Insider Perspectives of Mate Selection in Modern Chinese Society

Szu-Yu Lin, Richard B Miller, Li Ping Su, Jason Whiting, Roy Bean, Chih-Han Hsieh, Tsui-Shan Li


With the increased exposure to Western cultures and the transition towards modernization, Chinese society has experienced substantial social change, which has influenced marital relationships. Although recent research has documented contemporary patterns of marital interaction, less is known about what Chinese adults consider to be an ideal marital partner. The values of contemporary Chinese adults about mate selection preferences were addressed by conducting six focus groups in Taipei, Taiwan. The focus groups included a total of 51 participants (male=25; female=26) and included separate groups for middle-aged married men, middle-aged married women, younger married men, younger married women, never-married young adult men, and never-married young adult women. The results from qualitative analysis indicated three major themes in an ideal partner: family-of-origin, which included similar family background and good relationship with in-laws, personal qualities, which included financially stability and being responsible, and relationship qualities, which included getting along, communicating well, mutual respect, and gender equality. These results indicate that contemporary Chinese adults value a combination of traditional Chinese (e.g., similar family background) and Western (e.g., good communication) values. Overall, the young Chinese participants showed greater incorporation of Western values than the older participants. These findings suggest that modern Chinese society is being increasingly influenced by individualistic Western values.

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