I’m married for almost 7 months now. I realised that I might have expressed my thoughts on marriage in general on my blog or other blogs I follow, but I never quite wrote about my own. My best friend is getting married in March and she really wanted to know what I felt about “being a married woman”…honestly, my first though is that “married woman” sounds yuck to me and I can’t quite identify with the term “married” when it’s coupled with “woman”. Makes it sound like an old and jaded mahila. That’s the thing about words…they feel and sound so different in different languages even though now I am exactly that: a married woman. Anyway, I don’t intend to digress.
Marriage so far hasn’t been any different from my single life to be honest. There’s nothing we do differently apart from the fact that we now stay together on a day-to-day basis. I think the portrait of a marriage differs depending on what you wanted when you wanted to get married, your educational and family background, the people you hang out with, the values you relate to and so on and so forth. I never looked forward to the wedding day. When I said marriage, I meant marriage: living together, sharing day-to-day life, having a joint bank account (I still don’t have this, but I have no idea why I’ve always wanted one), eating together, bitching together (although my husband only listens…but with the kind of interest I’d only associate with girls), having friends over, never having to make the bed again and such other mundane stuff. I never bought the concept of marriage between families. It shouldn’t be and I wouldn’t have it that way. Of course, it’s a different thing altogether if your families are cordial and do manage to spend time together and actually enjoy it. But it shouldn’t be a requisite.
Our marriage so far has been exactly that. We have shared duties based on our preferences. I cook, he cleans. I buy groceries, he pays the bills. Sometimes I clean the washrooms, sometimes he does. He tidies the bedroom, he runs the washing machine, he folds the clothes, he makes the bed. This post is increasingly making me realise that I might be lazier than I thought. My husband pretty much does everything other than cook. And apart from cooking and making a huge mess, I do little else. But in my
lame defense, we both do exactly what we like doing. I love cooking and he’s obsessed with cleaning. While I can show complete indifference to a sink with 4-5 vessels, he simply cannot bear the idea of not having an empty sink. New ingredients and recipes make my heart dance with excitement; different floor cleaners and brooms and the cleaning paraphernalia have the same effect on him. That explains the industrial size bottles of hand-washes, toilet cleaners, floor cleaners, surface cleaners and acids we have stocked up. On our common days off we just sleep longer, watch TV, do some shopping that can’t be done online and spend a relaxed day.
When our parents come over, each of us treats the other set of parents like they’re our own; but I reserve my disregard for age and lack of restraint while saying whatever just to my own. My in-laws do have a fair idea of my impulsiveness and neurosis though. I think it helps if the right expectations are set right at the beginning. I have seen a lot of girls go out of their way to impress their in-laws and the extended family at the beginning, but this can be quite stressful in the long-run. When the lovey-dovey time is long over and the work stress catches up, all you want to do is spend holidays in peace. Keeping up with the sacrificing, making-compromises-for-love bhartiya naari image can be extremely frustrating. What you once did for love makes you wonder and mull over questions you conveniently refused to ask yourself at the time of trying to be a perfect wife as the society would love to see it: why should only you change everything? why is it taken for granted that during your time off work you’d divide the time between your husband’s home and yours equally while the husband divides it in a 4:1 proportion? why is it that you are expected to go show yourself to your husband’s mum’s friend, their neighbours, their kaamwali baais and such other people you don’t care about at all?
I found it easier to let my mother-in-law know right from the beginning that I was exactly like her son: I didn’t like visiting random people, I’d much rather spend time lying on the couch with my eyes glued to the TV, I loved my family just as much as he did his, I wouldn’t give in to what his grandmother thought I should do, if I was not going to listen to my own grandmother. I mean if at all I had to listen to one grandmother, it would be my own. Once this was known, even at the cost of sounding rude at the beginning, my mother-in-law being a progressive woman understood it perfectly. Plus now, when I do go to all the above mentioned people and sundries, I am seen as a very adjusting and understanding bahu who let go of her precious time reserved for doing nothing. My mother-in-law and I share a very nice relationship where I am comfortable arguing with her just like I am with my mother. Of course she practises a little more restraint and hardly ever tells us what to do. And this is only possible because she is an exceptional woman. She has never felt the need to interfere in our marriage even though I married her only child. She expects nothing from me, which is why I wouldn’t mind doing some things voluntarily. The same is true of my parents. Even though they’d like it if my husband visited all the different family members, they have never asked him to do so. I think they are anyway used to 2 extremely headstrong daughters so it wouldn’t come to them as shock if they asked and he refused.
All in all, marriage has been fun so far. And I think it always will be if it stays the way it is where we have enough things to do together but also the possibility of doing our own thing. Funnily enough, having the possibility of doing your own thing significantly reduces the number of things you want to do alone. It helps if you can tell each other that you want to be alone for a while. I do this often because there are too many things I enjoy alone, while my husband is a more balanced person who prefers being alone or in a company of a select few, but is just as comfortable in a loud boisterous group. He is not the nitpicking kinds who’d want way too particular things. I am very very particular, but his moderation evens things out I guess. I am impulsive and volatile while he is calm and composed…but we somehow seem to balance out as a group. Although he does the balancing, I just reap the benefits. 🙂