Finally – the reason I started this set of posts is because I just recently finished reading a manga titled Happy Marriage?! by Maki Enjoji. In this story, our heroine Chiwa Takanashi agrees to marry a complete stranger – the CEO of the company she works for, Hokuto Mamiya – in order to pay off her father’s debt. This series (10 volumes total) follows the unlikely couple as they learn how to make a marriage work. I admit, this particular story is rated “mature” and contains a bit more… adult content… than I normally prefer >< (most of what I read is rated for teen/ older teen audiences). But hey, at least they are married, right??
Like most romantic stories, Chiwa and Hokuto have to overcome a variety of relationship problems, including trust issues (such as learning to rely on and accept help from another person), communication issues (these two literally cannot have a serious conversation without arguing ><), and of course, dealing with in-laws and family/ societal expectations (the interesting part of reading manga is that you get to see these issues from the cultural perspective of Japan O_o). You might even say that Chiwa and Hokuto have even more issues than most couples, as they didn’t even like each other when starting their marriage! But as is to be expected, there is my must-have happy ending, and along the way we see some wonderful examples on what it takes to make a marriage work – for example, being married means learning to be less independent. One of the greatest challenges for husband and wife (and I can say this from personal experience as well) is that marriage is learning to weave two lives together into one pattern, instead of living separate lives under the same roof.
In addition to growing as a couple, we also get to see some individual character growth: Chiwa starts out as somewhat childish and matures over time, while Hokuto starts out very reserved and learns to open up and connect with someone (which is surprisingly similar to the character growth we see between Lizzy and Mr. Darcy in Sharon Lathan’s sequels… just to say). Hokuto is actually similar to my character Jesse in this way: both have random, unexpected moments of tenderness that contrast sharply with their external personalities.
Of course, my favorite aspect is watching the development of the romantic relationship overall. Though many of the challenges Chiwa and Hokuto face are common for any love story, it is particularly enjoyable to see them played out in a marriage situation. In The Heart of Everything, Emer has some revelations on how relationships work, but it’s not nearly as deep as what we see here (after all, dating is not the same as being married). Hmm… I know I’ve said that I don’t have any current plans for a story focused on a married couple, but maybe I ought to try writing one after all… O_o.
What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments section!
Until the next time, keep reading!
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I have two passions: reading and writing. You can't write good stories without first reading good stories - that's my theory, anyway. So this is where I'll share with you the depth of those passions: background on what and why I write, as well as talking about the books that I read and how they impact my writing.