As a soon-to-be-wed or a newlywed bride, you will be the target of all the banter and advice in the world. All the relatives, aunties, friends acquantance and even strangers stop you to pass on the the wisdom of their marital experiences. My case wasn’t any different. I admit I revelled in all that attention. As much as I appreciated everybody’s concerns for my blissful marital existence, I admit some of the advice for a blissful marital life was really amusing. Most of the things suggested would seem so obnoxious otherwise but made slight sense to my desi conditioned mind.
I wish I could rake my mind for all those instructions but for now I wiil quote the one advice which to this day still stands out and I would like to pass on to all the maiden sisters reading it right now. It came from a much respected senior colleague. We usually just exchanged greetings when passing by in the hallways. One day she pulled me aside to talk to me, I knew this had to be something serious.
She held my hand and went on to say:
“Enter a marriage with neutral a mentality. Don’t harbour preconcieved notions about anyone. Rather than seeing anyone through societal conditioned perceptions,
get to know the person as a person. Don’t have too many expectations of anyone”
These words, were a bit hard to swallow and digest at first because of all the seriousness considering all the light hearted pointers I had been getting so far. But that’s also got to be the only advice from an acquaintance that I have held onto all my married life.
Those early days right after our marriage were marked with some unexpected events but holding onto the above advice helped me pull through. Those words really helped me cherish all the sweet little moments and overlook some unwarranted behaviour from an inconsiderate person or two.
The tragedy in our culture is that girls come into marriages pre-conditioned thinking their mother inlaw to be a “monster” in law. That kills any chance of developing a thriving, cooperative relationship. And who can blame these girls because they hear all these stories around them and see them played in their favoite TV soaps. Yes many inlaws are toxic and would go to some crazy lengths to make your life miserable and that’s another story. One of the reasons we can’t build those respectful relationships is the unreasonable expectations we have for each other. “She didn’t do this”, “she didn’t do that”, “she didn’t say this or that”, “she should have done this”, etc, etc. All those unmet expectations result in built up of negativity and resentment towards each other which comes out in the most fatal ways. Thus it’s better not to have all those expectations and define your boundaries from the start to avoid disappontments on the behalf of both parties.
Given your inlaws are not unreasonable people, we should try our best to actually get to know the people who come into our life by way of marriage and try to build a realtionship based on mutual trust, understanding and respect. If anyone doesn’t want to and rather foster ill feelings towards you, that’s their choice and let them be.
I don’t have that ideal and wonderful relationship with inlaws that I have suggested above. Don’t get me wrong. They are wonderful people. Sometimes the societal conditioning does gets the better of them and even me. But Alhamdulillah getting to know them as people has helped me navigate me through the highs and lows of these ties.
What do you think of my ramblings above? Let me know any advice that’s stuck with you through your married life 🙂