When my brother got married, things hardly changed in our house.
Mom used to buy things in two for her girls. Now she bought three of everything.
Earlier she used to cook for five, then she cooked for six.
She taught all her girls including her daughter-in-law how to cook. How could she expect her son’s wife to cook a three course meal while her daughters could not manage rotis.
So I always find it difficult to understand why people have to complicate marriages.
Home is supposed to be your haven. The place to go to for solace, comfort and warmth.
Instead most homes are under siege.
Young couple are finding balancing relationships, hobbies and work complicated as is. Add to it, the stress and burden of unreasonable expectations.
Most of them are burnt out!
Gender is an important quotient in this conversation. After all, how often do you hear about son-in-laws not calling every day or visiting often. But a daughter-in-laws values, her upbringing, her inability to do things or her choices are tea-time topics via chat, phone and WhatsApp calls.
Considering that most Indian parents nag their sons to get married as soon as they get their first paycheque, you would expect them to be overjoyed about the presence of a new member. And years of yearning for the wedding of their sons, would have given them sufficient time to prepare themselves for the new role. You might even expect them to train their sons at some basic skills of becoming a partner.
Nope! The world is expected to change for the woman, while the husband and their families want nothing to change for and between them.
And in a way there is so little that can be done when people equate love to a bar of chocolate. Constantly worrying whether they got the largest piece or if they will run out if they share some of theirs.
The world needs less drama, more peace.
Stop the comparison: Stop expecting what others share. Each relationship comes with its baggage, its experiences and its comfort zones. My husband can never replace my mom or dad. He can only be what he is – my friend, companion and co-parent.
Question your Biases: We all have them. Are we upset because a certain demand was made by a certain person, or is the problem in the way you were informed about it. Or is there an issue with what has been said. That clarity will help you rein in the emotion.
Communicate, Communicate, Communicate: There are many things that we do which might be hurtful. Only we don’t know that it is. If there is a problem, talk and clarify them.
Don’t let things brew in your head.
Accusations are pointless and people will only get offended. Conversations MAY help.
Make reasonable expectations: People don’t change overnight. They won’t start sharing their problems with you just because you told them to. Change takes time. So does skill-building.
Take responsibility: You cannot expect the rights of the primary caregiver without the sacrifices involved. Are the grandparents expected to give up their lives and babysit, but have no say in parenting? Are you commenting to questioning your children’s parenting styles, without contributing to raising your grandchildren?
Both are unreasonable and unfair.
Stop demanding perfection: If you are being critical, step back. It is not fair to set standards that are difficult to fulfil. It is also not okay to have separate standards for your son or their spouse or for that matter yourself!
Help build the relationship and not build differences. And if you are extremely particular about something, show people your preferences respectfully.
Work on your Insecurities: No one is responsible for our happiness be it our spouse, our children, their spouses or their kids. It is not their job to keep proving their affection.
Nor can we have them deciding our value.
Clarify Boundaries: What is acceptable to one may cause discomfort to another. Relationship need space, space for the individual to grow and nurture oneself. If no matter what you do, someone is unhappy, let it go. Do not expect compliments and ignore criticism. If that doesn’t work, let people do things on their own the way they like it.
If your home is constantly under turf wars. Accept that there is a problem. Understand that you are probably a part of the problem and figure what needs to change.
You were once the child. You may now be the parent. You were once the bride. She is now. The cycle continues. If we understand when we are tempted to critique; if we build rather than break; bridge rather than bicker, let go of rifts rather than hold on, life will be so much more easier to deal with.