Marriages often cursed by dowries

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Marriages often cursed by dowries


Marriage is a game of luck. You can’t tell if it’s a juice or fish sauce until you actually drink it. More often than not, the carefully chosen glass turns out to be fish sauce. The problem is that the misfortune does not end with fish sauce. Marriage itself is an adventure of a man from Mars and a woman from Venus living together under the same roof and trying to pursue the same objective. The famous novelist Shim Hoon has said, “Don’t get married unless you want to create a small hell with your own hands.”

The story of a woman who became a single mom after the mother of her boyfriend, the father of the child, demanded a huge dowry and an expensive wedding left me with the sickening feeling that I had just swallowed fish sauce.

The vulnerable system of marriage has created a problem. But her story is not an extreme example. In the past, marrying a husband with a professional career required three keys; one each for an apartment, an office and a car. Now, the practice has evolved into a “cash deal.”

According to a media report, a private community of doctors is proposing a formula of 1.5 billion won ($1.32 million) in dowry for every 100 million won in salary. I’d like to advise the rich brides-to-be to buy condos and collect rent instead of “buying” an annoying and materialistic husband. For your reference, many of the so-called “professionals” are fish sauce.

I personally believe that dowries are the cruelest of the marriage practices on earth. Every year, countless women are murdered or kill themselves because of all the troubles with dowries in India. There has been a case in which the groom’s family burned the bride to death because they were not happy with the dowry. Indian women struggle with low self-esteem and guilty feelings that they are a liability to their families. Why would the educated people in Korea want to bring in this backward and shameless practice?

When there is a transaction of money, the party that pays the amount feels it is too big, and the party that receives the sum feels it is too small. So it often leaves a bitter aftertaste. Let’s look at a marriage tied with money. The problem with such a union is that it is supposed to last a lifetime. So the groom must consider whether he can satisfy his wife as much as he has been paid. The moment the wife feels she is not getting her money’s worth, the marriage will turn into a hell. The bride also needs to keep in mind that she is actually paying a huge sum for fish sauce, not juice.

Marriage is an adventure. Just like any adventure, you may be able to overcome the obstacles and settle on solid ground. Or, you may get lost on the way. No one knows the outcome for sure. Can an adventure that began with very different calculations succeed?

*The author is an editorial writer of the JoongAng Ilbo.

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