Marriage is a big issue, especially in China, which has traditionally attached great importance to family education. Although many of its quintessential values have eroded and disappeared over time, marriage by matchmaking and family consent is still highly valued in Chinese society.

However, According to Sixth Tone, more and more young Chinese are eager to propose loudly and expensively. They began to see this as an indispensable ritual before deciding to get married.

Professor Pei Yuxin at Sun Yat-sen University conducted a survey project with 2,500 young people in Guangzhou. When asked what element of the marriage process they consider the most important, the most common answer was “get a marriage license,” followed by “proposal,” and “wedding” came in last.

Popular culture is what changes everything.

In 2014, a reality show called “Chinese-style marriage proposal” caused a stir among young people, but the show was criticized for its lack of reality.

The Hong Kong movie Love Off the Cuff (2017) ultimately changed everything. The scene where the male protagonist sings and kneels to propose to his girlfriend in the presence of family and friends has become every Chinese girl’s dream.

The film received a positive response from the community with a huge viewership. From here, the “culture of marriage proposal” was revived.

More recently, youth-focused social media bloggers and the social platform Xiaohongshu (China’s Instagram) have helped exaggerate the trend.

According to Sixth Tone, young Chinese are influenced by cultural products such as social media, advertising, and TV series. Therefore, they have learned that the price paid is equivalent to the value received.

Material gifts like fresh flowers, candlelit dinners, diamond rings, and other luxuries express intense love.

In other words, young Chinese assess the emotional importance of marriage through an elaborate proposal but ignore the fundamental nature of the proposal.

Their focus is not on the question, “will you marry me?” Instead, the proposal becomes a celebration of the connection between two people and a way to show that connection in front of friends, family, and even strangers.

Thus the preparation for the proposal became the main work of the event, not the proposal.

While material factors are essential, the most important part of a proposal for interviewees is not the financial investment but the preparation and formal presentation. The preparation a man puts into the ceremony will show patience, care, and a desire to spend time with the woman of his life.

Instead of letting the marriage proposal say it all, young Chinese are running after different factors. Is this one of the factors that make another part of China’s youth unable to find inspiration for their marriage in the context of China’s lowest number of marriages in a decade today?

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