“Wow, what a beautiful house. It’s so huge and what an amazing view! And, I really loved the garden!” I told my now-husband as my family and I went to his place to finalize the marriage! But, hardly, I knew that even in such a huge house, there won’t be any place for my emotions or values!
My husband and I met through an arranged marriage set-up. While I wanted a supportive husband, my husband was looking for a strong and independent woman. At that moment, it felt like we were destined to be together; we were destined to be soulmates. But, after a couple of months, I realized how wrong I was. Neither my husband was supportive nor he wanted a strong wife!
My husband wanted a strong and independent woman, who would suffer his parents’ abuse in silence. He wanted an educated wife, who had to give up her career and stay at home! Though my husband was looking for a wife, what he actually wanted was a cook, maid and a babysitter rolled into one!
Even though I was equally educated as my husband, I was told to quit my job and manage the kitchen and family! While my husband was expected to take care of his parents, I was told that I don’t belong to my parents anymore! I belonged to my husband and his parents! It was heartbreaking how my marriage reduced me to an object, who belonged to my well-educated husband and his well to do family!
Even though we lived in a huge house, but it didn’t have enough space for my degrees or emotions or values!
My husband pretended he didn’t have time to understand my pain – what I was going through! But, sadly, he didn’t have the courage to accept that even after being educated from the best colleges in India, he had a regressive and patriarchal mindset. He didn’t have the will to stand up for me and my self-respect! He kept telling me to adjust and compromise for the sake of family! He kept telling me to treat my in-laws with utmost respect irrespective of how nasty they acted! He kept telling me how it was fine to give up on my dreams for the sake of family!
But, do you know what was worse – the fact that I was told to make adjustments, compromises and sacrifices for the people, who refuse to accept me as a part of their family!
My thoughts, my beliefs and my suggestions had no place in my husband’s home! I was just told to follow the orders blindly like a mindless person. Because apparently, that’s what good wives and daughters-in-law do! After 3 years of being harassed in the name of family values, I decided I couldn’t burn myself anymore to keep others warm. I realized I wasn’t okay with sacrificing my whole life for people who feel they have done a huge favour to get me married to their son; I realized I wasn’t okay being a part of a marriage where there was no love and care for me; I realized I didn’t want to stay in a house which has no space for my values, emotions, dreams and self-respect! So, I stepped out of the house, marriage and family that was never ready to accept me!
Like many educated and independent women, marriage disappointed me. Don’t get me wrong. Marriage is a beautiful institution that promotes companionship for life. But, how some hypocritical Indian families have ruined this institution to use it as a tool to control women is quite heartbreaking. It is high time that many Indian families need to change their outlook towards marriage and women! Because, if men and their families keep treating women like second class citizens, then the time isn’t far when no women would even think of getting married! So, dear society, wake up before its too late!