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The word “adjustment” and its variations figure very often in the advice handed out to newly married Indian women. Learn to adjust. Every woman has to adjust in her new family. If you adjust for some time, everything will be alright. This is an interesting piece on how women’s willingness to adjust is changing.
Here I am going to tell you 3 adjustment stories – all of women I know/once knew, and then you tell me what you think. Ok?
Young Woman A, let’s call her YWA was told by her in-laws after her marriage that she should curtail her visits to her parents and that she needed to take ‘permission’ before visiting them. Brought up to be obedient to elders, YWA was not comfortable rebelling. She got around it by inventing extra work at the office, during which time she would visit her parents. Other restrictions/hassles were similarly countered – quietly. 10 years later, she continues to be extremely gracious and helpful to her in-laws, but has convinced her husband to live apart from them. Heart of hearts, she can never fully trust her in-laws, but both parties treat each other decently now.
Young Woman B (YWB) was informed by her in-laws that as a DIL, it was her duty to provide 3 meals everyday. They wouldn’t allow her to hire a cook either. YWB felt that if she worked hard enough, her in-laws would accept her. She slogged it out, even if that meant waking up at 3 a.m and getting the meals for the day ready, before catching a 6 a.m flight on work. Her husband was sympathetic, but didn’t see what he could do. Her in-laws always found something or the other wrong. YWB continued to look after her in-laws until they died, but in increasingly bad humour. By the end, she had not a single kind word for them, just whatever needed to be done practically.
Young Woman C (YWC) moved from a city that held excellent job prospects for her, to another one that had – not so much. This was because her then boyfriend, insisted that she move – although her city was fine for his career, he couldn’t “leave his parents”. She moved after much nagging, but resented it so much and feared clingy in-laws so badly – that the impending marriage was called off.
3 “adjustment” stories, all with different results. To what point does one adjust? Should everyone in a new relationship learn to adjust rather than it being expected mostly from one person? How does one decide if it is worth it? And what should be non-negotiable?
And now, on that theme, is our new contest at Women’s Web, ‘The Great Adjustment Story.’ This contest is open from 16th to 25th December 2010, and here are more details about how to participate. Go check it out and send in your entry now!