As An Indian Wife, I’ve Had To Keep Quiet Despite Being Treated Badly

For an average Indian woman, a marriage is an unequal partnership that means taking care of the husband, his family, sundry relatives, friends, and neighbours. But not so for the man!

For an average Indian woman, a marriage is an unequal partnership that means taking care of the husband, his family, sundry relatives, friends, and neighbours. But not so for the man!

Calling a spade a spade can land you in the most troublesome period of your life. I have been on the verge of breaking up my marriage twice, and yet trying to hold together all pieces considering all the trauma it will lead to.

One of my favourite ways of spending time is reading blogs, and personally I have found it to be the most appropriate way of venting out rather than actually speaking your heart out to someone, which can be taken as offensive and rude, and can sometimes play havoc with your most important relationships overtime.

So the other day, I was googling the meaning of marriage and came across lot of funny definitions, but the one which caught my attention is ‘Marriage is an institution, not a system or arrangement’ though I read it as ‘unfair institution’ in my subconscious mind.

Witnessing the experiences, not just limited to myself but including a few of my friends and family, it’s not an arrangement and most importantly not a system, and definitely not an institution. It is sheer compromise and sacrifice for the woman who is supposed to be at a ‘lower rank’, and has been given the sole duty of keeping herself engaged/adjusted in matrimony as imposed by old age societal norms. Separation is still considered a ‘sin’. Also, you have no assurance that next time you will find someone with a better thought processes, considering our patriarchal set up.

Marriage is solemnized between two individuals. Though man gets married to a woman, the woman gets married to the man and his family, and sometimes friends too! Some of these also stay in her ‘matrimonial’ home, and often take centre stage in the marriage. Skewed, isn’t it? Strengthens my belief that it is an unfair institution.

Let’s see how, point by point.

Skew in the way their world changes

Though matrimony is expected to change the world upside down both for men and women, the biggest and most unfair change men come across is sharing their room and bed with a woman. On the other hand, the smallest change women experience after being married is adjusting to 5 odd family members other than the husband.

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I see most of guys entering into matrimonial set up for the sake of parents as they are reaching old age and need somebody to take care of them, spend time with them, cook for them, dress according to their wishes, and keep them in a happy space no matter how unreasonable and a bully they are.

Not sure if this still make in-laws happy since the competition is not about looking after in-laws, but to keep the love of the man they fear losing to a woman they had got him married to.

Guys, If this the only reason you wish being married, please get yourself a full time working maid which will cost you 5 to 10k.

Skew in the expectations

Years ago, matrimony was a set up where women were expected to feed the family and the man was expected to go out, earn, and build the finances for the family. Times evolved, mindsets changed, and daughters were given the same opportunity to educate themselves, earn for the family and build finances.

The matrimonial set up however remains unevolved. Now an educated, modern and independent wife and daughter in law is showcased as a trophy in front of the outside world, but her independence is feared behind closed doors. The matrimonial house expects them to be submissive and a ‘yes-woman’ to anything.

I wonder. We have changed mindsets for our daughters but not for the daughter in-law! The role of a woman is now not only limited to feeding the family, but has widened to the extent of financing the family AND she is expected to deal with all the bullying at the end of the day.

Skew in the way her parents are treated

Right from the time you get married, the girl’s parent are expected to bear all the expenses for the marriage and gifts. The boy’s family have no major stake involved except renting a horse and reaching themselves and their guests to the venue.

If things go wrong and take a drastic turn, it is easier and simply not heart breaking for them to ask for a separation /divorce which will ultimately put an end to their woes of competing for the love of their son and not so submissive daughter in law who calls a spade a spade!

Skew in the way tradition decides who takes care of whom

Separating a woman from her parents in the name of tradition is absolutely fine although expecting the same from son is considered cruelty (also so stated by the honourable Supreme Court of India) even if the woman is not able to gel well with her in-laws. Trust me, separating anyone from their parents doesn’t elate anyone especially on humanitarian grounds, but if a woman asks you to do so, maybe you have left her with no other choice; it should be a cautionary warning for a man to balance his relationships well.

Most women who compromise with their fate and surrender, or turn a blind eye to the ever rude and demanding in-laws, survive their matrimonial relationships to the end of their life. But ask them – is it worth it? Is the marital relationship left with any love or respect towards each other? These women are often left with no /little self esteem, and in turn now feel justified in treating their daughters in law the same way they had been treated. And the vicious circle never ends!

I can go on and on as I have been through all this. More importantly it’s easier to break things than to keep them together and holding on to the marriage. I now find it useless to challenge the age-old norms no matter how unreasonable they are, and concentrate on leading a ‘happy’ and peaceful life. I pledge to be diplomatic and manipulative to avoid all the drama, conflicts and trouble.

Have any of you ever felt this way? Please share your experiences.

Image source: Jaisingh rathore [GFDL, CC BY 2.5 , GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

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