I Have to Raise Our Child Alone As My Husband Studies for an Exam

The Japan News

Dear Troubleshooter:

I’m a company employee in my 20s. I’ve been married for three years and my husband is aiming for a certification that is difficult to obtain.

My husband started studying for it during our first year of marriage. I initially supported him as it seemed to be a certification that he had been wanting to achieve for many years. I am now in charge of all the household chores.

I recently gave birth to our first child. While raising our child, I became frustrated and wondered why he was still studying at this point in his life and didn’t study when he was single.

As he is planning to attend graduate school from next year, he will be away from home all day on weekends, which is when I am off work.

I want him to both work and study hard, and I hope he will obtain the certification as soon as possible. But I can no longer wholeheartedly support him as he tries to pass the certification exam.

If I continue to endure the burden of child-rearing and household chores on my own for another two years, I’m wondering whether I should return to my parents’ home with our child.

R, Tokyo

Dear Ms. R:

There was a wife who left her husband with a note that read, “My life has changed so much since I got married and raised our kids, but nothing has changed in your life!” There must be many wives who are frustrated like you.

But, before determining who is at fault, I believe that there is a definite lack of communication between husbands and wives in regard to marital relationships in Japan today.

Perhaps your husband needs to rethink whether his devotion to passing the exam is simply to satisfy his own desire for achievement, or whether he is trying to build the foundation for his family’s future.

However, even if it is for the sake of his family, it does not mean that he can be indifferent to you, as he sees you struggling to raise your child alone. You should honestly ask him to try to share the burden of child-rearing and household chores as much as possible, as well as to show more consideration toward you.

What is important is not the result of the exam, but how you and your husband can compromise and support each other while he is trying to obtain the certification. Without that mutual support, even if he passes the exam, you and your husband will just become two people living in the same house, and your marriage will have no substance.

Once you have decided that you want to avoid such a situation, discuss the matter with your husband. It will not be too late to decide whether to return to your parents’ home after the discussion.

Masami Ohinata, university president