“Ritu, I always treat you with respect. Have you seen how other men treat their wives? Your friends live with so many restrictions put by their husbands, but I made sure that you don’t have to. I always treated you with respect! You should feel lucky to have a husband like me! And, stop complaining about small stuff that my parents do or say”.
It is shame how my husband expected me to hand over the trophy of the best husband just because he treats me with respect; how I needed to worship him just because, unlike other husbands, he doesn’t scream at me or physically abuse me!
But, the attitude of my husband is the reflection of our whole society. Our society holds minimal expectations from men to win the label of best husband, while boundless for women to be treated as good wives!
Even after making endless sacrifices and compromises, why do women need to thank their husbands for treating them with respect! Shouldn’t that be the minimum expectation from any human to treat other humans with respect!
Since time immemorial, women have been badly treated by men and society! Our society has abused and harassed women without shame. In some homes, women are treated so horribly behind the four walls that you wonder if we have a right to call ourselves a civilized society! And, because other men treat women badly, is it even a fair argument to silent a woman whenever she raises her voice for her right!
Since the day I was married, my in-laws have never treated me with any respect. Neither they have shown any respect to my career. In the last 5 years, there have been consistent discussions, debates and arguments about how I am not going to quit my career. From having multiple arguments about how my husband earns a hefty package to how my in-laws have a rich heritage, my in-laws have tried everything to make me quit my job.
But, being a daughter of a single mother, the one thing that is non-negotiable for me is financial independence. After my father’s untimely demise, I have seen my mother struggling for her kids’ education and I never ever want to face similar circumstances. Realizing how determined I am to work, my in-laws from time to time created issues between my husband and me. They labelled me as unsanskaari, greedy, self-centred woman, who doesn’t have any respect what her in-laws’ desire!
While my husband has never disrespected my will or desire to work, he has been a silent spectator when his parents argue with me. Every time I complained, the only answer he has is – “You are so lucky that you have a husband, who treats you with respect! You should be happy that I don’t tell you how to dress or how to speak or where to work or yell at you or hurt you! You should feel lucky that you have me as your life partner! You should stop complaining about how my parents treat you!”
“Rohan, you mean I should be happy that you don’t abuse me! I should worship you as a god or the best soulmate just because you treat me with respect! Don’t you think this is the least one should do for the another human being? And, after all, I am your wife! Whenever I speak to you to talk to your parents to stop interfering in our lives, you only have one answer that I should feel lucky that you don’t abuse!”
While I am still fighting to lead a life on my own terms, it is heartbreaking how our educated men feel it is a big deal to treat their wives with respect; how they want to wear a badge of honour for not abusing or harassing their wives. While our men are doing better than their earlier generation, there is still a long way to go when at least educated men start accepting women as their equal and they are not doing any favours to them if they treat them well!