"Grow old along with me, the best is yet to be" is one of the
most beautiful traditional sayings concerning marriage, reflecting
an appreciation for lasting and stable marital relationships.
However, now it seems that this longstanding tradition is falling
apart. Statistics issued by the Ministry of Civil Affairs show that
in 2014, 3.64 million Chinese couples got divorce registrations
across the country, up 3.9 percent over the previous year and
continuing a 12-year upward growth trend.
Divorce is becoming a striking social phenomenon in Chinese
society. There are various reasons for this. First of all, people's
concept of marriage is changing. In the past, divorce was almost a
taboo while today, it is no longer treated so seriously,
representing a seismic shift in attitude. As divorce is no longer a
sensitive subject, those in unhappy spousal relationships have been
emboldened to end their marriages.
China's Marriage Law has been modified a number of times, making
divorce a less emotional, procedurally complex and costly process.
The more recent amendments increased protection for premarital
assets, thus lowering the cost of divorce. Increased respect for
privacy has reduced external interference in divorce. Most married
couples born in the 1980s are only children of their families, so
they are more self-centered than their parents in marital life, and
thus shorter on tolerance and perseverance when relationships turn
sour. The statistics from the Ministry of Civil Affairs show that
while the post-80s make up the largest proportion of newlyweds,
they are also the driving force behind the divorce epidemic.
In our changing society, the emergence of all manner of trendy
new concepts and fads is fast overshadowing traditional beliefs.
Some hold that a lack of a sense of responsibility is leaving
couples vulnerable to various temptations. Others blame the fragile
state of marital relationships on the extensive use of online
social media apps like Momo and WeChat.
From a more positive perspective, a rising divorce rate implies
the Chinese are gaining more rights and independence in marriage.
People have higher demand as regards quality of life. For some
couples, divorce merely ends an unhappy marriage.
However, marriage is one of the best things in life. If two
people choose to get married, they should remain true to the
relationship, upholding their responsibility and displaying their
tolerance and loyalty to each other. Good marriages are also an
important factor in maintaining overall social stability.