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Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Indian daughters in Law: What goes wrong in the adjustment process after marriage?

When a girl gets married in India, there is one most common piece of advice given to her.

“You have to adjust in the new environment that you are moving to. It is your responsibility that you keep everyone in your new family happy”.

Then as she enters her new home which is often a completely unfamiliar and unknown environment, all the eyes are set on her, all expectations are made from her and her only. She is judged and rated at every step that she takes [even on things that she cannot change. For example her physical features]. The fact is that because the girl is often very nervous and less experienced to know all the “rules”, it is natural for her if she makes some silly mistakes or fails to come up to the many expectations from her.

The Question:

Is it the only the newly wed girl’s responsibility to adjust to the change which came about by marriage? Is the family that she newly became a part of, not equally responsible for it?

When a marriage happens (especially in the Indian context) it is not only the couple who is undergoing a change of life. It is often the whole immediate family members who are entering a new phase of life. Because there is a change in everybody’s life, it might be rational to say that everybody should be equally responsible for taking the plunge into the adjustment process and not just the new bride. In reality, the newly wed girl is responsible for this adjustment and if anything goes wrong, she is held for it without any major thought given to the situation. It is worth noting that anyone in the family who is “genuinely interested in having a happy family and life long of sweeter relationships, should take his/her share in this adjustment to change.

Some points worth noting in connection to the above question:

  1. Often in a marriage the girl who has just got married is in a minority position. She has to face a majority of people in her new family.

  1. The girl is likely to be young, less experienced and nervous.

  1. If the adjustment process will be shared by everybody in the family equally, the adjustment and the relationships will be highly likely to be much better.

  1. It is irrational and baseless to have one sided expectations when the relationships are always two/multi sided.

I am sure you too, like me have seen so many families which end up breaking or end up having most the bitter relationships. May be this is one major reason for it ? What do you say ?

Image courtesy : and google image search.

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  1. It's Very Nice post... :)

    The lack of understanding and empathy towards newly wed bride puts her into very traumatic condition.

    Indeed, emotional support from family is very much essential and especially fom bridegroom.... :)


  2. Thanks Amit for your input :)

  3. May be if we had less arranged marriages in India, the couple would have better compatibility and relatively hassle free proces of adjustment.Why even educated and independendent girls too opt for arranged marriage is really inriguing.

    Great blog.

  4. Thank you Sameer for your comment and your rating :)

  5. I feel the system of sending a person to live with and serve (make everybody happy, obey, adjust etc) in another family is biased against the girl child.

    The boy's family also feels insecure, their biggest worry is she might 'steal' their son.

    Another concern is she might not be 'respectful' - here what she feels is less important than how much respects she shows, and showing respect sometimes means obedience, taking permission before going anywhere, even meeting her own parents. Girls are expected to forget their own families and to love the husband's family as their own.

    Also most parents are less concerned about the son's happiness, more about finding a girl who would look after them in their old age.

    Many divorces and abuse happen because the girl was difficult to control! We do not see 'controlling' this young often highly educated young person as wrong. Her parents also advise her to 'adjust'.

    The biggest problem with our worry about a care giver in our old age (budhape ka sahara)is nobody wants daughters, because daughters will go to another family. So we have sex selection. And all the terrible related consequences.
    I feel all young couples must live in their own homes, and both the partners the boy and the girl should take care of their parents. Until the girls are being treated like 'paraya dhan' and sent to live in the husband's house, nobody in India will want daughters.
    Sorry about such a long comment! Your post was too thought provoking...

  6. Nice and very thoughtful. Food for thought for me too as I am also planning to get married very soon ;)I will keep your points in mind forever and will make sure that it doesn't end up with bitter relationships.

  7. Thanks a lot Aswani !!

    If you really manage to do that for your family and your wife, believe me I will be so happy :).

    This is the whole reason why I am into blogging, I wish to see positive changes :)

  8. @wecognize - Yes, I will do my best to follow your tips :)

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