Last weekend my wife and I attended another Chinese wedding of a co-worker who was getting married to a local fireman. It was a beautiful wedding held in a hotel banquet hall and we were happy to attend. Everything progressed in the same manner as most every modern Chinese wedding we have seen, except for one thing: the vows.
I say “vows” for lack of a better word. In a Chinese wedding I have yet to see vows performed as one would expect in a western wedding. In other words, there is no repeating “for better or worse, in sickness or in health” etc., etc.. What I’m talking about here at a Chinese wedding could also be called a “declaration of love”. The couple turns to face each other and are given an opportunity to say whatever the heck they want, and they usually don’t memorize set lines. It’s more of an improv, and this man’s particular wedding vow surprised me.
“I love you. I can’t wait to spend my life with you. I would like for you to bear a child as soon as possible. I want a boy.”
Now I don’t doubt this man loves his new wife, but don’t you think that’s a bit forward? As icing on the cake, his mother came up on stage later as the parents usually do and was asked if she wanted to say anything. “I would like to have grandchildren soon.” Do you want a boy or a girl? “Both,” she said. Talk about pressure on the newlywed bride!
Seeing stuff like this just reinforces my belief that China’s gender balance won’t last long.