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A newly-wed couple needs their space to bond, and create their own life together. Will Indian in-laws who make this difficult stop interfering?
A boy and a girl marry and become Man and Wife – they are both educated, financially independent, a few of them even taking critical decisions at work that impact corporate bottom lines. Isn’t it strange that two individuals who are considered adult enough to enter matrimony and bear their own offspring, are intruded upon by constant prying by parents?
I wouldn’t want to be biased and blame only the boy’s side of parents but actually in more cases it is they who get troublesome, considering in the Indian set up where the woman’s side is anyway expected to bow their heads down in any sort of tiff. I accept that some of us including myself do have in laws who are mature enough to realize that once their son is married; there is an expected change in the relationship dynamics. I consider such a woman to be blessed or privileged.
The son and daughter-in-law need their space to live life on their own terms, develop a certain spending pattern that suits their combined incomes, have their own personal and professional ambitions, an understanding on how they juggle between household chores and work expectations. It’s unfortunate that even in today’s time and day, very few parents accept this and help the newly marrieds to lay a strong foundation through love and mutual respect.
Most of us have heard about the saasu ma’s horror on her son making a cup of tea/coffee for his wife when she gets back from work, or the unnecessary and exorbitant spending of bahu without appreciating the fact that the bahu has a well-paying job to justify her designer purchases, or the constant complaints of daughter-in-law not being an expert in making gol chappatis. The whole point here is that in a lot of cases the man himself doesn’t give a damn about these things but is being pushed to be bothered by such issues and communicate the same to his wife. End result unfortunately is a sour relationship between the man and his wife.
Things only get worse if one ends up with a mumma’s boy. So with all due respect, we all love our mothers and the bond is irreplaceable be it a son or a daughter. However, isn’t it the responsibility of a man to give a respectable position to the woman who has left her 20 something years of life and her family and friends, to live with you and your family? The sacrifice might not be equal but it definitely is comparable to what your mother did for you.
Seriously, if a man is still a boy who hasn’t grown out of his mother’s lap then he definitely isn’t eligible to marry. If a man doesn’t know how to strike a balance between relationships he isn’t mature enough to marry. If he still needs advice on how and where he needs to spend his salary he probably is still a toddler.
This might sound harsh, but for a woman, the family of the man she marries remains strangers until she is respected and loved the way she was by her own parents. It takes time and effort to befriend strangers and eventually become family. This needs to be invested in from all the three sides the in-laws, the woman and the man himself.
In addition to this, this nurturing requires some sense of privacy, independence and the freedom to decide for themselves. A woman physically detaches herself from her parents to be a part of man’s life and she expects a special attachment from him to fill in the hollowness. Your wife is not your mother and no woman would ever want to be. A wife deserves an exclusive right and place in her husband’s life just as his mother already has. She is not a replacement, she has her own place and importance in your life.
A woman who is being bossed upon and interfered with in all her personal matters from in-laws will never be able to overcome the stigma of being an outsider and be a part of the family. Especially in times like today where kids are brought up not as boys or girls but just as humans. The sexist differences are soon vanishing and no woman is willing to be dominated or being told to live life that only pleases her in-laws.
Your wife is not your mother and no woman would ever want to be. A wife deserves an exclusive right and place in her husband’s life just as his mother already has. She is not a replacement, she has her own place and importance in your life.
Men need to strike a balance and if required need to speak up for the woman in their lives. Parents need to shun the age old traditions and give some liberty and space to their sons and daughter-in-laws. Being old enough to vote, or reaching the legal age of drinking does not make anyone eligible to get married. There has to be a sense of maturity that only comes when parents let their children go out, experiment, make mistakes and learn from them.
Every couple needs to have a story, a journey, their own unique experiences, aspirations and dreams and this is what makes them value each other.
So dear Indian in-laws, stop poking your noses in your children’s lives and help make everyone’s life happier. If you trust your upbringing, then trust your children’s decisions. Live and let live because if your son’s wife is happy, there are higher chances she will make a happier and loving daughter-in-law.
Image source: Indian wedding by Shutterstock.