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Two sides of divorce

Updated: 2014-03-31 08:15
( China Daily)

THE RAPID INCREASE IN THE DIVORCE rate is worth some attention, although a divorce in itself is not necessarily more tragic than an unhappy married life.

In 2013, 54,520 couples split up in Beijing, 65.2 percent more than two years ago. The figure was 39,722 in neighboring Tianjin, a 52 percent increase over 2011. Nationwide, the total number of divorces has increased by 31.7 percent in the past two years, according to statistics from the Ministry of Civil Affairs.

It is obvious that there has been a drastic increase in the number of divorces in the past couple of years, in big cities in particular.

There are stories about how couples divorced because the two divorcees can purchase two apartments at discount prices in the relocation of rural residents from their original villages. And there are, of course, reports of young couples who divorced because of disputes about whose name should be on the certificate of house ownership.

Most of those who divorced simply because they intended to buy an extra house at a discount price by taking advantage of a policy loophole, are still couples just without marriage certificates. If they are excluded, then the increase in the number of divorces is not as serious a problem as it appears.

Chinese tradition holds that it is better to keep a couple together no matter how serious the problems they have with each other. Compromise is more important than anything else when it comes to the maintenance of the relationship between a husband and wife.

Now an increasing number of young people think otherwise, and they consider the quality of their marriage as more important than anything else. They will choose to separate if they don't feel comfortable staying together.

From this perspective, divorce may not be a bad thing for some. If a couple can fight over who should own the house they live in, the foundations for such a marriage are clearly too shaky to last long.

Yet, there are indeed divorces that would not have taken place had either of the two parties not been too self-centered or had some mastery of the art of compromise.

Happy families are all alike, every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. Necessary attention needs to be paid to the rising rate of divorces, but it is unnecessary to make a fuss about it.