What would you not change for love?

I have been receiving email links that accuse Indian women of dereliction of duty, when they marry men from other faiths. Indian women are solely responsible for the honour of all Indian religions and cultures so these accusations are not new.

Love Jehad [Do read this link] should not become another tool to control women.  As an adult, a woman should remain free to marry anyone from any religion. And if she chooses to, let her convert.

But my personal opinion is that love and marriage should not require either of the partners to stop being who they really are… simply because they can’t.

1. I feel one should not need to convert to a partner’s religion.

2. I feel one should not need to change names or surnames. It is inconvenient and unnecessary, but even if it was convenient, it’s based on the principal of ownership of another human. So the very premise, in my opinion, is wrong.

3. I feel one should not need to change feelings towards one’s own parents and family. Unfortunately girls are sometimes expected to do this; especially in joint families… Marriage should add to your life, not take away from it.

4. Friends and family are a support system, nobody should be asked to give them up.  Also isolation of the victim is common in cases of Domestic Violence. (Now, the Domestic Violence Act has made it an offence to stop a woman from meeting her family).

5. One should not need to change one’s Personality. For example, no extrovert should be asked to become an introvert. That’s controlling.

Everybody, including women, must have some interests of their own, and some me-time, so if she is asked to stop interacting with the world (to protect her!), she better watch. Insecurity and mistrust are not good signs. And…

6. Trust must include faith in and respect for her judgement. Giving in to the spouse’s unreasonable wishes does not improve a relationship. Such controlling might be the beginning of Domestic Violence – verbal or physical.

7. The woman should be trusted to decide how she must dress, and not her husband’s grandmother’s cousin’s daughter’s brother in law.

Do you think we should need to change ourselves for love or marriage? And how much? Is it true that we can find happiness in our partner’s happiness (after the first few months of a relationship), or do we need our own happiness too?

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101 thoughts on “What would you not change for love?

  1. Great post IHM. If everyone read this and took atleast 1% away from this, all relationships will be much much better. I think that some change is needed in any new relationship to reach a balance, but it must not be something that the person is not willing to make. Anything forced upon will build resentment. Change must be by one’s own will.

    I feel we are all prepared for change, and it’s great … it’s only unfair when one is asked to be prepared to adjust and manage anyhow because there is no choice and no hope, I feel marriage should be one of the many options for a happy life and future, not the only goal…

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  2. I feel that marriage is not an institution to pursue if one is focussed on it to give more and more happiness. It is about sharing of increased responsibilities including having and bringing up kids so that there would be someone to take care of them when they reach their old age. If anything, people ought to expect increase in their share of responsibilities and hence challenges too after marriage. It is not about happiness at all, and please do not believe in rumours that marriages make both people happier!!

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  3. totally agree with all your points…i wouldn’t change anything you’ve talked about…i will try and be more accommodating and try to compromise here and there…but giving up my identity, family, friends, personality as a whole is totally out of the question..

    Did you see the awards page? I have added your awards too 🙂

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  4. “blogging with a purpose” was from me too 😀 you didn’t add that…or at least i don’t see it

    I will add it just now – with pleasure!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Done Titaxy, I had added your name, but still learning how to do it, so wrote it in another column 😉

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  5. There is so much more I would like to add here that I feel one should not do in a relationship. But then one is deep into something, that time its so very difficult to put your foot down… to take a stand, because of the fear of loosing that person… its just so weird you know…

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  6. What would I not change for love – My identity before marriage
    But what I would: Anything that would make me a better person than what I’m today. Marriage and love should help the two grow together to be better people absorbing each other’s values and good points and doing away with the bad ones. No one is perfect but together we can aspire to be!

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  7. Nice post and nice blog overall! It inspires me to post my views on gender (un)equality on my blog too.

    Keep it up!

    Haresh Welcome to this space 🙂 I would love to your post against gender bias 🙂

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  8. I absolutely agree with all the points mentioned in your post.
    When you marry a person you accept his or her positives and negatives both. Changes do occur with time but they should be voluntary, not forced.

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  9. Isn’t there a difference between adjustment/compromise and a complete change? Changing some habits might be okay per se, but while leaving the essence of your personality intact. Love is rendered meaningless when it gives a single person, in a relationship, authority over the other.

    And love is pointless when someone says he loves you only to try to change you-what did he really love anyway? Because it sure as hell couldn’t have been you…!

    Love is not meant to bind you, but to set you free right? Ultimately I would not change myself for love…

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  10. These are fine points and it’ll be nice if such things are made clear beforehand.

    Me – Bhagwad, girls are not given much say in these matters, how can they set these rules? How many girls can put their feet firmly down and say they will not grow their hair and cover their heads and wear saris when they get married? My mother in her days did make some changes which raised some eye brows (and some voices 😉 ), but those who came after her were grateful 🙂 And in the later years, when everybody got used to the freer system, they teased her affectionately about it 🙂 I am grateful to her because we were spared any tips on ideal way an Indian girl dresses or behaves 😉

    However, they shouldn’t have the effect of making the woman impervious to change and compromise. Said and done, living in close quarters with another person for the rest of one’s life isn’t easy. For the woman, as well as the man.

    Me – Why do you feel this? … I feel marriage is a wonderful thing, the biggest blessing is one has a partner for parties , dancing, TV watching, kitchen recipe trying, furniture shopping … It’s great to know, for both, that there’s someone who’s always there…

    I can’t remember how many times my wife and I have had to compromise and sometimes depending on the situation, the compromise goes this way and sometimes that.

    Moderation in everything. Living with a militant “I won’t change myself in anyway” person isn’t a recipe for success IMHO.

    Me – Bhagwad any relationship requires getting along, adjusting and making some changes – but there are some things that typically a girl is expected to change – often these are symbolic (apart from the inconvenience)… like asking a girl to wear only saris or only salwar kurtas, or to keep only long hair and to oil that hair and to cover her hair 0s purely about controlling her person and her personality.
    Did you think this is fair? Can you imagine how suffocating this can be for a girl? Take a look at this, https://indianhomemaker.wordpress.com/2008/08/30/to-an-anonymous-dil/

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    • “Said and done, living in close quarters with another person for the rest of one’s life isn’t easy. For the woman, as well as the man.”

      This is disappointing to read. Maybe this feeling and fear gives birth to a desire of controlling the other partner in varying ways with the hope that “rest of the life” would be a little easy to bear with that person. If a relationship is starting with this fear and a sense of burden, both the partners would perceive it like this and hence feel claustrophobic many times. So we go to our other friends for enjoying life and come home to this burden.

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  11. Can we take a print out of this post and issue it as pamphlets? I am serious! All your points are relevant. How can anyone disagree?

    Now to answer your question,

    Self respect. I am never compromising on that in any relationship.

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  12. Great post IHM, as usual! I especially like your last point. My friends usually complain about the same. Most of them are not permitted to get a haircut. For some reason, long hairs are beautiful, a notion that I am not a great fan of. I like short hairs: they are manageable and looks more groomed than long hairs.

    My typical response if someone tells me that I should grow my hairs (and believe me I have been told by a lot of people): If you like long hairs, grow them yourself. I don’t like it and I won’t do it. 🙂

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  13. I agree with you on all counts. I think another thing I wouldn’t change for a partner would be my career plans/goals. I love my work too much and would hate to give up something around that for my partner’s needs.

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  14. Marriage is the compromise that human beings have made: to be secure about the future, to be certain about the tomorrows, to have a guarantee that the woman who loves you is going to love you forever, that it is not a temporary affair.

    That’s why religious people say that marriages are “made in heaven”… a strange kind of heaven, because if these marriages are made in heaven, then what can you make in hell? They don’t show the signs, the fragrance, the freshness, the beauty of heaven. But man settled for marriage because that was the only way to have private property. And, whether we accept the fact or not how how modern our husbands are or our lovers or boy friends are you in some point will feel as private property which to me is completely disgusting.

    So, to me absolutely subjectively there is no question of changing anything for love coz love in itself is totality, its absolute, you love because you accept a person the way they are, beautiful or ugly, good or bad, is no longer relevant and marriage makes them relevant and thus you start thinking of changing…. Changing character, behavior, Dressing, Life style, well you either kill yourself or the other person.

    10 Pints & A Curry

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  15. It is so sad to see that even in our times, we women need to ask for these things to not change…so very sad!Shouldn’t this be natural…unfortunate that it is still not so!

    I would not change is something I cannot say anymore…I’ve changed everything already! Sigh!

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    • On just reading the Love Jehad post…I must add that the are similar rumours doing the rounds in our side of the country too,but of hindu boys doing it to girls back home! I seriously don’t know if there is any truth to this, and it is sad to see such counter attacks on each others faiths!

      Me – Indy, it’s women who are ‘controlled’ in all this. I liked the post by Charakan that I have linked here, do take a look at his take. The communal forces love such stories.

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  16. In love marriages many are forced to convert to spouse’s religion especially if the spouse comes from a Non hindu religion whose origins are based upon conversions.Conversion should never be a pre condition for love marriage. All such inter religious marriages or for that matter all marriages should be registered under Special marriages Act so that the women get more protection

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  17. We are a very strange people. And our society has changed in the last , say 30 years with unreasonable speeds. Education has widened the horizon for many, males as well as females , but hasnt widened the minds enough. And so we see cases of two people seeing each other , deciding to marry, and once that happens, usually the husband suddenly kicks into obedient-son mode. This happens because he has no real respect for his wife as a person. (All this business of seeing her and knowing her before marriage, keeps him in a comfort zone that says, wow, I am the modern generation, I am “liberal”, etc etc, which is a feel good thing. )

    I think the crux of this problem, is to have decent respect for each other and your own thinking (self respect). Love may happen later. That is usually the case, particularly in arranged marriage situations. Which, incidentally still predominantly is the way marriages happen across our country.

    I wouldnt generalize rules about changing names, keeping or leaving jobs, pursuing whatever hobbies etc etc. This is not a merger of two companies, where lawyers sit and hammer out stuff that protect certain features of each, for the future. Its two individuals coming together, to build a family. And each needs to know what the other greatly values. An effort to honor that would be good. Its often difficult in the extended family environment, but not impossible.

    Things dont need to be 0 or 1. In between fractions sometimes make life fun and interesting.

    (I have actually known of situations where the m-in-law took the d-in-laws side).

    But it is to be clearly understood, and implemented is that there needs to be adjustment , always, on both sides, not just the woman’s. This doesnt happen today……

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  18. For me, marriage is a friendship between two different people who are ready to live their life together, face its downfalls and celebrate its joys. My husband is my best friend and that is all! I love him but my freedom, of any kind, including the freedom to eat, dress, is above any relationship. I would not give that away for anything.
    In any other friendship, we take our friends the way they are, have fun with them, enjoy the different culture they bring, enrich our lives with their varied view points and we love them and that is how I view my marriage. And to over share :-), he calls me “wifee friend” :-))
    Few days back, our 4 year old commented “Mamma, I really like your and daddy’s friendship”

    Me – I love this comment Sands!!! That’s what I feel it should be! Marriage should enrich our lives, a friend – someone who’s always there to discuss and to get a second opinion from, a companion…

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  19. A topic very close to my heart IHM!
    Being someone who was asked to change religions as part of a proposal, many years ago (please see Snapshot 54: http://sioneve.wordpress.com/2009/09/18/snapshot-54/ ) and then later as someone whose family wanted her fiance to change religions just a few years later (a future Snapshot), I have spent much time contemplating the changes we require of our partners.
    Personally, I think it is disrespectful to make anyone change the fundamental parts of themselves, so they may be ‘worthy of your love / friendship and acceptance’. After 12 years of marriage, of course my husband and I have both changed in various ways to fit together better and live a harmonious life – this is the give-take of married life. But we never changed the foundations of who we were. My husband did not ask me to change religion. And I did not ask him to change religion. We had a civil wedding ceremony with a religious ‘blessing’ to overcome religious differences.
    My husband did not ask me to change my name. He said he would like it if I did, but never pushed. I was going to keep my family name, until my extended family behaved disgustingly towards my husband’s cultural and religious background, and I decided to cut all ties with them – including changing my name. I don’t believe in carrying the weight of unsupportive and negative people in my life – family or not.
    My husband takes part in cultural events from my background happily, when I ask. And I do the same with him. Why shouldn’t we celebrate every happy event in life, instead of focussing on our differences?
    And as for our children, we teach them about all the major religions and belief systems (including the ones we were born into), we teach them about our own cultures and others and we want to them grow into effective citizens of the world, rather than people so embedded in the past that any hint of change / evolution is a major challenge and threat for them.
    I am a very strong believer that when you truly love someone, you make small changes quite willingly to fit in with them and in return, they do the same. And everything is open for discussion! No sacred cows!

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  20. 1. I feel there shouldnt be religion at all 😉
    Me – I agree too Vimmuuu, but what if one of the partners does beleive in their religion?

    2. I feel there should be only nicknames !! 😀
    Me – Again Vimmuuu, if one of the spouses has a long three word name, do you think they should give it up and take a new one?

    3. Parents who 😉
    Me – This is what Indian girls are expected to say when they get married.

    4. I would rather be with my friends than my spouse(s) 😀 😀 😀
    Men do that, but expect the wife (daughters in law) to stay at home and take care of their parents while they, as sons go out with friends. In most families, married sons can go out, but wives need permission – Two family members, different rules governing them.

    5. you mean, identity, right ? Thats lost the moment you find a partner itself !! Hoot ! Hoot !!!
    Why should it be lost? Can we really be somebody we are not … can you imagine what this could mean?

    6. Trust?respect?faith?judgement? wow…its been a loong time since I read all these words together ! 😀
    Prefix them with another word- MUTUAL.

    7. Heyyy, why make it only women !!! There are a lot of men who are forced to change too ; and yeah, not only in dressing 😉 😉
    That doesn’t make it right Vimmuuu.

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  21. IHM -this is one post of yours which I feel is not as well thought out as your usual, esp in the context of all the ruckus about this “love jihad”. (For those not yet clued in, read Kalpana Sharma’s fine piece on this: http://beta.thehindu.com/opinion/columns/Kalpana_Sharma/article41702.ece.

    I do agree with you that no one should need to convert or be forced to convert. I’d never do it and I think a big part of love is accepting your partner as they are. The question however is, if a woman does convert, does anybody, including her family or fundamentalist organisations have the right to force her “not” to convert? Some of the questions around this whole ‘Hindu women are being forcibly converted’ is also simply alarm over “our women” being taken away by “them”, bringing in the whole thing of women as community property.

    No woman (or man) should be forced (physically or mentally) to change in a way that doesn’t suit them, but neither can they be prevented from changing, if they decide to.

    Apu, let em go through the post again… I am completely against Love Jehad becoming a tool to control women, I feel a woman should have complete choice in these matters. I have often blogged about how inter-community marriages are the best thing to happen to human kind.
    I know of many happy families where the partners did stick to their religions and are perfectly fine… I did not say they should or should not convert, that’s any individual’s choice, but if a woman converts only to get married to a man, than do you think this is really any different from changing one’s name/leaving one’s friends behind/changing one’s personality etc… ?

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    • I agree with Apu on this one…Love Jehad is about our ‘property’ being taken away by them…Like she said, nobody should have the right to stop conversion – it’s a personal choice…

      Me -Sraboney read the linked post – I have written that Love Jehad is being treated like just another tool to control women…. I absolutely agree.

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    • i agree with Apu – we may not appreciate a person changing their names and religions (I havent changed either) – but I DO strongly believe it is a person’s right. Not just women, but men convert often too. No law, no person or political party has a right to object to that.

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      • I completely agree Mad Momma. No person or political parties have any right to object to anybody converting for any reason.

        ‘Love Jehad’ now proven baseless (and very imaginative) was just another attempt to create communal hatred. You should read the post by Charakan that I linked here.

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  22. Hey IHM, may sound strange, but i believe in every relationship we get into, we give away a part of ourselves and take in part of the other person… so, in a way, every relationship we enter be it friendship, marriage, etc, we have to change ourselves a bit to adapt to the other person’s way of thinking… coz no matter how close, there will be differences of opinion and u can not/need not always get your way… This may be more or less depending on how the frequencies match! But, it is always there…

    Do you feel the changes I mention are necessary and fair? Should both the partners follow them? Do you think girls are expected to be prepared for some unhappiness that comes with being married? (They are actually told, “Happiness is not everything, …sacrifice is more important” …

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  23. I couldn’t agree with you more…I can’t understand why one has to change her religion in order to get married to a man she loves…I would never have done…

    As for my surname, I haven’t changed it...Before we got married, I asked my husband if he would mind if I didn’t and his answer was “Mind? Why should I mind…You are a human being and as a human being you have a right to decide for yourself…Do whatever you want to, I don’t care…I have more important things to worry about”…I have included my surname in my daughter’s name as a middle name…So, she is M. Ghose D…

    Me – I feel the same way, and we have absolutely no concept of assuming we can force our views on anybody, even our spouses and families.

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  24. I feel like elaborating more on each and every point there. In fact I have felt like writing about such things too. They seem trivial but they eventually lead to bigger things like emotional abuse, violence, divorces etc.
    To sum all your points, give her all the respect she deserves.

    Me – Write about it G. I would love to read your views – in greater detail. If you write about it, do leave a link here! We should write about these things… They are not trivial in the damage they do to the confidence levels… we get used to thinking too many things we feel don’t really matter… And what’s worse the society starts expecting these changes as ‘normal’, and any reluctance to change as ‘radical’ 😦

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  25. Oh yes – agree with you on that bit – that one need NOT change. However, the reality of society is that woman are still often expected to change religion/language/name/surname…etc etc. While I completely agree that the expectation should not be there, I’m just saying that since people face difficult decisions as it is, sometimes, one just has to accept their right to make the choice, even if we don’t think it is necessary.

    Me – Apu, do read the linked post by Charakan! I should link it more clearly …

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  26. You know its this sentiment that you have to, have to change after marriage that makes commitment phobes and shrews out of people…its a wrong conditioning and messes up many a fine relationship…I agree responsibilities do increase when you decide to set up a family, but mostly people are resistant to them coz they have been told that marriage is getting leg shackled…seriously IHM look at the words we use generally for marriage, most of them are negative with respect to personal freedom…so when you are told that right from the beginning arent you going to be negative about any minor adjustment? conversely you could also be all too ready to be the doormat coz you have been told that thats what saving a marriage is all about…marriage = no personal freedom is what one is taught sadly

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  27. i nodded my head to the post and Minal’s and sioneve’s comments!

    marriage is pretty much a give and take. i changed my surname, but then i really didnt think deeply about it either ways! for me it was a complete non-issue and continues to be so till date.

    but yeah given a situation i was forced into something, yeah i woul defi get annoyed and not do it!

    cheers!

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  28. Seems Love jihad is a rumour spread by some news papers in kerala(According to DGP, though high court is not satisfied with his report)…..But what i feel is, if something like that is there ,it should be curbed from the root at any cost
    @ 1 – should be based on couples personal choice rather than relatives choice.I guess they should take a decison about the same before they get married
    @ 2 – Again , it should be based on there personal choice.If they want to change ,then change it else don’t ,simple na 🙂
    @ 3. it is written in the bible that “For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh , Ephesians 5:31” and “Leave Your Parents To Cleave To Your Spouse , Gen. 2:24” .I think that says everything
    @ 4 -I agree with U
    @ 5 – Exactly , may be if they try to do , the result will be disastrous
    @ 6 – like to add ‘his’ also 🙂
    7. What???? it is not only women ,Father\husband\brothers are also ‘forced’ to dress by there wife’s\sister’s\daughter’s\daughter in law’s choice(even myself and my friends :)).But i don’t think there is anything wrong in that.they want U\me to look good\smart…Thats y they suggest
    @ your question —I’m neither for nor aganist love marriage(one reason is , all of my cousins got married by arranged or love come arranged marriage and most of them are profesionaly, finantially well settled and hapily married 🙂 .
    @ Love marriage – I support mature relationships.If a person is settled and capable to take care of his\her spouse\partner,then its good(and also make there parents proud).But if it is in otherway(without any proper job, money) after the first few months , i don’t know whether they will be happy about there decision.

    P.S : It is not related to this post but just want to add this point too. i’m told by a lot of foriegn friends that , peoples from western countries are a big fan of arranged marriage(indian) and many of them are opting for it now a days.

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  29. There is no need to change. Its better the new family sees her in her true colours, in the initial few months. Then they get to know that this is how this girl is.

    But, if she changes herself for them, then it’ll be difficult to face her inner self as time proceeds.

    The love for the man she married and the respect for the elders in the family should shine through all her deeds. Then, the changes dont matter anymore.

    My maternal grandfather was very orthodox and the women in the house shld wear only saris – compulsory. Then came this aunt to the family and my grandfather was against the following.

    – Her’s was a love marriage to the youngest son of my grandfather.
    – She called her husband by name.
    – She’ll also address him normally – no “ji” at the end of every word.
    – She used to wear nighties.
    – So many more, which I cant list here.


    But, she was the most loved DIL of my grandfather in a year’s time of her marriage. She put her foot down in telling everybody that these are her traits and she cant change them all. But everybody loved her, for the person she was – the traits didnt matter, anymore.

    Uma I LOVED this comment! My mother, my grand mom’s confidante broke all such rules, she cut her hair, she sat with the men in the family, and was a part of all decision making – in those days it really was not seen as good, but over a period of time they started to see the benefits of having an intelligent family member, who could travel anywhere and at anytime, instead of requiring an escort and a guide all the time, she is 68 today and leading an independent life, with her very well organised staff – we seek her advise and support, and she also discusses her problems but she is her own person. I realise how cool she is only when people ask how she manages. (normally we tease her for still watching saas bahu serials )

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  30. Yes IHM thats how it should be according to me as well but we see many girls doing just the opposite of all of these and seem to be okay and happy with it. I do still think that there is some part of them which understands that this is the price they are paying for the happiness.. I dunno I find that weird..

    Not that you don’t change at all with this change. marriage does bring a totally new life for you and some changes are healthy and comes naturally to you but the definition of ‘some’ differs for different people..

    One of my friend’s husband thinks I am too liberal and his wife should not get much influenced by me. She has changed her name and religion post marriage and says she is very happy with everything. Maybe she knows that she can not have it the other way round.. how sad is that!

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    • I dont know how many consider this a “price”. I know non-vegetarian male friends who have married vegetarian girls and have got used to not being allowed to eat meat in their own homes. I think its a very personal thing, no matter how shocking it might seem to the rest of us.

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      • The mad momma personal choice is fine, but a lot of these changes are very rightfully expected from women.

        A vegetarian refusing to cook non vegetarian food is understandable, I guess it’s unfair to stop the partner from cooking and eating himself, but again like you say, it is always a personal matter.

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  31. I totally agree on the 7 simple rules or points mentioned here.
    But, I also believe that we all make compromises and adjustments to suite our spouses’ likes and dislikes. This is ok as long as its not one sided!

    Good post IHM! 🙂

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  32. Quote
    As an adult, a woman should remain free to marry anyone from any religion.

    unquote

    main problem with the above is, according to my understanding, Islam prohibits its followers to marry anyone outside the community.

    which means a man following islam cannot marry a person from other community and continue to allow the partner to practise her religion…exception you can find in upper strata of society..but not downwards..

    so this is the main reason for them to force the other party to convert. and in hinduism we are not forced to follow each and every ritual…so we are more casual in our earlier years..We tend to move towrads GOD more so in the later years. so it is easy for any hindu to shed her/his identity..this is what i feel….

    and religion has its own rules to protect its numbers if i can put that way..and the rule islam stated above is precisely to ensure that….

    now may be it is for hindu leaders to see how best they can try to stop this practice…

    what i suggest to all those who are in love with another member of religion. if you decide to live by one religion, then put your name of religion in two papers and pick..whichever religion comes you follow that religion…this would be a real test for love? wouldnt it be?

    Me – Sunder take a look at this, http://mytake-charakan.blogspot.com/2009/10/love-jihad-and-communalism.html – I would like to know what you feel 🙂

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    • i read the article…see in India, we sensationalise everything….
      i have very close friends from islam, christainity etc..so i cant really tell do people from my own community hate us? i dont think so….

      well end of the day we all have born into each community by default..then why we carry so much passion towards our community?

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  33. 1. It is absolutely unnecessary to change your faith. This is done to be accepted into the spouses family, I think. Though I know of one couple where they swapped religions thereby flabbergasting both sets of parents. Thus each set of parents has a so n-in-law/daughter-in-law of their own religion 🙂

    2. Agree again though I did change my name. But thats mainly cos my Husbands surname was much shorter than mine. My name+dad’s name added up to a whopping 20 alphabets as opposed to the other which only about 14 alphabets 😀

    3. Not having to give up your own family and family ties is very important. Forcing any one partner to do this will end up in a lot of (perhaps unspoken) resentment.

    4. Not having to give up friends has to work both ways.

    5. Cannot disagree with you at all on that.

    6. “Giving in to the spouse’s unreasonable wishes does not improve a relationship” – spot on. It only leads to a sense of martyrdom and unhappiness for one of the partners.

    7. 😀 Guilty! One of the first thing I did after marriage was to give my hubby’s wardrobe a total overhaul. Luckily he liked the compliments he started getting about his new look and improved style 😀 He too has an opinion in selecting clothes for me, and I enjoy the feedback. But that’s as far as it goes. We don’t let “husband’s grandmother’s cousin’s daughter’s brother in law” influence our clothing choices.

    This whole “love jehad” thing is a big deal here in Kerala right now, with everyone who is someone (and some who aren’t) jumping in with their opinion. Both Christian and Hindu organisations are hollering against it. There maybe some truth to it as there are couple of girls who have claimed that they were victims of this type of conversion. But what irks me is the supposition that women are incapable of making up their minds about getting converted and that these organisations need to do something about it. Not all women are going fall for this sort of ruse. Now that girls have been made aware of this, thats enough, I think.

    Like

  34. the points that you have mentioned are very relevant and every girl ought to know that too… it should be her choice if she wants to make a change to her religion, her surname, her personality, her likes and dislikes etc.

    marriage should not make anyone lose his/her individuality…

    this was my Mother’s mantra too… she only had 2 advices for her 3 daughters: study well and when you marry dont lose your individuality.. she never lost hers even in those days…. but then her MIl and her own mother were themselves strong individuals…

    Happy Kitten – I am sure our daughters will talk about us with same pride!! 🙂 We are making life a little less unfair for them 🙂

    Like

  35. About the plagiarism, good that you are alerting folks about that. Have you been able to find out who is doing this?

    Me – No! Comments are closed and login in required… I received an address to some information,
    “If you come across domains names that are using Privacy Protection to aide in such activities, you can use the following link to lodge your complaint and appropriate action will be taken to either make the domain name owner information public or provide you with the necessary details:
    http://privacyprotect.org/#request_domain_owner_contact_info
    I feel I will write a post about it and request them to take the content off, they have copied two other blogs,

    http://rajmistry2.wordpress.com/2009/11/01/laptop-missed-from-lap/
    and
    http://yesplusbangalore.wordpress.com/2009/09/16/yuva-bharat-special-episodes/

    Like

  36. Agree with all the points you raised IHM. I’m married & I have not changed my religion, nor my surname. Nor given up any of those things which you have written about. I’m proud of this and also of my husband who supports my ideology. But there are a few women among my acquaintances whose choices make me wonder. Like this one: She got married changed her surname so fast it made my head spin, wears her mangalsutra like an olympic gold medal (it has diamonds in it so i guess that explains why!). She is educated and holds a good job. Nobody can say that she was forced. These are her own choices – (and people should be free to make their own choices. ) But these choices make me cringe. And they have been made because of the fact that ‘marriage’ is made out to be such a coveted trophy for women that upon winning it, they just hasten to uphold the stereotypes. It is as deep rooted as that. People like me are the black sheep. The square pegs in round holes.

    Me – I am also a square peg in a round hole 🙂 My mother is too. If it wasn’t for some square pegs and black sheep, we’d still be waiting for permission for everything, my mother’s dad fought to ensure his daughters’ studied as much as hey wanted and we are enjoying the benefits… she had to fight for little things, and even hear criticism and later the same people allowed those liberties to the younger ones without any debates and discussions 🙂 Read Umsreflections comment, you will feel very good Deepa 🙂

    Like

  37. wrote a stinker for the horrid person who copied ur work.. lets see if it helps… did u write to them and tell them that u have discovered them?
    get a copyscape and creative common badge for ur blog..at least try to scare them off!

    Like

  38. Pingback: Change | Suksy's Pensieve

  39. We shouldnt be changing for love.. infact we must only marry partners with whom we can be ourselves !!!

    I have seen many people who make unbelievable adjustments in the beginning without they being told or being forced… whether its a girl or a boy… they try to change themselves for the other… but in the long run … and I have seen them again reverting to their usual selves.. this further leads to expectations being not fulfilled which were raised to very high standards.. !!!

    This always leads to further heartburn… its always best to be what we are.. !!

    Me – You explained it so simply! Much better than I ever could!

    Like

  40. 7 cool rules of course 🙂
    I liked them.. but don’t know how does it taste to follow 😉

    Me – Mahmud guys follow them without any difficulty, it’s women who are told they must stop being themselves and transform into a preset mould of perfection. 😦

    Like

  41. Brilliant post, IHM! I agree with everything you’ve said here. If the love is really true- it should be beyond all these superficial things..

    The moment the expectation that a person needs to change comes in, to me, it just indicates that the love is not real and conditional. I have a friend who was telling me the other day, how she has consciously ‘changed’ according to her husband’s wishes. It just made me wonder if at a later stage she would regret it – after all, why should her husband expect her to change? Isn’t she the person he fell in love with?

    Obviously, in every relationship, people change, pick up good/bad qualities from their partner – but it should be something that happens naturally, rather than some expectation that needed to be met, like a change in religion or way of life.

    Then again, if the woman herself wants to do these things, I guess it is her free will. If she is doing it for her own happiness rather than her husband’s or relatives’ happiness – then it is perfectly fine. I strongly feel that the moment we start doing things purely to keep another person happy with no regards to what we feel ourselves, we end up cheating ourselves.

    IHM, About the plagiarism, I just hope that they apologize and remove your posts and give you an explanation. Waiting to hear what happens. The cheek of the person, is amazing! I wonder if you could get their site blocked – because they should learn a lesson.

    Like

  42. you said it all just one thing i would like to add Rule no. 5 it sould be vise versa….

    Me – All the rules should be mutual, in fact I tried writing this post without mentioning any gender, but since women do face a stronger bias, it became difficult 😦 Insecurity is a sign of an unhealthy relationship .. did you mean that point?

    Like

  43. Lovely post! Loved reading it and so so true of the world we live in. A lot of these things are sanctioned by religion and a lot of us don’t counter or question or rebel against it. The society we live in forces most women to give in, which is very unfortunate.
    For example, the concept of Kanyadan – giving away the girl…that again stresses that the woman is owned by her father and now he is giving her away to another man and the ownership is sort of transferred? But, this is not just an Indian or hindu concept, in other societies and religions too, like in Christianity at the time of marriage the father gives away the daughter.

    I do agree that love should not be a limiting factor or make us give up or change our basic self/personality.

    Me – Maria I agree. The whole idea of ownership is symbolic, and I feel such symbols reinforce much more than one realises… and why follow a custom when we also say that we don’t believe in it?! Or that we no more mean it! If we don’t mean it than why try to find excuses to follow them, why not make newer, more meaningful customs?

    Like

  44. Agree with every one of your points. These were pre-conditions for a hassle-free marriage in my times – I remember the older women in my house dinning these into their daughters’ heads. Things like “A woman’s proper place is in her husband’s house. You have to please your in-laws in every way in order make us proud and make them proud’ etc…etc..
    I am happy to see today’s parents and girls standing up for the girls and waiting for the right match who would accept the girl as she is and not as they would have her be. But still when I watch some tele-serials my heart sinks at the kind of indoctrination that makes me wonder if these serials are from 50 years ago.
    I think I need to do a post linking this rather than hog your space.

    Me – Usha I value your comment, please write as much as you like! Every word is true, and I am so glad you see what I mean! It would be great if you write a post!!

    Like

  45. love and marriage should not require either of the partners to stop being who they really are… simply because they can’t. My opinion too N AB and I live by that rule….

    But as many (concerned) ppl warned us before we took our big plunge…. there is no suitable environment in India where children of such marriages can be socialized properly. They say, however, we try at home for a ‘secular/unireligious’ attitude to develop, once outside maybe in a school, say, they get questioned/mocked at as to what their religion is. They could get confused or end up in some sort of identity crisis! pulled between either….

    To this day, I show/speakout my displeasure when somebody enquires abt my religion or calls me diff. or differentiate me from them if they are from another sect, or caste, or religion. This question was never was an issue while I grew up where I grew up in this country. Where the first name was all that was required to start a conversation or become friends. Nobody cared abt temple/church/mosque I visited when in need of some spirtual gratification. If required we went together. Some good practises of growing up in a communist led state.

    (I wonder if it is just me with these ideal ideas….but every time I talk to my friends back home located elsewhere, we share our woes…. I have support. )

    Me – I am one of those who shares these wonderful ideals Pins N Ashes, so more support for you!

    Now that I am an adult and was taking up a post graduation course in a diff state, these were the first questions I encountered…uncomfortable…disgusted…

    Religion is a private practice, no showing off required at all. Faith is all in the mind!!

    Like the colleague next door now, fanantical-male-chauvanist (a deadly combination) who thinks of BJP, the party, as the saviour of the Hindu religion. Weird! That too for a way of life which has survived all these centuries successfully and is still has a growing base. So he campaigns, with a red/orange tilak…. Disgust again and Repulsed. AB squeezed my hand to calm me down everytime in such Co. !!

    Ashes

    Me – Self proclaimed saviours of Hinduism get my goat too. And MCP on top of that! I have faced them in the blogosphere more than in real life. And I had to create a Comment Policy just because of this combination.

    Like

  46. Very well said. Why would you change for love? If the other person loves you, it is because of what you are, isn’t it? That said, I think both the husband and the wife change a lot of things about themselves, unknowingly, in course of time. Of course the same is true of any human being.

    Like

  47. IHM shall I pass on the link to this 7 golden rules to all my friends who are going to take the plunge into marriage? You have summed up all of them neatly.

    I think I can just state my personal facts to all the points as I had an intercaste, inter state marriage 😀

    1. Both of us did not change our religion on paper, in fact we have not even given a thought to that. I think it might be because we both are not religious at all.
    2. Did I change my surname after marriage? Yes I did after almost 6 years of marriage. Sometimes the Indian government officials really know how to make your life hell just to get a document like a passport. I know everybody will not agree to what I am saying but it was true in my case. I applied for a new passport in Delhi and as they wanted bribe, made it almost impossible for me to get one. First they had problem with my Arya Samajh marriage, then they wanted my husband who was in US at that time to be present before issuing a passport, then when they saw that in no way they are going to get 10,000 from me as bribe they wanted to know why is that I don’t have the same surname as my husband and was hell bent on saying that they think I am not married to him. So I wrote a fresh application and added Bajpai to my already too long a name. Now they had problem with my religion. Needless to say I was furious by this time and went to my boss in NHRC who gave a letter on his letterhead and I got my passport the next day. But yeah I like the sound of my new surname 🙂
    3. Well it was my family who didn’t want to have any relation with me coz they thought I have dishonoured their religion and their family pride.
    4. We have our own friends and are quiet happy with getting a few hours enjoying with them. My husband has no problem taking care of my son while I take a day off to be with my friends but yeah I do get angry after I come and see the state of the house 😈
    5. I think one who never had a strong personality of his or her own in the first place, can only change theirs on such a short notice!
    6. Amen to your this point…hope people take this seriously.
    7. I have a little different opinion to this one. I am not saying what you are saying is wrong. I feel sometimes we act a bit stupid and stubborn. I am married into an orthodox brahmin family from a small village in UP. The first time when I met his family I just dressed in a salwar suit and I am very sure if I went in a jeans and T it would have shocked the hell out of them for whatever reason. I wanted to make sure that they are at least willing to talk to me coz it took us two years after marriage to convince them that we are not gonna get a divorce as per their wishes. Maybe it was just like wearing a suit for a job interview?? Any ways gradually I met all of his relatives and made sure that I gave them the respect any human is worth and yeah I never ever had to wear a pallu over my head. I can at least boast that some of my husbands relatives adore me and call me up for serious advice (my husband says they are mad 😦 ). It’s just a matter of giving a little time and a comfort space for them to get to know me and accept a new person into their family who is from a different religion, background, culture etc. and if we just barge in and force our ideas and beliefs on them I think it would just turn into a never ending battle.

    Now how much am I willing to change myself for my husbands happiness? Well to be honest I am not at all ashamed to say that I can find happiness in his happiness. If he can work so hard every single day just to make sure his family is safe and secure why shouldn’t I make him feel a little special? Besides I know that he is not a man who has unrealistic expectations from me….so as long as he doesn’t demand things beyond my self respect I would like to make sure he is happy. A happy family is all that matters in the end.

    Love Jehad?? now that’s a new terrorism tactics conjured up by politicians to create religious disharmony?

    Oops I did it again…one more long long comment!! :mrgreen:

    Me – Lovely comment Sakshi 🙂 You who has taken such a bold step and defied all convention to marry a man you love is one amazing person!! 🙂 Mutual love and respect, caring for each other, standing by each other, which you have both done is amazing, what I meant by happiness is not when it is mutual, but when women are advised to live in hell and be content their uncaring husbands are happy… And Love Jehad is just another vote gaining (hopefully unsuccessful) attempt – I spoke to a friend in Lucknow and they have never even heard about it! I hope you read the post I have linked!! ? That’s my view of Love Jehad 😉

    Like

  48. I want to make a poster out of this and stick it in the house.
    I am one of those women who started wrong-attempted to make mom-in-law happy. wore the uniform and the handcuffs, labored to breaking point and it was never enough. And the fact that it was never enough became so liberating-at least I can be myself now!

    Like

  49. Excellent and timely post, Indian Homemaker!! I must say that I wholeheartedly agree to your seven commandments. 🙂

    My take on your seven points:
    1. Right. Religion is not important to me. Spirituality is. But my spiritual practices and beliefs are very private, and I don’t impose them on anyone. I don’t really care whether my future partner worships a cross or a tree or believes in Voodoo or Shiva or Ra or Thor or Iluvatar, as long as she does not forcefully impose them on me!

    2. Surnames are a relic of the patriarchal era where married women were considered property of husbands. In my opinion women should not change their surnames. In fact I think we should do away with surnames and name kids using this formula – if mom’s name is Anjali and dad’s name is Amit and kid is named Rahul – then name = Rahul A. A. (Rahul Anjali Amit) (sounds odd though!)

    Me – not at all odd! .. it’s just a matter of getting used to it 🙂

    3. No way! Any restrictions will lead to discontent. As you said, marriage should enrich a person, not restrict him or her!

    4. My take – I will encourage my partner to meet her family and friends as frequently as possible; that way, I will get time for my boys days/nights out in return! 🙂

    5. Absolutely right! There should be no FORCED change. However, there may be some gradual personality changes with age, experience and children which are natural.

    6. There will be many situations where I may have to depend upon the judgment of my partner and vice versa. Forcing one’s judgment is out of the question.

    7. My only advice: Whatever you wear, you wear at your own risk!! I should expect that my partner has enough common sense not to wear lingerie in front of the milkman or wear mini-skirts to a funeral ceremony. Thats all 🙂

    The “Love Jehad” issue has cropped up due to the “perception” of one-sided skewing in religious demographics in parts of the country (men of religion A lure and capture women belonging to religion B, forcefully convert them to religion A, and use them as baby breeding machines to increase the strength of the followers of A at the cost of religion B.) Another perceived threat is that these lured and converted women might be used as pawns to insidiously and quietly spread terrorist networks and sleeper cells all over the country. There have apparently been a few scattered genuine cases (not thousands!) where gullible women have been wooed and duped badly into horrible marriages where they have had to lose all their freedom and are leading oppressed, miserable lives, or have just vanished into thin air, or have been pushed unknowingly into anti-national activities. The terrorism angle is alarming too. That is why paranoia is being whipped up so easily.

    However, these two arguments are being used as a pretext to forcibly prevent even normal, open love marriages (no secret agendas by any party) and friendships between honest, decent people belonging to different religions even when there is no case for religious conversion by either of the partners. That is really bad and depressing, and is damaging to the fabric of the society.

    When you don’t allow people to mingle and choose freely, it will slowly lead to frustrations, misunderstandings, paranoia, fear, hatred and ultimately a crystallization of the US vs. THEM mindset in many people which will cause breakdowns in the fabric of society. The root cause as always is FEAR. Fear of the unknown, fear of the different. As Master Yoda said – “Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, and hate leads to suffering”.
    The right wing Hindu extremists/mullahs/Marxists feed on this fear, anger and hate!

    If you mix openly with different people without prejudice or bias, intermingle, inter-dine, intermarry, you understand the differences and learn to appreciate them, so the fear goes away, and you become enlightened, enriched and happy!!

    Me – I totally agree!!! Brilliantly put locutus83!

    Like

  50. IHM : Beautiful post !! Agree with almost all your commandements… My dad told me something which stayed with me for a long time ” If you try to change someone in a relationship you end up crushing the person’s spirit..Love is all about accepting someone as they are “
    What i feel is being human is all about the freedom of choice..we can’t impose anything on people
    1) Changing your religion should be a choice not compulsion.
    2) Surnames : This again should be left as a choice ..
    3 &4) restrictions only create resentment in a relationship its best to respect each other’s space and be there for each other when needed..
    That creates a loving, lasting relationship
    …..

    Me – I agree with everything, and absolutely love these wonderful words … ” If you try to change someone in a relationship you end up crushing the person’s spirit..Love is all about accepting someone as they are “

    Like

  51. I was married off in an age when changing the whole of you to suit your husband’s family was the norm. I know it still is considered big and the thing to do in a lot of places.

    I myself learnt that changing oneself doesn’t really help in anyway; it does NOT get you respect, affection. love or understanding as is shown in movies or is said in books. It only diminishes your self confidence and lets others treat you like a rag cloth.

    ‘Me’ time?? There was no me-time even to read. Once while I was reading a book AFTER the work was done and everyone was free, a comment was flung at me sarcastically by the MiL, “Is this a library??”!!! Lol, I am laughing now, though not back then, only felt miserable.

    You give up your friends, your family and all your hobbies and likings and all you get in return is zilch. But that’s the way you have been conditioned. Its not easy for everyone to get out of that mindset. Luckily for me my spirit could never be quelled and there has been a rebel in me always. So it was back to being ‘moi’ and take me or leave me as I am. And though that gets raised eye brows and whispers and gossip in return, who really cares?? The fresh air smells really good.

    I too believe that there is no reason to convert to the religion of your spouse in case you are from different religions..

    I wouldn’t want to change anything… other than the the change that occurs naturally in the course of time, when two people in love start living together. That’s adapting to each other and finding an equilibrium… which is different from expecting the girl to become a different personality overnight!!

    Awesome Shail. You can make a post out of this comment. I have seen this happen. And I have seen that girls who give up their own personalities have nothing left – even the spouse doesn’t respect them, while women with backbone are happier in every way, and they live L I V E their lives…. I loved the highlighted lines, specially how your spirit couldn’t be quelled and how good fresh air felt!

    Like

    • I used to get a lot of khit-pit from my in-laws too. It’s amazing what a healthy dose of indifference can do to the most dominating people.

      Once they realized that I had a hide as thick as a crocodile skin, and that I was going to continue living my life, they all just quietly lumped it.

      Sometimes, I think we cannot blame anyone else for our situation. We make doormats of ourselves.

      Me – I wish we could get something out of blaming others! Since we can’t it’s best to find solutions on our own! I agree with a ‘healthy dose of indifference’ 🙂

      Like

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  56. i use neither my husband’s nor my dad’s name in mine. and at school, this is an issue as the teacher grills my older one on how the mother alone does not share the surname. O has been well trained to answer this question, but i cannot understand why this is even a subject of debate at the school!
    people think i am being a ‘feminist’ by not being a mrs. fact is, i am too lazy to be a rebel with a cause. i just like my name as it is, and don’t particularly care to change it!

    Me – It is inconvenient to change a name and in a recent case, the husband took the wife to court and she had to change her name back to her maiden name.
    A lot of people don’t know what Ms stands for, I have once been told it means the woman is separated, divorced or widowed!!

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