“A life-long journey with a soul mate”, “A journey of togetherness”, “Janam-Janam ka saath!”, “A promise to be together till eternity!”, “Two souls becoming one!”, “Saath Janamo ka Rishta!”…. and much more!
This is how people describe marriage. But all these descriptors come with a disclaimer. These definitions hold true only if you’re lucky! In simple words, what they actually meant is:
“Marriage is a moment when your life changes. If you’re lucky, then for the best! But, if you’re not, well…”
While there are some lucky ones, whose marriage turns out to be as exciting as hoped; there are many unlucky ones, whose marriage didn’t work out the way society told them it would!
The ones for whom the sacred bond of marriage became nothing more than a trap to give up on their dreams.
Like many, when I finished my graduation, my parents started looking for a suitable match for me. They wanted me to settle down with a boy from a rich business-class family, who matched the stature of my parents. In the very first meeting with the to-be groom and his family, my fate was sealed. My family members among themselves decided that I won’t be working after marriage as would be in-laws had a lot of money.
When I retaliated, I was told –
“Even your bhabhi stopped working after marriage. Isn’t she happy? And, it’s our fault that we sent you for graduation to a metro city. Now, look at the result, you are arguing with your father! Can anyone make a better decision in your interest!”
In those moments, I couldn’t gather the courage to stand against my parents. Every moment of the last 3 years of my marriage, I have always cursed myself for not taking a stand that day!
When I was getting married, my mother told me that marriage is a life-long commitment to happiness and togetherness. I so desperately wanted it to be true. I thought if a marriage brings love, happiness, and a true companion in my life, I should be fine making some compromises.
So, when dust was settling on my engineering degree, I was told to take care of the kitchen 24×7. My husband, brother-in-law & father-in-law won’t even take a glass of water on their own! They would like Ghar ki bahu to serve them like royal kings!
I was trying very hard to find happiness in my marriage. But things were difficult. My mother-in-law’s constant taunts, my father-in-law’s constant reminders of how I need to abide by the dharma of good sanskaari bahu, and my husband’s constant silence made my life a living hell. I was forced to live the life of an educated maid, who was not even supposed to wear the clothes she likes. Because apparently, my clothes had so much power that khandaan ki izzat could be damaged.
But, what hurts me the most was the fact that when I needed my husband to be there for me, he was further away than I could have imagined. He was always spending time with his family and whenever I raised any concern, he would snub me and tell me to adjust or compromise.
After spending 2 years like a lonely and depressed educated maid, I realized no one was coming for my help, not even my parents. So, I took the matter into my own hands. I applied for a job. When I got selected, everyone at my house had issues with me joining the firm.
But by that time, I realized I don’t have to succumb to the pressure of my ugly marriage.
I was exhausted. It was heart-breaking to believe that marriage which was supposed to be a bond of togetherness, had turned into a punishment of feeling lonely and worthless. My first two years of marriage made me believe that love and acceptance are just words used in a fairy tale.
Within a few months of working again, I felt happiness slowly entering my life. I had the key to my freedom in my hands. Even though it was just for a few hours, I got to spend a few hours away from people who treated me as nothing more than a cook, maid, nanny, and caretaker!
Obviously, the initial days were really tough. My husband stopped talking to me because his parents believed that I disrespected them! It was shocking how my attempt to find myself was seen as an attempt to insult the family.
But I didn’t stop. I just kept doing my best that I could have done as a wife and daughter-in-law without compromising on my dreams. And, after 6 months, everything started settling down.
Everyone in the house seems to have calmed down and accepted this way of life. I get to go out, live life on my own terms instead of staying suffocated at home.
The Bottom Line
The reality of my marriage is different from what I was told. My marriage wasn’t the union of two souls. Rather it was my union with my own brave self. In the midst of loneliness, depression, and sadness, I found myself. I realized that the only person I need approval from is me.
Like me, there are many women who are struggling with loneliness in marriage; who gave up on their dreams for a life-long journey of togetherness; who gave up on their freedom for a life of love! But in the end, they felt cheated and disappointed. To those women, I would like to say: “Please don’t wait for anyone to save you! No one is coming! So, gather all your courage and be your own hero!”