Asian men often wonder: Do less divorces in Asia mean more dedication and happier marriages?

Asian men have expressed concern when it comes to white women and the higher divorce rates often found in the westernized counties. The main concern with the higher divorce rates is that it brings into question the dedication that western women would have in marriage and relationships. For traditional Asian cultures the idea of divorce is something that is still not favored, just as it was not favored in westernized cultures many years ago. Today that mentality still exists in the west, somewhat, but there are allowances for situations and persons; as the west is after all an individualistic based society.

I have always believed that family is most important. I was raised that way just like much of Asia (I guess), but I also was raised to marry for love, and happiness. I was raised to understand that your partner should treat you with respect, but that respect was not just about providing financial stability or for status.  So like many people in the west, this mentality would naturally lead us to leave a relationship that would not provide emotional stability. On the flip side, I have watched many Asian couples and noticed that the husbands and wives are often separate, at home they are off around the house doing separate activities, and you just rarely ever see them spend quality time talking, sharing, or expressing affection. So I wondered then if the function of marriage is what’s still different between cultures?

If women in the west were simply satisfied with a husband who provided money and a comfortable home for her children, she would also not seek to separate, no matter how much an emotional connection lacks between them. But a westernized woman does not see a relationship that lacks communication, passion, love and respect as a stable environment, for herself and for her children. Perhaps some women and men in Asia still see the function of marriage as a way to provide for material things, and they are willing to put up with the lack of affection, love, and expression. Perhaps here are the reasons why we see more separations in the west, because we just think differently about what marriage should be.

Now I can’t say this is factually true, because I have no data to prove it. I can’t say this is false because I have made these observations myself and have talked to many Asian men about it. But I think the real point is that regardless of the rate of divorces in any country, we can not say that people are happier when they don’t separate. Much of Asia is quite modern and westernized, and our generation may really agree on what marriage should be as compared to previous generations. Overall though, I don’t think Asian men who are interested in westernized women need to worry. If she is happy, why would she ever want to leave you? So to all the Asian men who worry about western women being dedicated to you, don’t be. With your dedicated, respectful, communicative, and loving nature you will always be sure to please her.

2 Responses to Asian men often wonder: Do less divorces in Asia mean more dedication and happier marriages?

  1. Tara says:

    I really don’t think Asian men need to be so concerned about divorce when it comes to marrying a western woman. The reason I say this is because, in my experience at least, it is generally a certain kind of western woman that is attracted to Asian men. I certainly can’t speak for all Asian-inclined women, but I have several friends that are married to/dating/attracted to Asian men, and they generally share some of the same attributes. They are educated and responsible, and therefore are attracted to the same when looking for a mate. They are open-minded (interested in foreign cultures, support progressive causes) but rather conservative in their own personal behavior. They care more about how a man spends his money than the size of his bank account. They are slightly nerdy, but sweet (they fit the humanitarian female archetype). In other words, they are the “marriage material” type, not the kind of ladies that go out clubbing and having one night stands on a regular basis. They don’t take their relationships lightly and would only consider divorce as a last resort. They would be the most dedicated wives the west has to offer.

    As far as a low divorce rate indicating happy marriage, I would say that’s probably not the case. I’ve been living in Beijing for 5 years teaching English, and I can say I’ve seen a lot of unhappy marriages that are still legally intact due to familial and/or societal pressures. The majority of businessmen I’ve tutored have someone on the side and they are quite open about it. Infidelity seems to be tacitly accepted as long as the wife and children receive sufficient material support. This isn’t exactly a recipe for a fulfilling marriage from a western perspective.

    I mostly teach university students, so talk about marriage comes up quite often. It seems students feel a great deal of pressure to marry relatively early (especially the girls) and to marry someone their parents approve of. When I ask about what they look for in a marriage partner, responses tend to focus on the material or physical rather than personality traits or overall compatibility. It’s relatively formulaic and generally not a successful strategy, which a friend of mine can attest to. She teaches English at a relatively expensive nursery school in Beijing and knows the mothers of many of her students are deeply unhappy. She’s also in a serious relationship with a Chinese man from the countryside who was pressured into a disastrous semi-arranged marriage (which ended in divorce) at the age of 24 since he was getting “too old”.

    I also have personal experience with the formulaic approach to relationships here. A Chinese friend once set me up on a blind date with a guy she thought was “perfect” for me. The reasons she thought he was perfect: he was taller than me, he was older than me, he owned a car. Needless to say, the whole thing was a disaster, and she thought I was crazy when I didn’t want a second date. I tried to explain I would rather have a guy I could connect with, even if it meant he only had a bike and not a car. That was just incomprehensible to her.

    I’m not sure about the rest of Asia, but the divorce rate in China, particularly the urban areas, is rising at a disturbing rate. The divorce rate rose over 10% in 2009 alone I think in time it may even approach the western divorce rates. The generation currently of marriageable age is the first batch of only-children who are products of the one-child policy. Their relationships seems to exist in a kind of limbo between traditional mores/parental influence and western ideals/individualism. They seem to let their parents make a lot of decisions about their future spouse, but the pressures against divorce are disintegrating at the same time. The financial pressures of a couple providing for four aging parents, themselves, and their child coupled with a rapidly rising cost of living will undoubtedly add stress to their relationships. I really don’t envy them. Even the Chinese government seems to be anticipating a sharp rise in the divorce rate. It is considering revising the current divorce laws to exclude pre-marital assets from being considered as joint property in divorce proceedings, which is significant considering a lot of women here won’t consider a man marriageable unless he owns a house and/or car.

    • Steve says:

      That’s true Tara. Speaking from a Korean point of view divorces in South Korea is just as high as it is in Western culture.

      Korean girls are marrying much later than traditionally they would have and divorces are now common place in SK – believe it or not.

      Whereas many years ago Korean women married for children and financial reasons this is definitely not the case now. Koreans don’t even seem to bat an eyelid these days to divorce and marrying older or even interracial relationships.

      South Korea is probably the most westernised country in Asia and a lot of the culture and all the nuances of western culture can be seem on our TV shows and dramas.

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