Husband Wife Relationship

There are a range of responses to the meaning of marriage and family life. This was not always so. In Imperial China marriage was regarded as an alliance between families with the junior generation serving the senior generation. Thus, children continued to defer to their parents. By the early 20th century this ideal had been modified in the largest Chinese cities. In rural China it was not till the 1990s that marriage and family life was redefined to emphasize conjugal unity over the ideal of the larger extended family. Today, young couples in rural and urban settings share many similar values and life orientations.

In an urban arena there are a wide ranges of response to the meaning of marriage and family life. As a rule, if a couple love one another, they repeatedly strive to maintain mutual consideration. Thus marriage, is seen as "a bond between equals who do not keep secrets and who enjoy each other's company and should prefer to do everything together." Consideration and mutual respect are values used by spouses and outsiders to evaluate the quality and success of a marriage. They are not gender-specific traits. Sacrifice and compromise are not constitutionally foreign to either spouse.

The majority of Chinese assume that the loss of romantic intensity is an inevitable aspect of marriage. Typically, the intensity lessens following the birth of a child, which results in the couple's redefining their roles from lovers to parents. Other Chinese, especially young intellectuals, do not believe that romance has to wane, and tend to resent its waning deeply.

Those couples who enjoy one another's company and accommodate, if not actually enjoy, their spouse's personality style and individual quirks seem to have the more couples in satisfactory marriages. In addition to acceptance of a spouse's personality, couples in satisfactory marriages communicated their anxiety, especially fears of losing the other's love.

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