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Young Couples Pay the Price for Marrying Too Soon
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A growing number of young city dwellers are choosing to get married soon after they graduate from college, despite not being financially independent.

Last year, for example, Shanghai's Xuhui District Civil Affairs Bureau saw 1,221 college graduates aged 22 to 24 tie the knot, up 50 percent on the previous year.

Of those, there were more newly graduated brides than there were grooms.

But without financial security, married life is no bed of roses, experts and the public have said.

One young Beijing couple, for example, Liu Hao and Wang Ni, rely heavily on financial support from their parents, as their monthly outgoings surpass their income.

In addition, Liu's mother sometimes has to call to wake them for work, and she makes regular weekend visits to take care of their cooking, washing, cleaning and even pays their bills.

"Most of the young people who get married soon after graduating from college are from relatively well-off families, and they long for a stable and comfortable life.

A newly-married couple ride to their wedding banquet together with 150 cyclists yesterday in Chongqing.

"However, they still have a lot to learn from society before they are ready for marriage.

"It is not a mature decision for young people to rely on their parents after marriage because they never grow up to deal with their own life issues."

Sun Baohong , an expert with the Institute of Adolescents under the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences

"I got married so early simply because my parents had already prepared an apartment for me.

"But I still pretended to be single at work, as colleagues my age are all single and it is a bit weird for them to know I am married. Also, I am afraid they would leave me out of social activities if they saw me as a family man.

"I don't think I am yet ready to accept my new identity as a married man."

Zhang Da , 24, who got married last summer just after graduating from a college in Tianjin

"I felt great pressure to find a good job after graduation so I chose to marry a man who loves me and is willing to shoulder my burden.

"But it's still a bit weird when my former classmates talk about their new single lives at our get-togethers while I am worrying about things like how to pay for the house, when to visit his parents and even when to have a baby.

"The intimacy between me and my friends is vanishing, and I feel I am missing out on a period of time that should be the happiest for a girl my age."

Zhu Ke , 23, who got married at the end of last year after graduating from a college in Shanghai

"Getting married soon after graduation can result in both psychological and economic problems. A young couple have no idea of what difficulties may confront them in their work, their family life and even from society. Their impulsive decision to marry might well undermine the marriage in the long run.

"Besides economic problems, couples will also have to face breakdowns in their relationship once the quarrels begin."

Wu Zebin , a master's degree holder in sociology with Peking Universty

(China Daily April 9, 2007)

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