• Viet Linh Le

Dear parents, ...

An unmarried daughter is way better than an unhappy married one. Don`t panic and pressurize." - Lisa Bilyeu

We had a Vietnam Wellbeing Coaching Conversation with our community on "Dating", which brought lots of questions, perspectives, and emotions to the surface.

It made me think that we often can relate to many issues that we thought we would only have on our own. Like finding the right partner or getting married. Often it seems everyone found theirs except you, doesn`t it? If you are then part of a Vietnamese family, then the first and most important question is when you are getting married.

This was the first question my relatives would always ask me whenever I visited Vietnam and at the beginning, I was annoyed, having not been used to this blunt question about my relationship status (also asked by strangers). Now, I am more relaxed and see this as their way to engage into a conversation because people in Vietnam don`t really talk about philosophical or creative topics, but tangible stuff, such as dating, work, and money.

In contrast to the Vietnamese culture, women in the Western world generally get married in their 30s, which can be seen as late in Vietnamese eyes. In Vietnam, it is believed that women are in their best age for marriage plus having kids when being around 20s, and mid 20s can actually already be late. With this age expectation, it can be quite the case that society pressures and judges people - those who are in their marriage age as well as those who seem to have passed that point and now fear losing their face and reputation (and it is actually the entire family`s reputation that is at risk).

I have mindfully observed this phenomenon in Vietnam and am a bit surprised and intrigued by society`s pressure to marry fast and early. It wasn`t seldom that I have witnessed married couples, who seemed to have lost their spark, where the husband somehow got absent-minded and the wife, as it seems, got left alone with the children (knowing that in an Asian context, it is likely the husband that is bringing home food and money). So what I have observed was that with marriage it seems their life as already reached its peak, additionally at a relatively young age. And isn`t this sad and disillusioned to think that the best life is now over and now the "real", "hard", "serious" part starts for the long rest of your life?

That`s why I resonate much with Lisa Bilyeu`s quote outlining that an unmarried daughter, who is happy and healthy, is something to be grateful for, while a daughter, who has married fast and is now struggling with her marriage, maybe for the rest of her life, may only create more drama to the entire family. Of course, this is not always the case and "problems" to grow from will always be part of life and interpersonal relationships. But I am concerned if young people are looking only at their relationship status to define their happiness, they may still have to learn a lot for their personal development to believe in their own self-worth, find their own happiness, and navigate challenging times.

So while our parents may gently or aggressively push their children into marriage to see them financially covered or taken care of, parents can be mindful of, even though they may not know this differently, the potential impacts they make on their children. And we as children can be mindful and compassionate towards our parents` and their upbringing, too <3

Lots of love x Linh

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