Taiga x Ryuuji and Messy Relationships

A few weeks ago, I cuddled up to my husband—whom I married the end of last August (2017)—and flicked on Toradora, a favorite of mine. With Adam being fairly new to anime, I’m trying to stick to ones I know well and feel he’ll enjoy so we can discuss and enjoy them together. Had you told us when we first met three and a half years ago that we’d be cuddled up watching anime together, we’d both have laughed at you, calling you crazy.

Adam and I met in college, on our first day— September 9, 2014. We both showed up to the same Christian club on campus. He was the cute flirt who played guitar and sang. I was the shy nerd who sat in the corner reading. As far as stereotypes and their groupings go, we were in two separate worlds. We were well aware of that after meeting, too. Neither of us really liked the other one much, because we were too caught up on who we assumed the other person was based on some very shallow perceptions. After the first semester, I had evening classes the same night as the club and could no longer attend. Adam and I fell out of touch for the most part.

I’d occasionally fire him off a message or comment on one of his posts. We’d sometimes message a bit and then fall back out of touch for weeks, maybe months. At some point, I reached out to him, inquiring about local (he lived in my area) young adults groups. He brushed me off entirely, not wanting to be associated with me in his social circles. We fell back out of touch. That was fall of 2015. During the summer of 2016, we found ourselves chatting on and off over politics and posts regarding our shared Christian values. In November 2016, he suddenly invited me out to a young adults group, referencing when I’d asked a year prior.

That invitation snowballed into a conversation on why he was asking after brushing me off, apologies for our assumptions of each other in college, and a commitment to try to be friends. We reconnected in earnest, and quickly began to realize who the other person really was—not who we thought they were, but who they actually were. After a few months of talking daily for hours and praying about our relationship, we were dating. A week into that, Adam asked my dad’s permission to marry me and my dad obliged. Three weeks later, we were engaged. Four months later, we got married. Almost nine months later, I could not be happier to call him my husband.

Taiga claiming Ryuuji
Taiga finally expressed her real feelings towards Ryuuji.

Watching Toradora, then, I was reminded of something Adam and I talked about when we were on the fence about committing to each other. We had lamented about our “story”. Usually when couples tell you how they met and fell in love, it sounds cutesy and happy. It was love at first sight, or they were always good friends and it just evolved from there. Our story? Not so much. We went through a series of hurdles to get to know each other, worked through our own judgement, and undid the damage our misconceptions had caused us. We were both a little bit hesitant after all that past. Despite that, we made an effort to pursue each other. Without even realizing it until we were both neck-deep, we were learning to love each other, and our friendship changed from “just friends” to “what if we got married?” It rather reminded me of Taiga and Ryuuji.

Taiga and Ryuuji started off as polar opposites. Taiga looks nonthreatening, but is a handful. Ryuuji looks scary, but wouldn’t hurt a fly. They connect, despite holding many assumptions about each other because of preconceptions and rumors. As they spend more time together, they begin to learn more about each other; they begin to understand each other, to discard the false ideas they held about each other. It’s a messy process, and it involves some failed communication, some fights, some meltdowns, and some needed vulnerable talks. Ultimately, though, this all leads to the two of them promising to marry. When they see the other person for who they really are, they realize they love them. They can’t imagine them with someone else. As they work through the “mess,” they learn to trust and respect each other, and that builds the foundation for love.

Taiga threatening Ryuuji
How Taiga and Ryuuji started… they certainly came a long way.

The first time I watched Toradora, I didn’t understand it. I didn’t get how a relationship that was so messy could survive and flourish. I thought all their past would catch up to them and doom them to fail. Now? Re-watching the show, cuddled up to my husband, I realized something. Sometimes the messy relationships are the best ones. Those are the ones that have history because you toughed out tough times for them. They have arguments in their past because the relationship wasn’t worth sacrificing to the fight. The relationship is still alive because it was worth the work to keep it that way. Those are family members that you reconnect with after a fallout, or the friends who have been through it all with you. That’s marriage, too—going through the good and bad together.

Even at the end of Toradora, Taiga and Ryuuji don’t get their fairytale wedding. Taiga had to resolve things with her family before returning to Ryuuji. Just because they committed, the work didn’t end. I’m writing this while Adam and I figure out how we’re going to afford a car to replace his work van that broke down, pay a tax return, cover a vet bill that showed up five months late, and sort out what seems to be a fraud charge on one of his accounts. Getting married doesn’t end the messiness. I realized the other day that we hadn’t even brought it to prayer yet. We’ve both been committed to faith for years, but even that doesn’t make the messiness go away. But our marriage is worth the work. The more we invest, the stronger it becomes—a mess, perhaps, but a beautiful mess indeed.

Emdaisy1 and her husband
One of my favorite pictures from our wedding!

9 thoughts on “Taiga x Ryuuji and Messy Relationships

  1. Your story may not be “cutesy and happy,” but it still gave me warm fuzzy feelings to read. 🙂

  2. Watching Toradora together, be inspired, laugh at the tragicomedy of the big, messy misunderstandings in the past, and face the messy, tragicomic, hopeful present and future together as a team, united in God. That sounds quite like my dream, but I´m more with Amy or Kushieda for now. Thank you for sharing your story: in anime and in life, the messier ones tend to be also the most hopeful ones.

    1. Gaharet, that’s totally fine, too, to be more in the shoes of those still waiting, or looking, or working out their own lives before looking. In my case, God had a funny way of working. I decided to step back and be an Ami or Kusheida – put things on hold while I focused on wrapping up college and getting into the working world. Shortly after closing an online dating account and shutting off a few romantic interest pursuits, Adam suddenly came jumping out from my past, and it snowballed fast. My plan was to stay single for a while and then try dating again in a few years. God’s plan was different. I followed His and am so glad I did.
      Glad to be able to share my story, and happy you seem to have gleaned something from it. 🙂

      (P.S. Sorry this is a terribly late reply – I’ve been offline a few weeks after my sister was nearly killed in a car crash. Now that she’s stable and recovering I’m trying to catch up!)

      1. I’m very sorry about your sister: must’ve been hard. I’ll pray for her from now on. But never apologize for this or feel you have to answer: I’m a firm believer in freer Internet interactions and tempos than the customary.

        I simply love to read and reflect about anime and God, and I comment so you writers know that I found what you wrote relevant for me, ot enjoyable, or enlightening, or debatable: it’s also my way of thanking you and trying to encourage your writing. So I comment a lot, and longly. Of course, an answer of the writer is a pleasant surprise, but blogging should be a pleasure or a hobby, never a burden, and I’d hate to turn it into one. Never feel like you have to answer.

        With that caveat, and as you have shared your experience to help, I’ll say I can relate in that I’m just entering the working world myself this year, and it’s certainly been misterious and messy: I’m more like Amy in that it’s my time to wait for someone, and like Kushieda in that it involves a lot of imperfect, confusing, hopeful fight to be loyal and sincere (as she is a very, very close friend) while at the same time not falling into Minori’s initial error of denying what I want when I may have a chance. As the most bizarre events, problems, people, errors, misunderstandings and surreal situations continue to show up and endlessly intermingle, I’ve often felt as if living a weird crossroad between Toradora, Sakamichi no Apollon and the Book of Tobit. It may still end like it ended for Kushieda (I found that hopeful, strangely). But I think it’s worth the risk, and I still hope to introduce her to Toradora someday (she’s new to anime) and say “see? That’s just like we were, running in circles and being crazy!” So to hear that you did just that with Adam, with the help of God, is specially hopeful for me. I’ve been praying for you two since your wedding, and I’ll continue to do so.

        So thank you again, emdaisy1, and let us know when your sister is fully recovered.

        1. Thank you! Honestly, prayer is what’s pulled her through. The doctors at her specialized hospital who see cases like her 10+ times a day had no idea how she’d started healing so fast. We still have a long road (1 year+) to recovery ahead, but we’re just glad she’s alive.

          No, it’s never a burden. 🙂 I enjoy engaging with people who comment on my posts! It’s sorta’ rewarding seeing my story be able to touch people in some way or another. 🙂

          Ahhh. That’s a very tough spot to be, having come from it myself. I’m not familiar with Book of Tobit, but Sakamichi no Apollon is a favorite ! Kushieda’s ending is, actually, hopeful. No, she doesn’t get the guy, BUT, she learns some pretty valuable things about what she wants in a guy, and also about pursuit. It also ends on a note of a clean slate, fresh start, and new chance to begin seeking someone else while applying those lessons learned. There’s some value in failed relationships, too. You learn more about what you do and don’t want. I had one relationship that started great and fell fast after it became apparent that some values didn’t align. It wasn’t values or traits I’d considered before, but that relationship made me see how important it was to prioritize that (namely, how much my significant other respected my family). When Adam and I talked about dating, I was more aware of how he treated my family – particularly my sisters – compared to the guy before. He passed with flying colors. 🙂

          Just keep praying for 3 things, in your case. 1) God would continue to shape you into a God-honoring husband who will bless the woman He has for you. 2) God would give you and future wife guidance to find each other in HIS timing. 3) God would give you peace about your current relationship with this girl as it stands now as friends. If you keep Him first, I believe He will either guide you to this girl you noted, OR will guide you to someone even better suited to you. One thing that really amazed me with everything with Adam was that God guided me AWAY from a different man who *I* thought in my human mind was what I wanted, and nudged me toward Adam, instead, who turned out to be everything I wanted and more. 🙂

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