The Supreme People’s Court recently has issued new marriage law that states the priority principle of personal property. The house purchased before marriage is labeled as personal property, which changes the traditional concept of marriage in China.
Based on Chinese tradition, a house stands for stability. Most girls wouldn’t marry a guy if he couldn’t afford a house. In most cases, purchasing a house before tying the knot is man’s responsible and the wife expects to see her name on the property certificate.
In China, parents who have a son would consider it as their duty to provide their son and future daughter-in-law with a decent house and kids just take it for granted. As the housing price is still rocketing, how many young people can afford it? In Shanghai, parents would usually pay the down payment and then the kids pay the loan every month.
Here comes the problem. Man, or we say his parents technically buy the house and he owns the housing property. He would spend most of his salary paying the loan which means the wife would have to take care of the living expenses. But once they divorce, the wife wouldn’t get the house because according to the new marriage law, it is the pre-marriage property. This is unfair as she supports the family expenses while the husband paying the loan. However, it’s just on the assumption of divorce.
Unmarried young people of course have their opinions on the new law, but parents are joining in the discussion as well. On man’s side, parents think that it prevents daughter-in-law from “stealing” the house; therefore, they are satisfied with the new marriage law. While on girl’s side, parents are concerned that their daughter might lose everything once the divorce is on. It goes without saying that Chinese parents get involved too much on kids’ marriage. I can’t help wondering why they focus on divorce and house. Is the daughter marrying the man or the house?
Fairly speaking, most women do marry for love but they still have concerns. One of my girlfriends who are getting married next year said to me, “I love him but the new marriage law makes me feel so insecure.” She demanded her fiancés add her name on the property ownership certificate. “I wouldn’t do that before the new law was released.”
But I don’t think the feeling of insecurity is necessary. I was talking about marriage with my British friend the other day. He said in the UK, people get married when they feel up to it. Besides, young couple can’t really afford houses. They would get married when they are ready and then rent a house. A couple work hard together and probably they will purchase a house in the future. Who cares if they just live in a rented house as long as they are happy? That’s the point of married, which is to enjoy and share your life with the other half. In the end of the day, you are married to the man, not the house.
I can’t agree more with westerners when it comes to marriage. That’s the way I’m going to follow when I find my guy. An independent woman doesn’t need a house of her husband to make her feel secure.
What we miss in our society is the passion to purchase happiness. It wouldn’t hurt if two people in love don’t own a house. As we all know, love can conquer everything. Marriage would be nothing but meaningless if we keep counting what we would get after divorce, wouldn’t it?
2 thoughts on “Marrying for love or house?”
But it does mean that the prudent woman needs to save money in order to have a fallback plan to rely on if the worst does happen.
Love and romance are nice but they don’t help when you’re on your own with no home after 40 years of marriage…
I agree. A sensible women should be financially independent.