Mixed marriages are disintegrating at a shocking rate, said Seoul’s JoongAng Ilbo in an editorial. It’s no secret that nearly half of Korean men in rural areas must look abroad to find wives. A local girl would rather move to the city, find work, and support herself than marry a poor peasant. So the men turn to international marriage brokers to procure Vietnamese or Cambodian wives. Unfortunately, such alliances often don’t last. The divorce rate among mixed couples has quadrupled in just the past three years, to reach nearly 16 percent. The brides—or ex-brides—say that’s because they were “given false information regarding their bridegrooms’ character, job, or habits.” Imagine trying to maintain a marriage in a foreign culture when you find that the man you are “supposed to trust and lean on” has failed to mention his extreme poverty, his physical disability, or his expectation that you play nursemaid to two ancient parents with Alzheimer’s. Honesty would serve these bridegrooms better. A woman who accepts an offer knowing exactly what it entails is much more likely to stay. “It is heartbreaking to see a bride fleeing poverty in her home country, and a countryside bridegroom who desperately needs a wife, ending up with a divorce.”
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