Husband Wife Relationship

Teamwork and companionship characterize husband-wife relationships. Social ideals expect a married couple to function as a single social entity, as expressed by the proverb "Chopsticks only work in pairs" (Du, 2002). In other words, parallel to the two parts of a pair of chopsticks, the husband and wife should coexist symbiotically and function harmoniously within their shared identity in the marriage. Importantly, a married couple is defined as a single labor team that performs a variety of tasks, ideally functioning together as smoothly as a pair of chopsticks. According to this principle, both productive and reproductive tasks are oriented towards the couple's common goal of sustaining their household, submerging the productivity of the husband and wife within the duty of the couple as a whole. Beside working together, husbands and wives are also expected to eat together, sleep together, spend time together, and make decisions together.

The moral discourse of the Lahu across regions and subgroups tends to be against divorce because it fundamentally conflicts with the dominant ideology of gender unity manifested in the cosmological order, the social structure, and core ethics (Du, 2002). Nevertheless, actual restrictions on divorce vary greatly in practice according to local traditions. At one extreme, divorce is granted easily with a simple ritual, and little stigma is attached to the divorcees (Wang & He, 1999, p. 112). At the other extreme, the spouse who insisted on divorce is fined heavily and his or her relatives often have to share consequent strong social stigma and financial burdens (Du, 1996, 2002; Lei & Liu, 1999, p. 87). The major reasons for divorce are that one's spouse becomes addicted to opium or alcohol, steals, is lazy and irresponsible, or is suspected of possessing a dangerous spirit. According to convention, if a couple divorces, daughters belong to the wife and sons belong to the husband (Du, 2002; Lei & Liu, 1999, p. 87; Wang & He, 1999, p. 113).

Pregnancy And Childbirth

Pregnancy And Childbirth

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