Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Baggage and Other Surprising Things We Brought into Marriage

The record collection
Before we got married, I read up on the topic of marriage a lot. Articles, books, blogs, etc. And there was often mentioned the topic of baggage. The idea is that people come into marriages already weighed down with the personal problems
they've accumulated over time, and the interaction of two peoples' baggage can obviously have a big effect on the marriage. I'm not sure exactly why this topic comes up a lot in connection with marriage when it should come up in dating as well. I think your partner's baggage shouldn't be a surprise to you by time you're getting married.

The non-physical baggage wasn't a surprise to me when we got married. My could-be-better money-managing skills, his slightly hairy relations with his parents...we'd bumped into those already numerous times while dating. As I noted in this post on our first year of marriage, nothing really changed about our basic relationship. What surprised me was the things my husband came with!

Here comes an interesting fact: I never saw nor entered my husband's bedroom before we got married. If it sounds like some extreme version of the purity movement, it wasn't really. Simply because of his living situation (in a men's dorm hard to get to by public transportation) I never set foot in it. It was also probably a bit by Yuya's design. I heard the rumors. And not the "he's a neat freak" kind of rumors, but the opposite. I know some of you reading this are wanting to yell at me, "How could you marry someone without seeing their living conditions first??" I don't know. It just happened that way. Maybe it was stupid of us, but so far, a year and a half in, Clutter Armageddon has yet to break loose. I won't take credit for it because I don't want to be that naggy wife who takes charge of "fixing" her husband. I think he's trying his best by himself. Anyway.

When we prepared to move in together, I "came with" very little. The result of moving across the ocean and then again within the country, and living in house-share situations was that I had two suitcases of clothes, a few books, a hot-water kettle, a mug or two, and one little floor rug. That was it! So I was glad when Yuya brought to our house a bit more. Bookcases. Hangers. Seasonally appropriate bedding.

He also brought some things that pleasantly surprised me:

1. A full-length mirror
I'd gone several years without one, and was happy to say goodbye to making strange poses in a tiny bathroom mirror or sneaking glances at myself in shiny store windows.

2. Delicates bags
You know, those gauzy little zippered bags for washing delicate clothes. I suppose he had some nice silk shirts or something to wash? He doesn't use them now, but I do!

3. A blow-dryer
I rarely blow-dry my hair. It makes the fluffy even more fluffy! But spiky Japanese hair gets blow-dried.

4. Hoodies galore
Yuya came with more hoodies (parkers in Japanese-English) than 6 American college students put together, I feel like! Apparently when his parents lived in America for a few years, they regularly sent him hoodies, of all colors and thicknesses. He regularly wears about 4 out of the 24.

5. High-end clothes
Tucked away in the closet under layers of diaphanous plastic were a few interesting pieces of clothing. Not cheap clothing. In Japan, where parents often support children through college, many college students get part-time jobs and spend the extra on looking good. Especially if they spent their primary education in uniforms, college is their chance to find their own style. Some dye their hair: Yuya had long brown Beatles hair I've only seen in pictures. He also wore nice clothes, but "They're from my non-Christian days" and they don't get worn so often anymore.

5. Records and a record-player
The week we moved in to our new house, I was completely out of it with influenza. When I woke up out of my stupor, he and his mom had arranged and put together our little room and there was nary a cardboard box in sight. Our living room space however was taken up with a large cabinet-like structure. The last two shelves of the bookcase were filled with records. "What's all this?" "It's a record player and records." "Does it work?" "No. Well yes, I just don't have speakers for it." "It takes up an awful lot of room considering we're not even going to use it." The next week he had two speakers hooked up to it and we enjoyed a glass of good stuff and some jams. It was the first time I'd heard vinyl and now I'm hooked. The quality is so different from digital and it doesn't tire the ears. Now it's something we enjoy together from time to time, and when guests come over. Yay for finding new hobbies to enjoy together!

How about you? Did your spouse bring anything that surprised you?

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