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Why is a wife expected to maintain a ‘good relationship’ with in laws if they don’t reciprocate? Here’s some relationship advice to all in-laws.
In a typical Indian family, the life of a woman often is like the colour of a currency paper which is white in one place (when accounted for properly) and the same becomes black money to someone else when the same accounted money is not utilised legally.
An Indian woman’s journey starts as a daughter, playing the roles of a wife, bahu, mother, sister-in law, mother-in law etc in the later stages of life. She’s often given relationship advice that centres on her doing all the adjustment at every stage.
As a daughter, except for few unlucky ones who are being discriminated against in their families for being a girl, almost everyone enjoys their life before marriage like a princess of their parents, especially father. She then starts her journey as a wife and bahu on getting married.
The sad thing is that, because so many of us are conditioned by patriarchy, even a woman can’t understand or support another woman post marriage.
As a daughter-in law (DIL), she’s often ill treated or often not considered as a family member by the mother-in law and sister-in law. The sister in law could be the DIL in another family, but often fails to make her mother realise that she (her own daughter) too is a bahu in someone else’s family.
Often, it so happens that husbands and mothers in law feel that they are treating their bahu very well, unlike their daughter who is not so happy yet managing well at her sasural because of their ‘good upbringing’. Even the sister in law herself being a woman often doesn’t try to understand how the bahu is being ill treated. And she herself feels that despite the ‘good environment’ at her parents home, her brother’s wife is not being Ok with everyone.
Why is it that often every girl feels her parents are right, and that the bahu is not adjusting or compromising despite their good treatment? How can one decide what’s wrong and what’s right?
Why is it that a husband understands his sister if she is a quiet or introverted person, but can’t try to understand his wife if she too is one? Why is a daughter in law labelled adamant?
Why is it that a wife is often expected to maintain a ‘good relationship’ with his parents and siblings? Why aren’t the siblings too expected to be good to their brother’s wife? Aren’t relationships like two way streets, and there is respect when people on both sides make an effort?
Why is it that a bahu and the sister in law, both being woman playing the roles at their homes respectively, can’t understand each other despite facing similar experience and situations?
Why is it that a mother in law can’t treat her bahu like her daughter, and try to understand that she too just like her daughter, has left her family and came to embrace new relationships with this marriage?
Why can’t a man be good to his in-laws, but still expects his wife to be good to his parents and siblings?
Though these seem to be like silly and common issues in almost all households, there are many women suffering based on the severity of the possessiveness that a man feels about his parents and siblings, and vice versa.
So here’s some much needed relationship advice for married men.
If a man truly loves his parents and siblings, he must be able to understand and make his wife comfortable by giving her the space and treating her parents and siblings the way she would want to.
He must be able to understand that no relationship can be forced upon someone just because of some ritual like marriage. He must be able to tell his parents and siblings too, to relate well to his wife, just the way he expects her to maintain a good relationship with them.
Just like he reminds his wife that, a relationship with ‘him’ means he along with his parents and siblings, he must be able to tell his parents and siblings as well that since he got married now, ‘he’ means he along with his wife, her parents, and the children and not just he and his children.
It is everyone’s collective responsibility that married couples, both husband and wife are able to maintain a cordial relationship with each and everyone in each other’s family.
Whatever we do and give, comes back to us. If we make the DIL comfortable and are able to understand her just like a daughter and give her the freedom they offer for their daughter, many misunderstandings and problems can be avoided.
It is time that men try to change their attitude towards women that they need to oblige them; instead they must understand the woman who entered into his life just the way they think and feel positively about their mother and sisters.
Image source: a still from the short film Ghar ki Murgi
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