Respect yourself. Do not sell yourself short.
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54 – Fifty-Four Kuei Mei / A Loveless Marriage
The Thunderstorm inseminates the swelling Lake, then moves on where the Lake cannot follow:
The Superior Person views passing trials in the light of Eternal Truths.
Any action will prove unfortunate.
This is at best a Marriage of Convenience.
You have found yourself in desperate straits, a position of weakness, and you are tempted to pay dearly for a remedy.
A drowning man isn’t picky about who throws him a rope.
The rescue offered to you now is undesirable.
It may pull you out of this sticky situation, but it will cause even greater predicaments down the road.
Don’t obligate yourself in this way.
You are selling your future for a quick fix today.
|above: Chên / The Arousing, Thunder
|below: Tui / The Joyous, Lake
Above we have Chên, the eldest son, and below, Tui, the youngest daughter. The man leads and the girl follows him in gladness. The picture is that of the entrance of the girl into her husband’s house. In all, there are four hexagrams depicting the relationship between husband and wife. Hsien, INFLUENCE, (31), describes the attraction that a young couple have for each other; Hêng, DURATION (32), portrays the permanent relationships of marriage; Chien, DEVELOPMENT (53), reflects the protracted, ceremonious procedures attending the arrangement of a proper marriage; finally, Kuei Mei, THE MARRYING MAIDEN, shows a young girl under the guidance of an older man who marries her.1
THE MARRYING MAIDEN.
A girl who is taken into the family, but not as the chief wife, must behave with special caution and reserve. She must not take it upon herself to supplant the mistress of the house, for that would mean disorder and lead to untenable relationships.
Thunder over the lake:
Thunder stirs the water of the lake, which follows it in shimmering waves. This symbolises the girl who follows the man of her choice. But every relationship between individuals bears within it the danger that wrong turns may be taken, leading to endless misunderstandings and disagreements. Therefore it is necessary constantly to remain mindful of the end. If we permit ourselves to drift along, we come together and are parted again as the day may determine. If on the other hand a man fixes his mind on an end that endures, he will succeed in avoiding the reefs that confront the closer relationships of people.
1. In China, monogamy is formally the rule, and every man has but one official wife. This marriage, which is less the concern of the two participants than of their families, is contracted with strict observance of forms. But the husband retains the right also to indulge his more personal inclinations. Indeed, it is the most gracious duty of a good wife to be helpful to him in this respect. In this way the relationship that develops becomes a beautiful and open one, and the girl who enters the family at the husband’s wish subordinates herself modestly to the wife as a younger sister. Of course it is a most difficult and delicate matter, requiring tact on the part of all concerned. But under favorable circumstances this represents the solution of a problem for which European culture has failed to find an answer. Needless to say, the ideal set for woman in China is achieved no oftener than is the European ideal.