[Letter to the editor]Marriage and crossing cultures
One overriding issue that the candidates in the 2004 U.S. presidential election incessantly discussed has yet to surface in the current U.S. presidential primary races; marriage and its universal and religious implications.
Last Sunday, the subject of marriage and its significant ramifications featured prominently among the otherwise mundane concerns of the Presbyterian church that I attend.
One church member had contracted an international marriage through a recruitment agency.
After months of bureaucratic gridlock and emotional apprehension, the Korea-bound Chinese bride-to-be finally reached Busan and her prospective husband. Despite the seemingly insurmountable language barrier, cultural differences and rifts over religion, the groom’s family decided to accept the unexpected from the marriage.
But after a few contentious months, the husband’s family finally snapped and he abandoned his wife, who spoke only Mandarin, at the same church where their wedding ceremony was held. The sense of estrangement was heavy on both sides.
To my mind, however, if a marriage is to last, sacrifice, patience and understanding must trump selfishness, intolerance and pessimism ― though that may be incongruous with recent trends in emerging nations.
Marriage has not emerged as an issue in this current American electoral contest, but it is necessary to point out that a sturdy marriage is ideal.
In American rhetoric, a secure and durable marriage acts as a buffer against social ills, the ravages of unemployment, family deaths and radical societal transformation.
A healthy marriage is not without conflict, but the means of resolving it will eventually be mutually desirable and attainable.
From arranged marriages to Internet romance, love is always in the air. Cultures from around the globe accommodate ever more diversity in family arrangements into their cultural traditions.
Although marrying is certainly not a paved path to financial or spiritual fulfillment, it remains a rite of passage that is now, unfortunately, commercialized, trivialized and a cause of profound distress for those who have yet to find their respective soulmates.
Marriage, for better or worse, is an institutional agreement that must be respected and all efforts ought to be made to preserve its freshness particularly in trying times.
With respect to the durability of international marriages, it is my belief that all sustainable relationships need to be grounded on shared experiences and strong commonalities.
Without enough time for couples to get to know each other better first, marriages will be handicapped at the outset, which usually results in irreparable discord and yearning for time that has been irretrievably lost.
Dennis Yang, English instructor,
Gimhae Foreign Language High School