lifestyle

Japanese mom lists 14 ways life with a spouse differs from life with someone you’re dating

49 Comments
By Casey Baseel, RocketNews24

For a country that heavily romanticizes dating and courtship in so much of its popular media, Japan can take a rather dry, almost pragmatic view of married life. It’s not so much that marriage is considered to be the end of passion and romance, but many would argue that getting married causes some extremely large changes in the dynamics and emotions of the relationship between two people.

Putting this into stark focus is the mother of Japanese Twitter user @ar_baby64, who sent her daughter a list of 14 key differences between a lover who’s just a dating partner and a lawfully married spouse.

Let’s run through the list, one point at a time.

  1. With a lover, you’re fighting against uncertainty, but with a spouse, you’re fighting against dissatisfaction.

  2. With a lover, you’ve got a relationship that provides you with thrills, but with a spouse, you’ve got a relationship that provides you with trust and stability.

  3. With a lover, you have pleasure, but with a spouse, you have tolerance and generosity.

  4. With a lover, you have no responsibility, but with a spouse, you do.

  5. With a lover, you have dreams, but with a spouse, you have reality.

  6. Your lover is a separate person from you, but your spouse is part of your family.

  7. You can be with your lover as long as you have feelings for each other, but to be with your spouse, you have to be ready to accept everything and everyone that comes with them.

  8. The connection with your lover is a point you share, but the connection with a spouse is a long, continuous thread.

  9. With a lover, your passion for one another builds up, but with a spouse, your love for each other overflows.

  10. With a lover, you can look for someone who’s perfect, but with a spouse, you have to accept their imperfections.

  11. With a lover, you can receive a taste of happiness, but with a spouse, you build your happiness.

  12. With a lover, you can gaze at each other, but with a spouse, you both turn your eyes to the same future.

  13. With a lover, you share your leisure time on the weekends, but with a spouse, you share your everyday life.

  14. With a lover, you’re free to come and go as you please, but with a spouse, your destinies are one and the same.

“My mom is exactly right,” tweeted @ar_baby64 along with the list. While some parts of it read like a cautionary tale, the overall theme seems to be that since the person you wed will have a larger effect on your life than anyone you just date, picking someone you’re compatible with (as a spouse) will pay off in a happier married life.

Considering that @ar_baby64 herself is now the proud mother of a daughter of her own, and has another baby on the way in the fall, it sounds like her mom knows what she’s talking about.

Source: Jin

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49 Comments
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Nice list. Refreshingly nice.

14 ( +18 / -4 )

with a spouse, you have tolerance and generosity.

Well, the thing is the Mom was lucky to find that spouse that lets her have the lovers for the week-ends of thrills...

-14 ( +8 / -22 )

Japan can take a rather dry, almost pragmatic view of married life.

Hmm...

With a lover, you can receive a taste of happiness, but with a spouse, you build your happiness. With a lover, you can gaze at each other, but with a spouse, you both turn your eyes to the same future.

Doesn't sound especially dry or pragmatic to me.

Considering that @ar_baby64 herself is now the proud mother of a daughter of her own, and has another baby on the way in the fall, it sounds like her mom knows what she’s talking about.

Right, because only people with happy marriages are capable of reproducing.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

Wow, who would have thought someone would send her daughter this wonderful list. And the list rings true.

11 ( +15 / -4 )

With a lover, you’re fighting against uncertainty, but with a spouse, you’re fighting against dissatisfaction.

Stopped after No. 1, if in either case you are "fighting" odds are you are not going to last long as a couple and should have broken up well before the wedding.

Been married over 30 years, learning to communicate together and keep the "fighting" to a minimum is one key to a successful relationship.

Now I will go to No. 2....

-9 ( +6 / -15 )

With a lover, you have dreams, but with a spouse, you have reality.

You can still have dreams with your spouse. In fact, if you don't something has gone completely stale.

17 ( +18 / -1 )

With a lover, you’ve got a relationship that provides you with thrills, but with a spouse, you’ve got a relationship that provides you with trust and stability.

Sorry, but if your spouse, in your relationship, lost the thrills and excitement that you only seem to get from your lover, then you probably have some things going on here,

One...no reason that your spouse and you can't have the thrills, it takes work sometimes, but those thrills don't need to stop just because you got married. Two, odds are you probably wanted the thrills to stop, and wanted the feeling of security and comfort of a steady relationship.

You are just as important in creating and keeping those thrills in your relationship and you play an important part in the trust and stability as well. You get what you create, if you want the thrills, make them happen!

-8 ( +4 / -13 )

Stopped after No. 1, if in either case you are "fighting" odds are you are not going to last long as a couple

I thought you read Japanese? Relying on JT's somewhat iffy translations often sends people off on a tangent. The list says 不安との戦い/不満との戦い, i.e. it's a struggle against uncertainty/dissatisfaction. No suggestion of fighting with the lover/spouse.

You can still have dreams with your spouse.

I think the point the Mum is trying to make is that what was just a dream (=pie in the sky) becomes reality (=happiness).

And 'lover' isn't necessarily the best translation of 恋人. In the Japanese context (and particularly in the context of a Mum talking to her daughter), 'sweetheart' would be more appropriate. There is no suggestion of the Mum having dirty weekends with her lover. That would be 愛人, not 恋人.

A wise Mum. I imagine Dad is a happy man.

30 ( +31 / -1 )

For a country that heavily romanticizes dating and courtship in so much of its popular media

Sounds like another classic case of, "the media sells it and you live the role." Endless trains of sheep people. Pathetic. Truly pathetic.

-13 ( +5 / -18 )

Pretty accurate list!

3 ( +8 / -5 )

Of all my Japanese wife's married friends, we are the only ones who 'date.' Other wives say they'd be 'too embarrassed' to go out to dinner and a movie or drinking with their husbands. Why? Anyone know? We're trying to combine the Lover/Sweetheart thrills with the married bits.

15 ( +17 / -2 )

Me and wife loved our dates, most were spontaneous as we just dropped into a restaurant strolling through the neighborhood.

Didn't stop after our son was born, he always complained that my recommended food was better than his after sampling mine.

Romance don't have to stop, how about a candle lit dinner after the wee ones are asleep, etc.

How about joining your partner in the shower suddenly to wash their back. Can lead to more.

9 ( +11 / -2 )

A pretty positive list, I have to say (usually it'd be a complete ripping of married life and a fantasy of dating), and it looks like the woman in question got at least a partner she is somewhat satisfied in life, which is good. Ideally you still find someone whom you don't have to 'put up with' and can still find 'pleasure and satisfaction' with, and make eye contact with despite both looking forward to the future. It can still be reality AND a dream.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Better than I had anticipated.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

My wife and I had a conversation yesterday, whereby she conveyed a conversation she had recently with about a dozen women she is part of a group with. These are women in their mid 30's.....and EVERY ONE of them said they are not having sex/intimate relations with their husbands. Some of them had even encouraged their suppose to head to a prostitute to fulfil their sexual needs. What the....?

I guess this is an extremely relevant list to many in Japan then.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

With a lover, you can have sex as much as possible to keep the relationship going but with a spouse, you can ration it out because they are stuck with you.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

So wrong.

You can have sex with your spouse that will make rabbits blush.

As I said being romantic can be anything from a sudden date to cuddling on the couch watching a movie or listening to a record.

If you don't get enough from your spouse the fault is yours.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

You can have sex with your spouse that will make rabbits blush.

Speaking from a Japanese woman's perspective. Not mine!

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Wow, who would have thought someone would send her daughter this wonderful list

Spot on girl. She's a really cool mom to send her daughter this wonderful list. Even cooler for taking the time and having the creativity to word it so well

Cleo, cheers for the excellent translation, by the way.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

15.

With a lover you have to give it up in the bedroom to make him think you like skinship and sex. With a spouse you can shut all that down as soon as possible and settle into a sexless marriage as you intended all along.

4 ( +10 / -5 )

Wow, a wise mother. I love hearing wisdom come out from where one least expects it. That young lass had better ingrain this in her heart.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Did the mother give her this daughter the list recently? The article ends by saying the daughter is expecting her second child. It's a bit late for "here's what to expect from marriage" advice! The "koibito" bit is probably just a romaticized distant past. If you date for years before marriage, and especially if you live together, the big change is when you have kids, not when you sign a piece of paper. Marry in haste, repent at leisure etc. etc.

On the general topic of marriage in Japan, some of the women my wife knows criticize their husbands as if its an everyday safe topic of conversation, like the weather or something on tv. It makes me really uncomfortable, and betrays the idea of your partner as "family" in the woman's list.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I thought you read Japanese? Relying on JT's somewhat iffy translations often sends people off on a tangent. The list says 不安との戦い/不満との戦い, i.e. it's a struggle against uncertainty/dissatisfaction. No suggestion of fighting with the lover/spouse.

Fair enough, I will tell you I did not take the time to look at the picture with the list. My mistake and you are correct.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

picking someone you’re compatible with (as a spouse) will pay off in a happier married life.

Oh right thanks for pointing that out!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

No need for the list.

Both me and my wife worked. Plenty of times she had a rough day, gave her a shoulder massage and kiss on the neck and while she was cooking, did the dishes bathed our son and put him to sleep while she soaked in the tub.

My Wife was my Lover never needed anyone else.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

People who over-analyze life in this way are tiresome.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Granted I am the better cook but she was a pescatorian hence she did most of the cooking.

I am not flawless either, we had our share of fights but as she said the marriage ends when we can no more share a bed.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

The lady who wrote this list is a very wise woman!

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

She forgot #15 With a lover I hint that he should pay for date, with a spouse I take all his money and give him a tiny bit of allowance

2 ( +5 / -3 )

haha choiwa!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Funny. Almost poetic. Sadly I doubt Japanese mothers think that much about anything really.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

In other words, don't get married, because life is much more thrilling without a spouse, and life is much more cumbersome with one.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

That the mother took the time and reflection to impart some nuggets of wisdom to her daughter speaks well of her... I believe that many of us can benefit from reading her list from time to time.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Most of this is inaccurate. Intelligent people figure out that not everything their parents/priests/society tells them is true. Some counsel is just whizdumb and not at all wise. Doesn't stop the sheeple from buying in: It is my fate. (Only if you say so.)

Numbers 2,3,5,6,7,12, and 13 are not mutually exclusive. They are part of the weave of a mature relationship which contains multiple elements. There is some of each. For example, you can have pleasure (#3), tolerance and generosity in a partnership. Numbers 8 and 9 are not accurate and 10 is wrong (if you have any intelligence) as no one is perfect--stop looking for perfection. Numbers 11 and 14 are simply wrong.

Couples negotiate the terms of their relationship through dialogue, mutual acceptance and generous reciprocity. They don't have to do what their parents say or create a relationship that looks like theirs, but they might choose to. It's up to each couple to work it out.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Reds more like a dream/wish list, do or dare.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Other wives say they'd be 'too embarrassed' to go out to dinner and a movie or drinking with their husbands. Why? Anyone know? We're trying to combine the Lover/Sweetheart thrills with the married bits. some people seem to think that everything must change after you get married, yes, of course, theres certain obvious NO NOs. but why can married couples still date and got on a romantic weekend together? Yes I understand that children can make this almost impossible but my wife and I are going on an anniversary date all day tomorrow while the kids are at school. Our anniversary was last week (I almost forgot ...SAFE) but that still doesnt mean we cant make time for each other, 16yrs and still going strong, and as our youth fades I now find my wife more attractive and sexy than when we were first dating.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

For a country that heavily romanticizes dating and courtship in so much of its popular media, Japan can take a rather dry, almost pragmatic view of married life.

Isnt that much better than looking through rose-colored lenses and having unrealistic expectations?

Falling in love is easy, maintaining it is hard. Even harder is raising a family while maintaining a harmonious relationship with someone you love but do not always like.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Most of the list is just “feel good” peptalk or illusion, but then again this is Japan so why should you be realistic when you can have illusions?

Fact, most young men get married for free and, ideally, unlimited sex. Most older men in Japan get married because they want a surrogate mother. A lot of those items on the list are illusions #2, #9, #14 or straight out nonsense #1, #3, #6, #7.

Fact, men are not designed to be monogamous, because of evolution they try to spread their seed as wide as possible. Marriage (especially one man to one woman) is a social construct to help women raise children. If men could have free, unlimited sex without getting married there would be a lot less married men.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@sumobody

If men could have free, unlimited sex without getting married there would be a lot less married men.

Please point me to the hoards of married men enjoying unlimited sex with their wives. I'll wait here.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

So glad to be single hehe

3 ( +3 / -0 )

With a lover, your passion for one another builds up, but with a spouse, your love for each other overflows.

Could I get a cleanup in Aisle 5?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@choiwaruoyaji

It's only funny cos it is true.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

With a lover, your passion for one another builds up, but with a spouse, your love for each other overflows.

Could I get a cleanup in Aisle 5?

Yup. That one was a bit twee, but she's mostly on the money.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

No #1 is the worst.

With a lover, you’re fighting against uncertainty, but with a spouse, you’re fighting against dissatisfaction.

From a guy's perspective this may also be read as:

With a lover, you never know whether you have them trapped or not but with a spouse, you are completely free to unload on any/and all of their (perceived) many faults.
0 ( +0 / -0 )

So glad to be single hehe at times I have to say Id envy you, but as you get older family and kids beat being single on almost every level

1 ( +1 / -0 )

A very good example of how ONE GOOD PERSON can brighten and enhance the lives of all around her.

She probably has a great husband, great kids, good parents... the whole deal.

I do not know if the woman is intelligent, but she has wisdom that probably 99% of people do not have. It creates a warm zone around her, I bet. She probably bakes a lot. Just guessing, but you know what I mean.

@savethegaijin I absolutely, positively, have unlimited sex with my wife. I don't think that really proves anything, but if the information helps you, there you are.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

When people say that it is better to be married and have children when you get older I always wonder how they know that. They have only experienced being single in their 20s, 30s. It's actually pretty good in your 40s. I would never tell a married guy that he would be so much happier if he were single. How can I judge that?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The mother must be worried about her daughter for a probable cause she might be dating a kpop looking boy with heavier make up than her.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This glaring gap between the pre-marriage relationship and marriage with a child is a constant source of discussion/tension in my household. At first, my wife made it sound as though I was imagining that intimacy (not just physical) plunged. But later, she "reassured" me -- via advice from a neighborhood housewife -- that things would "go back to normal" after our child finished elementary school. But what happens in the meantime? Before coming to Japan, I dated an older women with a child, but she was a mother and a woman. Here, it's crazy -- my wife echoes the same craziness about being "embarrassed" to hold hands in public, let alone a date night.

For those foreign guys who do have a wife who still clings to her 'woman-ness," consider yourselves lucky.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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