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6. Marriage_ Love and Age

IV Debating and Discussing

IV 6 Marriage, Love and Age

Everyday English

Topic sentence for today: it is supposed to be.

Jeff: Would you ever get a divorce?


Joan: I would do everything I could to avoid divorcing the man I married.


Jeff: But if he was not good to you, would you go to see a lawyer to divorce?


Joan: If he really treated me badly and if I thought about my actions very carefully, then I would.

如果他真的对我不好,而且我很仔细考虑了我的做法,我会去做的。Jeff: You are a very mature woman Joan.


Joan: I take marriage very seriously Jeff. When you say “I do” to a man, it is supposed to be for life.


Jeff: Will you marry me Joan?


Joan: I will not! You are a good friend, but I think you would be an immature husband.


In-put text for speaking

Read the following passage

Underline the key words while reading

Choosing a Spouse

If you are young and unmarried, you must have in your mind the image of an ideal husband or wife. Most young people like to indulge in fantasies, and your image may take the form of a certain famous film star or pop singer. But if you are of a practical turn of mind; your “ideal” would be more down to earth, and your “image”would be modeled after what you see around you. Though images do not always coincide with realities (for after all, an ideal is an ideal), it is nevertheless an interesting subject for study, for it tells us what the young people expect from the present society.

Dr. Li Yinhe of the Sociological Institute of Beijing University has made a study of a certain amount of matrimonial advertisements, and he found that the present generation of China put great emphasis on, in order of importance, (1) age, (2) height,

(3) education as the three most important standards in choosing a spouse. Next comes

(4) character and temperament, (5) profession, (6) marital status and personal history, (7) appearance and (8) health.

Such order of emphasis is peculiarly Chinese. Other conditions such as religion, race and love, so important to people of other nations are completely missing in Dr. Li?s list. Many foreign scholars are also inte rested in the Chinese idea of an ideal spouse and they just can't understand why the Chinese men especially set so much store by “age” when they choose a spouse. A man of over forty would want a woman under thirty and a man of thirty would want his future spouse to be under twenty- five. One possible explanation is that youth is almost synonymous with beauty. At least the two words young and beautiful always go together. The Chinese people have not yet discovered mature beauty.

Height definitely is uniquely Chinese in playing such an important role when people choose a spouse. To be eligible a man has to be at least 1.70m. in height. It is said that to a choosy girl, any man under 1. 70m. is considered a semi-invalid! So far no one has offered a satisfactory explanation to such a strange phenomenon.

As to the third important condition, that of educational level, people find it a puzzle too, because in present day China education doesn't give you high social status, nor does it bring you good pay. Yet both sexes set a great store by it. The thing to notice is that a man with a university education is content to have a wife with senior middle school education while a woman with a university education would never consider a man with only a senior middle school education: Her husband has to be at least a university graduate too, preferably someone with a post-graduate degree.

What conclusion can we draw from all this? I think that in seeking a husband or wife, we Chinese have not yet freed ourselves from our feudal tradition of arranged marriages. Instead of having our marriages arranged by our parents, we now arrange our own marriages. In the old days stress was put on equal social and economic status of the two families, which was considered a condition of a good match.

Now love marriages boil down to more or less the same thing, except that stress is no longer placed on the condition of the two families, but on the two individuals themselves. And conditions vary with the trend of the times. Not so long ago it was Party membership that was all important. A girl who was a Party member would not

be satisfied with a man who was only a League member. He had to be at least a Party member, and preferably a Party member with a responsible position.

In essence we are still selling ourselves to the highest bidder. To put it another way: We are still trying to get the best bargain with what capital we have. Is it so much different from the old mercenary marriage?

Out-put activities

1. Do you think a girl should marry someone who is much older or younger than her ?

2. Do you think romantic love is the most important conditions for marriage?

3. What particular issues related to marriage and love would you like to discuss with your classmates?


Help 1 Related words Phrases and sentences

Try to remember the following words, phrases and sentences.

vow 发誓,誓言engage 订婚

bridesmaid 伴娘certificate 证书

match 相配的人或物propose 求婚

toast 祝酒matrimonial 与婚姻有关的matchmaker 媒人courtship 追求,求爱

pickup line (吸引女性的) 甜言蜜语arranged marriage 包办婚姻mercenary marriage 买卖婚姻marriage interview 相亲

go on dating 去约会dating agency 婚介所

marriage counselor 婚姻顾问puppy love 初恋

lightening marriage 闪婚community property 共同财产

1)What?s fantastic about marriage is getting through those ebbs and flows with the same person, and looking across the room and saying, …I?m still here. And I still love you.? You re-meet, reconnect. You have marriages within marriages within marriages. That's what I love about marriage. That?s what I want in marriage.


2) To conclude marriage may be compared to a cage those outside despair to get in and those within despair to get out.



3)Ingredients for a successful marriage are compatibility, tolerance, acceptance and similar outlooks on life and values..


4) Lots of people believe that love contributes to the marriage of two lovers. And in return marriage is like a rose garden which could nourish the flower of love to its bud and blossom.


5) To start with love is some sort of an abstract emotional feeling that people always regard it sacrosanct while marriage is something that couldn?t be more mat erial.


Help 2 A passage

Read the following passage quickly and brainstorm the potential topics for debate or discussion related to it. Here are some suggestions for your reference.

?What?s your response to the following passage?

?What do you think accounts for the lightening marriage occurring in recent years? ?Does fast pace in modern cities bring more benefits than harm to people from the angle of marriage?

Love and Marriage of the Post- 80 Generation The advancing of the thoughts is transcending that of the age. The post-80 generation is invested with a certain characteristic which stands out in the society. They make the blueprint of their own life on free and carefree basis.

The competition of life is so intense, with a sobering outlook of the job market, that it put a lot of pressure on the post-80 generation. The romantic and passionate love amuses them with fantasy and unpredictability; while the realistic and prosaic marriage shackles them with trivia and details. The married life is complicated; the feeling for love is capricious; the time of marriage is shrinking. The seriousness of relationship has been impaired since the love comes and goes so swiftly. Exposing to the higher openness of life, the post-80 generation has greater possibility to be affected by the outside world. As a result, there is greater demand for exquisite relationship and slimmer chance that the incompatible one will drag on. The breaking-up is happening anytime, anywhere, anyplace.

The love of the post-80 generation enjoys wider range of choice with the enthusiasm of youth filling to the brim. They have developed into the habit of choosing with high freedom; while the heart is over weighted with moral limitation

and principle of love.

The life of the post-80 generation has a semblance of fashionable and easy-going. However, we need time to tackle the problem of pressure.

Help 3 Situational plays:

Work in small groups. Each group member selects one of the following roles, and then tries to perform a panel discussion before the whole class after some preparation.

A: A reporter from China Daily, who is now conducting an interview.

B: A couple: Bernice Finn, 79, and her husband Ben Finn, 82, whose first dating is in 1946.

C: A newly-married couple.

D: A pair of lovers, taking a somewhat resistant attitude towards marriage.

Speak from the above roles; your discussion should address the following questions: ?Is really love marriage better than the arranged marriage?

?Is marriage the grave of love or not?

?Why are more and more people in favor of being single or cohabitation in stead of marriage?

Automatic practice

1. Pair Work

Read the following dialogue arguing about love and marriage with your partner and you may exchange roles and then prepare another dialogue, starting with the following statements from the affirmative side. Try to use the useful expressions given to you. Remember what you say must be related to love and marriage.

Dialogue 1

Jane: Laura! Guess what! Leo proposed to me.

Laura: Vow. That?s wonderful. Did you say yes?.

Jane: Not yet. I have some doubts…like the age factor. I?m marrying a person who is too young.

Laura: I know he?s four years younger than you, but he behaves like a mature adult in spite of his age. True love and happy marriage often do have nothing with age.

Jane: I?m not confident we can overcome the cultural differences, too.

Laura: But I can see that you two have similar interests and personalities.

Jane: Maybe you are right.

Dialogue 2

A: Laura, I know you like Charles a lot. But what are the good points about him since he?s almost twice as old as you are!

B: __________________________________________________________________ A: __________________________________________________________________ B: __________________________________________________________________ Useful expressions

1) I suspect that…

2) But what about…?

3) Correct me if I?m wrong, but…

4) In other words, you…

2. Chat with your partner

You and your partner are given pieces of news or some arguments concerning love and marriage. You and your partner are supposed to give your response from affirmative and negative sides. You may exchange roles. Try to use as many different expressions as possible.

1) Cyber love has gained acceptance, and is no longer something novel in China as it once was four to five years ago. http://www.wendangku.net/doc/97d3f93feefdc8d377ee3205.html, one of the country's leading web portals, has conducted a survey which involved more than 17,000 Internet surfers. As many as 69 percent of them had tried making romantic connections over the web. Another such questionnaire by the popular domestic http://www.wendangku.net/doc/97d3f93feefdc8d377ee3205.html site found that more than 50 per cent of respondents apparently trust cyber love.

2) Councils across England are forecasting a surge in the divorce rate next month as couples succumb to the multiple pressures of Christmas, mortgage arrears and recession, the Local Government Association said last night. Nearly a fifth (17 percent) of local authorities have reported higher demand for relationship counseling since the economic downturn took hold. The problem is particularly pronounced in London--which is heavily reliant on the struggling financial services sector. A quarter of boroughs in the capital have experienced a rise.

3) Over at our fellow WSJ blog, The Wallet, there's a provocative Q & A with the authors of a new book called …Smart Girls Marry Money,? a satirical self-help book which has a serious mission: to get women and men to talk more about marriage and finances.

The book came into being when the two working-mom authors, Elizabeth Ford and Daniela Drake, M.D., met while picking up their young children from preschool. They noticed that the moms who were able to spend the most time with their kids were the …moms who hadn?t necessarily taken their careers seriously and married someone with money,? said Dr. Drake in the interview. …It became a joke that if we were smart, we would have married for money.? The authors aren?t saying that every woman should aspire to marry a rich guy. But they argue that marriage shouldn?t just be about love—it should also be an economic partnership (as marriage traditionally was for centuries.) Women and men should be more upfront about marriage and money, instead of entering marriage starry-eyed without considering the financial future.

After-class activities:

1.Passage for Recitation

Love and Marriage

Love is holding hands in the street.

Marriage is holding arguments in the street.

Love is dinner for 2 in your favorite restaurant.

Marriage is Chinese take-out.

Love is cuddling on a sofa.

Marriage is deciding on a sofa.

Love is talking about having children.

Marriage is talking about getting away from children.

Love is going to bed early.

Marriage is going to sleep early.

Love is a romantic drive.

Marriage is a tarmac drive.

Love is losing your appetite.

Marriage is losing your figure.

Love is sweet nothings in the ear.

Marriage is sweet nothing?s in the bank.

Love is a flickering flame.

Marriage is a flickering television.

Love is 1 drink and 2 straws.

Marriage is “Don?t you think you?ve had enough!”

2. For fun

The Longest Marriage in the World

Fred Landis has a Valentine?s Day ritual. Sometime, somewhere, he?ll lean over to his wife, Gwen, and say, “I love you.” They say he's been doing that on Valentine?s Days since 1928, when they were married.

In October, Fred, 102, and Gwen, 101, celebrated their 77th wedding anniversary, and they are not far shy of a record. The longest current marriage, according to the 2006 edition of Guinness World Records, is 78 years, 296 days.

On Valentine's Day 2006, Fred will say “I love you” a bit louder than he used to because Gwen is hard of hearing. Fred has macular degeneration, which has kept him from writing poetry for her.

Gwen says Fred wrote poems to her during their courtship, a gesture that may have won her heart.

“I think that had something to do with it,” she said with a shy smile.

They met in 1924 as college students, he at Albany College and she at Simpson Bible College in Seattle. Fred attended a church where Gwen?s father was the pastor. When they were married, Gwen's father performed the ceremony.

Gwen remembers receiving $800 for a wedding gift, then losing it all in the stock-market crash the following year.

The Landises spent the next four decades working in ministry and raising four children. Fred was the pastor at several small churches in the Northwest. Gwen played the piano and organ and taught Sunday school.

He retired in 1970, and they have lived in Salem since then. They moved to a retirement center in 1994.

“They?re just wonderful people. You couldn?t find any better,”says a friend, Dorothea McAuley. “They?re setting an example for everybody. They?re always happy. I?ve never seen one of them angry. They?re God?s example.”

Commitment is the word Gwen uses to describe their marriage success. Fred agrees.

“Sure, we?ve had squabbles and disagreements galore,” he said. "But there?s a commitment to marriage because we have a reverence to it.”

They have eight grandchildren and 19 great-grandchildren.

Son John, 67, says he continues to be amazed by his parents, their relationship and their lives.

“I think - I know - they would not have lived this long singly,” John says. “They keep each other going.”


Once upon a time, there was an island where all the feelings lived: Happiness, Sadness, Knowledge, and all of the others, including Love. One day it was announced to the feelings that the island would sink, so all constructed boats and left. Except for Love.

Love was the only one who stayed. Love wanted to hold out until the last possible moment.

When the island had almost sunk, Love decided to ask for help.

Richness was passing by Love in a grand boat. Love said,

“Richness, can you take me with you?”

Richness answered, “No, I can?t. There is a lot of gold and silver in my boat. There is no place here for you.”

Love decided to ask Vanity who was also passing by in a beautiful vessel. “Vanity, please help me!”

“I can?t help you, Love. You are all wet and might damage my boat,”Vanity answered.

Sadness was close by so Love asked, “Sadness, let me go with you.”

“Oh . . . Love, I am so sad that I need to be by myself!”

Happiness passed by Love, too, but she was so happy that she did not even hear when Love called her.

Suddenly, there was a voice, “Come, Love, I will take you.” It was an elder. So blessed and overjoyed, Love even forgot to ask the elder where they were going. When they arrived at dry land, the elder went her own way. Realizing how much was owed the elder.

Love asked Knowledge, another elder, “Who helped me?”

“It was Time,” Knowledge answered.

“Time?” asked Love. “But why did Time help me?”

Knowledge smiled with deep wisdom and answered, “Because only Time is capable of understanding how valuable Love is.”