Editor's Note: Attitudes towards mixed marriages in China are changing as interracial relationships are becoming more common. According to the Chinese Ministry of Civil Affairs, 53,000 Chinese married foreigners in 2012. In 1978, none. At a time when any displays of public affection were taboo and many marriages were arranged, the thought of marrying a foreigner was unthinkable. China opening up set off an industrial revolution as well as a sexual revolution, and today young men and women have more authority in choosing a partner, Chinese or not. The article gives four stories of Chinese-American marriages.
When it comes to marriage between Chinese and Americans, there is always a lot talk about. I lived abroad for several years in the United States, and worked in many U.S. cities, both large and small. No matter if I lived in a rural area or a bustling city, I always met women from China married to Americans. Some relationships were good, some were bad. There was both sadness and joy. Each story was unique, like one of the four seasons:
Spring was a girl from Southern China. She was tall and beautiful. In the early 1990s, she graduated from high school and started working as a waitress in a hotel after failing her college entrance exam. One day, an American professor visiting China to give a lecture dined at her hotel. Even though Spring only knew a few words of English, the professor later became her husband.
Back then, marrying a foreigner was not as common in China. It was difficult for Spring’s parents to accept her new husband, who was also 20 years older than her. However, Spring was very strong-minded. She ignored pressures from her family, and decided to move to the United States.
The second year after Spring moved to the United States, she gave birth to a lovely daughter. In her early 20s, far from home in a foreign country, Spring became a full-time mother. When her daughter was five years old, Spring returned to school, eventually receiving a masters in economics in the United States.
After graduation, Spring found a teaching position at a university. Her and her husband live a typical enjoyable American middle-class life. Once a failed university applicant in China, now a teacher in the United States, Spring’s family finally accepted her daughter’s new life and her foreign husband.
I first met Summer at a medical examination office with her husband as part of her application for an American green card. Summer was also from Southern China. She was not a tall girl, but she was dignified looking. Summer’s husband was a government official. He was quite big, and seemed a bit dull in character.
Summer and her husband met at their local church. Their marriage was very harmonious. Summer loves to chat and makes friends, so we kept in touch. Shortly after she received her green card, Summer was diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer during a routine physical examination. She was less than 30 years old and hoped to have children with her husband.
After Summer was diagnosed, she had to quit her job and stay home to rest. Her husband cared for her, and picked up all her medicine. She had surgery and then began chemotherapy. During chemotherapy, under the guidance of her doctor, Summer gave birth to a beautiful little boy. Summer is now cancer-free and her husband loves her more than ever. Despite her cancer, Summer is a very lucky woman.
Autumn was from Northwest China, and had a generous personality. Less than a year after marrying her ex-husband, Autumn began having an affair with another man. She was also pregnant at the time. Her husband insisted on a divorce, and she had to give up her unborn child.
Autumn struggled to live in China for two years after her divorce. She soon found a job in the United States. Two years later, she started to think about getting remarried. She knew a number of Chinese men in the United States but did not want to marry any of them.
Frustrated, Autumn considered adopting a child and raising her as a single mother. That fall, she met her future American husband while in a Chinese import supermarket. The two were married a year later.
Autumn’s husband loves Chinese culture and can speak Mandarin. He lives a very frugal life, and his home actually looks more like a Chinese person’s home than an American. Autumn’s only regret is that her husband does not have a steady job.
Autumn’s low-wage work is the main source of income for their family. She feels a great deal of pressure because of this. In addition, Autumn wants to have children, but after being married a few years, the couple found out they could not have children. Now Autumn must support her husband and regrets never having a child.
Winter is a proud girl from China’s countryside. She graduated university, and soon married her bosses’ American son. Her daughter was born two years later, and her husband left for the United States to further his studies.
Winter worked in the countryside while raising her child along for a year. After a year, she joyfully decided to fly herself and her child to the United States to join her husband. However, when she got off the plane, her husband did not come to the airport to pick her up. It was something out of a TV soap opera!
Her husband had met another woman while in America, and had planned on divorcing Winter before she even arrived in the United States. Winter faced a dilemma, wanting to keep her American green card. With the help of a local Chinese church, she quickly met another American man, a blue-collar worker, and married him. She doesn’t like to talk about her relationship history with others.
Now, Winter is stuck in an unhappy marriage. She and her American husband have no feelings towards each other. However, Winter had stayed with her husband to keep her green card. Only those very close to the couple know this.
Source: Wenxue City
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Keywords: Chinese American marriage interracial marriage China
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Dec 24, 2015 23:43 Report Abuse
My wife and I are a mixed couple, her being Chinese and me American and we just celebrated our 19th wedding anniversary yesterday so I suppose we are an example in the success column so far anyway. I can't say it's all been easy but it never is. Cultural differences have played a difficult role and still do but we are both accepting of each other's differences and always try to understand the origins and reasons behind those differences. Having lived in China now 17+ years myself after we met and married in the US also helps I suppose at least on my end. Good luck to anyone planning a mixed marriage!
Oct 25, 2015 18:31 Report Abuse
There is likely some truth in that, but I see nothing wrong with a man or woman trying to better themselves, or for that matter, wanting to live in the US. I do, however, feel that marriage should be about more than personal advancement at the expense of causing serious discomfort all around.
Oct 29, 2015 20:06 Report Abuse
This is not a bad article but a bit incomplete. Marriage is not about the beautiful wedding day. A successful marriage only reaches the "successful" category when both partners reach their final days as old people, together and are still very much in love. This is very achievable but it takes effort. Whenever someone analyzes cross cultural relationships, it is important to explain what the pros and cons are in a constructive way so as to build confidence and teach the proper values meant to build a stable family. In my opinion, cross cultural marriages are a beautiful thing and with a little bit of education, the proof will always be there for all to see. For example, it takes at least one of the partners to be willing to educate, communicate with, teach, and accept the faults of the other. In any relationship, the infatuation stage usually lasts about 6 months and then love will be truly tested. It is at this time when the two will decide how much each mean to each other, although sometimes it is much faster or easier if one or both partners have gained experience to understand what it takes to make it work. It takes both partners to be willing to do whatever it takes for the future. They must have a mutual appreciation of what each other is and have an honest feeling that they will be better with than without each other, through old age. Each must look into the eyes of the other and see the future, how each will look as an old person, and be willing to do whatever it takes to get to that stage. Love and lasting relationships, in any culture, country, and language, requires very basic human qualities such as caring for each other, caressing each other, making an effort to be spontaneous and exciting even if the finances are tight just to keep it interesting, and never "throw away a broken thing when it can be fixed". I like how this article mentions Autumn as having a "generous" personality, given that she had an affair to begin with, lol. Another thing of interest, the two most successful girls were from "South China". The one who was having affairs and then "rebounded" was from the "North West". The one who was most unhappy was from the "countryside". In fact, I would prefer this website to either be more direct with the information, using better details, or please do not stereotype various groups of people. In my experience, having been all over China for over 10 years, locals always say that we expats have bad taste in their country's women and by listing girls by area will definitely do little to stop this perception. I have met some very sweet countryside girls with excellent patience and willingness to make it work. I have met some arrogant city girls who demand the world from you simply because their eyes are wide open to the spoils of mankind. South Chinese or North Chinese, I have met beautiful girls all over and I have met those who are gold diggers and green card leeches and I have met those who simply appreciate life and want to share it with someone who values togetherness. In general, Chinese women make excellent life partners but it takes time to know them, their culture, and helps to say some heartfelt words in Chinese so as to win over the parents as well as help solve issues when they arise, and they will. If you work hard and always keep a smile and sincere face, almost anything can be overcome. I truly appreciate one thing about the first girl and that is she bucked the trend of the parental pressure to win over the parents. This is not common in China but should be because with the impending gender imbalance, parents need to stop looking for princes and start looking for honesty, loyalty, and kindness. The second also shows a quality I believe is vital in love, that is to accept someone at their worst. Cancer is no joke and many lives are hurt by it. Those who truly love their spouses will never care about a disease while those who look at the numbers will run and adandon, condemning someone to a most certain death. Love is so strong that it can actually help cure because it does so much good for the body. Anyway, I wish all the above mentioned to be successful and anyone else in this situation to be successful as well.
Oct 20, 2015 09:51 Report Abuse
For some reason, when I sent it, it came out like this. I don't know why. Anyway, this is something that you could have written in personal message, don't you think? A bit rude. If you cannot read, don't. If you want to read, don't complain. We are in a society afterall, there are certain behaviors that we should adhere to in public, I'd like to think.
Oct 21, 2015 11:04 Report Abuse
Ya, I see that the software doenst allow paragraphs. As for PMing you about it, are you serious? I made a quick simple comment about it, a constructive criticism of sorts and you get all "We are in a society afterall, there are certain behaviors that we should adhere to in public, I'd like to think." about it. Geez, man quit being so sensitive, you are acting like a girl...em, maybe you are a girl, or non-hetereosexual. Lastly, maybe you should change your avatar...the Guy Fawkes certainly doenst suit your persona. Cheers.
Oct 25, 2015 09:14 Report Abuse
Well, I don't make a habit of giving "constructive criticism" to others because this is an international website and one person's treasure is another's trash, meaning that how you think you might be doing one person a favor is not necessarily going to be how it is interpreted. You might be thinking that you did me a great thing by saying this to me in front of all to see but I, myself, and perhaps others who have faced this in the past, would rather be told this in private. The fact that you defend yourself at least shows me that you lack the ability to put yourself into other's shoes and this makes things seem awkward, at least on my side. You are free to do as you see fit, of course, but remember that whatever action you take, you will get a reaction even if the reaction is inaction, meaning you have to be ready for whatever is coming. I didn't appreciate this comment because as you have clearly found out, it is not my fault and as a writer and member of this website for some time now, I am not some newb without knowledge of how things work. You made a comment and I gave a reply. It is not related to this particular topic, but I do not give you the right to analyze me so kindly find someone else to give your constructive criticism to because I do not welcome it and I am proudly straightly married to a local, which in a way makes me qualified to comment on this particular subject with fair detail, making my reply here now relevant to the topic. Oh yes, I like the photo and it stays. Now let us stick to this topic of Love Lost, and Found. Thank you kindly, enough said.
Oct 25, 2015 15:57 Report Abuse
Well, thank you for your character labels and for making judgements. If it makes you feel better to say this, I am glad to give you the reason to outlet onto me. I would prefer we all have some respect for each other but I will not expect it simply because each of us has different values. Enjoy and peace be unto you. -The Straight Pretentious Narcissist.
Oct 27, 2015 11:24 Report Abuse
About Me "To the person who sends me 1 thumbs down when the rest send me thumbs up, happy? Does it make you thrilled to put others down? Don't have anything better to do than to do something negative? Maybe you were not loved as a kid, or maybe your life is hard. Ok, well if it makes you happy.........". -The Final Say. Cant take criticism whatsoever. Even your name speaks volumes. I rest my case.
Oct 28, 2015 12:21 Report Abuse
Yeah, I get my jollies trolling the net for people that fit your profile so I can torment them. My life is that boring. btw, that was all sarcasm if you havent figured it out yet. But hey, ill let you have the final say...Mr. Final Say since you are that darn important. [that means i wont be replying just in case it went over your head]. Adieu.
Oct 30, 2015 07:34 Report Abuse
Hi, where are you come from, American? My English is no very well. Please can you simple? Everything it need the tiranslator for my to do, except this one. You can don't be so naughty dear kind sir. We all the firends. (I give it myself one thumbs down because my English is no, I know).
Oct 31, 2015 09:25 Report Abuse
Moral of the story. Just because someone is not Chinese, doesn't make them perfect. Quick decisions often lead to lastly regrets. Anyone interested in a relationship need to deeply connect/learn about each other before sharing a life. Open communication is the key to a lasting love and respect for your partners.
Oct 20, 2015 08:30 Report Abuse