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what i felt through my marriage


What I Felt Through My Marriage


In October 2021, I got married to my boyfriend of about two and a half years. I am writing this article two months after our marriage. The flurry of marriage registration and moving to a new house has just settled down, and I am finally able to get back to a normal life. It felt like such a long way for me to settle down.


We decided to get married at the end of August, and we started living together in November. I had been living at home with my parents, but when we got married, I moved into his house, where he had been living alone. The time we spent preparing for our new life together was fresh and we always went out somewhere on weekends before we started living together and had a lot of fun shopping while arguing about what to do and what not to do. However, as I gradually realized that I was leaving my parents' house and getting married, I felt more lonely and anxious than happy.


I had never lived alone before. After 25 years of living at home, I could not easily imagine leaving here. It is a 50-minute drive from my home where I live now to my parents' house, which is not an easy distance to return home. Above all, the loneliness of being away from my dog and the worry of leaving my mother alone was a big concern. There are four in my family, but my father was going on a long business trip at the same time I was leaving my parents' house. In addition, my younger sister is often away from home doing her part-time work, so my mother will have to spend more time alone than ever before. Considering the situation at my parents' home, I even considered extending the move until my father's business trip was over.



In the meantime, as the date of our marriage approached, we were faced with a new "surname issue." I am in favor of having separate surnames for married couples, but I did not feel any discomfort in taking his surname myself. However, as the date of marriage approached, I began to have some doubts about changing my surname. I was a little sad to change my surname, which I had lived with for 25 years, but I didn't have any particular problem with the fact that it would be his surname. I have spent more time wondering what to do with this indescribable feeling. He told me that he would be my surname, or in other words, he would be willing to adopt me as his son-in-law. However, in the end, after much discussion, we made the decision that I would take his last name.


His last name and my original last name were similar, so fortunately it was not that drastic a change. But because of that, I didn't really feel like "I got married!!" when I joined the family, and to be honest, I don't really feel it now either. My mother, grandmother, aunts and female friends around me changed their surnames when they got married. In Japan, it has been considered normal for a woman to change her family name after marriage, and this awareness may have been naturally imprinted on me as well. If I had had the "choice" of changing or not changing my family name, I would not have thought about it so much. Looking back on it now, the time I spent worrying about the surname issue during the preparation stage before I joined the family was probably the most difficult. I didn't want to use my head and energy any more than I already had, even though I was busy working and preparing for the move every day. I think my fatigue reached its peak at this time.


Finally, the day of the move. October 31st was the day of the general election for the House of Representatives, so we quickly completed the election and arrived at his house. Since it was Sunday and both of us had to work again the next day, we worked together to organize my stuff to finish the work early. I remember I couldn't concentrate much on organizing my stuff because the election results were being announced one after another on the TV I had just bought. In the end, I had to start my new life without finishing all the unpacking.


* 内祝い …「身内の中で起こったおめでたいことや、喜びをお裾分けする」という意味で、自分の家でおめでたいことがあったときに、親戚や近所の人などお世話になった人に贈り物をして、その喜びを分かち合うという慣習。本来は「お返し」という意味は無いが、現代では、お祝いをいただいたら内祝いを贈ってお礼をするというケースが多い。今回は結婚の内祝いになるので、いただいたお祝いの半額程度をお返しするのがマナーだとされている。

I don't remember much from here until our living situation settled down. In between work, and sometimes with a paid vacation, the rush to change my various names and addresses (for the bank, driver's license, insurance card, etc.) began. There are some procedures that require a certificate of residence and others that don't, so my mind is a jumbled mess every day. My work was also at its peak, and I was not finished by 6:00 p.m., my regular work time, and I was working on the computer until just before I slept. Because of this, I had less time to relax, and I was taking out my frustrations on him more and more. We are both still busy with work. He, like me, works until just before sleep and leaves early in the morning. I do most of the housework because I work remotely, but he does what he can and helps me a lot by making the necessary name change and address change lists. I often cried alone after he left for work because I was tired of taking out my frustration on him without paying attention to his kindness. Then, as if to follow up on that, the preparation of the wedding gifts* would come. This is the process of giving gifts in return for congratulations received from each other's relatives, friends, and workplaces. On weekends in November, when we started our new life, I was almost always busy going somewhere to prepare for the gifts on weekends. Looking back, I don't think I felt like I was married at all during the month of November, and my days seemed to be filled with just working and rushing through the day.

* Uchi-iwai (wedding gifts)...means "to share the congratulations and joys that occur within one's family." It is a custom to give gifts to relatives, neighbors, and others who have taken care of one's family when congratulations are celebrated in one's own home and to share the joy of the event. Originally, there is no meaning of "returning a gift," but today, in many cases, when a congratulatory gift is received, the recipient is thanked with a gift of a gift from within the family. In this case, since it is a wedding gift, it is considered good manners to return about half the amount of the gift received.


And now, December. Things have finally settled down and I am getting used to life. The peak of my work has passed, and I am now able to have a relaxed mind. I am able to get into the rhythm of my life, and when I wake up in the morning, my body moves naturally without thinking about anything. I can now take time for my hobbies, reading, watching movies & dramas. I can finally talk with him about the day's events before sleep, go out for a good lunch on the weekends, or take a refreshing walk by the beach in our neighborhood. We are now able to live the kind of life I had imagined for us as a couple.


I never imagined that my new life, which I had envisioned before I got married like "I'm sure I will be excited about the new furniture" or "I'll be able to spend my mornings making coffee and relaxing," would start with such a flurry and frustration. Because of my tendency to hold things up by myself and to try to accomplish everything by myself, it was difficult for me to "rely on others," and I became angry and took out my frustration on him without my permission. Such a vicious cycle would not do anyone any good. Every time something like this happens, I reflect on the fact that my mind and body would feel better if I could rely on someone else.


There is a lot to get used to living with another person, and we find it very difficult to match our standards of living because we have both lived in different environments. However, step by step, we have been able to live in the same step with each other. What I have realized through living with him is that living with someone means "living with consideration for that person." Before I unilaterally took out my frustrations on him. But I need to take a moment to calm down and face myself. If there's something I want him to fix, it is better to say in a clear and specific way like, "I want you to fix this for this reason, and if possible, I want you to do as I do." Rather than saying, "follow your rules!" However, I am not always able to live peacefully, so I still tend to yell a lot (a point I have to reflect on...), but whenever I get frustrated or angry, I try to take a breath and remind myself, "Oops, be careful…."


We still have a long way to live together, but I hope we will be able to discover and experience many things and enjoy our lives.

Images by Mio

English Edited by Hanayo

Edited by Hikari Sawada and Hikari

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