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Old 12th May 2011, 08:57 PM   #1
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My traditional chinese wife

I am originally from china, but born and grew up in the uk.

In university i met and fell in love with my lovely wife, whom i love with all my heart. However unlike me, she came to the Uk the first time from china and learnt to speak english here.

Our relationship was beautiful, until after we graduated and got married and have 2 lovely kids.

We both have jobs and took out a mortgage, however.

1. she doesnt like to cook or domestic duties ( which i feel its ok ) as we share them

2. But what is tearing our marriage apart, is she is selfish with her salary, she does not contribute to anything in the house, and feels its a man's duty to take care of his wife and pay all bills ( including the mortgage ) which am struggling with.

3. And she just sends money back to china to her mother monthly.

She says, her mother gave her close to 50,000 to school in the UK. which covered her tution for undergrad and msc, and now its time to repay her mom.

4. She lost her father when she was 8.

Is this fair ? As its tearing us apart.

Apart from the 2nd above, we love each other.

please advice
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Old 13th May 2011, 12:24 AM   #2
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Re: My traditional chinese wife

Greetings from USA,
What percentage of her income is going to her mum? How about a compromise? For every amount of money she sends to mum, she gives the same amount into your household account until mum is paid back? Agree on an amount that is reasonable and does not take a lifetime to accomplish....say, five years? That way, she can continue to amass a savings with what is left over from her salary if it makes her feel more secure, and at the same time, she will become accustomed to contributing to the household. Then after her mum is paid off, all the money goes into your joint account and you both decide how it is to be used?

She should be reminded that ALL you own in marriage is community property for which she enjoys full benefit, and if (God forbid) there were a divorce, she would net half the proceeds from the house she refuses to help pay she should be happy to help financially since she enjoys the freedom YOU are giving her to work outside the home. I assume that the money she took from her mum is NOT something you both agreed to repay, it is between her and her mum prior to marriage (in other words, it is her own debt). Is the mortgage something you BOTH agreed to get with the consideration of BOTH incomes as husband and wife? Did you qualify on your own salary or was her salary included in the loan application? Does she think marriage entitles her to a free ride with full benefits just because she is female?

Since you both work, sharing domestic duties is fair...provided she is doing an equal share....and not helping her own husband when he is struggling with the mortgage is very heartless. What is she doing with her pay? If she were not married to you, I guarantee you she would be renting somewhere, paying off her mum and buying everything for herself. So being married gives her the added benefit of owning an investment for which she is not throwing away her money on rent...but if she earns a salary, she should help you as you help her.

Pardon my asking, but are you sure her mum is not simply holding the money for your wife in the event of any "future" problems that may arise between yourself and your having her own private savings account in disguise?

And yes, generally it is the duty for a man to provide for his household...but if he has a wife that earns an income also, she should show her gratitude and join in his efforts financially the same way he is sharing in her domestic duties. A man does not OWE his wife ownership in a house, just a roof over her could have continued to rent, and she would have walked away with NOTHING in the event of divorce (God forbid).

As for her, it is HER duty to stay home and care for the house, cooking, laundry, shopping, the children, and her if she wants to hold your feet to the fire regarding gender duties, turn about is fair play....after all, she is a traditional Chinese wife and should know her place is in the home.

Last edited by Forever; 13th May 2011 at 02:37 AM.
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Old 13th May 2011, 05:01 AM   #3
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Re: My traditional chinese wife

This is something that also happened in my husbands former marriage. His wife went back to work full time, but still said that he must pay all the bills. Meanwhile, she kept all the money she earnt for herself to spend as she pleased.
Its all wrong in my opinion. Any money earnt by either is joint money. In a marriage everything needs to be shared,and there needs to be agreement togather as to who or what it is spent on.
Now if her mother is very poor, then I can understand if she wants to send her a little money to help her, but if she spent so much money on her daughter then it seems that she isnt poor and presumably is also still of working age?
If you are struggling financially then the larger part of her earnings needs to go on your children and household expenses.

We helped to support my daughter through uni and my son through a year in a Christian teaching ministry, and I dont expect them to give me anything back. It was a gift freely given because they are our children, and as a parent it was my responsibility and pleasure to do this. Even if they offered to pay some back , I wouldnt accept it.

I think you need to sit down together and tell her how unhappy this makes you feel, and agree on a small percentage that can be sent to her mother (maybe 10% or 20%?).Surely her own husband and children should be her priority?

Last edited by chosen; 13th May 2011 at 08:18 AM.
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Old 13th May 2011, 11:37 AM   #4
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Re: My traditional chinese wife

Originally Posted by Forever View Post
after all, she is a traditional Chinese wife and should know her place is in the home.
I'm not sure what that means..? Some racial/cultural sterotype going on there?
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Old 13th May 2011, 04:07 PM   #5
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Re: My traditional chinese wife

Yes, I was being a bit facitious because this really does not have anything to do with race or gender per se. If she wants to pull out the old race or gender "card" as a reason that her husband must be the sole provider, and keep all her earnings to herself, then she should also recognize that she should have to live with the same that is "traditionally" expected from her as a woman, should HE decide to impose the same type of standards.

Last edited by Forever; 13th May 2011 at 05:47 PM.
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Old 14th May 2011, 11:53 AM   #6
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Re: My traditional chinese wife

Ha ha Forever
I really don't know but we need to be careful because we are constantly infused by media's portrayal of self-sacrificing "Chinese women" knocking up wonderful, authentic Chinese stir fry in a second and more etc. we only start to imagine that surely these women spend so much time in her kitchen and slaving herself away.. Knowing younger generations in any ethnic groups are career-driven and seriously ambitious, maybe, that's not really the case, hence the issue like this presented by the op.

I think those cookery shows with some cute, chirpy Chinese chef on tv is not "real" lol

Last edited by Chamomile; 14th May 2011 at 12:24 PM. Reason: typo
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Old 14th May 2011, 03:49 PM   #7
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Re: My traditional chinese wife

I have not had a T.V. for over twenty years, so am out of touch with what ever stereo types the media is portraying now days. I am 56 years old, Irish, American Indian, Japanese, and Norweigan.... I have traditional Biblical values but own and run my business while still doing everything a woman is expected to do for my generation, (by my husband's Danish standards)...which is nearly everything domestically. I do however, hire my 19 year old son to help me around the house once a week, so he gets plenty of money for his many "wants". My husband contributes the greatest financially, above and beyond the call of duty...he is extremely generous and asks nothing financially from I simply take it upon myself to pay the rent though he does not expect me to. He pays everything else, which is substantially more than I could even earn. I contribute what I can to a joint savings which is "ours" regardless of who puts more into it.

I just feel like it is unfair for the OP's wife to expect her husband to shoulder all the financial responsibilities himself since she decided to step out of the traditional role for women (historically speaking), earns a salary also, yet still holds his feet to the fire about his traditional role...especially when he is struggling. If this is fair, I cant see it. He helps her with the domestic duties and children which is traditionally and Biblically the greater responsibility of a woman, so there needs to be a fair and equitable balance struck here, given her choices.

Last edited by Forever; 14th May 2011 at 07:07 PM.
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Old 14th May 2011, 08:21 PM   #8
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Re: My traditional chinese wife

Yes, I take your point, Forever.
I wasn't sure if she ever spends her money when she goes shopping for her own clothes or any other items that she needs and maybe, food items? Or is she just "save save save" and send all the money she earns to repay her tuition fees to her Mother? 50,000 is a huge sum of money for a Chinese standard (I think). Her Mother must have sacrificed a lot (unless she was loaded) and in a way, it's understandable? So I don't see it as a problem.
Having said that, surely, this lady has some money left over sitting in her savings account unless she's sending all her salary to back home?
It is very odd that she does not "chip in" at all - maybe, she is told to save "just in case" by her Mother?

I found the original title slightly odd. OP suggests that the lady does not cook or clean that well, which does not come across remotely as a "traditional" wife. One thing for sure is, she is somewhat committed to be taking, again how could this be so "traditional"?
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Old 14th May 2011, 08:35 PM   #9
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Re: My traditional chinese wife

Yes, alot of questions for the OP but no answers from him, so we can only speculate at this point. When they took out a mortgage on the house, did they do it based on both incomes???? If so, she should have felt just as obligated to help her husband with that as she feels to repay her mother. If not, she should have just as much concern for his ability to manage the debts and help him if he is struggling at this point.

It is doubtful that her husband was part of the agreement to repay her mother being that particular financial obligation took place before he ever met his wife. This is why I suggested to send some money to her mother at the same rate that she contributes towards the household needs.

I wondered how well off her mother was/is and if she is encouraging her daughter to repay her and then setting those funds aside "for a rainy day". I sincerely hope this is not the case.

At any rate, I am not sure what "tradition" even means for the younger generation anymore...but I do know what selfish looks like.

Last edited by Forever; 14th May 2011 at 09:35 PM.
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Old 15th May 2011, 11:11 AM   #10
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Re: My traditional chinese wife

Goooood questions, Forever
Well, we don't know all these facts.
I'm not sure but I do pick up on certain, strict cultural teaching which may have been dictating her strict obligations to her Mother.
In a sense, when you marry a lady, you are marrying this set of family obligations she may have.
I had seen a program on tv a while ago. Chinese Mothers do expect Daughters to obey their rules.
We don't really know in what pretext which the mortgage had been taken out.
Agree with you, she ought to chip in a little (maybe, to start with?) But she may have her own agenda.

Her h (op) might have thought that "I have married a highly educated woman who has a proper job, my life would be easier and my financial pressure would be far less". She might be thinking "I married a nice guy and I can now use my money for my Mother and my future plans" etc. Maybe, she wants to have her own business in the future and she is saving up. Who knows?

Marriage always needs a lot of work and it will be a testing time when conflicts crop up. But this could be a good opportunity to strengthen one's marriage.
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