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How Honest is Your Marriage?

Posted: July 27, 2011

I tell everything to RD…I mean every stupid thing like my shoe got stuck on the station or that lady who pushed me or that I had a vada pav today on the way back home…everything not that he has ever asked me…just generally…I just tell him…I am not sure he tells me everything especially office related stuff..but I know he doesnt hide anything from me if you get what I mean..I generally tell him how my day was right upto the detail of my drinking water 3 times, while he just tells me he had a nice day and then if there is anything special like a resignation of of someone I know or a promotion of something I have heard of..he lets me know

Apart from the daily routine, I also tell him all family related stuff…everything…and I am sure he tells me everything as well…

I was talking to my friend N who lives in a joint family with her in laws, older BIL, BIL’s wife and their 7 year old in a one BHK..so its basically 3 families living together in a one BHK..and things do get squeezed for space..if she talks about living separately buying a house nearby there is maha yudh in their house..she has stopped suggesting…

She feels her husband spends everything on the house and her BIL etc take advantage of that fact…she herself earns pretty much and is the only earning female in her family..and she intends to continue to do so..

She told me something that kinda made me surprised..she told me that she bought a house for herself before marriage (which is great!) but she has not yet told her husband that she bought a house..not because she doesnt trust him, but because she doesnt trust her in laws..she says if she tells him, he will tell them and they will ask the house to be transferred to their name..I was pretty much shocked..she told me that the loan was taken from our office and it goes as a part of her salary.. I obviously didnt ask her if it gets shown in the sal slip and if her husband checks it or whatever..

but what stuck me was the hiding part of it..I mean, isnt that weird?

I cant imagine hiding anything from my spouse..it just doesnt make sense…I mean you are spending your whole life with him/her, you may have children with him/her, and so on? How can you hide anything from him?

In N’s case, her husband happens to be a total mama’s boy and tells her everything..but but..I mean…I really dont know how to put this..

I wouldnt hide stuff from RD..at least important stuff…yes trivial things that are not going to affect our lives obviously need not be shared (I share them is a different matter!) but then a house! and not letting your spouse know about it..

or is it that I am making a big issue about it…they are individuals and if they dont feel like sharing they dont..simple?

yaa may be that can be an arguement…

then I thought, will I feel bad if I realise that RD is not sharing everything with me? I realised that I wont feel bad…if it doesnt affect me directly, I really dont care…whats the big deal? I trust him enough to know that if he thinks its important I should know, he will let me know…otherwise whats the point?

But it brings me back to my question

1. What defines honesty in a marriage? What is the level of honesty expected?

2. Isnt marriage different from living with a roomie..I mean you would not tell your roomie everything, but will you tell your spouse everything?

3. Should a spouse share everything in a marriage, and if its not shared, is it wrong? and by everything, I mean big things like a house..though people like me also share stuff like I contributed 500 Rs to my friend’s farewell and stuff

4. If the spouse has a valid reason not to share (like in case of N who fears the house wil be made in her in laws name) does that mean that the marriage is not strong enough? (I must state that they have been married only for over an year now)

R’s Mom is a working mother in Mumbai trying to balance work, home and

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  1. R’s Mom – that is really one crazy story. Firstly, I find it difficult to understand why many Indian women – even educated, financially empowered ones – take no interest in deciding their own lines. If this lady was savvy enough to put down money on a house at a young age, why marry a man who is so tied to his family that he is ok with living with 7 people in a 1-BHK? To me, that would be a deal-breaker.
    But to answer your questions, I don’t believe that all spouses can or even should necessarily share “everything” – for e.g. some people believe that past relationships don’t both the spouse, and need not be shared, as they may unnecessarily create friction. However, I do believe that there has to be a certain level of openness and trust, and certainly about financials and stuff like having a house etc. Also about joint goals, having children etc. To answer your last question – yes, I don’t think this marriage is strong enough (intrinsically), but that doesn’t mean it will fail. It may succeed simply because people believe this is is how marriage is and don’t expect anything better.

  2. I think, in some cases, one takes time to build trust. In this case, if the wife does not trust, the husband to protect their assets, then maybe she has her reasons. But contrary to what aparna says, I dont think, in an arranged marriage situation and even in a love marriage situation, one can assess this tendency that easily. She probably got the shock of her life, after marriage. However, I was thinking if this was the other way around. I would be really angry at the husband for not sharing his financial details. In fact, this is what happens in many cases, isn’t it? Women dont even know about their husband’s financial status and they end up in the streets in case of a crisis like divorce. So, I think, financials should indeed be shared.
    An ideal situation is an honest, open relationship.I think, it also depends on the maturity of people involved. I have even seen marriages move on, after a person “confesses” about a frivolous affair while even in the marriage. There are husbands and wives who can even consider that as a deviation, which need not necessarily break marriages.And then, there are others 🙂 One would have to make judgments, I think. Being open about neutral, and non-controversial things is easy. I think, the difficulty will arise when deviations happen from the routine.

  3. It takes a few years to build mutual trust in a marriage. In the case of N her husband’s being a mamma’s boy is delaying the process. It suits possessive mothers to let things remain as such. But be it as it may, she ought to be able to veto the idea of transferring the house in their name or even the husband’s name. If she cannot do this she perhaps deserves the treatment meted out to her. After all she bought the house before her marriage and is repaying her home loan from her salary account. Her fear that the in laws would ask her to transfer it in their name is unfounded. it is not that easy. She is unable to stand up for herself and that is the problem.

    That apart, we women are more open and share every little information with our spouses. Men do not feel the need because little things do not matter to them. however, regarding important matters there ought to be an honest approach I feel for the marriage to remain healthy.

  4. The above is unfortunate. The girl, being educated has a right to take decisions and I personally feel that living with a joint family in a 1BHK is not very comfortable. This might result in significant savings for the future, but why should one sacrifice today for an unknown tomorrow?

    Also, it would be necessary to understand why the guy is so keen on continuing in the joint family in such circumstances. Probably, there is some reason behind it, which if explored will throw enough light on both the sides of the coin.

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