Happily ever after until the divorce

Updated: 2013-09-16 08:05

By Cui Jia, He Na and Wu Wencong in Beijing (China Daily)

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'Family Harmony'

The Ministry of Civil Affairs is currently promoting the "Family Harmony" project, which seeks to improve the quality of marriages and help couples solve their marital crises, in the hope of lowering the divorce rate.

The nonprofit program, which was launched in Shanghai in March, aims to provide a greater number of highly skilled professional counselors and psychologists to work as "marriage doctors and nurses" and help to improve relationships and maintain social stability.

Zhao said most marital problems occur around seven or eight years after the wedding, a phenomenon known as the "seven-year itch".

"It's the time when the couple's economic status has become relatively stable but they have to take care of both the elderly and young in their family, which leaves little time for themselves," she said, adding that dedication to the children can't make up for or replace a lack of affection or the time partners can devote to each other.

The past few years have seen a rise in the number of couples filing for divorce within a year of getting married. In the most extreme cases, couples have even married and divorced on the same day. People marry with too much haste and lack a sense of responsibility to both their families and society, said Wu.

The problems may appear long before married life begins, according to Zhao, who said around one-fifth of her clients, mainly college students, come for counseling about relationship issues.

"The problem is that they all want to receive, rather than give. They are always thinking about what their boyfriend or girlfriend should do for them, instead of devoting their own time and emotions willingly," she said.

Contact the writers at cuijia@chinadaily.com.cn and hena@chinadaily.com.cn

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