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The Emerging Marriages in China

As China continues to grow and change, its culture is changing rapidly as well. Family life looks very different now than it did just two generations ago. This next generation is seeking new ways of doing life and making it work for them in this new era especially marriage.


There are many new beliefs about marriage surfacing in Chinese society today, and new Mandarin terms are emerging along with these ideas. Here are a few new terms about how relationships are changing in China.


Trial Marriage

试婚 (shì hūn)


In this new type of “marriage,” basically a couple “tries out” what is like to be married without actually getting married. It is living like you are married without the commitment, 承诺(chéngnuò), that would traditionally accompany it.


More and more young couples are beginning to “give marriage a shot” before officially tying the knot. Many individuals value their freedom and independence; hence he or she fear making the wrong choice or getting tied down too soon.


And it is not just young couples whom are beginning to think this is a good idea. Some parents are starting to encourage their children to “try being married to someone” to see if their children can get along well or even in some cases if they are actually able to have children together before getting legally married.


Naked Marriage

裸婚 (luǒ hūn)


A naked marriage is not an actual naked wedding, but a marriage between two people who do not yet have a lot of economic assets. In a naked marriage the couple possessed no ring, no home, and no car. There also may not be a true ceremony or honeymoon.


The rising costs of housing in cities is one cause that is leading to more “naked marriages.” Others would argue though that more young couples choose a naked marriage in order to marry for love rather than money. They place more value on the person than the wealth the individual can bring to the marriage.


Weekend Marriage

周末婚 (zhōu mò hūn)


A weekend marriage is also usually influenced by economical concerns. In this type of marriage the husband and wife live separately, often great distances apart and only see each other as frequently as on the weekend or even as rarely as on holidays.


Usually this type of marriage is due to the husband and wife only being able to find good jobs in different geographical areas. However, there are those who think that the phrase “absence makes the heart grow fonder” is true and this type of marriage actually enriches their relationship.


Flash Marriage

闪婚 (shǎn hūn)


A flash marriage is one that happens very quickly. Similarly, in America, a shotgun wedding is also one that happens very quickly, usually because the couple is pregnant and the families push the couple into marriage..


These conditions are not necessarily true of a Chinese lightning fast marriage. The couple might decide to get married quickly to combine households sooner. Or the couple may wish to marry quickly to appease anxious parents who fear their children are getting past marrying age.


Marriage Markets

人民公园相亲角 (rén mín gōng yuán xiāng qīn jiǎo)


In the midst of all of these new types of marriages, there are still some parents to wish to help arrange a marriage for their child. Shanghai has a particularly famous “blind date park” or “marriage market corner” in one of their public parks. But many other large cities have a similar public park or gathering place where parents exchange facts about children of marriageable age and look for suitors for their offspring.


With people marrying later and later, many parents are worried that their child will never find a suitable spouse and look to these public gather places for possible matches. Many of today’s generation do not particularly appreciate this kind of match-making, but others go along with it in hope of finding the rare gem of a mate that they would otherwise miss.



婚姻 (Hūn yīn)


And of course, even with all of the changes in relationships there are many of what we would think of in the West traditional marriages (婚姻, hūn yīn) that are thriving as well. That is two: one husband, one wife, and in many cases one or more children making up the family. In China, often both parents are working and the grandparents will help to raise any children the couple may have.


These are some new phenomenon about the marriage in China. Change is happening in all walks of life, where the some Western ideals are becoming more popular in the China. We hope you gain some insights of Chinese wedding culture. How is the marriage culture in your country? Please share with us!

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Mandy Liu

Mandy is a Chinese language teacher at Keats Chinese School who has 6 years of experience in teaching Chinese. Founded in 2004, Keats is one of the top Mandarin Chinese Schools in China which offers a variety of Mandarin Chinese language courses in China. With 40% returning students each year, over 5000 students from 100 countries have studied at Keats.

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