Coincidence or what? I started watching the drama One Sweet Word at about the same time that I started reading Custody by Indian writer Manju Kapur. Both stories are about a woman who has an affair and how it affects the whole family. Set in Korea and India respectively, both stories depict that marriage in Asia is often not just the union between a man and a woman, but between two families.
Na Eun Jin grew up in a loving family with liberal parents who are retired. Being the eldest, she is held in esteem by her younger brother and sister. Eun Jin married her high school sweetheart, Sung Soo, straight out of school and they are now parents of a little girl. He works in a bank with her sister Eun Young, while she does freelance writing. While doing an article about rich businessman Yoo Jae Hak, they find themselves attracted to each other and started ‘dating’. Eun Jin finds him charming and courteous, unlike her husband who is brash with her and drinks too much. Jae Hak finds her lively and funny, unlike his wife, Song Mi Kyung, who is docile and dull.
Eun Jin receives threatening notes in her letter box and her family meets with a hit and run accident. She believes it’s someone Jae Huk knows. She attends a cooking class and meets Mi Kyung, who does not hide the fact that she dislikes Eun Jin. Unknown to her, Mi Kyung has her husband followed and knows about the affair. And unknown to Mi Kyung, her half-brother, Song Min Soo, who lives with her, knows about the affair as well and is the one who caused Eun Jin‘s accident.
Min Soo works as a guard in Eun Young’s bank and trains as a chef at night. They fall in love but discovers how their families are linked when their sisters meet. Min Soo is filled with remorse for trying to hurt Eun Young’s sister and decides to break off the relation, fueling the guilt in Eun Jin.
This drama realistically shows how, after a long marriage, couple take each other for granted. In contrast to the young couples, Eun Jin’s parents show what a good marriage is like – supportive, appreciative and laced with humour.
Mrs Na told her son-in-law that men needs five things as they get older:
1 Your wife
2. Your spouse
3. The mother of your kids
4. Your little woman
5. Your wife
To which her husband added that women need only the following – daughter, family, money, health, friends and sauna. As you can gather, I agree thoroughly with both. 🙂
Jae Huk, whose wife Mi Kyung, takes such good care of his mother, their two sons and the family that he couldn’t see she wants his love as well, which he finds difficult to demonstrate. He can’t even say ‘I Love You’ to her when prompted. It takes the breakdown of his marriage to realise that ‘having no problem can be a problem as well.’
Sometimes, one sweet word (a day) is all that is needed for a marriage to last.