It is never easy to be a husband. But, with time I realized how being a husband is still far easier than being a wife. I wish every husband, for whom his wife left everything, realizes it sooner than later.
We all love our parents. We all love our families. And, why not? We have spent so many struggling years with them. They have been a constant support for us when times got tough. And, seeing them taking care of us at every moment makes us so difficult to imagine that they could be anything but kind to others. I felt the same when my wife spoke about instances of being targeted and shamed in the family. I felt how my family who was so loving and caring could even do such a thing.
Obviously, at the start, I had a similar reaction as many Indian men have. I felt my wife was over-reacting; I felt my wife needed to better understand my parents whom she just started living; I felt my wife needs to be less touchy and ignore certain things.
But with time, I realized that how my family was actually treating my wife differently; How once a happy and full of life woman turned into a sad and unhappy woman and somewhere I was to be blamed for it as well. My silence needed to be blamed; My desire to be a good son and caring brother needed to be blamed; My expectation from my wife to bear the brunt of abuse for the sake of my love for my parents needed to be blamed!
It’s not that I never tried to take a stand for my wife. I tried but whenever I did, I was made to believe that I have changed after marriage; that I don’t care about my parents anymore; that my wife has done some kind of black magic on me!
But with time, things got murkier. And, I was left no other choice but to intervene. I had no other choice but to ask my loving parents, what happened to them? Why they hated my wife so much? Why they mistreated her at every passing moment? Why they denied the affection to her? Why did they choose to insult her at a drop of a hat? Why did they shatter her self-esteem for everything? Why they gang up against her? Why her love was not reciprocated with love? Why she only gets insults in return for all the respect that she gives!
Finally, I told them that she was my life partner and she needed to be treated better!
I told my family that I love them very much but I couldn’t stay silent anymore as they left no other choice. I can’t blind myself to the fact that my wife’s confidence is shattered every day; She is attacked every day just for one reason- that she chose to marry me; that she left everything for me; that she has made endless compromises and adjustment to make this marriage work!
I could have asked my wife to ignore things but till when! There should be some hope that things would get better. I couldn’t keep expecting my wife to change; the truth is that my parents needed to change too!
I told my family that I will never leave them for anyone, just the way I won’t leave my wife for anyone. I told them how I respect them for what all they did for me and it’s their values that give me the courage to stand for what is right!
Surprisingly, my parents are now trying to treat my wife right. This has changed my wife’s behavior towards them. I know these things may not be permanent but I won’t mind taking a stand again and make things right!
One thing that I want to tell my wife:
“I am sorry Ruchi! I didn’t stand for you earlier! I didn’t believe you. I didn’t understand your pain! When my family was emotionally targeting you, I remained silent. I am so sorry!
Thank you for being patient with me and my parents. We are getting better and hopefully one day we will heal your wounds with love, affection, and respect. Please don’t give up on me and my parents! We are unlearning some behaviors that our patriarchal society ingrained in us. It may take time but it will definitely happen!
Till then, I want to thank you for being so strong and courageous! I am blessed to have you as my life partner!”