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The Business of Love

If you want to be successful at both, be careful whom you marry

(page 1 of 5)

Attorney Christine Kubota and her husband, Sadao Takahashi, enjoy a
nontraditional lifestyle that works well for them. She's a high-profile attorney
and he's a stay-at-home husband who is responsible for most of the
household chores, including preparing breakfast for her daily.

Photo:David Croxford

More than 50 percent of marriages in the United States end in divorce and Hawaii accounts for about 5,000 of those breakups every year. Of those who remain married, true love is not always the reason. That’s why relationship experts say it’s crucial to take time upfront to choose the right mate. Selecting a supportive partner who allows you to pursue your career and other goals could determine into which half of the nation’s couples you and your spouse fall.

The following pages describe how four successful couples met, fell in love and are making their lives – and romance – work, despite hectic schedules, demanding jobs and kids. A common thread: They’ve all mastered the power of negotiation.

The Attorney and Her House-husband

Christine Kubota says it was a long road to finding Mr. Right. When she hit her 30s and still hadn’t found “the one,” she decided to go to law school and focus on her career. She eventually met her future husband, Sadao Takahashi, through a mutual friend. They golfed on their first date and Kubota says that by the 19th puka, she was so hungry she devoured her entire entrée.

“(Sadao) is from Japan so I don’t think he had ever seen a woman eat like that,” Kubota says, laughing. “But for some reason, he said he was impressed because he knew I was a genuine person.” The couple met in November 1989, Takahashi proposed in February and they married a year-and-a-half later.

Takahashi, 15 years older than Kubota, had been a top salesman for General Motors in Japan. He retired early and moved to Hawaii when job stress began to affect his health. Today, Takahashi is a proud house-husband who does most of the household chores, including the laundry, taking out the trash, ironing, washing the cars, cooking, cleaning, making the bed, and preparing breakfast every morning.

“But I do the gardening,” Kubota says, smiling. “This kind of thing is very strange for a Japanese national because you’d think they’d be very traditional, samurai-style, but he’s not. Being the homemaker is his thing now and it works for us.”

Kubota says without such a supportive husband, she would not be able to devote as much time to her career. Her normal hours as an attorney with Damon Key Leong Kupchak Hastert are from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and she often works on weekends. When he’s not taking care of the home, Takahashi enjoys golf.

“We both contribute to the marriage in our own ways,” Kubota says. “We know our roles and we’re happy filling those roles. I think I’m very lucky to have a husband who is selfless enough to allow me to focus on my career. I don’t think many men could do what he does.”

Kubota said she knew exactly what she wanted in a husband and wasn’t willing to settle for anything less. “I think Mr. Right changes with age so it was good for me to wait until my 30s to get married because I was more focused, established in my career and mature.”

After nearly 20 years of marriage, Kubota has this advice for young couples: “No. 1, there will be disagreements but it’s important not to stay mad too long. Also, I always tell my clients that ‘compromising’ means not getting what you want so deal with it. And finally, you shouldn’t marry someone thinking that you can change them because chances are you won’t. However, you can train them,” she says with a wink.

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Hawaii Business,February