Happy Marriage?! Volume 6
I keep hoping for deeper themes in this series, which is a mismatch, since by this point, I should realize that Happy Marriage?! will always go for the misunderstanding and refusal of the characters to talk to each other as symbolism for troubled relationships that still hold together. I suspect a certain type of reader likes that certainty, the reinforcement that problems can be overcome (and probably the reassurance that “at least my marriage isn’t that bad!”).
Chiwa has previously gone to the hospital to visit Hokuto’s estranged father. Her husband blames that parent for his mother’s death, and his dogged pursuit of company power is all driven by a desire to find out why. Chiwa continues to investigate on her own, which sets him off. She won’t listen to him, because she wants to help him, and he won’t trust her. (Sometimes, this is less a romance than a dark comedy about how wrong marriage can go.) After a couple of days, Chiwa discovers something new about a matter that’s obsessed Hokuto for 20 years, but I found that a bit unlikely.
The two are ridiculous in their treatment of each other. He’s working late, so she sends him to bed when he gets home, which makes him think she doesn’t want to have sex with him, while she’s trying to be considerate. He doesn’t communicate when he goes on a business trip, so she feels ignored, so she implies she’s having an affair, which sets him off, all because he wouldn’t text her back. They have to scream at each other before they bother to say what they really want and what they’re feeling.
I suppose a number of readers need to see the miscommunication in order to learn what not to do, but it just makes me want to slap some sense into them. Then comes a story where she naturally helps him in his business by being charmingly naive to powerful businessmen. Or he worries about her overworking herself, and there’s a hint of true feeling between the two. The balance isn’t what I’d choose it to be, but I can see why others would find it encouraging to see a romance that isn’t picture perfect.