Film star Wang Baoqiang's divorce has gone viral on Chinese social media. Never before has a celebrity's privacy——be it a break-up, an extramarital relationship or even an accident——caused such a big stir among the Chinese people. In fact, the outrage that is rife on Sina Weibo, the Chinese version of Twitter, mirrors what people expect of marriage.
In modern times, marriage has become more complicated than ever before as it gets more diversified——gay marriage is allowed in some parts of the world——and bundled with such legal issues as property distribution and child custody, thus creating more problems than it actually solves. As such, despite of longing for marriage, some people are fearful of getting married.
The divorce rate in China soared to 2.67‰ in 2014, with 3.63 million couples bringing their marriage to an end, according to the 2014 Social Service Development Statistical Bulletin released by the Ministry of Civil Affairs. The rate has been rising for twelve consecutive years since 2003.
Not only would failed marriages hurt people's feelings and undermine their trust in anyone else, but it can sometimes turn spouses into sworn enemies.
Of all the backbones that support a long-lasting marriage, fidelity is the most basic one. It is not only a morally binding agreement, but a reflection of the spirit of contract in modern societies.
People are no longer as intolerant of infidelity as they used to be, as things need to be put into perspective after all. But make no mistake, this is not to say that cheating on our loved ones should be accepted or even encouraged.
In the old days when people were less civilized, marriage was like a social system men had specifically created to put women at their disposal. As merely a tool for reproduction, women were expected to subordinate to their husbands.
But things are quite different now. Men and women are given equal rights and required of same obligations when in a wedlock. Besides, people are protected by the law, regardless of sex. So marriage is not that dreadful or unfair, and it's never what many think is the tomb men or women inadvertently dig for themselves.
Law and morality serve as preconditions for keeping marriage intact. And all too often, we find the latter outweighs the former. We have to fulfill equal moral obligations before we can enjoy the care and the company of our loved ones and earn their respect, even if we don't break the law. We ought to defend theses simple yet important values, or principles so to speak, and we have every right to impose necessary pressure upon whatever appears in the form of marital immorality.
The biggest challenge confronting marriage is neither the seemingly fragile marriage itself nor the society as a whole together with the ethos that comes with it. It is the different moral standards between spouses that eventually set them apart.