“Riya, can you tell me why weren’t you at home when mummy’s friends came over? “ “Can you explain why you won’t attend that function mom want you to attend?” “Why do you have so much problem whenever I do something for mummy?” “Why do you create a scene whenever I spend some quality time with mummy?”
These questions may give you an impression that I am a bad wife who tends control her husband; someone who doesn’t respect her in-laws and does as she pleases! But, before you make any judgement, here is my side of story.
It’s very easy to judge a woman! In our patriarchal society, whenever woman stands for herself – she is either shamed or blamed! Every time, she defies the norms to be used as a doormat or a punching bag, she is labelled as unsanskaari! She is called a bad wife or bad daughter-in-law! Not just her, people don’t even spare her parents! They are labelled as criminals, who raised a daughter – who refuse to bear abuse and toxicity of her in-laws!
Like many young women, when I got married, I had so many dreams. I wanted to love and be loved. I had dreams of filling my husband’s home only with love, laughter and hope. I wanted to accept my mother-in-law as my mother and hoped that she would accept me as her daughter and not daughter-in-law!
But, I was so naïve! I was so stupid in hoping and expecting things that were never going to happen. For almost 3 years of my marriage, I made endless compromises and sacrifices in the hope that my husband and his mother would see my love and accept me as their own; I believed that a day will come when they will realize how mean they had been to me by putting me through so much of emotional trauma! And, I thought on that day, when they would seek apology for their behavior, I would just let them know that they are forgiven!
But, I was an idiot to believe that such a day would ever come. My spineless husband had no issue in last 3 years when I was silently making endless compromises and adjustments to please him and his mother. But, the day, I started expecting from him – his time, his love, my happiness – he started having issues.
He wanted to question why I didn’t attend the function that his mom wanted me to attend! But, he had no time to reflect on what happened on a series of functions and events that I attended earlier! How I was shamed and harassed for my body appearances or for my middle class background! My mother-in-law and her relatives made sure to say hurtful things to me while I kept ignoring most of it. I keep running around to help, listen to things that I never should have!
My spineless husband had the courage to ask me why I have problems with his son and mother time? The answer is I never had problem with him spending time with his parents. I had problem with him having no time for me. While he has guts to ask me why I have issues with him spending time with his mother, but he has no courage to recall the time when he prioritized his mother, his relatives, his friends, his work over me! From cancelling our trips and plans, to not spending any alone time with me, my husband had no regret for having no time for me – while he had it for the whole world!
But this isn’t just my story. This is the story of many Indian women, who are struggling to be loved and respected in marriage. They are being asked to make endless compromises and adjustments.
It is a matter of shame how many husbands don’t have issue in asking their wives to sacrifice. But, they have issues when she starts expecting love, respect and care in return.
Here is what I want to ask such husbands:
Dear Husbands, you keep expecting your wives to sacrifice; but when she starts expecting something – you have issues! You can expect, but she can’t? You expect her to be available for you and your family always, but you are disgusted when she expects you to be there for her!
I fail to understand – Why do you expect her not to expect? You want her to attend functions, make your mom happy, take care of you, prioritize your happiness over hers and much more! You expect her to do all this just because she is your wife. But, when she has similar expectations from you, then you have issues!