Love and Kindness - the Relationship of Ancient Couples

PureInsight | May 25, 2008

[] After twenty - five years, the cypresses on my tomb will be grown up and I will still be waiting for you...

In our traditional culture, besides the love between couples, there is more emphasis on the responsibilities of caring for each other. "For ten years they can strive to live together, for one hundred years they can strive to sleep together." This shows that the relationship continues without abandonment and that destiny is cherished.

Nowadays, when the divorce rate keeps rising, reading stories about ancient couples gives one nice feelings about the relationships they had.

Story One: Exile Prince Chong Er's Wife  

In the Spring - Autumn period, Chong Er (later, the King of Jin) was going to be exiled from the Jin Kingdom. He told his wife: "You can marry another person if I don't come back in twenty - five years." His wife said: "After waiting for you for twenty - five years, the cypresses on my tomb will be grown up. I will still be waiting for you."

Story Two: Xu Yun's New Sagacious Wife Tamed Her Husband

In the Three - Kingdom period, Xu Yun, who was in the Wei Kingdom, got married to General Ruan's daughter. The bride was very ugly, so Xu Yun looked for any excuse not to enter the bridal chamber after the ceremony. His family was worried about that. Then the agricultural officer Huan Fan came to visit him. Xu Yun received him and chatted with him outside of the bridal chamber.

Huan Fan persuaded: "The Ruan family married their daughter to you, there must be something superior about the bride. You should go and observe."

Xu Yun went into the bridal chamber with great reluctance. When he unveiled the bride, he was so depressed that he wanted to leave straightaway. The bride knew that if Xu Yun left now, he would never come back, so she grabbed Xu Yun's clothes.

Xu Yun sneered: "Of the four virtues a woman should have: behavior, virtue, appearance and handicrafts, how many do you possess?"

The bride said: "Among the four virtues, I lack only a good appearance. However, a scholar should also possess many virtues. How many do you have?"  

Xu Yun said: "I have them all."

The bride asked: "Is that true? Of all the virtues a scholar should have, moral integrity is the most important. You prefer a good appearance to moral integrity, so how could you say that you have them all?"

When he heard that, Xu Yun understood that his wife was a very sagacious woman, so he no longer looked down at her. They respected and loved each other since then.

Story Three: Liu Tingshi Didn't Abandon His Blind Wife

In the North - Song Dynasty, there was a scholar, Liu Tingshi, from Qizhou (in Shandong Province nowadays), whose style name was Dezhi. He passed the imperial exam and became the judge in Mizhou. Su Dongpo was the governor there and appreciated Liu Tingshi's virtues.

Before Liu passed the exam, he courted a woman in his village and became engaged to her except for giving the betrothal presents.

Later, when Liu became a judge and was thought highly of by a notable person (Su Dongpo), the future looked very promising for him. However, the woman caught a disease and lost her eyesight in both eyes. Her family were peasants and poor, so they did not dare to mention anything about the marriage after that.

Some of Liu's friends said to him: "The woman became blind so you should choose another person to be your wife for the sake of your future and your family. If you do want to marry into the family, you can marry her sister instead."

Liu said: "When I got engaged to her, I had already given my heart to her. Now she has become blind, but her heart is still good. If I betray her, it means that my heart has become bad. Also, everyone  gets old. When my wife is old and becomes less beautiful, shall I get a younger and prettier one instead? One must be honest and faithful and should not cease to be faithful.

Then they got married. After the marriage, Liu Tingshi tried his best to take care of his wife. They got along very well and loved each other very much. Later, they raised a few children together.

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