Need to change

‘After marriage he completely changed’ is the regular complaints that one can hear from an Indian mother.  But I cannot understand the logic in such complaints.  Because, in most cases the marriage is arranged by the family and the parents alone brought the daughter-in-law to their home and not merely a wife to their son.  This means that the mother does not want to see her son to remain always only as a son to her but also a husband to another woman.  Then naturally, he has to change from a son to a husband.  And from a husband he has to become a father.  Of course if his wife claims her husband totally at the cost of his relationship as a son, then she needs to be corrected. But if the mother, though not deny her son’s role as a husband to her daughter-in-law expect him not to change looks ‘ill-logical’ to me.

Today when one of my shishyas came to see and shared his regular family problem of strife between his wife and rest of his family members, he said, ‘my mother, sister, brother and others in my family insist that my wife needs to adjust a bit.  And she tries her best.  But when she cannot cope with too much pressure, then she reacts.  I don’t know how to handle it’.

As a single man, though I don’t have the ready made solution to this universal (Indian) problem, yet I pointed out by saying this: Your mother and other members of the family are right to demand that your wife needs to adjust a bit.  But you have to point out to them that when your mother needs to adjust to accommodate to the aspiration of your wife a bit. But when your wife has to adjust with your mother, then she needs to adjust simultaneously (directly or indirectly; demanded or not) with rest of the family member too.  To say in other words, when your mother has to adjust a ‘bit’ she has to do it only as a ‘mother-in-law’ but your wife has to adjust with your mother not only as a ‘daughter-in-law’ but simultaneously as a ‘sister-in-law’ to your sister and brother and in various role with other members of your family.  And for a smooth relationship and function of a family, the elders need to realize and recognize this extra mile a daughter-in-law has to go in a family.  And as a husband you have to help your family members to understand this.  How you will do it is a different issue.  But if you fail in this and continue to demand only your wife to adjust a ‘bit’ then you will only add her burden and problem more by including you in her a ‘bit’ adjustment group.  By saying this I am not taking side of your wife or deny the right of your mother and other members of your family on you and your wife.  But elders have more responsibility in understanding the multi-faced role of a young wife has to play in a family.  If they fail in this, then all their experience in life and the grey hair on their head has no meaning.  The simple logic that you need to keep in your married life is this:

(At least in India) a son can be replaced by another person to a mother but not a husband to a wife.  Wife can become a mother but mother can never become a wife.

As your mother alone brought a daughter-in-law to her to change her son as a husband, never shun away from the responsibilities in this is new role.  And by doing this you are only obeying your mother, as she alone expected you to change from a son to a husband.

May 30. 2013

Dayanand Bharati