“Shweta, don’t talk to my son like that. He is your husband. Have some shame. Treat him with respect. Our bahus don’t call their husbands ‘tu’! We are a sanskaari family. I don’t know what happens in your home. In our family, wives give respect to their husband!”
“Bhabhi, why do you wear these kind of clothes? Why do you wear makeup at home? Why do you wear red lipstick? It doesn’t look good bhabhi! You know how people talk behind your back!”
“Shweta, why are you joining back office so soon? Who will help mummy to manage things at home? Why you have to always prioritize work over family? Why can’t be you just like other wives who serve their in-laws well? Why you always have to preach everyone about equality?”
Though these three instances sum up my married life, there is much more that has been said to me! Doesn’t matter whether it is my mother-in-law, sister-in-law, or husband, everyone believes they have a license to stomp over my self-respect. Why? Just because I am married into their family.
But this isn’t the kind of marriage I dreamt of! This isn’t the kind of marriage that I wanted! These aren’t the same people who met my parents and told them that I would be treated like their own family! They aren’t the same people who promised me love and respect after marriage!
I look at my situation and wonder how did I sign up for this? Did I sign up for all blame? Did I sign up for all the insults? Did I sign up for tearful sleepless nights?
The answer is No. Rather, I signed up for love! I signed up for a family that accepts me as their own! I signed up for a husband who treats me like an equal partner! I signed up for a sister-in-law who treats me like her own sister! I signed up for a mother who treats me like her own!
But what I got was a set of people who just want to control me. They constantly tell me how I should lead my life and should sacrifice everything in name of being a good daughter-in-law.
It breaks my heart how suddenly the things that they never had a problem with, became a matter to label me as characterless or unsanskari! It shatters my soul how rather than making my life beautiful, my marriage made it painful; It gave people a license to disrespect me; to shame me; to control me!
Sadly, when I told my mother, she casually told me that this happens in all marriages. You adjust and with time things will get better! Seriously? It broke my heart how my so-called educated mother told me to suffer abuse rather than standing for myself. But, I refuse to live my life like a doormat. I don’t want to be everyone else’s punching bag!
I will not sacrifice my self-respect to please shallow egos! This is supposed to be the home that should offer me love not hate; admiration not jealousy; respect not bullying.
One day I decided I can’t tolerate this anymore. I need to stand for myself. I can’t let people shatter my self-confidence to build themselves. I can’t let them insult me so that they can feel good about themselves. I can’t let them push me for endless sacrifices just in the name of tradition. I want to be a good daughter-in-law and a good wife, but if it comes at the expense of my self-respect – then sorry I don’t want it.
I am not ready to sacrifice my self-respect to make this marriage work. If people are going to use marriage as a license to humiliate me or treat me like a slave, then it’s not worth it.
Dear In-laws and husband,
Marriage is about love, respect, and acceptance. If you can’t love the bride you brought into your family; if you can’t respect her; if you can’t accept her, then it’s better you don’t get her into your family! It’s better not to ruin her life! Spare her the trauma!
Dear Women, Society may tell you marriage is mandatory; marriage is beautiful; marriage is the solution to all your problems. Don’t let it fool you. Remember, if marriage isn’t your happy place, then it’s not the place you need to be!