A Match Made in Heaven

Watercolor painting of a bridge and pavillion in a Chinese garden.

In ancient China, the father of a beautiful and elegant young woman made a suitable marriage arrangement for her but Heaven had other plans. (Image: ArtTower via Pixabay)

There’s a saying among people that when two people are so well-suited for each other, when things come together so perfectly that it’s as if their marriage was predestined, it’s a “match made in Heaven.” 

But could this saying be more than just a saying? Could it have come about, and been passed down, for a reason? Could it be true that Heaven really does prearrange one’s marriage? 

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There’s a tale that says indeed this is the case.

In ancient China, there lived a beautiful and elegant young woman named Jin Li. Being the daughter of the prefect of Jingnan, her family was happy to have made a suitable marriage arrangement for her with the son of a family of equal status. The two parties selected a date for the auspicious day and awaited the wedding with anticipation. 

However, a few days before the wedding was to take place, Jin Li had a dream in which someone told her: “The arrangement made by your father will fail. Your current fiancé is not your future husband. Jin Junqing is your future husband’s name, and this is definite.”

Asian bride and groom dolls in traditional clothing sit next to jewelry boxes containing the wedding rings in front of a bouquet of roses.
In the dream, Jin Li was told that her current fiancé was not her future husband. (Image: Bluesilent via Dreamstime)

Taken aback by the message in her dream, Jin Li decided not to mention it to anyone, including her parents. But the dream seemed so real that she decided to embroider the three characters for Jin Junqing on the straps of her new clothing. When her mother discovered what she’d done, she privately told her husband about it. 

When Jin Li’s father heard the news, he didn’t know what to make of it and wondered whether his daughter had had an affair with someone among his subordinates. But after checking everyone’s names, he could find no one named Jin Junqing. 

Worried that their daughter may have been deceived by someone, they summoned her to have a serious discussion about the matter. Jin Li replied: “I have no secrets in my heart. It was nothing more than a strange dream,” and she finally told her parents what she’d dreamt. Relieved, her parents believed it was simply a bizarre occurrence and thought nothing more of it. 

But not long afterward, tragedy struck — their soon-to-be son-in-law met an untimely death, and the arranged marriage plans came to an end. This opened the door for a match made in Heaven.

Nearly half a year later, the new head of Xiazhou prefecture was passing through Jingnan on his way to assume office. In the name of diplomatic relations, he decided to request a meeting with Jingnan’s prefect and sent him a visitation card. When the prefect and his wife received the card, they were shocked – the signature on the card read “Jin Junqing”!

Soon after, Jin Junqing met with the prefect and his wife. He was treated very warmly, and was even invited to spend several days at their home. As the couple got to know him, they saw that he was a kind and decent man. They also learned that his wife had recently passed away, confirming for them that their daughter’s dream was, in fact, a foretelling from Heaven.

The prefect told Jin Junqing: “You may find this hard to believe, but I have already heard your name before your arrival.” Surprised, Jin Junqing asked what happened. 

The phoenix and dragon together are symbols of harmony and happiness in marriage — a match made in Heaven.
The phoenix and dragon together are symbols of harmony and happiness in marriage — a match made in Heaven. (Image: Insima via Dreamstime)

A match made in Heaven

Convinced of Heaven’s arrangement, the prefect told Jin Junqing about his daughter’s dream and said that he hoped he would marry his daughter.

Jin Junqing waved his hand and replied: “No, no! I am already 42 years old, and more than twice your daughter’s age. It might not be appropriate for me to marry her. Furthermore, my wife recently passed away. I cannot bear to remarry so quickly. I am sorry.”

Upon hearing his response, the prefect’s wife brought in her daughter’s clothing, and showed Jin Junqing the straps embroidered by her daughter. When he saw the fully decorated three characters, a special feeling arose in Jin Junqing’s heart, and he wondered if their marriage really was predestined. 

The prefect said earnestly: “Without Heaven’s instructions, how could my daughter know the name Jin Junqing? My original son-in-law died before the wedding, and your wife also recently passed away. If it was not a predestined arrangement, how did these things happen so coincidentally?”

The prefect’s wife added: “Heaven decides the marriage. Now that Heaven has already instructed us, you should accept it!”

Jin Junqing thought it over. He felt there could be no other explanation except that it was an arrangement from Heaven. 

Before long, he and the prefect’s daughter were married. Jin Li gave birth to several sons, and the couple went on to live together for more than 30 years. Jin Junqing lived to be an old man into his seventies, and the two enjoyed a long and happy life together. It was indeed a match made in Heaven.

Translated by Joseph Wu

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