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China Daily Global / 2021-06 / 22 / Page011

Be prepared for the challenges of marriage

By LIU WENRONG | China Daily Global | Updated: 2021-06-22 00:00

A media study has found that courses on love and marriage are becoming popular in college. Students who were surveyed said their anxiety about love and marriage had made them opt for such courses.

The anxiety is not surprising, given the increasing divorce rate-from 0.035 percent in 1979 to 0.336 percent in 2019 in China. Although still much lower than in Western countries, the increasing divorce rate has dented young people's confidence in the institution of marriage. Many joke that the only way to escape divorce is to not marry.

The anxiety is also the outcome of a clash of ideals with reality. Because of increasing pressures of consumerism, young people are guided by factors such as money, housing and cars while seeking a spouse. However, the human instinct to seek a perfect soulmate remains. As a result, many people are trapped in this conflict and are unable to get out of it.

The anxiety also arises from fears of a drop in the quality of life after marriage. Many young people have to pay huge amounts for housing, automobiles or other loans to support the family. There are also the high costs of housework and caring for children. To have a family means to contribute-that's the rule-but many young people feel they are not ready for all this.

A course on love and marriage in college is, of course, not enough to help the young solve all these problems. What is instead needed is more equitable distribution of public resources, and better policy support in medicine, old-age care and education, so that the young face less pressure about marriage.

The courses might still help. However, maybe it is too late to introduce them at the college level. Family values should be inculcated right from the kindergarten and up to the primary, secondary and high school level so that everybody develops a deeper understanding of and is more prepared for such challenges.


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