Tuesday, December 19, 2006

My Chinese wife

My wife will be returning to the US next week after having spent a month in China helping her mother recover from a stroke. She is a gem of a woman and a perfect wife and I am counting the days until her return.

Some people ask me why I married a Chinese woman. There are tremendous barriers just between the sexes, much less between two very different cultures without a common language. My wife speaks good basic English, but we have much difficulty communicating complex ideas. And sometimes the cultural viewpoints are so divergent that we cannot make sense of each others view points at all.

There are 1.3 billion Chinese living in the same geographic area as the US and the way they have learned to deal with that abundance of people is sometimes unique and strange to us. In China, you focus on yourself and family first. For example, getting on a bus means pushing your way past the elderly or pregnant or children, otherwise you never will get on. I think the Chinese (I'm generalizing here and don't mean to offend the many kindhearted strangers that have helped me) find the degree to which we our are "brothers keeper" a strange concept (My wife doesn't understand American generosity towards strangers.). On the other hand, the Chinese are fierce defenders of their immediate family. Their loyalty to family is something that is quite rare in the US.

My wife grew up during the Cultural Revolution. The stories she tells of her childhood are of extreme poverty that I can imagine as much worse than those in the US experienced even during the Depression era. She is also deeply affected by many events where outspoken critics of Mao were executed. Her parents lived their entire lives in a home with no indoor plumbing and no heat (at the same latitude as Buffalo, NY), until she purchased them a home 2 years ago.

After graduating from college she moved 1000 miles from home to the Northwest Tibetan plateau where she married, only to have her husband abandon her after her daughter was born. She sacrificed her own food to feed her baby, studied to earn an accounting certificate and eventually was able to find a job in the southern most Chinese province. For several years she was separated from her daughter who was raised by her mother in the northeast.

Like most Chinese, she is an ardent saver. She lived meagerly and saved her money. When her bank went bankrupt due to legal shenanigans, she found a job in the middle eastern part of the country at a large bank where she moved up the corporate ladder. At that time China started allowing people to buy "houses" (really what we call a condo), so she took her savings and a small mortgage (which she paid off in 5 years) to buy a nice home. Her parents came to live with her there for several years to help with childcare.

So what are the qualities that I have found so compelling in the woman?
  • respect - she respects men and me in a way that I had not experienced from an American woman. Our culture so devalues men now that the weak, disrespected male is the norm on TV. It's refreshing to be with a woman that thinks highly of men.
  • strength - her upbringing and life experience have made her one strong woman. Many people assume Chinese women are timid - this could not be further from the truth. Certainly those that are my wife's age have experienced too much to be intimidated by anyone or anything
  • love - when she is with me I am pampered in a way that is unimaginable to most Americans. I don't think this is uncommon in Chinese-American marriages. The more she does this, the more I am motivated to find ways to love her back - its been an un-ending upward spiral

Now I could go on, but suffice it to say I am one lucky man. My wife never had to read The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands because she lives it.

If you would like more information on this topic visit CandleforLove.com

22 comments:

Paul said...

Some idiot posted a comment that was both ignorant and condescending towards my wife - so I will not publish it.

My wife did not marry me for my money. In fact, she was better off financially in China then we are here.

She can communicate quite well now and we have the deepest love that I could ever imagine.

No - Chinese are not all racist any more than Americans are. While my wife does not like Japanese (due to WWII atrocities) she married into a multi-racial family.

Paul said...

To the anonymous poster that want to insult either myself or my wife -

you are an ASS - beat it

Anonymous said...

Paul - Your words are encouraging. I found this page by searching "My Chinese Wife". I am currently in the process of bringing over my Chinese fiance from Hunan. I am a member of candleforlove and have found that site very informative and helpful for the K-1 visa. Some of the points you have made in your post are the exact things I have thought about. The respect is a huge difference between American and Chinese women. Thanks for writing the post. I enjoyed it. Troy in Illinois

Anonymous said...

i have also gallen for a chinese girl while on a buisness trip.........it is love un imaginable...the way a relationship should be between man and women....& and to any of you that think todays china is backwards i can assure you they are living far better than many of us in the US......every thing is kept in the proper perspective!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

hi paul, my name is also paul and i married a chinese girl with immigration problems,she's 20 yrs younger than mysef. i experienced the same excellent qualities in my beloved chinese wife as you did. she still is my dream girl after 10 yrs of marriage and i thank god every night we sleep together hugging each other. no american or canadian woman would give of herself like an oriental girl. the sex is mind-blowing and her dedication to her family legendary.

likechina said...

I married a Chinese woman in 2006 she was 13 years younger with a child. Her child stayed is China when she arrived here in 2007. She will return to China for 2 months in April and return with her child. There are some Chinese women that come here just for money. I do not make allot of money and my wife knew this before we married. We have had more problems from not understanding each other than anything else. One of the best thins for her was getting involved with the local Chinese christian church where she can interact with Chinese people that has been in the US for years. Alot of people do not understand the Chinese and make their insulting comments only to have me educate them on their thinking. My wife dresses very conservative and dresses better than me when we are together in public. She always wants to look beautiful for me. She never turns me down when it comes to sex unless I have pissed her of and then you can forget about that for the next four days. My wife shows me much more respect and loyalty than my American wife ever did. Where my American wife would make negative comments about our marriage problems in public my Chinese wife keeps any of our problems in our home. She feels that problems at home stay at home and are not to be shared with others. I would not trade my wife for any other woman in the world.

Paul said...

Thanks likechina -amen to everything you said

Anonymous said...

Hi,
I would just like to say that I agree totally that Chinese ladies are something else. I have been with my now wife for almost two years, we married last November and she arrives in England on 19 April. I have never in my life felt as good about anything as my wife makes me feel about everything she is truely an amazing woman. You are right about Chinese ladies treating men like men, everything she does just makes me love her more and more each day. Chinese women are so much more attentive to a mans needs, its almost a little like the old days when men treated ladies like ladies & ladies treated men like men. Anyway I know I am English and you are all American brothers, but I think when you meet that perfect Chinese woman we all of us know what we mean. Take care all. PEACE

Anonymous said...

Paul and others - I could not agree more. I am currently in love with the most beautiful, gorgeous china woman that is 17 years younger than me. Your description of why you married your wife is so well written, that I have posted to everyone I know so they can somehow "get what I am saying". The respect, admiration, love and genuine good nature is so wonderful that American women do not understand that my soon-to-be fiancee garnishes so much respect and love from me that it is a perpetual wheel that never stops turning. Unfortunately, most American women will never realize a tenth of what the Chinese women know, and thus, they will continue to wonder why divorce rates are 50% It has to be the easiest thing in the world to do. Kudos, Paul! I look forward to enjoying 10 years of wonderful marriage like you!

Anonymous said...

my name is paul also and i married a chinese girl 20 yrs younger than myself. i have had very similar positive experiences with my new`wife. i have the ideal woman i feel and she never let me down even though at times i made mistakes when visiting her family in china. she was illegally in canada when i first met her and even was ordered to leave canada after i got married to her. i also helped her with her son's immigration and she's has been forever grateful for that. we have been married now for 10 years and never had one single serious argument.the devotion to our family is legendary. i see more and more caucasion guys with oriental women and i am not surprised that white women now find it more and more difficult to find a marriage partner.

Anonymous said...

I'm Adam from Australia, 53 years old. 15 months ago I met and fell in love with the most beautiful Chinese lady (35 - never married) I have just asked her to marry me and next week she is travelling home to her parents to discuss my proposal. Her parents have not met me although her brother, 2 sisters and a niece have, and we all got on well. Based on your experiences, what can I expect from her family discussions? Any advice appreciated.

Paul said...

Not sure what to expect - probably depends on the social status of her family

Anonymous said...

Hi Paul

her family are simple folk. Not poor but certainly not wealthy. They have a reasonable house just outside a large Hunan city. The mother has been pressuring my girlfriend for some time to settle down and marry. I gave my girlfriend a letter addressed to her family to take with her. In it I explain my personal situation, my feelings and financial status and respectfully seek permission to wed their daughter/sister. Although my girlfriend accepted my proposal, she said it depended on her family. I am very nervous right now!

Paul said...

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Everyone interested in marrying a chinese woman, please check how she treats her family. If she doesn't show much respect for her parents, she won't respect you either in the long run. I'm going through this right now and it's hell. We have a beautiful little daughter and it tears my heart apart not being able to show her what it looks like when parents love each other. G

ronz said...

Hi Paul.
It was interesting reading your story as well as others comments. I also am married to a chinese girl, and as we met in Japan where we both work, we speak Japanese to each other. we are both learning each others native languages slowly. We sometimes struggle to communicate complex matters or ideals but we both realise our upbrinings are so different (Beijing and New Zealand) so we try not to get irratated with each other and just agree to disagree on some things.
To those who make fun of things they know nothing about....GROW UP!
I certainly recommend an inter-racial marriage to anyone who is willing to excercise a little patience and understanding in exchange for experiencing the deepest kind of love you will ever recieve.
Ron

Anonymous said...

Hi Paul:

I find your comments very interesting. I've been involved with a Chinese woman of the same age as yours, who also suffered through the cultural revolution and its aftermath. Your description of your wife matches my Chinese lady exactly, and my experience of this relationship is also quite parallel to yours. Like your lady, she had achieved a great deal in China, and had become very well off before I met her. Her devotion to our relationship is fierce and unrelenting. I did not experience any love-at-first-glance with this woman but, instead, came to love her slowly as her many remarkable personal qualities became apparent. I now love this woman far more, and more deeply, than any Western woman I have been involved with (I am 64, and she is ten years younger than I). She is, in every way, a remarkable person and a remarkable woman. I would not trade her for anything. I find this all the more remarkable because, as so many here have noted, the communication problems are difficult and continual. To be fair, I have seen Chinese women who were every bit as shallow, opinionated and vain as the worst of Western women, but I have never seen a Western woman to match a good Chinese woman, on any level. Western feminists like to characterize Chinese women (or Asian women in general) as doormats, and explain our love of them this way, but as already noted in this blog, they are anything but timid, shrinking-violet, doormats. I have never known a stronger woman.

Paul said...

nice comment!

Annie said...

Hi, Paul, I'm a Chinese wife myself and I came across this blog by chance while I was thinking of creating a Facebook group for Chinese ladies who're married into Western societies. Your wife's personal situation is not dissimilar to that of myself, only she seems more sensible than I in business and I perhaps a bit more fluent in English (she owns properties in China, I enjoy a piece of Ross Thomas or Raymond Chandler every now and then). Nevertheless, I can relate myself to her in many aspects: experience, age, viewpoint to life and world at large etc. However,having said all that,I'd like to point out that, while most Chinese women do take extremely good care of their husbands,I've seen quite a few cases where the barrier between language, mentality,understanding, and often age, etc causes huge amount of unhappiness. You said you're luck, and you're right. The relationship works is because like all other marriages, you two truly care for each other. Credit it all to her nationality is just a touch over-simplifying the whole matter, as every marriage needs working on once a couple of years had passed. Do you agree? And finally, all the best to you and your good lady.
Annie

Kevin H said...

Well said! I too have a Chinese wife. She is a unbelievable partner to me. I feel as if I am the luckiest man in the world. But it sounds like there are a few of us! Congratulations!

ying shao said...

Interesting blog! I am a Chinese lady married to an Australian man for 12 years. I am the one who feel luckier to be in the marriage! My husband is such an gentleman who has never and will never criticizing my cooking and my body figure as those Chinese men do. He also takes so much care of my daughter from my previous marriage, which makes me love me and admire him even more. All my friends like him and they always warn me not to mistreat him otherwise they would punish me. Sounds strange but he is such a moral person that everyone around us likes him. With his encouragement, I have finished my degree and work as a full-time computing teacher in a government high school. My daughter is doing a medicine degree in Uni now. I told my daughter that you got to look after Dad(My husband)and I know she will. He is 20 years senior to me and I am ready to work a little harder when he can retire earlier although he enjoys working very much! One hidden reason that many western men probably are not unaware of why many Chinese women prefer to marry occasion men is that western men are more tolerant to children from previous marriage. They are more likely to treat these kids as their own, which a typical Chinese guy will never be able to do. Take care of yourself and each other

Paul said...

hi Ying Shao

I published this in 2006 and not much has changed - still in love with my Chinese wife.

Interesting comment about the children. My wife's daughter treats me extremely well and I love her as much as my own children.