With one you have dreams, and with the other you have reality.

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
Top image: Wikimedia Commons/Jonata

The already-happily-married Casey will be neither your lover nor your spouse, but you can follow him on Twitter anyway.