Of caring in laws and uncaring husbands.

This morning I was in conversation with a friend who mentioned an ideal family, a good example to the society, of in laws who cared for their daughter in law more than their irresponsible son. So much so that they let her, instead of their son, take over their  business. She worked hard and now the business is thriving. The husband (and son) is irresponsible, he doesn’t work, and only comes and goes as he pleases.

Reminded me of another case of a driver who worked in the NCR. His parents persuaded him to marry a girl they liked, although he was in love with a girl he went to school with. The wife had a child, a girl child, and they all lived in their village. This driver avoided going home and continued to meet the girl he loved, and finally married her and started living with her in the NCR, now they have two sons. His parents have refused to accept the woman he chose as their daughter in law. He doesn’t visit his home much and they have enough ‘kheti’ (income through farming) to survive without his support. The daughter in law the parents chose, lives with them.

In a third case, a close relative of her husband helped the daughter in law, living in a joint family, divorce an alcoholic husband, much to the displeasure of the in laws.  After the divorce, this woman trained to be a teacher, got married and had two children. She is still seen, by some, as irresponsible for not standing by her husband.

Would you say the in laws in these stories are being selfless? How much say in these situations do you think did the daughters in law have? And if they could take independent decisions, what do you think would each of them have chosen to do? What would have been the general response if the daughters in law had chosen to walk out of these marriages (to marry again or to live independently) despite the kindness of their in laws? Why?


22 thoughts on “Of caring in laws and uncaring husbands.

  1. The daughters-in-law probably has no choice. If she is not financially independent, her parents want her to stay married and leaving her husband is considered as inability to adjust, then she has no choice but to carry on a loveless marriage. If they could take independent decisions, they would have walked out of their marriage and when they were ready would have started dating. They would know there is no virtue in holding on to an empty marriage.

    The general response had the DIL walked out of the marriage would be calling her ‘ehsaan-faramosh’ and selfish (and probably insane).


  2. Obviously there’s no point continuing with the type of person who is not even responsible enough to learn about , no matter, he is your husband or son. Everyone deserves to live his/her own life, then why do we have to give damn about those who have already screwed ours… :O


  3. Where will the daughter in law go .. what will she do ..
    The parents in law well dont know about them being selfish or selfless .. the son obviously would not have looked after them …

    in second case the parents in law obviously spoiled a life .. the son still went and married the other woman ..


  4. Quick comments:

    Case 1
    From the limited information available, to my mind the in-laws did what they did for commercially sound reasons.
    If the son was responsible and good would they have allowed the daughter in law to take over particularly if she was better qualified than the son?
    I wouldn’t be in too great a hurry to give the in-laws credit unless they had another good son or daughter and in spite of that, they roped in their daughter in law. To give them credit it must be evident that, even after having this alternative, they chose their daughter in law out of a sense of fairness and to make up for their son’s default.

    Case 2
    The parents got this driver married to a girl of their choice even after knowing that their son fancied another girl?
    They made a serious mistake and their daughter in law is an innocent sufferer who now has to live life without a husband. She is probably ill equipped to break off from the family and lives with them out of economic compulsions, for the sake of her daughter. Her in laws are only doing their duty. They are not doing any favour to the daughter in law.

    The driver’s second marriage is clearly illegal unless he is a Muslim.
    If the innocent spurned wife were educated and economically independent, she is within her rights to file for divorce and seek a new life of her own. I am in no mood to give too much credit to the in-laws.

    Case 3
    My sympathies are with the woman who divorced her alcoholic husband with the aid of a friendly relative of her husband.
    She need not bother about any one who feels she did wrong by not standing by her alcoholic husband. How are her in-laws “caring in laws”? It is that relative who deserves credit. I would give credit to the in-laws if they took it upon themselves to get this divorce through and had blessed their daughter in law after her remarriage.



  5. So, now an ‘Ideal’ family, Desi style = A nalayak son and a layak daughter in law and khalnayak in-laws, who know very well that it is in their better interests to appease the bahu, so that their food and shelter are taken care of in old age, given the total lack of elder care in Desh.
    The woman in Story no 3! Of course, she is the bad Desi woman, for not hang on to that abuser like any average friendly neighbourhood Sati-Savithi?


  6. As long as we refuse to see a marriage as a relationship between a woman and man first(and that their needs for companionship comes FIRST), such things will continue to happen. Good for the woman who divorced her alcoholic husband. And I don’t see anything selfless in the case of the parents-in-law standing by their DIL. They have a useless son, and now they have a person who can efficiently take care of them. It’s a win for them. The one that loses here is the woman(the DIL)

    My aunt’s neighbors have a son(the family is well to do, educated) who loved someone. The parents did not agree to the match. The parents went ahead and found a girl for him to marry – they chose someone from a very poor family, because they found rich brides “spoke back too much”. The son refused, but the marriage got fixed. He went to his to-be-inlaw’s place and told the truth that he loved another woman. His in-laws to be thought this is “common and will get resolved”(their daughter had no say). He tried running away on his day of marriage, didn’t work. The boy married the woman his parents chose- they don’t even talk to each other – it’s been two years now. The son is miserable, so is the woman he married. The in-laws wax eloquent about how great a daughter-in-law they have “who does more work than the maid herself!”. who won here?


  7. Oh my, the daughter in law should feel so blessed – you may or may not have a supportive husband but imagine such supportive in-laws! Ofcourse they are not being selfish – they are giving her love and a career which not even her husband could give her – so what if they are the ones who benefit in the process and the poor girl is just a caged well fed bird!


  8. Kindness, if done expecting a return or favor is not kindness anymore. It is selfish. If the in laws just did what they felt was right, then the DIL should not have any obligations to stay with them just because they showed her kindness. If she willingly stays with them, then its ok, but if she is staying “because” of their so called kindness, then how is this kindness? I think the biggest act of kindness (from any person to any person) is to let the person live a life of their own, without tying them to yourself because of particular relations like DIL, wife, daughter, son etc.


  9. Ha! In the first case, the in-laws let their daughter-in-law manage their business not out of any kindness but simply because the son was irresponsible and not up to the task. It was simply a hard-nosed, pragmatic business decision.
    As about the second case, what the inlaws did is actually as far as it gets from being kind–I would call it cruelty of the highest order. They knowingly condemned a young woman to a life of misery and loneliness and are probably not regretting it for a moment because they have found a free maid for life.
    In the third case, the in-laws made no secret of the fact that they thought their daughter-in-law should have spent her life with her alcoholic and possibly abusive husband. Making the hapless woman wait on them all her life may possibly be their idea of kindness but to me it looks like the only kind person in the whole story was the relative who helped the DIL get a divorce .


  10. I would be careful, usually inlaw’s help does not come without strings attached, more often than not it to control, manipulate and induce obligatory guilt. I say this because I have seen this first hand too often than not.


  11. I think, in India, the idea/notion of a woman being married to an entire family and not just to one man, is taken a little too seriously! in the case where the woman is running the business efficiently, if it is by her choice, and if she has no other support system to fall back on, it makes some sense and in -ils have been nice to her. otherwise, only selfish interests..


  12. We blame films/serials for bad marriages,some time film/serial makers to inspiration from real stories,I feel that many people have not changed their thinking, despite so much of information revolution, when it comes to marital relationship,more over ,Women are still at receiving end in marriages[both arranged or love marriages],many advocate 498-A is being misused ,but fact not many innocent sufferers are not using this provision due to fear of social boycott or divorce ,people who are using ,doing it for ulterior motive.Law should not be scrapped ,just because it is being misused by few handful of people.


  13. We blame films/serials for bad marriages,some time film/serial makers get inspiration from real stories,I feel that many people have not changed their thinking, despite so much of information revolution, when it comes to marital relationship,more over ,Women are still at receiving end in marriages[both arranged or love marriages],many advocate that 498-A is being misused by women,but fact not many innocent sufferers are using this provision ,due to fear of social boycott or divorce ,actually ,people who are using provision ,doing it for ulterior motive.

    Law should not be scrapped ,just because it is being misused by few handful of people.


  14. On the 1st paragraph, the line : So much so that they let her…. I read it as ” So much so that they let her GO:”

    wouldn’t it have made so much difference in her life if they let her GO !!!


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