Double the Happiness

One of the symbols most widely associated with weddings and marriages in China is the symbol of “Double Happiness.”  The symbol’s name comes from the fact that it is literally two characters of the word “happiness” placed together side by side.  Often times they are accompanied by the symbol for male (dragon) and female (phoenix).

The "Double Happiness" symbol in a special paper cutting.

In China, newlyweds always place this symbol in their house, most usually near the major doorway or in windows, in order to announce their marriage and love.  Tian and I wanted to do something similar in our home, but we also wanted the sign itself to mean something more.  So we decided last year to stitch our own.  It was a fun project and an excellent way to pass the cold winter, especially given my bum knee.

Stitching is a good activity when buried beneath blankets.

As we worked on the project, we had plenty of time to think.  We decided to have fun reflecting on what we could learn about married life from doing cross stitch.  Here is our top ten list:

  1. Sometimes you both want to sew, but there is only one needle.
  2. Sometimes you can catch a mistake in time and fix it.  Other times you need to recognize it but just look ahead.
  3. Sometimes you have to specialize and then support each other.  Tian often had me tie the knot and start the thread.  I liked it when she threaded the needle.
  4. Sometimes you won’t know the beauty you are making until you finish and can look back on it.
  5. Sometimes it’s better if you don’t follow the plan.
  6. In stitching, as in life, the big picture is only as beautiful as the thousands of individual pieces that comprise it.
  7. Sometimes your partner may have a different method that makes no sense to you.
  8. As in cross stitch, you can and should work on your marriage while doing other things at the same time.
  9. Sometimes it takes teamwork to undo a knot.
  10. It takes time and commitment to make something beautiful.

It took us the better part of four months to finish the cross-stitch.  When we were done, there still remained one concerning task…cleaning the guiding lines off the fabric.  At the time we bought the kit, the saleswoman sold us the pen promising that it would wash off in soap and water.  But we wondered if she was telling the full truth, if it would come off completely, or if maybe we already took too long.  Luckily, with a night in a soapy water bath, the pen in fact came out.  We breathed a sigh of relief.

After a tense couple moments, we realized the guide lines were indeed coming out.

The final product!



  1. WOW! (A different WOW than the previous entry!). I am impressed with your handiwork, creativity, and your Top Ten List is awesome (if you follow it, your marriage will be loving, stable, and energizing).

  2. That’s a beautiful story and a treasure you’ve made together. Congratulations to both of you and many years of double happiness together.

  3. Ahhhhhhh, you finished!! I’m pumped that it turned out so wonderfully. KUDOS! I’m also glad that you included your list…lots of good reflections there! Can’t wait to see more of your wedding pictures. Hope all is well! Half-heart! 🙂

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