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Gareth is an Australian who has lived in JiangSu, SuZhou (Heaven on Earth) for a few years - he is a keen observer of the Chinese people, Chinese culture and the changes that are occurring in China at break-neck speed. He can often be found on his a nightly 'perch' in front of his bar in the famous Bar Street in Suzhou, talking to the locals in his bad Mandarin, teaching the 'flower-selling girls' English, eating street food and smiling at the local chengguan (neighbourhood police). Gareth also has several other businesses in China around Business and English training. His experiences have been varied and interesting and his years in China have taught him to be wary of promises but excited about prospects, not a bad situation to be in!
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What makes you happy?    

By Garreth Humphris
4163 Views | 14 Comments | 1/24/2013 2:43:43 PM

A few people on CLM and other places accuse me of being marriage negative - and I can see their point of view as being valid! They say things like ’there are many good ladies around you, what is wrong with you not wanting to marry one of those?’. Or ’you seem to write like you are playing with the emotions of others, and don't really seem to be serious about any of them!’, or even that I am some vicarious eunuch voyeur intent on extinguishing the love in others...And, that may well be true (from your perspective, although I don't agree), if the end-game is indeed marriage!

But to me, the end-game is not marriage! It is the long and happy life together that follows that one day! If indeed that is the path you choose to tread! Marriage is merely a step on the pathway, if your road goes nearby!

So I asked the question of myself, what truly makes me happy? What thing nourishes me every day? What thing makes me get out of bed and wander about in the world?

I suspect for many people, the only reason they get out of bed in the morning may well be the ’burden’ of responsibility, a duty to others, a situation in which they feel they have little control because they have a “job” they must do to serve others interests! As my long-suffering cleaning lady replies to me when I ask her how she is “I'm here to pay my husband’s gambling debts, put some rice on the table and put my son through school"! Nothing about 'her', just 'her responsibilities'!

But for me, it is honestly, not that! And it I dont want that for myself, isn't it a bit hypocritical to foist that unsuspectingly upon others? And I certainly do not want that ’situation’ to occur for anyone choosing to stand beside me for the rest of their life! For me, the marriage is a choice to stand beside, not a certificate to fall in line behind! We build a new ’happiness together’ but each retains their own starting point! This is more than the sum of the parts, not a replacement of one for another!

What I really mean is that sometimes, when I ask ladies ’what will you do once you are married?', I get a vague answer like ’it depends on what my husband says’ and this actually bothers me very deeply! It is like the marriage actually extinguished any hopes, dreams or free spirit the lady has and she diligently ’falls into line’ with whatever her husband says!

I wish to be with someone for their pluck, their courage, their ability to risk when others say they are crazy, their spirit, their savvy, their experiences, their dreams and their ideals, not someone who would capitulate these after one ceremony! I want to be excited, exhilarated, astonished and delighted every single day, and I want that to come from my partner!

Maybe it is much easier for a man - we have a continuum in our life that we have more control over - we are more masters of our destiny in many ways because we ultimately make or enforce the decisions about our work, family and living situation - and our wife and family diligently follow along! Ok, so we have the false notion as men that this is the case! The truth is our wives fight a rearguard action against our impulsiveness and reactions and deftly serve it to us as an ego-soothing ’your latest, greatest idea is amazing...’ meal on a daily basis!

So, getting back to my point, the thing that brings me happiness is a very simple thing - a new idea every day - a possibility to explore, to hope, to dream and to desire! The the one thing that would bring infinite happiness, someone to stand beside me to share in that thought - to argue, to debate, to challenge and ultimately, to connect with the one thing that I honestly hold most dear!

In many ways, I want the knowledge that everything I have can, theoretically, one day walk away! That if I offend or attack or break them that they have the option to take the extreme measure - not a punishment to me - but as preservation to self!
I want to know that everything my partner does for me and with me comes from the happiness they feel from being there and choosing to do that - not out of some marital obligation or duty! Or some fear of loss of some perceived benefit! In effect, I want each day of married life to be as exciting for both of us as if it were the first moment we met! - is this not that ’romantic ideal’ many CLM ladies aspire to?

Ok, so the married ones are laughing now!...’oh, the folly of the single man!’...’life is not like that, there are responsibilities, duties and honours you must comply to! You have no choice, you must just do!’.

Yes, I agree with you! A family cannot walk around and live on air; you need the security of a home, the convenience of a car, the requirements to clothe, feed and educate your children! But, unlike the people who suggest they are obligations and duties, they are, to me at least, merely ’choices of love’ and ultimately the partner I hope to find will know this, fight for this and not merely play “open hand misere” so early in the game!

Copyright owned jointly by Author and CyberCupid Co., Ltd. Breach of copyright will be prosecuted.
Comments
(Showing 1 to 10 of 14) 1 2 More...
#2013-01-24 21:14:01 by anonymous5329 @anonymous5329

Have a lot of wealth!!hahaha ,,

#2013-01-25 23:38:03 by papaya1972 @papaya1972

Nice article, I can’t agree more on your view about ‘happiness’

But you have to bear in mind that the simplest thing sometime is the most difficult to achieve. Looking around us, you can see those people living the simplest life, with the simplest mind, they are the bravest and strongest people that able to keep themselves simple in this complicated world.

People always say: follow your heart.
But who is able to confidently claim that he is always capable of doing so?

Guess you have read the article by a blogger here who wrote about her unsuccessful story dating with a German. Unfortunately her story didn't finish here, Only after two series her article has received a few unfriendly and ugly comments (besides the friendly ones)
I am not sure if she is able to carry on with her story after all these.
It is not a good feeling when one becomes a shooting target.

About marriage. Marriage does not equal to happiness. I had a marriage before, and I was not happy.
But still, I am not able to find a reason why two should not get married when they feel happy together. Instead, I will encourage the two to get married. I myself won’t run away from marriage just coz I have failed one before or foreseeing the challenges ahead.

Again, it is all about have you found the one?
If yes, live the present,to love and to be loved;
If yet, no worries and no hurry, life is long enough to find true love.

#2013-01-26 23:45:53 by Dayton @Dayton

Well said.....marriage is not a ball & chain and you should never give up on your dreams

#2013-01-27 12:12:35 by flyingangela618 @flyingangela618

"In effect, I want each day of married life to be as exciting ...as if... we met! If a person was so lucky to have such a life, he would leave this world earlier by heart attacks :D, And the same exciting things on you, several times later, you will feel tired, won't you?

"what makes you happy” It's a interesting topic. If we expect other persons or things happened around you to make you happy, maybe one, two, three or more times can be, but comparing our whole life, it's just a short and pity part.Most of time at last we are more unhappier or feel hurt.Why? From my inspection, it comes from human's unsatisfied or greedy charactor. Because we don't feel happy,we eager happy feelings,just like we are thirsty, we need water, water comes, at the first we feel very exciting, later water's good and ok, then if add some sugar, that would be good, later more some tea,or change to be coffee, so we can see diverse drinks in the world,ha... (joking) Perhaps,someone would say, it's not right, at the first we choose coffee or the drink I like, then nothing happened. True, but coffee at last become water,yeah?

So "what makes you happy"? It's a deep topic not related with marrige,it's just about yourself. But if there is another one will enter in the rest of your life, that will be different. So what we should choose? At least, from my point of view, if we are not a veteran to control ourselves'feelings, we should choose the one who can't break or lead you to break the happy or balance in your life and heart, or help you to be happy and balance in the life. And more if the one is WATER, that would be the best, for water is the necessity of life and it is also a basic factor of every varieties(See, the greedy shows :D).


#2013-01-27 15:02:07 by Grace172 @Grace172

I agree with you. I rather spend more time to find the right one but not get the wrong hasty marriage again. You know what you are seeking. Don't give up your principle until your dream come true. Best wish to you.

#2013-01-28 12:06:38 by anonymous5367 @anonymous5367

wish you all happiness...

i want happiness as the next man / woman
but happiness by definition is you are happy because...
and that because can be taken away
then it becomes a misery

now i want to have inner peace first
then whatever happens out there, it doesn't shake me...

#2013-01-28 18:01:16 by anonymous5374 @anonymous5374

one guru said, the secret of relationship that works is alignment.

the alignment that the well being of the partner is primary.
so to make coffee for him/her in the morning is more important than going to the bathroom
to make them happy is the source of joy for you.
and of course, she/he do the same to you
then,
you better find a woman which has the SAME alignment of your 'list'
good luck.... :-0
she seems doesn't exist though..... if she exist, you got the problem of making her wanting you too

#2013-02-01 17:01:08 by sandy339 @sandy339

Ok, it is really nice to know your opinion on marriage I think everyone deserves pursuiting what he wants.
My comment on some of your points: ( thanks for your blog letting me think about this issue.)
“ each day of married life to be as exciting for both of us as if it were the first moment we met! - is this not that ’romantic ideal’ many CLM ladies aspire to?”

Yes, it sounds so enspiring, in my case now, exciting and happiness is not my first priority in relationship, but it is a plus, what is the most important from my perspective is total trust, relax and comfort, I could feel them even when we two do or say nothing, not necessarily a new idea to start a day off… maybe I am too old?haha…
Anyway I hope your dream could come true and could compromise only if it could not work out always, which might be a normal life state?

#2013-02-01 23:33:16 by TimG @TimG

Hi Garreth, I love your cartoon. Here's a question for you: if the person you love and loves you would like to get married, does your considerations include her feelings on this matter? If yes, and if marriage is not important to you, then the answer is clear. If no, and you don't want marriage, again the answer is clear ... n'est pas? Or am I missing something?

#2013-02-03 23:15:25 by aussieghump @aussieghump

@TimG
I am not opposed to marriage, or to the idea of finding a nice person who is compatible enough with me to explore a deeper relationship. But, on the same token, if I feel that the person is not compatible with me, then I should be allowed to move forward without guilt!

It is not a compromise - it s an acknowledgement that this person is important enough for me to change my viewpoint to include her in our joint life together!

The thing that most annoys me dating in China is mentality that goes...'you are man, single and availabe; she is woman, single and available and wants to get married' and this seems to be the only compatibility you need to have to be married.
Sure, there are plenty of 'good' people around based on this criteria...but I would like to find a little more! But when I discuss this, I am seen as being some tyrant!

So, to answer your question, if the 'right' lady is around then I will happily and willingly do my best to create a great life together - in whatever form that takes! But until then, I will continue my search!

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