When I first read Christi’s story — which shares some of the ways she and her fiancee, Huaiqian, balance their relationship — I smiled at the way she described herself as “a headstrong Australian girl…humbled by China.” Her words echoed much of my own experience with John — the moments when we realized just how differently we viewed exactly the same thing, the times when we learned to negotiate the differences. She brings so much heart and honesty to the subject, and I’m excited to share her story with you.
My fiance Huaiqian (怀前）and I compromise on a lot of different things. Even though I am a headstrong Australian girl, I have been humbled by China and him in a lot of ways.
One thing that took a long time to “get right’ was modesty. I don’t mean to say that I was walking around with my chest fully exposed and everything on show. It was more like unconsciously leaving the top button undone on a shirt. Or wearing a top with really short sleeves in the summer. Or sometimes just showing anything below my collar bones in our little town, which was considered risque. I am fairly well-endowed and certain combinations of clothing that are modest in Australia are not so modest when worn in China. I have come to realise that, in rural China, when in doubt cover it up!
My darling husband comes from a little village with traditional values. When he was growing up, his family was never very “loving” in the Western sense. There was no ‘I love you’ or any romantic gestures seen by family members. So when we started dating I was insecure — I think all women are when beginning a new relationship with someone new — that he didn’t seem to show me or tell me anything romantic. We have a compromise on this, that he must try to be more spontaneous with his actions and words (so far, it’s working well). Also, I didn’t really consider it before, but he had ever been told how to be romantic, or had never seen it “in action” so to speak. Chinese movies tend to focus on Chinese-style romance in a dating sense, where they show the little things boys do in pursuit of girls but never show the actual relationships after the chase. I told him about celebrating anniversaries (we have only been together 11 months but have known each other for years) and spontaneous acts of romance, as well as some little things that have become our private love language.
The last big thing we compromise on is planning. I am a girl who likes to plan, I have notebooks on me at all times, I make lists and schedules like a hobby and I love to feel like I have that control of time and our future. Huaiqian is the opposite. He doesn’t plan anything, prefers to go with the flow, and is happy to change plans at the last second for better or for worse and doesn’t seem to be fazed by it at all. Our compromise is that I have planned a rough outline for the next few weeks to a year and basically I follow it, and Huaiqian cruises along in the river so to speak. Or, he gives me the illusion of control and then does his own thing anyway. Either way, it works for me!
Christi, a “headstrong Australian girl,” lives with her fiance Huaiqian in China.
How did you meet? Why do you love him/her (or Chinese men/Western women)? How two different people “complete each other” in unexpected ways? We’re looking for a few good stories from Chinese men and Western women in love to share on Fridays. Submit your original story or a published blog post today.