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The Religions of South Vietnam in Faith and Fact, US Navy, Bureau of Naval Personnel, Chaplains Division [1967], at

Effects of Stars on Choosing Marriage Partners

The custom by which a wife is chosen for most Vietnamese men is quite different from the manner a young American uses to choose a wife. While the matter of astrology is not usually supposedly involved for Christians, it is for most of the ethnic Vietnamese. Factors to be seriously considered are the social status of the families, and the question of the mystical

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affinities of the marriage partners. Compatible mystical affinities will allow them to marry in keeping with the harmony of the universe; incompatible readings indicate discord which will result in serious martial difficulty. This question of mystical affinities is based on the Chinese concept that three essential factors must be considered: (1) the influence of the earth, (2) the influence of nature, and (3) the actions of the planets. The five major planets with a significant influence on human lives and the items that represent them on earth are: (a) Venus, metal; (b) Jupiter, wood; (c) Mars, fire; (d) Mercury, water; (e) Saturn, soil.

Each of these elements can build up or destroy one another according to this theory. That is to say:

Fire helps soil

On the contrary

Fire destroys metal

soil helps metal


wood destroys soil

water helps wood


water destroys fire

metal helps water


metal destroys wood

wood helps fire



Since individuals at birth come under the auspices of at least one of the above planets, it is imperative to make sure that two which oppose each other are not united. A man born under Venus marrying a girl of Mars would find arguments, unhappiness, etc., whereas the same man marrying a girl under Mercury's influence would be happy. Similarly, if the man is of fire influence and the wife of water, countless arguments, poverty and perhaps divorce is their predetermined fate; but if man is under influence of fire and the girl of wood, they will have many children and prosperity.

If both are born under the influence of the same planet or its earth representation, things begin to get complicated. Many books and "authorities" have to be consulted in order to determine the exact situation. However, astrology is only one of the three major factors which must be pondered in considering marriage. Strange to the western ear, the thought of romance is not a major factor, if considered at all. In fact, several lovely Buddhist young ladies informed the interviewer that the question of love would not be discussed inasmuch as marriage is a family affair and not the personal affairs of two people. One of them speaking for the group said that she would marry whomever her mother chose for her regardless of what she might think of the groom. She added that it would be better to be married to a poor man, an ugly man, or a bad man than to bring unhappiness to her mother. How different are the ideas of many young women in other parts of the earth with which we are acquainted!

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