We all know marriage and live-in-partnerships have a lot going for them. From constant companionship to support when you’re stressed with work or family problems, the idea of cohabiting with that special someone is powerful enough to sweep even the most jaded singleton off their feet.
In Japan, where pre-marriage cohabitation is still considered somewhat taboo, married life is a serious commitment with traditional roles that involve self-sacrifice and obligation, not only to one’s partner but to their extended family. So what do the single men of Japan think about marriage versus the bachelor life? A recent survey reveals the moments men are glad they’ve never put a ring on it and the interesting reasons why.
The web survey, conducted by online news site Mynavi Woman, asked 103 men aged between 22 and 39 years of age: “What are the moments when you feel glad you’re not married?”. The top four responses were as follows.
1. “When I go out drinking without having to get permission.”
The Japanese business world revolves around the networking and team-bonding tradition of nomikai, after-work drinking parties, where secrets are revealed and true feelings are shared outside of the office. Businessmen who don’t attend drinking parties are less likely to get promotions and can be alienated from the group, so married men find themselves in between a rock and a hard place, torn between their obligations to their boss at work and the boss at home.
2. “When I see salarymen looking sad just before their payday.”
In Japan, it’s the norm for hard-working salarymen to hand over their entire paypackets to their wives, who are in charge of handling the household budget. Many husbands receive pocket-money to last them for the month, which is usually just enough to cover their travel, drink and lunchtime food expenses, meaning many men go hungry or have to make do with cheap meals towards the end of their pay-cycle. Survey respondents said they were happy not to be married when they saw these sad-looking men during their lunch breaks.
3. “When I have to listen to colleagues grumble about their wives.”
Japanese singletons said they had to listen to married men complain at work and heard some awful stories about how badly their wives treat them. Many disgruntled husbands warned that women “change” and become entirely different people once they get married, putting single men off the thought of settling down.
▼ Japanese brides do wear traditional headwear known as tsunokakushi during the marriage ceremony to hide their horns of jealousy, selfishness and ego. But surely wives don’t really have horns??
4. “When I travel and can choose my own destination and do whatever I like.”
Bachelors said they enjoyed having time to themselves to relax and do as they please when away on holiday. Whether that be sightseeing or lazing about in the hotel room or ryokan, it’s nice to not have to do things they’re not interested in. Marriage and children can certainly change the way people travel and when your wife’s in charge of the purse-strings, luxury weekends away can be few and far between.
While the responses from single men don’t sing out the virtues of marriage, those who conducted the survey encourage the rest of us not to lose heart. If you’re looking to snare a single man, watch out for these four points and make sure your man knows he has nothing to worry about. Single men, chin up—marriage in Japan might still be tied to traditional roles and values but that doesn’t mean you and your wife can’t get over these hurdles together and have a little fun at the same time!