Over the past several decades, Japanese society has experienced significant shifts in marriage and childbearing trends: fewer men and women get married today, and those who do marry later and have fewer children. These behavioural shifts occurred against the background of limited attitudinal change. The large majority of unmarried men and women say that they intend to marry at some point, few people explore alternative partnership forms, few express a desire to remain childless, almost all children are born within marriages, and the large majority of men and women state that they want to have two children. In this chapter, I explore current research on marriage and childbearing attitudes and relate it to the realities of marriage and childbearing in contemporary Japan, with the goal of making sense of the observed disparity between attitudes and behaviours. I argue that while marriages based on an equal division of labour at home and in the labour market are favoured by men and women as an ideal family situation, institutional and labour market constraints make them hard to achieve. Consequently, many single men and women who assert their desire to form families remain ambivalent when it comes to making the actual decision to marry and have children.