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Ten years of marriage, ten years of togetherness and loving someone despite rough situations, all the ups and downs in a typical marriage – have taught me many things. The expected things – patience, putting things in perspective, seeing bigger picture, thinking in ‘us/we’, putting someone else’s needs before yours etc etc…the list could go on. Now, I am very close to my due date and very hormonal, so cannot be writing about all of those…so let me make this specific to my Indian female friends who are confused about what they married into.

If your man has been raised in a typical Indian family, chances are he is dependent on someone else for little things. He might be good at doing household chores, but you have to specifically ask. He will definitely be used to of being pampered and not taking full responsibility of another human being, especially in emotional sense. So ladies, basically, whether you have known him before your wedding or whether you are getting to know him, the first thing you should do is – STOP expecting a Bollywood kind of marriage (aka happily ever after). In fact, expect that in the least, he will be lost and hence, will be acting out every now and then (sometimes, too often). But just remember one thing – if he is not doing what you expected him to do i.e. the ever-so romantic gestures other people seem to be doing, does not mean he doesn’t care about you. In all probability, he doesn’t have any idea how to care for you and your feelings.

Let me elaborate. Think of how a boy in an Indian family is prepared for his marriage. Chances are that he has been told time and ever again one or both of the two things below:

One, that his wife will listen to anything and everything he says and will be waiting to serve him anything that he needs (she would even wash his underwear!). He will be treated like a king once he is married and his wife will be someone who feels honored to leave her family, friends and loved ones to love him and his family. From the first day into the wedding, she will feel grateful to have been given an opportunity to take care of all his needs and even those of his family and relatives.

Two, that once he is married, he will have someone to count on. This person will be there for him no matter what, even when he is least bothered about being there for them. So he can save his tantrums and demands for her and she will happily mother him like an infant.

Finally, the boy grows up with as unrealistic expectations from marriage as we girls do. Of course the difference being that our expectations center around love and romance and theirs, around pampering and being the king of the universe, without giving anything in return. What do you expect from such a guy? He will probably take years to understand that he shares some responsibility in the relationship called marriage, like it will take years for you to realize that there are some small gestures that still show you that he cares, though they might not be grand or even what you expected.

I remember attending a seminar once where a counselor  told me that it takes Indian men to accept marriage much longer than it takes women since their upbringings are so different. Yes, things are changing now, but if you were born in the 80s, chances are you could be in a similar situation or know someone who is.

So be patient and start looking for those little things – like he calls you from work for no reason, just because you didn’t call to ask when he will be home; when you are not well, he asks if you want to eat out (most men won’t offer to cook, owing to an “Indian” upbringing); when you are irritated for no reason, he will not react thinking its PMS (it might not be, but at least there’s no fight just because he assumes it is!). Look for the not-so-grand things he does over the weeks, and you will see a pattern emerge. In the beginning, it would be unnoticeable gestures, which might start growing over time and before you know, he would one day do something that you did not expect him to do but meant a lot to you (might even be something you NEVER expected from him).

Here is an example of what my dear hubby did recently, apart from all the wonderful things he has been doing so far. We moved twice in my last trimester and I was experiencing all classical symptoms of premature delivery (thankfully. the baby decided to stay in till it was time), so I was stressed. My husband not only calmed me in those stressful moments, but also did most of the packing and unpacking. He even asked the kids to help me around and they happily did. In fact, I never expected moving and settling down into a new house could be so easy!

In conclusion, most Indian men brought up in a typical environment will behave like jerks for at least a year into the marriage, some even longer, depending on the conditioning. The trick is to be patient and look for the good things in him, tell him about those things and over the years, you will see the benefit of hanging on to him. He will love you more and more as you grow older.

My Books

Read the review Love No More (Love, It Is!)

Read the review Love, It Is!

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