“How come you married so young?”

This is part 1 of 3 of a conversation I had with L, a 25-year-old woman working at a massage parlour. Stay tuned for part 2 (“Did you come here with your family?”) and part 3 (“Do people in Austria have their eyes made bigger?”).

One day in August 2013 I go to get a massage. It’s the same place I’ve been to before and have spent talking to a 17-year old girl who not only made for an interesting conversation-partner, but is also teaching the other girls there. If you do this kind of job, there’s one backdrop though which is having to use your bare hands all of the time. When I go there this time, the 17-year old girl leads me upstairs and tells me:

“I can’t do massages anymore.”
I: “Because you’re allergic?”
She: “Exactly. But don’t worry, we assigned another girl who does her job really well.”

The girl is a woman one year younger than me who’s originally from Guangxi. After we talk about this and that, she asks me:

“Are you married?”
I: “Yes. I married 2 months ago.”
She: “How come you married so young?”
I: “I never thought I would marry that young actually. It took me by surprise. But 25 isn’t that young for marrying in China, is it?”
She: “No, you’re right. I still think it’s really young. How did you meet?”
I: “We were sitting right next to each other at work.”
She: “So he saw you, thought you’re beautiful and wanted to marry you?”
I: “Huh. I don’t think this is the main reason. We got along really well, love to joke with each other and have millions of topics to talk about with each other. Do you have a boyfriend?”
She: “I do. He’s from Hubei province.”
I: “So you’re not married yet, are you?”
She: “No, I’m not. We haven’t been together for that long yet.”
I: “How long have you been together?”
She: “About a year.”
I: “That’s already longer than me and my husband have been together.”
She: “So you married really fast!”
I: “We did.”

Do you think marrying at 25 is young? I’d love to read your comments.

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20 thoughts on ““How come you married so young?”

  1. I don’t think 25 is young. We got ourselves married with 25 and we had been together already 2 years prior to that. Actually, most of my friends get married around that age 🙂


      • There are ofcourse also some difference. None of my friends in North Germany is thus far married but nearly all them in East Germany and then probably half of my friends in Finland are married. In China I only know a few ones but by the time they are around 25/26 they are either married or still single…
        It all depends on the area you grow up in I would say, as in East Germany so many young people get married even shortly after high school wheras in “Western” Germany it takes years upon years


  2. I married very young. 23 years old. My husband and I have been together for a year. 25 is young ’cause most of the people I know are still in college and would like to settle down once they have the hang of things with their career. It’s a personal choice that differs from person to person. I never thought I would marry so young but when you find the right person, it all ties in together and it somehow makes sense.


  3. We got married at 21, but we’d known each other a lot longer. Twenty-five seems young because many couples don’t meet until then or later. For me it’s not that young but you guys were certainly fast! On the other hand, I do recognise the feeling of knowing all you need to know within a short period of time.


  4. I wouldn’t want to get married younger than 25, nor would I want to get married after knowing someone for less than a couple of years, but it’s really dependant on the situation and the person.

    You could get married after 5 years when you’d been dating since you were 14 or dating for 5 months at the age of 45. It just depends on how it feels for the people involved. 🙂

    I feel very sorry for one of my friends who feels really pressurised to get a boyfriend and get married when she is only 28…then I have another friend who is 22 and already thinks she has failed life by not having a boyfriend yet <_<


    • In Austria if you haven’t had a boyfriend at the age of 22 I guess you’d feel a lot of pressure from society too, maybe not directly, but more indirectly (eg. being the one left out when people talk about relationships). In China it wouldn’t be much of a concern to most people if they haven’t had a boyfriend at the age of 22, I think, but once a woman reaches the age of 27 or 28 and isn’t married, she definitely gets a lot of pressure from her family (and from society too).


  5. I know that China has become a very modern country, that I have always thought that people in China get married rather young (wasn’t there a time in China when twenty years old single woman is considered as an “old bachelorette”?).

    I guess it means that as a Hua Jiao (a Chinese person living out of China), I have no clue at all about life in China.

    It is kind of ironic considering my friends think that I am the person who knows most Chinese traditions.
    Translation: I am the most traditional (or should I say old-fashioned) person they know.


    • Thanks for your comment! More than anything else, China is a multifaceted country, so what might be true for this one woman is not necessarily true for others. In big cities, people often marry later and marriage age is not that different from Western countries. But there are always exceptions to the rule.


      • I get what you said. 😀
        I live in a province where I can experience both Modernity and traditions.

        Sometimes I feel like I live in a time machine!
        We got people who thinks career is more important and virginity means nothing.
        We also got some brides who were sent back to their parents because they were somehow found out to be non-virgins.

        Weird, eh? 😀


  6. I am surprised about her responses. I haven’t met too many Chinese people who think 25 is too young or that been together for 1 year is not long enough! A part of me believes that if you and your partner agree on the big picture stuff and you have an attraction then why delay the evitable….However, I have probably felt this way twice in my life and as quickly as we were in “love”, as quickly it was over. I know why it happened but what I often struggle with, how feelings can sometimes change so quickly. I guess then the reality is, it wasn’t really love but of course this is not always easy to accept. I am in my 30’s now and so I think my outlook is certainly different to that of my younger self.


    • Yes, especially considering the fact that she’s from a smaller city in China where people often marry much younger than in the bigger cities. Actually I found her attitude quite admirable in a society where marriage is often pressured upon children by their parents who are afraid that their child won’t find a partner once he or she is above a certain age. But maybe you’re right and she just hasn’t found the right person yet.
      Some things can’t be forced and although a change in feelings can be quite confusing to say the least, maybe it just wasn’t supposed to be and you’ll know it wasn’t once you meet the right person.


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