No wish to tread this path

I have a soft touch for quotes on spouse (because more often than not they would show the more human side of us — or that I simply fall easily to these kind of quotes), and after Luther, Calvin, Bonhoeffer, and Hauerwas (did I miss anyone?), here are two letters from Sung, after his father wrote to him about the arranged marriage with Yu Jinhua, while he was still studying in the States:

“Dear Father and Mother:

I was greatly surprised to read your letter. It is every man’s ambition to make positive contributions to his country and to be concerned about his lack of abilities and virtues and not about having a family! Indeed, marrying a foreigner [? I think he means marrying someone who he doesn’t know yet] would not be the aspiration of a respectable man who wants to save his country. Marriage would weaken my resolve, distracting me from my goal. Every great man regards his country as wife, and it is my intention to emulate them. Many in the past have lost their cause in the arms of women. I have no wish to tread this path.” (The Diary, p. 16)

A few months later, he changed his mind and wrote as follow:

“Concerning marriage, I yearn not for a fair lass but a virtuous lady. I do not see eye to eye with the customs of Americans. Many of them have already tasted the forbidden fruit before marriage. At least a year should be allowed for a couple to get acquainted before betrothal, and thereafter be allowed to part ways should they be incompatible. From the photo, the lass does not appear like a pampered child. Although she looks somewhat stern, she may not have a fierce disposition. She seems serious, not flighty. Her physique is attractive too. Both sisters have mentioned that she is in good health, of a quiet demeanor, adroit at needlework and deft at playing musical instruments. This is good indeed. Another positive trait is that she comes from a poor family. Given the above, plus your own blessings, it would suit me greatly to obey your instructions on this matter. It is my humble opinion that Hua should go to a university. I request for you to pay for the expenses first. I shall return this sum to you in due course. It is also my sincere hope that both of you can help to instruct Hua like one of your own. Does Hua intend to enter university? How old is she? Can she wait five years? Is she aware of my character, ambition and future plans? I request that she writes to me about her personal history and interests.” (p. 17)


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