PureInsight | December 26, 2005
[PureInsigh.org] Aunt Ming Zhu said, "Xiao Mei, today I'll tell you a story that young people like to hear. And I'll name it 'A marriage and love based on mutual trustworthiness.'"
Aunty Ming Zhu's stories are like the food menus in the Great Changjin (a Korean TV drama series about a chef in the royal court). There are always new dishes on her menu.
"Really? Could you tell it to me briefly first, then tell it again slowly so I'll write it down?" I couldn't wait.
"I cannot speak any faster, just listen with patience." It appears that the Aunty wants to help me remove the attachment of impatience.
"OK. Please start then."
"Let me first tell you what my co-workers would say about me. Some would say I was a bit geeky because I almost knew nothing else other than how to run research projects for my work. But some would say, 'she is not really geeky, she just doesn't like to pry into others' businesses.'"
"What kind of business you're talking about?"
"For instance, I seldom try to play the role of a matchmaker. But there was an exception. In fact, it was quite interesting. I introduced Engineer Gao to his wife."
"It was in the late 1970s or the early 1980s. At that time, engineers were highly thought of and quite popular. Actually engineering is a respectful profession to begin with. But isn't China a unique place? In China, different professions are highly thought of at different times based on the political climate at the time. For example, during the Cultural Revolution, being labeled "The Stinking Ninth," many engineers were downgraded and were forced to work in factories as common laborers. All right, let's continue talking about Gao. He was my co-worker, and was also an engineer. He didn't talk much, but was very kindhearted. Gao's first wife had died when he was forty. He was struggling to raise their son and their young daughter on his own. Everyone wanted to help him find a new wife. That 'everyone' didn't include me though."
"If you are meant to do something, it will find its way to your door. One day our department head called me in to talk about Mr. Gao. It turned out that he had introduced a young lady to Mr. Gao. The lady was young and had no children. But Mr. Gao said, 'She is quite young. She still has her whole life ahead of her. I don't want to hold up her promising future.' Our department head was confused, 'What did he mean?' He wanted me to find out what was going on in Gao's head because Gao and I had been working together and he thought we knew each other relatively well. So I had to go and tell Gao, 'You have to give a straight answer on whether you are interested in the young lady that the department head had introduced you to or not. It isn't worth it to offend our department head over this matter.'"
Gao was silent for quite a while. When he told me what he was thinking, I was very surprised and found it a little hard to believe.
"He said, 'I'm telling this just to you. Don't tell the others. Right before my wife died, she said that I shouldn't find another wife until three years after she had died, otherwise it would harm both me and her. I promised her that I would wait three years. I can't go back on my word. I must wait three years.'"
"I had a hard time understanding it. One doesn't necessarily have to take another person's last words seriously. Besides, how could he manage on his own with two kids? Obeying his wife's words so attentively even after she was gone, this kind of person is really rare."
"Perhaps Gao sensed my confusion. So he explained, 'You don't know. I owed her a lot in this life. When our parents arranged for us to get married, I was twelve years old, and she was twenty (translator's note: it was a common practice in certain parts of China. After the wedding, the wife officially joined the husband's household. But the marriage wasn't consummated until the boy became an adult.) Being eight years older than me, she took care of me like a mother. She took care of matters both inside and outside of our home, put me through college, and gave me two children. I feel our marriage was very unfair to her. Regardless of what happens, I can't hurt her feelings.'"
"I was very touched after hearing Gao's words. There are indeed people living in this world who treasure love and friendship this much. Think about it, if it were another man, he might have said, 'You're so much older than me, and have been limiting my freedom like a mother. This marriage is so unfair to me. I wanted to get rid of you a long time ago. Now you're gone, I will find a younger woman to fill the vacancy.'"
I chimed in, "Exactly. Nowadays nine out of ten people think this way. Moreover, they might have divorced their older wives a long time ago."
Aunt Ming Zhu continued, "For Mr. Gao's sake, I didn't say anything more. Several years passed. I wasn't sure how many potential wives other people had introduced Gao to and how he had turned them all down. Anyhow, Gao remained unattached and raised the two children by himself. One day, he became seriously sick and was hospitalized. The doctors had to operate on him and ended up removing part of his stomach. At that time, I realized that he indeed needed someone to take care of him. Besides, three years had passed. So I told myself to find someone suitable for him."
"Heaven happened to grant the wish of a human. I had a neighbor named Hua. He and his family were very kindhearted. The relationship between our two families was as good as if we were one family. Hua's younger sister, let's call her Miss Hua, was a schoolteacher. Her first husband was also a schoolteacher. But during the Cultural Revolution, he had been severely persecuted and finally committed suicide. They had a great relationship when he was alive. Miss Hua's second husband was an engineer, and they loved each other very much as well. Unfortunately, he had died of an illness. Now she was living with the three children that her second husband had brought over from his previous marriage. See how hard her life had been?"
"Miss Hua was of medium height. She was very elegant and had beautiful eyes. She was very nice and sensible, worthy the title of a schoolteacher. Feeling that she and Gao would be a good match, I told Mr. Hua and his wife about Gao. They said, 'We trust you. Since you know him, he must be a good guy. As long as he is kindhearted, we really don't care about other things. How about this? Let's arrange for them to meet and see if they get along.' Guess what, as soon as Gao and Miss Hua met each other, they developed a mutual affinity and liked each other a great deal."
"One way to put it, these two people were meant for each other. If other people were involved, the marriage wouldn't take place. Why do I say that? Guess what? Miss Hua put forward a condition the first time they met, which was unacceptable for an average person."
"What condition is it? Why is it so harsh?" I asked.
"She said that she would only marry Gao after all her late husband's three children were married. How could an average person accept that? Who knows when these three children would get married? How long would that take? If it were another man, he would think, 'Are you kidding me? It might be acceptable if the three children get married quickly. But what if one of them doesn't want to get married? In addition, they're not your own children, why are you taking their welfare so seriously?' But Gao agreed to her condition without hesitation. It turned out Miss Hua had her reasons behind the condition. She said that her husband had left her a large amount of money and she wanted to spend all the money on his three children before she married someone else. Once she was done raising all the children, she would be able to face her late husband with a clear conscience and find a new life for herself. Gao thought Miss Hua was very virtuous and kindhearted, so he didn't care how long he had to wait. With someone as kind as Miss Hua, he thought it would worth it for no matter how long he had to wait! Tell me, aren't both of them very rare people?"
"Indeed. It's really rare to find such goodhearted people. And what's more precious is that they had found each other through you. Oh yeah, Aunty, how old were the three children of Miss Hua's previous husband at that time? You'd better not tell me that they were still teenagers."
"Fortunately, all were in their twenties. It has to be said that Heaven wouldn't let a good and moral person down. Within only two or three years, the three children got married one after another. When everything was settled, Gao and Miss Hua got married too."
"After they got married, it was as if Gao had changed into another person, and he became very handsome. He used to lead a very simple life, and was very casual about food and clothing. Now he had Miss Hua to take care of. He had changed both inside and outside. Miss Hua not only treated Gao very well, she took care of Gao's mother and Gao's children carefully as if they were from her own family. Gao's changes made many people curious about his new wife. People often asked him, 'Where did you find your new wife? Is she a goddess from Heaven?'"
"Because their relationship had been kept a secret before they got married, many people didn't know about her. After many inquiries, Gao disclosed the secret, 'She's not a fairy. She was introduced to me by Ming Zhu.'"
"As a matter of a fact, how could I take the credit for their marriage? This is all because of their benevolent predestined relationship. Although they had different occupations and family backgrounds, they both had kind and selfless hearts, and took the promises they had made to others seriously. Think about it, if either one of them couldn't reach this level, the marriage wouldn't have taken place."
I asked, "Aunty, this story is indeed very touching. I have been thinking about a question recently, what is the conjugal love between a husband and a wife? People tend to praise love a lot more than marriage, and people in love all think they have found their true love. Come to think of it, which married couple hasn't gone through a period where they were deeply in love? But why have some husbands and wives become each other's enemies toward the end, going through ugly fights and divorces, as if they have forgotten all the honeyed words in the past? What causes this?"
Aunt Ming Zhu said, "It is because sentimentality by itself is not reliable. Only one's heart is most reliable. A person who values love and friendship and knows how to be thankful will naturally think of other people in his or her daily life. If both the husband and the wife are like this, they will remain a loving couple for a long time. One who knows love must also know how to be appreciative of and grateful for his or her spouse. Love is not something that one simply says with his or her mouth. It has to be put into action with a true heart. After all, having a good heart is the most important thing in a person. When choosing a mate, all other criteria can be flexible except this, don't you agree?"
I said, "Hum. It makes sense. Aunty, why did you call this story "A marriage and love based on mutual trustworthiness" instead of "A marriage based on mutual trustworthiness?"
"Because only when someone is trustworthy and has a high morality, is he or she worthy of being loved. Marriage is only a formality. Without mutual trust or mutual respect, without the deep meaning of appreciation and love, it is just a formality. Both Gao and Miss Hua were trustworthy people and valued love and friendship and so their marriage had to be a happy one. That is why my story is called Marriage and Love – long-term love after marriage."
"Wow, wonderful! The story is wonderful, and your comments are wonderful too."
Translated from: http://www.zhengjian.org/zj/articles/2005/10/20/34286.html