A Discussion on "Marriage" - Part 3

Mutual Respect Between Husband and Wife as One Would Respect A Guest

In traditional Chinese culture, the relationship between husband and wife always placed great emphasis to the meaning of the word "respect." Marriage symbolised the goodness that culminates in the union between the two sexes, thus resulting in continuous societal consensus that a husband and wife should mutually respect one another as one would respect a guest. This was how the tradition was born and later passed down.

The wife of Han dynasty official Liang Hong, when delivering food to her husband, always reverently raised the tray that contained the food to eyebrow height and respectfully asked her husband to dine. This was how the Chinese saying of "mutual respect between husbands and wives as one would treat a guest" was derived and passed down.

During the Spring and Autumn Period, in the Jin Dynasty, when eating his meals with his wife, Xi Que always gave precedence to his wife out of courtesy so they would mutually treat each other like guest and visitor. He was looked upon as a noble person with high moral standards. Consequently he gained the trust the Jin Emperor and was entrusted with heavy responsibility in the governance and administration of the country's daily affairs. The places where Xi Que lived, people regarded as "guest town."

In the early Qing Dynasty, the famous scholar Li Yong said, "Where husband and wife respect one another as one would a guest, then the husband and wife had conformed to the Tao (path, way, principles). Where the husband and wife have complied with and followed this Tao then the overall relationship between father and son, brothers and sisters and the monarch and his ministers will all be in sync with the Tao. By stressing that in the relationship of mutual respect between husband and wife, they should respect each other as one would a guest, the family can stay united and strong. Peace and prosperity can then prevail in the country.

In the "Lecture at the U.S. East Coast Conference" (New York, March 27-28, 1999) Mr. Li Hongzhi said to his disciple:

"At present, people have commented that women are becoming more and more liberal and their character is also getting stronger. In fact, you're not being driven by your benevolent side. I don't believe strength is necessarily reflected in the appearance of a person. If in your daily life you're like a gentle, true woman, your competence will let you have everything you deserve all the same. It's not necessary for you to be tough and manly. Do you understand the principles I'm talking about? (Applause) In other words, if you're a woman, you need to act like one, kind and gentle. Only that way can you gain respect and love from men. If you're not kind and gentle, men will be afraid of you when they see you. (Laughter) You'll then be denied the love and even the family affection that you're supposed to have. From the opposite perspective, let's not only talk about women. We men should also behave like men. However, today's society in this world has become corrupt. I can only ask my disciples to behave this way, which is not achievable by the society. I remember that before the fifties, men in the West were very gentlemen-like. They treated women with respect. Because women acted like women, men loved to help them, respect them and care for them. At the same time, in a feminine way, women cherished their husbands. This was human behaviour. Yet today you have distorted all of this." (Provisional translation subject to further improvement)

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