husband. She is a very beautiful girl and has a successful career in real estate field. She always had many pursuers and currently has a boyfriend who seems to answer all of her strict requirements. They plan to marry soon.
What are my conclusions? Usually I try to be objective and backup my statements by citing some researches or other articles. But today I will express my personal – very subjective - opinion, and please, feel free to disagree with it. And also I call to my readers not to take it too seriously and not to forget their sense of humor.
First of all, it seems that both poor and rich couples can have a happy family life. The same applies to a possibility of having an unhappy life. Looking at the cases of my friends I see that the biggest threat of financial character to the happiness of family is a quick change of income for better (or for worse). The couple’s stability is challenged by unexpectedly bad or good situation and not always they handle it properly.
Reading different articles in internet about love and family I often encountered analogies from the world of economics. Such terms as “marriage market” or “love market” are quite common. Marriage market, for example, refers to dynamics of demand and supply when each person is simultaneously the buyer and the seller. Based on his/her age, level of education, physical attractiveness and so on everyone has a price tag of X units. Naturally, he/she looks for a match with a similar price. In this perspective the expression “wow, he’s quite a catch” can be understood almost literally.
By the way, it seems that Chinese girls have a short expiry date. If yet unmarried, from the age of late twenties, they are transferred to a cheaper category with a special label “sheng nu” (leftovers).
The rules of marriage market can explain why sudden changes of family’s financial background have a negative impact on relationship. If dating is a kind of market research – then marriage itself is a contract. This contract is “signed” between two parties and each of them brings in his/her merits and drawbacks in exchange for the partner’s qualities. Financial situation is one of such merits and an integral part of the deal. Here partners take in account not only the current level of income but also the factors that can predict the perspectives of growth (spouse’s capabilities, education, job).
But suddenly the situation changes to a bigger extent than expected. For example, husband begins to earn much more. Wow! Now he feels that he is giving more and the deal is not quite fair, he can change his current wife for a newer and more shiny model.
Here I want to quote the words of Felix Dennis – a rich British entrepreneur:
People who grow rich almost always improve their sex life. More people want to have sex with them. That’s just the way human beings work. Money is power. Power is an aphrodisiac. Money did not make me happy. But it definitely improved my sex life.
In this light the words of marriage vows “I promise to be true to you in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health” is a kind of insurance (which, however, is not easy to cash in when the time comes).
All this sounds quite pessimistic. You may wonder if I really think that everything revolves around money. No, I don’t think so and hope that I am not an exception :-) . As I stated before – don’t take this post very seriously – consider it as a joke (but joke which has a little bit of truth to it…) Honestly speaking I think that the most important factor of happy family life is an ability to communicate and talk together about anything (including such sensitive topic as money).
Marriage market researcher, Crystal Tao