“Before marriage, you’ll have a lot of pressure”

In August 2013 I start going to the gym. When I have my first training, my trainer, a guy probably not much older than me, asks me:

“Are you married?”
He’s fast to go on: “In your culture that question would probably be inappropriate for me to ask, wouldn’t it?”
I: “Well, depending on the situation I guess it could imply more than just normal interest in a person. To answer your question, I am married.”
He: “Did you marry only recently?”
I: “I did, I got married only 2 months ago.”
He: “In China, we ask this question so we know if someone has a lot of pressure or not. Before marriage, you’ll have a lot of pressure. Now that you’re married, I assume that you don’t have a lot of pressure.”

I don’t quite understand this strain of thought, but we change the subject and I don’t ask what he means by that.

Later that evening, I ask my husband if it is true that pressure before marriage is supposed to be more than after marriage.

Y: “It is, for women. There’s a lot of pressure on women to find a good husband. Once they’ve found a good husband, the pressure is taken off them. For guys, it’s the other way around. At least in China.”
I: “But isn’t the pressure before marriage huge for guys too? Aren’t most Chinese guys supposed to buy a car and an apartment before they get married? And what about the pressure of getting kids? Wouldn’t that be more after having gotten married?”
Y: “Maybe. But buying a house is not the problem per se, paying back the mortgage is what will make your life hard.”

What do you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic.

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8 thoughts on ““Before marriage, you’ll have a lot of pressure”

  1. I can see it in my family – my husband’s sister is just one month younger than me (we’re both 22) but whole family keeps telling her she’s getting old and soon will be a ‘leftover’ with a no chance of good husband. on the other side there’s my husband’s cousin – he wants to marry a girl, but his family cannot afford a first payment for the flat so now he gets little bit crazy and pressures his parents to sell their flat and give him money to pay for at least first payment. not to mention girl pressures him with ‘I’m getting old too’. I’m so glad I didn’t need to face that kind of problems by myself 🙂

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  2. Conversations with natives can say so much about another culture. This presure you descrive is interesting to me because in Spain (and I guess any western country) we dont’ have this preassure other than being jobless for too long.

    In Chinese culture I see really practical and convenient ideas (get bargains, save money, help relatives,…) but also some pain in the ass issues like this preassure you say. At least for me, I try not to care too much on things that are not really a need (car, marriage, etc).

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    • I didn’t get this kind of pressure either, but there are some parents in Austria that will give you pressure if you haven’t had a bf/gf at a certain age. Some families might also ask when you’re getting married and are planning to have kids, but only if you’ve already been together with your bf/gf for a certain amount of time (mostly a few years I guess).

      I can imagine that getting too much outside pressure might lead to making decisions that you will regret later because you did it just for somebody else’s sake.

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  3. I heard similar things very often by Chinese friends. Several of my wife’s friends are approaching 30 or are over 30 and still not married or still don’t have kids, they worry alot because they feel like leftovers. But then there are also exceptions to the rules who do not give a damn or at least don’t show the pressure they are in

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  4. Because the man asking you is a trainer, my first thought was that an unmarried woman would have pressure to lose weight and be fit so she could find a man. Probably being overweight is not as common in China as it is here in the United States where there’s so much obesity and even those who are not overweight worry about it.

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    • Being overweight is getting a more and more common sight here too. You see it less in the countryside and smaller cities, but in cities like Shenzhen you’ll be surprised how many people are actually overweight (and I’m not sure there’s a big difference between kids who are overweight here and kids who are overweight in the US). But then, Guangdong is one or the province in China (can’t remember what the article I read said exactly) with the highest ratio of obese people. Young women here are worried about gaining too much weight too, although traditionally it’s seen as good luck if your wife or child is chubby.

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