Three's company for this village family
Updated: 2011-11-11 07:05
By Xu Junqian (China Daily)
TIANTAI, Zhejiang - For the late Princess Diana, a marriage of three could be "a bit crowded", she told the BBC in 1995.
Wang Yuxiang and her current husband Jin Boxing carry her ex-husband Wang Huafu outside for sunshine on Oct 20 in Wanmadu village, Zhejiang province. They have taken care of the paralyzed ex-husband for the past 10 years. [Photo / China Daily]
But for Wang Yuxiang, living with her "two husbands" may be the only way that all three of them, and perhaps their two kids, can survive.
"When life has driven you to desperation, you are left no choice but to make it work, whatever others call it," said Wang, talking about the crowded life she has shared for nearly 10 years with Wang Huafu, her paralyzed ex-husband that she divorced in 2002 and Jin Boxing, her current husband.
Thirteen years ago when she was just 28, Wang's husband fell from a two-story house while helping a neighbor rebuild it. The accident left him paralyzed from the chest down.
Suggestions that Wang should remarry to "save the family" started to overwhelm the desperate housewife. Even her parents-in-law were trying to persuade her to divorce their son so that they could receive a considerable allowance to support the family, at least temporarily.
"I didn't want to afflict another man, for people say it's my ill luck that paralyzed my ex-husband. Besides, I should stand by Huafu rather than abandon him under the circumstances," said Wang.
But after four years of struggle, Wang finally agreed to remarry Jin Boxing, a villager of the same age.
"I made it clear before the marriage that I will take care of Huafu until death. It was the only condition I set, and he agreed," said Wang.
In 2002, Wang divorced her husband at his bedside with the judge in their house, then married Jin and moved to his no-more-luxurious cottage 30 meters away.
Since then, Wang has been spending most of her leisure time taking care of her ex-husband, while Jin is busy toiling in the fields and seeking every other means to support the family of five, including a son of Wang and her ex-husband who is now studying in a high school in town.
Wang's persistence has earned her the respect and support of her neighbors and country folk, who at first mostly offered nothing but mockery and gossip.
"Everyone in our village knows about their story after all these years and is convinced that she's the most kind-hearted woman," said village head Chen Changgui.
"She could have just left and lived a better life," Chen said.
But Wang refuses to take the credit, and says it is Jin who had been sacrificing most to sustain the family.
"He is incredibly supportive. When I was away taking care of my elder son in town, he was the one looking after Huafu every day for a month. And now, he knows what he likes to eat almost as well as I do, and often cooks for Huafu," recalled Wang.
Jin, a shy diminutive man, was evasive when China Daily approached him. The farmer, who had spent most of his time with his mother on the mountain before marrying Wang, only talks about things like the crops in the field and his 4-year-old son, and remained silent when asked if he ever regretted marrying Wang.
"There is nothing worth talking about," said Jin, who has to toil in the land from dawn to dusk every day to support the family, and kills the rest of his time sitting idle.
"All I do is drop by with some food when my wife is away and cannot help. And that's a deal we made before getting married."
But her first husband thinks Jin is doing more than just following "a deal".
"He keeps it in mind that I love eating oranges and buys some for me whenever peddlers are selling oranges in our village," said Wang Huafu.
And she feels the same way.
"He doesn't talk much, but you can feel his consideration and tenderness. In fact, nobody was willing to remarry me at that time, and he was the only one who accepted me," she said with gratitude.