Good History: American Culture And Values Essay Example

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Love, Marriage, Relationships, Social Issues, America, United States, China, Family

Pages: 3

Words: 825

Published: 2020/11/10


The topic for this paper is American marriage practices. I initially thought about choosing dating practices but decided that there is too much variety in how people date that I was not sure I would find any commonalities by interviewing two people. Marriage practices, on the other hand, while diverse have a number of fundamental aspects such as men traditionally being the person who ask and women being the person to decide which I think would create a more interesting interview environment. As my interviewees, I chose an American African-American male in his mid-thirties from the northeast United States and a Chinese female in her late twenties who, interestingly, is also from northeast China. I chose the two because I think the views of their respective populations are ones that are not normally heard but, I think would be interesting to understand. The two interviewees know each other, in fact they are married. They meet and got married in China, where they lived for several years before moving to the US. I interviewed them separately and did not tell either one that I was asking them the same questions. For the actual interview I mainly used the questions suggested in the instructions to elicit answers and discussion.

Interviewee 1: American Male (AM)

According to AM, he had never really thought deeply about marriage until his mid-twenties and then only after he had been in a serious long-term relationship. While he observed marriage growing up through his parents, family and in society in general, his family did not really stress that it was something that was necessary to success in life. In fact, he recalled that his mother once told him that he should only get married if he met someone he truly loved and wanted to spend the rest of his life with. That idea influenced how he thought of American marriage practices; marriage was very special, should only happen once and should be based on love. He also believed that marriage should create a lifelong partnership that for “better or worse” is “till death do you part.” Despite his somewhat conservative ideal of marriage he confessed that many of the traditionally marriage customs. For instance: he did not see why a woman can’t ask a man to marry her. Moreover, he neither believed that simply dating someone did not mean that they would eventually get married, nor that getting married should eventually result in a child. As he described it, all dating meant was that two people are enjoying the company of each other and that the relationship could develop into something that might result in a marriage. He also did not feel that marriage must necessarily be between a man and a woman. In short he felt marriage was deeply personal and up to each individual on how they approach or celebrate it.

Interviewee 2: Chinese Female (CF)

According to CF, she had first heard about American marriage customs in a university class on American Culture. Her initial ideas of it were reinforced by, at that time, the increasing availability of American pop-culture in China. Indeed, her initial reaction to American marriage practices was that they were not very moral. From her understanding, Americans did not respect the marriage custom and would marry and divorce for the simplest reason or live together and have kids without getting married. She also was weary of the American idea of marrying for love. As she explained, while at that time she was not really sure what exactly love was, whatever it was, she did not think it was a bond that could keep a husband and wife together. As she revealed, marriage, especially for women in China is a very important topic that enormous amounts of time are spent discussing from the time your young enough to understand until the actually day you get married. She also explained that it is a subject open for discussion among anyone as soon as you reach the age to marry, from your parents to your friends,; from your bosses to people you meet on the street. However, after she graduated college and got more involved in the world and specifically, after she met her eventual husband, she came more to accept many American marriage practices over Chinese customs. For instance, while she thinks that many Chinese couples get married for love, she thinks that many also get married for other reasons such as family pressure, fear of being alone or simply, it’s time to get married. She said that even if in reality the American ideal of getting married for love is not necessarily true; the ideal itself has the power to create a bond that maybe lacking if you know from the beginning that the marriage is based on convenience. She also enjoyed the American marriage practice that the marrying couple generally finances their own weddings. In China, it is the woman’s family that is often required to finance the wedding. She also agreed with the traditional (but changing) practice that marriage should only be between a man and a woman and that one of the primary purposes of a marriage is to have children at some point. In her mind, a marriage without a child cannot really be considered a marriage. In the end, she respected the American marriage practice that two individuals who may at first be very different can find (rather than be forced) enough common interest and love over time to want to live a life together.


As mentioned, I think such diverse interviewees added much to my understanding of the American custom of marriage. On the one hand, was AM who did not think much about marriage but knew he would eventually have to when love made him. On the other hand, CF thought much about marriage but not much about love. Interestingly, it was the American practice of connecting love to marriage that brought them together. Accordingly, at least from AM and CF, marriages are based on love and love can make a marriage happen.

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"Good History: American Culture And Values Essay Example," Free Essay Examples -, 10-Nov-2020. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 25-Jun-2022].
Good History: American Culture And Values Essay Example. Free Essay Examples - Published Nov 10, 2020. Accessed June 25, 2022.

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