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Marriage aren't made in heaven, they're made from compromises (2)

By Jules Quartly  (Xinhua)

14:16, November 10, 2012

Come the nighttime, we have a routine. I turn on the lights, leave the room to do something — and she turns them off. I go back in the room and turn them on again. And so on. It's like musical chairs, but without the music or chairs. I haven't turned off a light since we got married.

Perhaps I should be more Eastern and eco-minded and turn off the lights myself. Certainly, she thinks so. Ditto for turning off the tap when I brush my teeth. And there are many other cultural differences that she has had to come to terms with.

For instance, perhaps Western men like me are just not gallant enough when it comes to dating. We should accept that a young Chinese woman is just not strong enough to carry her own bag — and we must carry it for her, even at the risk of looking ridiculous.

Brother Cui points out that when Westerners marry into a Chinese family all the relatives feel bound to move in. The lone laowai (foreigner) feels hounded, his personal space infringed. But at least Chinese families care, whereas Western families are just not there, they've split up, grown apart and are no longer even nuclear. This is hard for Chinese to understand. And if family is the cornerstone of society, then surely they have a point?

That said, each to their own. Brother Cui's take on East-West relations is neither racist nor nasty, and is more fun than fact. In reality, differences exist between everyone.

Personally, I find the differences a positive rather than a negative and I have more interest in people who don't think the same way I do. As for worrying about reconciling cultural differences, this is no more of a stretch than between the rich and poor, young and old, southerners and northerners, the English and the French, or even men from Mars and women from Venus.

Vive la difference.

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