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Learning from China’s Marriage Crisis

A new Chinese divorce law leaves women homeless.

by
Walter Hudson

Bio

July 21, 2013 - 6:00 pm

groom-and-bride1

Crime doesn’t pay. That used to be the cliché moral of black-and-white detective stories during the Golden Age of television. Today, a sad variation has emerged. Marriage doesn’t pay.

A Voice for Men published a provocative list last month of “8 reasons straight men don’t want to get married.” A thoughtful consideration may leave married men with the distinct impression that they have been suckered. Less respect, less sex, fewer friends, less space, less freedom, and the threat of losing half your stuff all tilt the scales against tying the knot. Discounting any emotional or spiritual value to matrimony, the practical value seems to have diminished.

While fewer men seek marriage in the United States, more men are likely to end marriages in China after the advent of a new law which may leave their ex-wives homeless. The Telegraph reports:

According to the new law, residential property is no longer to be regarded as jointly owned and divided equally in the event of a divorce.

Instead, whoever paid for the apartment or house is the legal owner and gets to keep it in its entirety.

For a variety of cultural reasons, the legal owner tends to be the man. Chinese marriages typically occur only after the man has secured a home for the new couple. Wives labor under the cultural expectation that they care for both children and elder parents, which mostly precludes any direct financial contribution to the home. For wives, this means that their husbands now have less incentive to remain faithful, because the threat of divorce has lost most of its financial teeth.

Looking at the Chinese marriage crisis, we see yet another example of how the institution has been steadily redefined over decades from a sacred bond fulfilling a spiritual purpose to a legal arrangement teetering on the precipice of personal convenience.

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As previously discussed in light of the increasingly successful movement to recognize same-sex unions as marriage, defenders of tradition find themselves on shaky ground while trying to preserve marriage as defined in scripture, because scripture has long been abandoned as the basis for marriage. Birth control, the legalization of abortion, the degradation of gender roles — all have removed many of the practical incentives for a lifelong commitment to monogamy. Absent those practical supports, all that is left to bolster traditional marriage is scripture. And who takes that seriously anymore?

Well, we ought to. Advocates of tradition have little else to fall back upon, and perhaps that reveals God’s purpose in the marriage debate. After all the dueling studies and legal arguments, marriage continues to slip away both in definition and participation, leaving us with nothing but the authority of God to rest upon as our first and final argument. Like a rich man made poor, we can no longer rely upon ourselves and must turn to Him for salvation.

Certainly, we could make the case for marriage as an ideal. We could ask men to consider how they would want their mothers, sisters, and daughters to be treated and then convince them to model that behavior with their partners. But that style of argument rarely compels action. After all, ideals are inherently unachievable and therefore prove of little practical benefit.

A scriptural view offers something more. By regarding marriage the way Christ regards it, as a model of his reconciliation with the church, we begin to see it not as an ideal but as a picture of the peace we know in Him. Transcending the Golden Rule, we no longer just do unto our wives as we would have other men do to our mothers, sisters, and daughters. We do unto them as Christ has done with us, modeling his love and forgiveness to bring Him honor and glory. Such a view of marriage has certainly fallen out of fashion, yet continues to convey a beauty which transient civil unions never can.

Walter Hudson advocates for individual rights, serving on the board of the Republican Liberty Caucus of Minnesota, and as president of the Minority Liberty Alliance. He hosts a daily podcast entitled Fightin Words, proudly hosted on Twin Cities Newstalk Podcast Network. Walter is a city council member in Albertville, MN. Follow his work via Twitter and Facebook.

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
Walter, your argument could not be more wrong and here's why. China is in an interesting position because women, not men, held the power until this law changed. Kick women to the curb? Sure, if you're a top tier man in China. You seem to forget that women are only 40% of the population in China. An ugly, miserable woman still has more dating market buying power than a low tier man who would be her equivalent in the US. In China it was much easier for a decent looking woman to trade up than it is here. I had Chinese acquaintances in college and they would tell you the same thing; in fact one of them joked that even the ugliest, fattest girl in high school had at least one man chasing after her because the alternative was literally no woman at all for the lowest tier men.

The argument that Chinese men will just use this to cheat only sounds reasonable if you buy into the apex fallacy and are bad at math. Most Chinese men will never have a chance to cheat; 10% literally cannot even get married at all in the first place! With women such a "rare commodity" in China, they have power and they know it. Which is why the threat of divorce became, much like it is here, a threat of "I'll cut your balls off if you displease me" threat. So the Chinese government did the rational thing and restored patriarchal protections to marriage in the are of property ownership over the house. Consequently, the relationship is more balanced now.

In the US, 70% of all divorce is initiated by women and most of it on no fault grounds. By definition, no fault is unbiblical and if you are familiar with the marriage norms of Jesus' day you will note the irony that no fault divorce was effectively what was legally normal in that time period. Jesus condemned it as leading your spouse into mortal sin. Don't believe me, read Matthew 19:9. No fault divorce is a gateway to hell according to Jesus.

Men are abandoning marriage in droves in the US because there are simply no protections for husbands. Provable adultery doesn't even get a man off the hook for alimony and custody of the kids. A man can literally be as righteous as an apostle, blameless in all testimony before the court and his wife a complete degenerate and she'll still get a significant amount of the marital assets, at least 50/50 custody of the kids and child support out of him. As a conservative, this should bother you deeply. This is one of the only areas of the law in which behavior has no consequences before the court except in the outlier cases.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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All Comments   (12)
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until I looked at the check which said $6010, I didnt believe that my sister truley earning money part-time from there computar.. there uncle has done this 4 less than seventeen months and by now repaid the depts on there appartment and bourt Dodge. go t...,.... >>>> http://www.wep6.com
Go to website and click home for more details.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Instead, whoever paid for the apartment or house is the legal owner and gets to keep it in its entirety.

Perfectly fair, unlike in the U.S., where the courts allow the ex-wife to steal everything from the husband - even the children! Truly sickening.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
recently had a chinese lady write to me that unless a guy has a house, he isn't even in the game. the gov. there probably sees how in our society marriage laws can be used and twisted for mass wealth transfers and indentured servitude, even while destroying the basic fabric of marriage itself. wonder if they have feminist divorce lawyers too?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Walter, the legal system in the US is a screwed up, anti male mess, that presumes the man is the bad actor, hands the woman the children by default, and then justifies robbing him for a decade or more based on a crappy read of "the childrens best interest".

Women are single moms and divorced single moms because we pay them to do so, and our culture heaps contempt on men left and right without batting an eye.

Yet, you advocate men continue to support this atrocity, blindly, even, because we have to consider women here as being in the same roles as women in that snapshot of China that you reference, because, well, some aspect of faith?

No. The bible does not require men to be stupid, gullible, useful idiots. Regardless of faith, the family court is going to run roughshod over men on it's way to protect the person whose likely to be the root cause of the marital discord and the petitioner for the divorce.

Yes, for women seeking marriage in China, it's a buyer's market, and prior to this law, they've been abusing that advantage, much like women here. The difference is that China took the financial incentive out of being a California serial Divorcee.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"10% literally cannot even get married at all in the first place!......"

And 20% will never leave their mama's house. What you see as desperation is probably more by conscious design.....'>........
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Walter, your argument could not be more wrong and here's why. China is in an interesting position because women, not men, held the power until this law changed. Kick women to the curb? Sure, if you're a top tier man in China. You seem to forget that women are only 40% of the population in China. An ugly, miserable woman still has more dating market buying power than a low tier man who would be her equivalent in the US. In China it was much easier for a decent looking woman to trade up than it is here. I had Chinese acquaintances in college and they would tell you the same thing; in fact one of them joked that even the ugliest, fattest girl in high school had at least one man chasing after her because the alternative was literally no woman at all for the lowest tier men.

The argument that Chinese men will just use this to cheat only sounds reasonable if you buy into the apex fallacy and are bad at math. Most Chinese men will never have a chance to cheat; 10% literally cannot even get married at all in the first place! With women such a "rare commodity" in China, they have power and they know it. Which is why the threat of divorce became, much like it is here, a threat of "I'll cut your balls off if you displease me" threat. So the Chinese government did the rational thing and restored patriarchal protections to marriage in the are of property ownership over the house. Consequently, the relationship is more balanced now.

In the US, 70% of all divorce is initiated by women and most of it on no fault grounds. By definition, no fault is unbiblical and if you are familiar with the marriage norms of Jesus' day you will note the irony that no fault divorce was effectively what was legally normal in that time period. Jesus condemned it as leading your spouse into mortal sin. Don't believe me, read Matthew 19:9. No fault divorce is a gateway to hell according to Jesus.

Men are abandoning marriage in droves in the US because there are simply no protections for husbands. Provable adultery doesn't even get a man off the hook for alimony and custody of the kids. A man can literally be as righteous as an apostle, blameless in all testimony before the court and his wife a complete degenerate and she'll still get a significant amount of the marital assets, at least 50/50 custody of the kids and child support out of him. As a conservative, this should bother you deeply. This is one of the only areas of the law in which behavior has no consequences before the court except in the outlier cases.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
All relationships are based on power-sharing. That is, who has the power in which areas. For example, a man should never just go and re-arrange the furniture, unless he is really trying to hurt her, or send a message. It is traumatic to a woman to come home and find her home re-arranged. It is understood that home decoration is her area, unless specifically agreed otherwise.

A lot of marriage laws are about keeping the power more even. It is easy for Chinese women to find another man, and very hard for a Chinese man to do likewise, so she has the power. So, the law makes it more expensive for her to dump the man, because she does not get to keep the wallet.

Woman: "I can find another man in a minute!"

Man: "Yep. And you can find another house, too."

We have a marriage crisis here in America, because our laws have not kept up with socioeconomic changes. Women can now earn their own livelihoods, but the laws and precedents are still written as if the poor dears cannot. Community property, alimony, child support, presumptive paternity, and so forth. Add to these ingredients no-fault divorce, and you have a recipe for women to dump the man and keep the wallet... and the man has no recourse, no protections.

The power is greatly out of balance, so men simply opt out of marriage for their own protection, and we are all poorer thereby.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
This point of yours is deeply ironic and needs to be singled out. Can't believe I missed it before:

"Looking at the Chinese marriage crisis, we see yet another example of how the institution has been steadily redefined over decades from a sacred bond fulfilling a spiritual purpose to a legal arrangement teetering on the precipice of personal convenience."

The Chinese practice here was the Western legal standard for 3,500 years of known Western history. Have you ever heard of the legal doctrine of coverture? It was practiced in some form for literally the entirety of known Western history going back to ancient Greece. Rome had an even more radical version called Pater Familias that survived culturally well into the empire even as it christianized. Many aspects of coverture were the law of the land at the time of our founding which leaves an interesting question to you. Do you ignore signs that our founding fathers actually agreed with it like John Adams warning about women becoming politically independent (ex. his warning about the "tyranny of the petticoat") or do you try to make it out to be a case of our country "fulfilling its destiny."
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Good article. I would still defend marriage on practical, traditional grounds as well, but for those who must rely on the Bible you must understand that you must continue to hold onto the Biblical message even under withering criticism from others.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"We could ask men to consider how they would want their mothers, sisters, and daughters to be treated, then convict them to model that behavior with their partners."

In a world of single-child families, that person will have no sister (or brother). Carried to the next generation, that person will have no aunt or uncle, and no cousins either.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
This article speaks to me about the increasing role of government in our daily lives - elbowing religious beliefs and traditions aside as a result. My how times have changed. Governments have tried for centuries to move the church aside as the arbiter of citizen's lives and it seems they've finally succeeded since government leaders don't seem to be fearful of a vengeful god these days.

I think we are in for a time of roller coaster changes in the structure of society.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Walter, your last paragraph was excellent and summed up the whole theme.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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