“I am the glue in their marriage. They have come to have a largely perfunctory relationship without me.”

Sharing comment 353 by Sunshine in response to Scaredy Cat’s concerns in ‘An email: My principal fear is my wife is not going to be able to love my parents as much as I do.

I agree with Sunshine.

This is the whole point of the entire email, his entire thought process by Scaredy Cat:
“I am the glue in their marriage. ” “They have come to have a largely perfunctory relationship without me.”
Its the same old story
Looks like Dad’s parents (Mom’s in-laws) lived with Mom and Dad
Dad was wrapped up with HIS Mom and Dad, probably had no emotional relationship or connection with his wife (Scaredy Cat’s Mom)
Scaredy Cats Mom probably poured all her love and affection into the son(she needed love and emotional connection from her hubby, didn’t get it from him, connected emotionally with the son Scaredy Cat)
Now Scaredy Cat knows his mum will be devastated emotionally if he moves away – either physically or emotionally – after marriage
Hence all his outpouring of not even moving upstairs/downstairs after marriage
Hence no mention of an emotional connection with the wife
And so the cycle perpetuates – Scaredy Cat will get married, his wife will have an unfilled marriage with her husband, give birth in due course, get emotionally over attached with her kid, and so the sad sad sad cycle continues into the next generation.

I’ve seen so many cases like this in Indian society, and some Indians have the gall to say oh the Americans and American culture – all of these Americans are psycho and crazy.
And we think cases like this are normal.
But the human psyche needs emotional independence to a degree
the human psyche needs romantic/sexual connections too
not just parental connections
and when this doesn’t happen the human psyche is irreparably damaged
I am not angry at Scaredy Cat, I am immensely sad for him, his mom (who never knew a happy fulfilling marriage), his to be wife (who will probably never know a happy emotionally and sexually fulfilling marriage/relationship, similarly his dad)…. and so the sad cycle continues
Cant see Scaredy Cat changing – to him this is normal, this is what he has known as normal as he grew up
Such a loss of human potential
Am sad all the best to Scaredy cats wife she will need it, hope Scaredy cat one day you realize this, but u will probably be too old too late by then(I think his dad realizes this now hence they r gently trying to get him to lead his own life take his own decisions)
Am sad at all this loss of human potential for happiness.

Related posts :

Why exactly are marriages in India disintegrating?
Don’t treat the cause, the problem will never go.
This is the root of the problem. Do you agree?
An email: My brother leaves it to my mother to decide if the families’ minds will match.

148 thoughts on ““I am the glue in their marriage. They have come to have a largely perfunctory relationship without me.”

  1. Great comment by sunshine.
    Will comment on this later.
    Good idea to start a new post.
    That previous post was getting unwieldy with an unmanageable number of comments.
    The page took too much time to load.
    Acessing only the most recent comments was becoming impossible.
    They were scattered all over the comments section.

    Regards
    GV

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  2. The tone in this comment is offensive.This sounds a bit like a personal attack. I don’t think we should go that far in our assumptions of other people’s personal lives. Unfortunately, families like the one mentioned in the comment are rampant in India, but it is both insensitive and insulting to unnecessarily assume “his mom never knew a happy fulfilling marriage”.

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    • I agree I would not like to hear this too. But someone, at some point in time, has to spell out the truth. Like for the biggest myth / eyewash going around in our society- “parents always want the best, know the best for their childern..irrespective of whether the kids are young or grownup adults. And why wouldnt they, afterall they have given birth and brought their kids with so many sacrifices.”

      Bitter truth😦 and I learnt it the hard way. I wish we had a similar eye opening platform 10 years back.

      If the above scenario is true for Scardey Cat, then look at the kind of lifelong damage such dysfunctional marriages can have on the kids…and then we talk about the great Indian culture and ‘only 5% of arranged marriages end in divorce’. Grrrr…

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    • @RD
      I  feel differently.
      I don’t think the comment is offensive.

      Both Sunshine and Scared Cat are anonymous to us and also to each other.
       I find this comment bold, frank and useful rather than offensive. 
      May be Sunshine is wrong about Scared cat’s mother and if so Scared cat can tell us the facts and rebut this diagnosis.
      I perfectly understand why Sunshine feels like this and I hope Scared Cat will take this comment sportingly even if it is wrong.
      After all there is nothing to be gained by Sunshine by offending deliberately.
      Scared Cat could actually benefit from knowing how he comes across  to different people.
      He posted about his problem on his own initiative and must be ready for both positive and negative comments from us. I think he has really caused a stir here at IHM’s blog and I can’t remember when was the last time a blog post resulted in such an avalanche of comments.
      I was swept away myself with the deluge of comments in the last post and found no time to post my own feelings, since reading everyone else took up all my time.

      I agree with everyone who said he is not ready for marriage yet and if he chooses to marry now the least he could do as a favour to his wife is to print out the entire text of his email and all the comments, get it bound and offer it to his prospective wife to read before she decides. 
      That book will be a great memento for him personally for the rest of his life!
      I wish him well and I hope he finds an answer to his dilemma.

      Regards
      GV

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  3. Great comment! A close female relative of mine is one such marriage…The husband comes home from office and goes directly into his parents’ room to chat…He discusses his career, job, job offers, salary etc. with his parents and not his wife…The wife after 21 years still doesn’t know how much he earns! She in turn has made her sons the centre of her life…Like her in-laws who brought their son up to believe that his sole purpose in life is to look after them, she too is indirectly sending the same message to her sons…

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  4. I didn’t find Scaredy Cat’s comment about his parents marriage and being the glue in their marriage surprising (or egocentric) as some suggested because it’s so normal in India. That’s how marriages in the past were. And yeah, a lot of the women did get obsessed with their children, particularly their sons as a result, and hence the weird treatment of the daughter-in-law etc. But in his case, it seemed like both of his parents were very involved in his life and he in theirs and they all liked it that way. I’m not sure one could say his psyche was irreparably damaged as a result – his psyche seemed quite intact to me, just that he has unrealistic expectations of keeping relationships the same and yet getting married.

    I know what Sunshine is saying is true to a lot of situations just that I didn’t get that sense in this one.

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    • Yep, I agree. Looks like the man is averse to change. Like those romantic lines of “I want this moment to last forever”, he believes he can hold in his fist what he has today, for the rest of his life. He needs to grow up and realise that change is the only constant in life.

      as for the parents’ life being prefunctory, while I agree that what sunshine has written is the case in many many households; I dont think as children, we can completely assess the relationship parents have. For example – someone who is a great father can be an MCP husband. Someone who is a loving mother can be a suspicious snooping jealous wife; we know them as parents – not as husband/wife. However, if one does get the feeling that the marriage is prefunctory, as grown up children – rather than trying to maintain status quo and in process destroying the emotional fabric they have in their lives, we need to resolve the situation – therapy? frank and candid conversations maybe?

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      • “ther than trying to maintain status quo and in process destroying the emotional fabric they have in their lives, we need to resolve the situation – therapy? frank and candid conversations maybe?”

        Or just let them be and move on with one’s own life. Dreary as the situation of many parents’ marriage might seem to us, they have probably made their peace with it, gain satisfaction in their own way from it and basically, need to deal with it themselves.

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  5. It is a big assumption, isn’t it? Yeah, there are marriages like this around. Yet to make this assumption about this specific marriage without knowing the facts doesn’t feel right to me. Even if we’re anyone at all to go beyond the basic question of the importance of independence in Scardey Cat’s comment.

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  6. Irrespective of whether its true for Mr. Cat or not, the scenario makes complete sense to me and IS the case with numerous marriages in our society. But all is not lost. If each one of us decide to NOT bring up our kids in a similar fashion, TAKE actions if we are stuck in a similar situation, the cycle WILL break.

    I, for one, keep drilling in my 6 yrs old daughter’s head that it was my decision to give birth to her and nothing I can do for her can compensate for the love, affection and fullfilment I get from having her as my daughter. I was warned by one and all of the trauma kids go through on experiencing divorce (from a similar dysfunctional marriage) and God only knows how scared i was of bringing this on at my daughter…but that was then…now i know better

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    • Well said BLTN,
      //Irrespective of whether its true for Mr. Cat or not, the scenario makes complete sense to me and IS the case with numerous marriages in our society. But all is not lost. If each one of us decide to NOT bring up our kids in a similar fashion, TAKE actions if we are stuck in a similar situation, the cycle WILL break. //

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      • Thanks IHM! Feel strongly about this topic..having exerienced a similar ‘marriage’ of my parents, my ex-inlaws and of my own (only for 6 yrs thankfully).

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        • I have seen happiest children and families where parents have a happy relationship with each other. Seeing a child as the only connect or ‘glue’ between the parents is cruel and unfair to the child – no child should be raised to feel that they have to choose between a healthy, happy relationship with their partner and their parents’ happiness.

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        • Absolutely IHM, the common thinking that “if you, my son, are giving attention to your spouce and kids, it automatically means that you are denying us your attention and ill treating us…after all that we have done for you” is heartbreaking.

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        • i completely agree with IHM.. in fact i get irritated my grandma keeps making the statement,” who will take care of me i dont know.. that is the reason i have not distributed my gold and property. “.
          in this situation. grandma has already decided that kids will take care of parents only if there is a profit.

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      • The scenario may make sense but I agree with all those who feel it’s presumptuous to assume these things about Scaredy Cat’s parents’ marriage. While it’s true that by posting, he opened himself up to comments of all kinds, I do think people should be careful about the poster’s feelings when they write.

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        • Jeane, I understand your PoV. Most of us would not like to hear something like this said by an abosulte stanger for our parents. But do you agree that this scenario is a possibility? Someone commented on this post that such ‘marriages’ are more of norm than exceptions. What if its true in SC’s case and Sunshine’s comment has given him a new perspective, helping him to understand and manage teh situation? Would you still feel that Sunshine was wrong in spelling out this harsh truth? What if its NOT true in SC’s case and he can confidently rule out this possibility and focus on other areas. Had I been in SC’s place, I would have been in denial intially but the point would have stayed with me. Depending on the extent, I would have gradually pondered and acted accordingly. And I would have been thankful to Sunshine for stating some hard, bitter facts. In reality, I WAS thankful to my Counsellor who ultimately helped me in realizing something very similar.

          And I would never want anyone to experience something like this while growing up…certainly not SC who comes across as articulate, intelligent, honest and very loyal.

          However, not speaking or letting anyone speak against parents is extremely unfair i feel. Parents are humans after all. All too often I have come across statements like “Haw, tum apni mummy ke liye aise kaise keh sakti ho”!! But what if its true???? What if the turth is far uglier than what the clid is stateting and noboby is ready to belileve him/ her??? My heart goes out to such children.

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        • betterlatethannever, I agree that such marriages exist but the scenario could have been presented without positioning it as Scaredy Cat’s parents’ marriage.

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        • I’d like to add that the assumptions about the marriage are unwarranted if you keep in mind Scardey Cat’s initial post. While it did show he was fixated on his parents, and has unrealistic attitudes towards his future spouse, it also shows that his parents have very liberal and sensible attitudes. Nothing he said indicated that they have the kind of marriage Sunshine describes.

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        • Jeanne – While I agree that this can’t be easy on SC, it’s not completely unfounded. SC could not possibly have been the glue in his parents’ marriage without their consent. I know he thinkkkkkkkkkkks they’re very liberal and open-minded, but it takes two to tango. The relationship he shares with them is in place because BOTH he and they need it. It’s been in place for all these years because they let – scratch that – WANTED it, too. I agree we’re all speculating about what created the need for such a dysfunctional relationship with their son, but a lot of it is based on SC’s own comments about his parents’ and grandparents’ lives.

          We all choose the dysfunction we’re part of. It fulfills a need. The day we recognize that need for what it is and choose to either fulfill it in other ways or “fix” ourselves (grow up) so it’s no longer a need, we find our way out of the dysfunction. I know this can’t be said of a child who’s born into such a family, but adults ARE very much responsible for their own emotional health and well-being. If a relationship does not serve any mental, emotional, or physical need, it becomes a drain and a burden, and at some point falls apart. Need can also be need to love, so please don’t take it as a “negative” word.

          It may well be that SC’s parents ARE trying to change the equation and this desire to ensure he’s in the same city, house, and FLOOR as them is his emotional response to an unsettling change. But that is highly unlikely if their marriage continues to remain perfunctory. In other words, if he’s still the only way to for them to fulfill that need, I doubt if they really mean to step back. Maybe what they’re voicing is their own fear that things will change soon with his marriage. Clearly, that expressions is producing the desired effect.

          I might be biased because I was briefly married to someone with the same issues – I even thought Scaredy Cat WAS him – and his parents would go about it the same way. To him, it was an innocuous expression of love and concern. But anyone outside their family could see what was going on.

          I’ll give you an example. During my honeymoon, my MIL called up my ex and “accidentally” happened to mention that she was unwell. She quickly backtracked and said oh it’s nothing, I don’t want you to worry about it, just enjoy your honeymoon. But it had the desired effect. He was worried sick about her the entire time. He’d keep asking her, she’d keep telling him it was nothing. He’d keep wondering WHAT it was that she was hiding from him. We got back from the honeymoon only to find out she had the common cold. I’m not making all this up! I knew exactly what she was doing, as did my parents and pretty much everyone else who knew about it (like my ex-ILs’ neighbors). I knew she was feeling insecure that he now had a wife who he was omg *gasp* having sex with, and this was her way of getting attention and showing me who came first in the pecking order. But to him, it was just something that accidentally slipped in, and she never MEANT to tell him or get him to worry. For didn’t she refuse to provide any more detail all the subsequent times? Didn’t she keep insisting she didn’t want to talk about it and have him worry during his honeymoon?

          No parent walks up to a small child and says – Will you be responsible for my emotional well-being? It is over time and in very subtle ways that the child learns to pick it up and get trained. A lot of times this is “unknown” to the parents because they’re such emotional wrecks themselves, they don’t even know they’re doing it. When we have an emotional need to fulfill, we all go to the nearest, most easily available source. It’s not something we actively THINK about.

          What we CAN actively do is make sure we don’t bring more people into the dysfunction, like spouses and kids who’ll go on to marry other people and create more dysfunctional families.

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        • I forgot to mention, my ex’s brother who was living with his parents at the time is a physician. So is my ex-FIL. They live in a big city with plenty of hospitals and doctors around and not in the middle of nowhere. So it’s not like she had a real reason to tell him or he had a real reason to worry so much.

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        • @Wild child

          Similar things are happening at my house. Like you said, the son never senses it.
          We are ready to visit my parents house, and my MIL says ‘You are coming back for lunch, right, I have made so much. Oh it’s OK, you should enjoy without thinking about us, come leisurely’ And that’s enough for my husband to drag me back home in 2hrs and it does not matter even if my mother has slogged since morning in the kitchen in the anticipation of feeding her daughter and son-in-law.
          Or when we want to go on a vacation, just the two of us MIL says..’Oh, I wanted to see that place for so long, It’s Ok, you kids enjoy, we are old now, where can we go even if we want to’
          If my husband wants to buy me a saree FIL says ‘Your money, you can spend like you want, but I never spent like that on your mother, even today she does not ask”
          If my husband gets me a gift on my birthday, FIL says in a sad tone ” We never did all this for our daughter, poor thing”

          Yes, everything said is accidental, just a slip of the tongue.

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        • Wild Child, I guess my discomfort is with the lack of thought about Scaredy Cat’s feelings when making assumptions about his parents’ marriage. We can all draw inferences from the post but I don’t think we should state them them as facts about a situation we have heard only one side of, and as Scaredy Cat says, one he may not have done justice to when describing it.

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  7. I agree that these kind of families are present every where in our country. Lack of emotional connect between the husband and wife, leads to the wife emotionally “investing” in her children to a point where the children will be her center of universe. Such children cannot ever share a wholesome, mature relationship with their partners. All this happens without anybody realizing the psychological side to it. The kids grow up thinking that their mother has made so many sacrifices for taking good care of them, that they owe their loyalty/allegiance(whatever you wish to call it) to the mother. The solution to the problem would be in breaking unhappy marriages or mothers “getting a life” for themselves if thy cannot come out of their sad marriages.

    The root cause here is the lack of emotional connection/ compatibility between the parents. This is a sad by-product of arranged marriages. The more we move away from them, the better.

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  8. My key philosophy regarding all of this is. You or someone has to break the cycle & it is ok to do whatever it takes to achieve this..else we will not be able to put a stop to all this ..

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  9. Pingback: Joint Family and Indian Daughters | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

  10. Oh my!
    With my proclivity for exaggeration I probably should let whatever I write marinate for a day before I push the publish button.

    I appreciate the concern but don’t jump to all kinds of conclusions and generalizations.

    While I had no issues in having my maturity, sexism, sexuality and intelligence in general questioned, I admit it feels far less comfortable to hear some comments about my parents.
    But I do agree with the commentator who said I shouldn’t feel bad as it was my choice to discuss stuff in the first place. Quite fair.

    Quite daft of me to presume I may be able to concisely present the complex relationship that a marriage is, in pithy sentences like I did. And so fair enough people read it in absolute terms, like they do.

    I’m in a bit of a time-bind today, so I’ll try and respond to the other comments in the older post and this one tomorrow. Hope by that time, things haven’t branched out unmanageably.

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    • Hey SC ,

      I totally understand this weird feeling of sadness and regret – when you feel like you’re cutting the umbilical cord with your parents when you get married . I got married two months back and i felt it too. I’ve written about it here –

      http://wwwthegroundlevel.blogspot.in/2011/12/on-marriage.html

      I think you’re just over-thinking this whole business. Marriage is about love. Get married to the girl you love and understand fully. I am sure all these issues that you’re so worried about will sort itself out.

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    • Congratulations on a very balanced response to the unwarranted turn the discussion has taken. I must say you have dealt with the comments in a balanced way, without taking offence even when you could very well have.

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    • While the reality of your parents’ relationship might be different than what Sunshine opined, I feel your perception of your parents’ relationship is very close to Sunshine’s description. You feel that life was unfair to your parents – they probably spent their whole lives taking care of someone else ( your grandparents/you ) putting their happiness on the backburner. You want to make it up to them by putting them as your priority number 1. Not only that, you expect your wife to do the same.

      Think about it. there are probably thousands of homes with only girl children ( no sons ) in India. They all grow up and move out of their parent’s house to their marital houses, probably in different cities/countries. Shouldn’t they all be worried like you? Maybe they are, but unlike you, the most a woman will demand of her husband that she be “allowed” to take care of her parents. Most of the parents and their daughters know the ground rules – that when you enter adulthood it is natural to invest your time/energy in building up your own family. Why is it such a hard thing for you to accept? Perhaps it is because you feel that your parents suffered a lot by taking responsibility of your grandparents that you want to set it right for them now?

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    • (Once again, can’t reply to your original comment due to the nesting.)

      There is no question of any theft, carried out under any circumstances, being more or less justified. It can NEVER be justified, AT ALL, and that was my whole point.

      Sure, I could walk up to the village lunatic and ask him if he’d like to be whipped, or something equally violating. Actually doing it would still make me a really sick person, even if he says yes. So yeah, there are women in our country who’d think the absence of physical abuse alone would make for a great life, but for someone who clearly knows better to inflict a life of subservience and dysfunction upon them is inexcusable in my eyes. You could spend the entire rest of your life trying to justify it and it still won’t be enough. (Not that it should matter — I’m just another nameless, faceless stranger on the internet.)

      I would highly recommend going through the link about emotional incest, posted by another reader, while trying to drown out the little voice in your head that goes, “But…but….but this is not applicable to me for xyz reasons.” Look for what IS common to your situation and to the marriage you desire, what IS applicable, and you’ll know what I mean.

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  11. i don’t think we should assume that the mother is dissatisfied in her marriage or whatever.
    But it is true that the statement by SC that he is the glue keeping the marriage together does give an insight into what his actual problems are.
    Maybe he feels that without him, his parents’ marriage will dissolve, or they have nothing to live for. Which, if it is true, is not a healthy relationship for the parents to be in. So maybe that’s what needs to be worked out first before we get to SC and his “growing pains”.

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  12. I agree Sunshine, I too feel incredibly sad for Scaredy Cat. Given the way he’s been responding to comments on the thread at first glance and if read without any context, his claim that he holds his parents’ marriage together might look like he’s giving himself too much credit, but when I went back and re-read what he had written, I could see why he wants what he wants. I still don’t agree with him , but I sure do understand him a lot better now.
    He says that his father had 4 brothers, but his grandparents “preferred” to live with his family. The way he writes it, he probably thinks they lived with his family out of love alone. What he doesn’t realize is that maybe his mom was the meekest DIL and his dad the most dutiful son. Maybe it was convenient for the grandparents to live with his family, maybe they felt that since this was a single child household this particular son/DIL could devote more time towards them or maybe even that SC’s father was the best provider. But SC himself says that in his last days the grandfather became difficult to care for.
    Maybe his parents never complained, maybe they even told him that this was the way to live, caring for ones aging parents, but I’m guessing that somewhere, sometime, he did see or feel the regret of a life lost at least in his mom either when caring for the aging parents/in-laws or when living away from the spouse. What does a/the child do then? He becomes protective or overprotective of the people who he cares about the most, which in SC’s case, his mom and dad.
    Although SC says that he thinks any other living arrangement wouldn’t have been good enough, I have a feeling that he feels his mom and dad have been emotionally and physically drained by looking after and adjusting with his grandparents and that’s the reason he does not want them to make anymore sacrifices, compromises, adjustments anymore.
    He’s been so involved in parenting his parents and working to keep their marriage working that he has not given any thought to how his marriage should be, other than not wanting his wife to impose anything on his parents.

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  13. I agree this is just soo common. In fact , this is so much the norm that I am usually surprised when i see marriages , esp in the older generation, with an actual emotional attachment between the spouses. Companionship, shared laughs , friendship are given no importance.

    But in the context of SC, I am not so sure it is true. He repeatedly says they want to voluntarily withdraw and that is what HE doesn’t want. Doesn’t sound like emotional, over invested, clingy parents to me.
    SC is an only child and raising him up was an experience his parents have shared and bonded over, and this has SC imagining he is some sort of “glue”.
    Or maybe his parents if left to themselves start bickering, and SC has to play peacemaker. Maybe that is why he is scared that if he moves out they might not be able to stand living with each other….

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    • Agree with T’s interpretation. But the point is that this comment shows how many interpretations can be drawn from SC’s post and hence how important it is not to present our inferences as fact, especially when they can hurt someone’s feelings.

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  14. This comment is so true , I’m glad IHM made it into a post. I have seen the same situation first hand, the mother stayed with abusive husband for kids’ sake, became emotionally dependent on the son. End result .. son got married and divorced, married again and separated again. It was too late before he stopped brooking his mother’s intrusions into his private life at 45+ yrs of age. She still laments “wo to mujhe ab kuchh batata hi nahin hai” .. he doesn’t tell me anymore what he does, who he meets, how long he stays out of the house and doing what. Yes, she knew all his business private or otherwise till then, he was guilted into this as his mother worked hard to bring him up , sacrificed all her life in an abusive marriage for his sake.
    “I am the glue in their marriage” .. these are the couples who stayed married for the kids’ sake. As smone said before also, the best thing you can do for your kids is to love each other. If you can’t, it is better to opt out than spoil another generation’s life with your unfinished business.

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  15. IHM, doesn’t this remind you of a post by Neo? I must look for the link.
    As soon as the sentence was mentioned in a comment, I too felt, that conveyed what was behind the whole thing.
    It is amazing that we as a society do not see this abnormal attachment to parents as something to be concerned about. Instead of letting a husband and wife have a fulfilling relationship, the whole mechanism of our society is geared towards preventing it. Oh I forgot, a husband and wife being in a fulfilled relationship is a Western concept. (sarcasm). The Indian concept is the glorified unnatural attachment between parents and adult children.

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    • The western concept of a fulfilling relationship requires emotional maturity from both partners. When the attachment to the mother remains too strong, it will be very difficult for a man to establish a deeply loving and accepting relationship with his wife.

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      • I agree. And our society is not even conducive to creating that emotional maturity. The attachment to parents and mother in particular is instilled so deep that emotional maturity remains a distant dream.

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  16. I am going to throw in another perspective. The one where I wanted to be the glue, but terribly failed.

    I was raised as one of those children. Where the glue was a baby born out of 10 months in marriage, yours truly. The marriage stuck on because I was born. A single mother without an income with a girl child in 1986 is not a great idea. Three years later, my brother was born.

    Today, I have grown up to be a tough one. The child who with a single parent in work, action, presence and love. Money and last name from the another. The reason was not in-laws ( there were no in-laws at all) but their own personalities. Yes, my mom and dad are not on talking terms because of business losses, a bit of financial strain, severely indifferent individual personalities and most importantly, a lack of love and empathy. It creates a sense of unsettling sorrow that will only go away from within. It takes a good amount of family support, self interest, a source of finance to call it quit

    Though amma has done her best, and continues to do – to make me and bro feel normal about the whole thing, it is not. She has told me umpteen number of times that there are happy marriages, and there are equal participating parents. Hmm, I have not seen one in reality as yet. I used to wonder what drives two people to come home and face each other everyday without an iota of love, affection. And sometimes, the answer is as blatant as – lack of another solution.

    Thanks to family, elders and god damn society, my parents are not divorced (sarcasm). We live under the same roof, just that dad does not eat, talk at home. It hurts to grow out of womb like this. I have personally cried my heart out now and then. I have attempted suicide at 17, when my first boyfriend abused me ( I chickened and stopped, hit myself hard and confessed a day later t mom. She did not scold or cry but merely spoke on why it is not a great idea to find The One at 17). Being raised this way, I have almost grown up to admire her ( the problem – I don’t know dad’s ideologies at all). At 18, I spoke up to both of them. Amma was willing to make it work for us but appa seemed to hate her too much. This made mom hate him too, and I was seeing the same story I saw since I was 10! Soon, I realised I cannot do anything about two people who have decided to hate each other. I had to grow out and feel better on my own. This makes one feel strong for things in life.

    It has been ten years, and now at 25 as I am trying to gear up to my own life ( not marriage, just a relationship), I am finding some strength somewhere. Some hope within, that things do work. Just that I am yet to see where and to whom. And I know today, that things work because of individuals own effort to make it work. Never the society. Never Ever God.

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    • hugs, charu. Your parents’ situation sounds so similar to mine, with the only difference being that they divorced. Which was probably the best thing to have happened to us, as a family. It angers me no end when kids have to bear the burden of their parents’ marriage. It is equally stressful when the kids are told repeatedly by the parents that they are in the marriage just for us kids. It doesnt make sense to kids (it did not, to me and my sis). You see unhappiness, abuse and tears and keep wondering why they are doing this?! Thankfully, our mom raised us to be independent and free individuals, putting enough emphasis on not to make marriage our goal, and probably because of that this cycle is broken. (cycle of kids from bad marriage going into bad relationships, marriage). I really do feel thankful that we survived all that and still got out sane and wiser than before. And of course, happier than ever.

      Like

      • Thank you all. I agree with you mypunchingbag. Makes so much senses to split up and live better. As I always say, I have two lovely people as parents, just that they are not lovely and nice to each other or together. Little can be done as a child, but I strongly believe it is impossible to stay quiet and expect them to work it out. As a child, there is this instinct to make things better. So, when I was hungry, I cried. I was fed and soothed well. When I was upset with them, I cried. Nothing happened. Then I started talking to them about how upsetting it is and how it must not be. It did not change, but I voiced. Children want parents to be happy, and if they are not the instinct is to make things better around us.

        Like

  17. The title of the post brings other questions to the fore (for me at least) .Is it for the child to glue the parents together? Excuse me. This is life. Not a Bollywood or other movie where children try and keep parents together. Earlier I had only seen small children doing that. But unbelievable as it may seem recently I saw a Malayalam movie that had an adult son trying tricks to get warring parents back together. Such things are believed and touted because the concept of a relationship between man and woman as husband and wife is totally misunderstood. Can a man and woman be manipulated to stay together happily? NO, never.
    Husband and wife have the duty to bring up the child. But not stay ‘glued’ together if at all they do not feel like being glued. If there is only a perfunctory relationship between parents, isn’t it up to them to decide what to do about it? HOW can any child (whatever delusion they may be laboring under) keep parents glued together? Or is it a namesake ‘gluing’ we are talking about? Yes, that can be done, if the parents believe keeping the child happy is of paramount importance. BUT what is the motivation of an adult child (I can understand a kid doing that in such a case) to keep people glued when they don’t want to be glued?
    I can say for a fact that if my own children presumed that they can ‘glue’ my husband and me together and made attempts for it, I would take it as a personal effrontery and interference of the highest order. By God, the cheek/audacity of an offspring to think he/she can glue parents! My relationship with my spouse is my own. No child of ours has any business in it. Well that’s MY view on children who think they can keep parents ‘glued’.

    Like

    • But unbelievable as it may seem recently I saw a Malayalam movie that had an adult son trying tricks to get warring parents back together.

      LOL – yeah, I had the bad luck of watching that too. A Jayasurya movie I think!

      Like

    • True words. Kids try, because they want things to work out. As one grows, it is sick to try. My mom had similar opinions to yours. She kept saying – you have no rights/reasons/business to fix my relationship. Be my kid, and just that. I did get angry, pissed and crazy but I see sense today. It was rightful of her to do so.

      That said, the vociferous society pushes us to be the glue. I hate, hate to give this lame reason but I have faced it,so I say. I have had calls with my mom’s siblings, friends who have openly asked me – ” As a daughter, why dont you fight with your dad/mom about it? ” I have replied – ” they take care of me well ( education, love, upbringing, values) and care for me, so I dont have a need to do this”. This brings me to this – A happy marriage/parent relationship is wonderful to have. But, single parents, broken families can also raise and bring out wonderful kids.

      If your parents are fighting, stay away and find calmness in one of them. Love the family, but never get into the fixing business. Not worth it.

      Like

  18. BUT what is the motivation of an adult child (I can understand a kid doing that in such a case) to keep people glued IF/when* they don’t want or aren’t inclined* to be glued?

    Like

    • Very true Sunshine.

      I can see that with my own parents and my PIL.

      My parents in spite of major personality differences, enjoy spending time together, they love to visit their kids & grand kids, but value their freedom a lot more & prefer to live independently as long as possible. They feel assured when we inquire about their welfare but that’s about it, they mind their business and never interfere in our lives. They probably got this personality trait from their own mothers who were fiercely independent and highly practical for their generation.

      It is exactly the opposite with my in-laws, their glue is their children, they just can’t seem to let go. They spent their entire married life caring for my FIL’s parents, and have no idea how to spend time together, they do not even have any common interests. They need constant assurances in every form of their importance in their kids lives and get touchy about the smallest of things. Their children too try very hard to keep the parents happy , and it is needless to say how stressful it becomes on their married lives.

      Like

  19. A very brave comment with a lot of truth in it.

    People in India don’t want to face it, that arranged marriage in the majority of cases brings together people who are not even attracted to each other. By attraction I mean the balance between physical and mental connection that is the core of romance in any case.

    Hence, there is no romance, apart from very learned and trained behaviour (to either prove it to others or to oneself that this is a “working” marriage).

    You can’t cheat nature. And arranged marriage is everything but natural.

    Women are also brought up with strong focus on pleasing their male child as long as possible, because when he grows up, he will be the only sense in her life and the only “saving grace” left.

    Men hardly ever question such arrangement of things, and frankly, they really enjoy being “little gods” of their mothers. They think this is normal and that so is the bizarre attachment to mother in adulthood.

    Any aspect of western lifestyle, especially independence, privacy and sexual satisfaction are presented are the biggest evils of all times.

    Like

    • /You can’t cheat nature. And arranged marriage is everything but natural. /
      .
      Well, to be fair, marriage itself is far from a natural concept. I understand where you are coming from, though. Arranged marriage is a bizarre institution that turns the basics of human sexual behaviour on their heads.

      Like

    • Agree. In general, marriages are not about about romance and sexual attraction and are regarded as a duty and obligation.

      That’s why many Indians have “perfunctory” marriages.

      Also, our professed distaste for and denigration of sex. Yet we also seem to be obessesed by sex in equal measure.

      We really are a convoluted lot.

      Like

    • Agree with your comments on Arranged marriage, though I dislike the generalization “people in India”. That comes too close to stereotyping an entire country.

      Like

    • I have rarelyseen close ness in marriages of previous generation. Its usually, woman performs her expected role of wife and mom , and father plays out the role of Dad and provider. No camaraderie and hardly any flouting of straight narrow path. As i grow older, i find the environment my dad and mom provided much liberal and importantly not manipulative at all….all unknowingly, i guess.:-P because they were too tied up in earning a living and running a household and other headaches!
      As i grow older, i feel i’m going to have a hard time in an arranged marriage…its so restrictive. Most of my friends who have had arranged marriage are schizophrenic. They believe in one thing and do something else !They have changed their lifestyles…gosh even their food habits. And here in my house, i cook whatever i want depending on what’s at home and other stuff…i have not asked anyone for any permissions like watching movie etc…. And i watch what i want on TV … English movies and serials. My friends make a big deal of how they can’t watch their favourite english serials with their in laws ! Phew..the list just goes on ! Mera kya hoga !

      Like

      • Just wait for the right man to come along. He will, sooner or later.

        Even if he doesn’t, isn’t it better to be free than have a prison for a marriage?

        Like

  20. A passing thought:
    If a marriage is to stay glued together then the glue must be one or more of:

    1)Love
    2)Common Interests and hobbies and passions.

    The wrong glue is “children.”
    This glue will come unstuck after the children grow up and leave.

    Regards
    GV

    Like

  21. Mr.Cat,
    Very non-judgemental question here, kind of like Reddit’s AMA. I am just curious about your take on the issue. Posting the question here again because the other page takes an obscene amount of time to load.
    What do you envision your old age to be like, when you and your future wife would have grown-up children of your own?

    Like

  22. This is life in many a marriage , unfortunately this life gets worse when kids leave and 2 people have nothing in common or even want to spend a minimum amount of time together. This affects their emotional health and even physical health at that age .

    My parents are kind of like that, my dad lived his life, provided everything to my mom materialistically, yet they have nothing in common. Luckily for her she has her set of friends and interests and plenty of siblings and so does he. so in their mind ( or his) that’s a perfectly normal relationship. so much so that he thought i should not marry my husband since both his parents are no more and he has no family and what sanskar would he have, also his parents were very into each other or so friends say and couldn’t be parted, so my dad and his relatives decided felt they didn’t raise their son right !!!!
    so many things at play .. I have never met my in-laws, but i have seen pictures and heard my husband talk about them, he never felt excluded but in his mind that’s how couples bond, for his our relationship cannot be duplicated. We love our kids but i think they come a step down to my spouse int he relationship ladder. sounds weird ,we’d give my life for them but we want to spend our life ONLY with each other . yet we have friends, relatives etc., etc who are close confidants .

    People think we should be mature not act like newlyweds.. shouldn’t it be the other way after 2 decades of being together we are a unit?
    anyway the only way to break this is

    1. Marry whom you connect with , not someone who has more money, your parents like, looks good etc., etc
    2. There is no earthly reason to have a kid immediately, having a kid means a lot of work and thats time it takes away from your spouse, yes lots of people have kids early in the marriage and yet have fantastic bond with their spouse but many more focus on the kids and their relationship falls by the wayside. your uterus is not going to rot if you wait a few yrs🙂
    3. After you get married you are a unified team – you do not support your parents or friends to the detriment of your spouse, if you want to do that why bother to form a Unit?

    somehow in the large morass of our culture, heritage, sanskar etc., we seem to have lost our basic buddi and dhimaag …hope the next gen atleast wakes up.

    Like

    • “lost our buddhi..dimaag”

      So true, we seem to have forgotten the real meanings of these human rites of passage — parents, marriage, children, love, duty, commitment.

      It’s like we miss the woods and see only the trees.

      Who benefits if one marries not out of love, but from a sense of duty.

      Who benefits if we raise childbten with great care and sacrifice only to saddle them with the unbearable burden of our expectations?

      Who benefits when sons are bullied into marriages, but are made to feel guilty if they grow to love their wives?

      We seems to have lost the core of our sanskars and retained only the empty shell.

      Like

      • //Who benefits when sons are bullied into marriages, but are made to feel guilty if they grow to love their wives?//

        I loved this.. It makes zero sense and yet people do it all the time.

        People think that children are old enough to get married but not old enough to make the decision about WHO they want to marry. Completely ridiculous and idiotic.

        Like

    • Radha,
      I am becoming your huge fan just reading your comments on IHM’s blog.
      You should probably start a blog too🙂
      You are very articulate.
      I can relate a lot with the examples from your life – the relationship with your husband, sons etc – I have started off in similar ways and hope that I can continue the same and 15-20 years later have similar anecdotes – esp the ones like where your son made tea for you when you had your periods and his friends were surprised.
      Anamika

      Like

      • Thanks
        I’m too politically tactless to start a blog.
        Plus soon my kids will leave the nest and I’m looking forward to travelling with my husband and painting. I think it’s time my art found diff homes. Right now it’s stuck in our house and my husband office and I’m hoping all the travel will give me inspiration and I’ll get to improve much. Dreams ….. So don’t want to commit to a blog but I love your work IHM. I’ll be here daily annoying the young ones

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  23. I think Scaredy Cat – and any other men who desire the kind of marriage and spouse that he’s described – would do well to remember one thing:

    IF YOU’D LIKE NOTHING TO CHANGE, CHANGE NOTHING.

    You can’t expect to bring into your life a change as big as marriage and not have anything else change in response to it. Or worse, make your spouse slog it out for undoing that change or preventing it from happening in the first place.

    What makes anyone think they’re entitled to a human being doing the dirty work for them, while they can “have their cake and eat it too” (to quote Scaredy Cat)? Where does this sense of entitlement come from? If you’ve got nothing to offer to a spouse – except, yeah, “love,” that you expect will happen on its own over time, without any effort on your part, while she slogs it out to preserve the dysfunction in your family and while you “make her comfortable” so she can do her job in peace – what makes you think you’re entitled to a woman who checks every box on your list? Do you think a couple, somewhere, are raising their daughter so she can grow up and do just that? Do you think someone, somewhere, is going to school because THIS – the life you say you’re going to provide her – is what she desires? Regardless of how she’s raised, how educated she is, how much/if she earns, NOBODY deserves to be part of such a marriage. I don’t CARE if there are women in small towns and villages who’ll happily settle for this kind of an arrangement. It’s still completely unacceptable to me that someone who’s clearly capable of logic and reason SEEKS this kind of a marriage because he can get away with it.

    Acknowledging that you’re being unfair and sexist is NOT NEARLY excuse enough for being that way. If you can see through it all and yet continue to want to “have your cake and eat it too”, SHAME ON YOU. Over and over again you go about talking of MY parents, MY relationship with them, ME, ME, ME — what about your spouse? Oh yeahhhhh, I forgot, you were going to offer to have her parents stay with you because you’re so FAIR and all, but you’re also being REASONABLE enough to accept that it would make them uncomfortable so you won’t persist. Wow. Go you!

    Like

    • Agree completely, but then I conned myself into marrying someone very like him.

      These issues were never even on the radar for me. I had no idea what I was getting into because I didn’t know families could function like my ex’s did.

      The problem is that if, like me, SC’s wife has been raised in a family environment entirely different from SCs, she’s going to (naturally) expect attention and commitment from SC and resent his need to keep parents front and centre.

      That’s why GVji’s suggestion makes sense.

      If, after reading everybody’s replies and suggestions, SC’s future spouse decides that SC’s the man, then she will have taken a considered decision.

      Like

      • I once read/watched reports of lots of crime/robbery in the neighborhood. In spite of that, one day on my way out to work, I decided to leave my house unlocked. I figured there was nothing of much value in my house…..and it was better than being there in person and getting killed.

        I got robbed, yes. Everyone said I should have expected it. Didn’t I DECIDE to leave my house unlocked in the face of all that news? They were right, of course.

        But the thief was still considered a criminal.

        Like

        • “But the thief was still considered a criminal.”

          Not in Indian society.

          Whom are we kidding? You’re divorced too, you know what it’s like here.

          The woman is ALWAYS blamed no matter what the circumstances of the divorce.

          So I’ve learned to examine my own motives and learn what I can from the experience rather than blame the system and my spineless ex for what happened.

          What’s the point? Do you think SC will be blamed if his marriage collapses?

          He’ll get sympathetic looks and pep talks.

          His wife will lose her friends, see her parents and siblings treat her will less respect and courtesy now that she’s divorced.

          She’ll get lectures on “adjustment” from well-meaning family and assorted aunties.

          Men like SC and my ex know they can get away with it and they do, ALL the time.

          So no, the thief is NOT a criminal, not here.

          Like

        • Also wanted to add that what kept me in a bad marriage was a fear of exactly what you’ve described in your comment. And I walked out only to realize that wasn’t the case. My friends all stood by me. The ones to fall by the wayside were friends of the marriage, who aren’t really friends with my ex either. My family could not be more supportive.

          There are neighbors and extended family who I’m sure talk behind my back, but wouldn’t dare say a word to our faces. On the whole, it’s been a very positive experience (I know nobody’s going to believe that I’m saying that of a divorce). My parents took it as a big wake-up call and decided to sort things out in their own marriage and other relationships. Hence the decision to say “we’re taking no more crap from you” to the extended family. I woke up to all the dysfunction I was raised with and dealt with it to work on my relationships with my family.

          I guess my point is — change starts with one person taking one step. We can’t let the fear of all these things keep us in bad marriages/relationships.

          Like

        • I am not sure the analogy is appropriate.
          An open door makes it easier (more justified) for thieves. But I talking about one person, who will not have an interest in larceny🙂

          btw I don’t mean to use ‘thief’ to mean anything nasty. Just extending what you said.

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    • Wild Child, I couldn’t have said it any better. I first thought Scaredy Cat was a just a person with misplaced ideals, brought up in a protective environment not knowing much about the outside world and just looking for something he considers an ideal situation for his family. But after reading his other comments, I can see that he fully understands what he expects in a spouse is unfair and STILL wants it, just because he can get away with it. That is just unacceptable.

      Like

    • Loved your comment TWC! I can still understand if people do not really know that what they are doing is wrong and selfish. There are some people who are not capable of introspection or maybe just fall short of logic. But it amazes me that someone who actually knows what he is doing is not right, and still continues to go ahead and do it.
      If one does not even think what his/her spouse wants and accommodates those wishes as well, the marriage will eventually turn out to be for selfish reasons.

      Like

  24. Because I’m not done yet …..I understand there is/was dysfunction in Scaredy cat’s family and I don’t blame HIM for that. Nor am I saying this as an attack on his parents, even though he clearly takes all our comments as maligning them. It is what it is — they have a perfunctory marriage and he’s the glue. That IS dysfunctional. Just because it’s COMMON in India doesn’t make it NORMAL.

    If he chooses to remain the glue, fine. I have already shared my own experience, as have several others, about being part of similar families and bringing about a change in the equation. If he chooses not to do anything about it because “why fix what aint broke” (to quote him) that’s again his choice. But there’s a lot to be said for personal responsibility. He’s adult enough to take responsibility for his actions. If he chooses to throw a spouse into the mix or have children without fixing this situation, he is very much choosing to spread the dysfunction and I am strongly opposed to that. So the “he knows what he wants and he has a right to it” stance is one I am completely opposed to.

    Like

    • Loved your comments The Wild Child.

      //Do you think a couple, somewhere, are raising their daughter so she can grow up and do just that? Do you think someone, somewhere, is going to school because THIS – the life you say you’re going to provide her – is what she desires? Regardless of how she’s raised, how educated she is, how much/if she earns, NOBODY deserves to be part of such a marriage. I don’t CARE if there are women in small towns and villages who’ll happily settle for this kind of an arrangement. It’s still completely unacceptable to me that someone who’s clearly capable of logic and reason SEEKS this kind of a marriage because he can get away with it.//

      Like

    • You have put things very well ! He clearly wants it and perpetuate it but then there are so many people who are conned into this setup in an arranged marriage…hence i guess everyone implored him to be upfront before marriage in the earlier post ! Most men are like that ,they know they can get away with a lot in name of culture especially in an arranged marriage.
      I agree with him so far as only his relationship equation with his parents but his later comments made me think….that its plain wrong to get a wife in his life ‘to not change the status quo’ , beget progeny and whatever !

      Like

  25. This whole discussion has been very interesting to me, as a person reading it through the perceptions of my Western background. I was surprised to see the firestorm of comments that Scaredy Cat’s original post brought. Honestly, when I first read it, it sounded so bizarre to me that I kind of wrote it off. But then as I saw the comment number grow higher, I realize that this type of thing must be more common in India than I thought? Yikes!

    Then in reading this post today, I had an aha! moment. Now, it’s true that we don’t really know the nature of SC’s parents. But the explanation of mother’s pouring all of their emotional needs into their sons makes sense. It’s a little sick and sad when you really think about it. A woman who is dependent on having her emotional needs met by a child. How unfair to the child, and unfair to the woman. And ultimately unfair to the DIL who is forced to enter a fight for affection that she can never end. And sad for the males who never get love and affection from their mates.

    In the US, we call men like SC “mama’s boys” Men who place the needs and wants of their mother in front of their wife. It’s not seen as a good thing, and cause problems in the relationship. Except women here are very vocal about it. Have no problem telling husband that the wife’s needs should come first, and have no problem talking it out with a demanding MIL. We have two terms: “immediate family” and ” extended family”. I don’t know if such distinctions are made in India?

    I see our family system as a pyramid. The husband and wife are at the top. Everyone else (extended fam) are at the bottom serving as a strong foundation, but never outranking the people at the top. The Indian family system seems very much an inverted pyramid. Husband and wife are at the bottom, with everyone else ranking above them.

    There is no balance there.

    Just something to think about.

    Like

    • That’s so true.

      The husband and wife are at the bottom of the Indian family system, the in-laws are at the top followed by the husband’s extended family.

      Mostly, it’s the wife who’s at the bottom; the husband is a lot like disputed territory that both ILs and the wife are fighting over.🙂

      Like

    • I love the pyramid and inverted pyramid analogies that you’ve given. A fantastic illustration of how some relationships and family structures function!

      Like

    • This is what I tell my friends and family too, the husband and wife form the core of the circle, then come the kids, parents, siblings, other extended family and so on and so forth.

      Like

  26. The comment nails it on the head. The Indian psyche is such that most people marry because of that is the norm and the rest follows.

    Some reasons I was given why people marry:
    1) You will be left alone
    2) You will need companionship in old age( what happens when one spouse dies young?/ you become old and just cant bear the spouse?)
    3) All my peers are getting married. I do not have someone to hang out with.
    4) I am an introvert and need a spouse to make me socialise and help me maintain my family relationship
    5) Influential in laws- leg up in life( At least this is sane)
    6) My mommy, granma, assorted old biddies want to see my kids ( I want a new brother. new aunt/uncle so hurry along)
    etc etc
    7) Help defray expenses
    8) Regular ***
    9) You will get bored if you are single

    So most arrange marriages are defacto business transactions which exist to fulfill the needs of the all and sundry and thus we end up with spouses as business partners who are working toward the expectations of the society, the neighborhood dog, and god knows who else. Once you fulfill all expectations ( improbable as expectations multiply than bunnies on viagra) or hopefully you stop once you realise the Sisyphean nature of the job at hand, you will have one question: ” Who the hell is the person next to me in my bed?”.

    The answer in many cases can be my kid’s parent and thus the burden on the kid starts piling up: ” Mummy sacrificed so much for you; Daddy works hard for your future” ( Back ground score and chorus led by Himesh and Co) conditioning full ahead. Next the girl/guy grow up again it is a reenactment of Back to the Future.

    So this Groundhog Day plays out across generations.

    Like

    • Similar reasons to have children too

      1. You will become lonely in old age
      2. You need someone to take care of you when old and sick
      3. You will want grand children to spend time with
      4. You need to continue this ‘vansh’, ‘khaandan’ – as in family last name..
      5. You are not complete as a woman if you do not become a mother
      6. You need to do ‘kanya daan’ to get earn some ‘punya’
      7. Everyone around is having children but you

      Like

    • Ah ha! I think we are seeing how it all works and comes together now. I think when unhappy spouses stay together, it’s not really for the kids. It’s for society and public image they need to portray. It’s to support the continued stigma of the “broken family”. But it’s a lot easier to tell yourself for the kids. After all, need some leverage in order to guilt the next generation!

      Like

  27. Agreed with the author and a very interesting take. I am not culturally familiar with this since I come from a non-Desi tribal background. I have some curiousities, however.

    Given that sexual and romantic connection is a very innate part of a human nature, how is it possible for men to detach themselves from bonding with their wives? Is it culturally enforced or is it a learned detachment that men develop to deal with the years of romantic and sexual frustration before marriage, in this culture? I also wonder, what will be the equation after the decease of parents? Will the couple start to develop a pair bond or will they simply continue to cohabit for the sake of their children?

    Like

    • By definition, a mama’s boy is a surrogate husband for his mother. That is what makes it possible for him to not bond with his wife. He already HAS a wife – his mother. After the mother is no more, some couples do develop a pair bond, and this is how it happens:

      The wife has already spent a good 20 years focusing on her kids. So the husband, seeking a new mother figure’s attention, turns to the wife and joins her in the activity that’s most fulfilling to her – caring for the kids. That’s the only way he’ll get some respect and attention from her.

      In a lot of cases, there is no bonding because the wife has enough resentment bottled up to prevent it from happening. The husband starts getting resentful because the wife is refusing to fill the motherly figure void that now exists in his life. So he starts drinking heavily or having extramarital affairs to either get back at her or to assuage his pain. Or he doesn’t and they both continue to live miserably ever after.

      Like

    • Well, by the time the couple is done caring for the man’s parents, they’re in their fifties. The kids are now grown up and the couples gets fixated on arranging their marriages.

      If the couple has sons, their time and energy is spent in monitoring their sons’ marriages; in “training” the new daughter-in-law in the family’s customs and traditions, and bullying her into producing (male) progeny asap.

      No, not joking. That’s life for many Indians.

      Like

    • Oh my God. Thanks for the link.

      Here is an excerpt. Let’s try to fill in the blanks, just for fun🙂

      The __________ idolization of marriage produces a lifestyle that strips marriages of all their rewards. All the spontaneity, affection, teasing, playing, adventuring, learning, growing, deepening, overcoming conflict, admiring of one another’s wisdom and maturity – all this stuff dies in the headship-submission model of marriage. What you’re left with is a boss and his employee, who hopefully like each other but are fixed in their relations to one another. Their relationship cannot grow because growth would shatter the mould.

      And so fathers turn to daughters for admiration and affection, for the sense of validation they no longer get from their wives – and I would argue that they can’t get the same admiration or affection from their wives in this paradigm, because the wives are already commanded to do those things. Wives are compelled to love their husbands; husbands, therefore, have nothing to work for. Nothing to earn. Ironically, once __________ culture fully enshrines the stay-at-home daughter ideal, the same luster will probably fade away. Whenever you try to mandate love and respect, you create the conditions that prevent you from ever genuinely receiving those things.

      Mothers turn to their sons for a partner they can share things with, an individual who can be influenced, who can change and evolve without threatening anarchy. A woman can take her son to a place she wants to go without checking in with him to see if he’d prefer someplace else. She can set the agenda for what they do and when they leave. She can ask her son’s opinion and not be compelled to agree with him. She can, in short, have a surrogate husband she doesn’t have to obey.

      Emotional incest is endemic to __________ patriarchy because that is the place where marriages go to die. In ___________ patriarchy, the family is a little state with an executive head of government and a harried chief-of-staff. The husband’s elevation makes him lonely; the wife’s subjection makes her lonely, too. Patriarchal marriages are so tightly ordered, so constricting that the emotion, the life, the love and the spontaneity – the building blocks of romance – all ooze out the cracks and seep into the relationships of parents and children. If your husband is your boss, your son is your husband. If your wife is your servant, your daughter is your wife.

      Somebody, please, break the cycle.

      Like

      • “If your husband is your boss, your son is your husband. If your wife is your servant, your daughter is your wife.”

        This is chillingly true of SO MANY Indian families.

        Like

    • Here’s some more:

      ___________ patriarchy turns marriage from a relationship to an institution, effectively reversing the historical trend from business partnerships and heir insurance to bonds between two free agents based on love. ________ culture says that marriage takes three: you, your spouse, and _______. It also promotes self-denial and the sublimation of one’s own desires to those of _____. Therefore, any two _____ should be able to marry each other and have a fulfilling marriage, given enough work and _____.

      ______culture says that chemistry and personality don’t matter. What matters is following the word of ______. The core of marriage in _______ patriarchy is the commitment to be loyal to ______ and to the marriage, not attachment to the person of the spouse. This is why _______ courtships are more focused on purity than the prospective partners getting to know each other personally; what matters is getting to the “mandap” without regrets. The love in marriage flows from commitment rather than the other way around.

      Like

    • “Emotional incest is the right word to describe this overly close relationship between a parent and child of the opposite sex. But such closeness is always appreciated and encouraged as filial love. It is nothing of the sort.

      Like

  28. This situation is the very reason my life is made hell everyday. Every single day is like living in a prison. Nobody is happy i guess, no wait. the in-llaws are very happy. They are happy that they have made their son listen to them. It is the biggest victory of their sad little lives. The husband does not talk much to me in front of the parents in order not to offend them. The in-laws re-instate their importance in the son’s life every now and then. I am not allowed to wear clothes I am comfortable in at home. I am not allowed to speak on the phone to my mom for a long period. I have to call my mom in the middle of work to speak to her, just so I don get in trouble with anybody. I cant do a skype call with my close ones without having a good reason to do so which would be like a biirthday or anniversary. My every move is watched and assessed. Sudden flare ups if I oppose some practise. I don belive in idol worship but I am forced to pray in the manner I have been instrcuted to. If the oil I pour into the lamp is less, then a big drama is created saying I am being arrogant.

    I am sick and tired of all this. The only reason I am supposedly been put through this [accroding to the husband] is because he married someone out of his caste. So I have to bear with their complains because they have accepted me as their DIL.

    I really tired of this, have tried to move out with the husband but that can never happen. So I wil have to leave him.

    So much trouble, only because I fell in love with someone! a wrong person and I realised this late.

    Like

    • a) They haven’t accepted YOU if they keep trying to mold you into someone else. So you don’t have to do anything to reciprocate. The mind boggles at how men, a number of whom go to work everyday and sway the decisions of rooms full of people, come up with such ridiculous arguments when it comes to their parents! What he’s saying is that they’ve accepted you and now you should return the favor by not being yourself.

      b) If he insists that they HAVE, tell him they’re entitled to the DIL they’ve accepted.

      Like

    • Dukhi Aatma, if my husband had said that I need to comply with his parents’ wishes because they agreed to the marriage, I would say ‘They agreed to the marriage for you, not for me. They didn’t do me a favor, they did YOU a favor. You can comply all you want, I am entitled to my freedom’.

      You don’t have to practice something that you do not believe in. You only do what you believe in. Also, don’t try to convince your husband for moving out. Only when there are constant conflicts in the house because you do what you want to, he will himself think of moving out or setting the expectations with your in-laws. Believe me, he doesn’t want conflicts, so he is avoiding the situation. But if he sees conflicts anyway, he will jump in to resolve. That’s when you can decide whether to move out with him or to move away from him.

      Like

  29. Thanks for this post Allytude. It dawned on me after 5 years that the relationship between my ex husband and his mother was really incest and I was not merely imagining it.

    Like

  30. Its quite surprising that Mr. Cat has not found the time to jump and defend/ present his views in this post..unlike the previous post. I wonder why!

    Maybe he felt that his views are not going to be considered oh-so-virtous by all the participants on this blog..unlike how it is in our society- parents are worshipped and ‘good’ boys like SC are quoted as virtous, praisworthy examples. Sad.

    Like

    • Why this hostility to Scaredy Cat? Why the negative assumptions when he has behaved gracefully in the face of all sorts of comments?

      Like

      • I agree, Jeanne. While I think Scaredy Cat’s idea of a perfect wife is not rational or possible (and my god, I dont envy the girl who agrees to marry him), he’s been consistently good-humoured and polite in his replies. So why be rude to him?

        Like

  31. Whoa!
    My family, total damage🙂

    I am not sure I’ll be able to read, let alone respond all the 100 comments here today and the others in the older posts. Sorry about that, but I will read and respond to all of you folks who have taken out so much time and effort to post comments.

    Having read Sunshine’s opening comment a few of the others that followed, I feel a clarification is in order.

    I think ‘glue’ has made things very sticky here.
    Sloppy writing fail again – but was useful to know the generic views on historical arrangement.
    I will try and elaborate.

    I seem to have gotten thinking you to consider a range of possibilities: my parents hate each other, they have little in common, share nothing, if I step away they will bicker to death and so on and even getting all Jung-y.

    While some of the generalizations and conclusions jumped to were quite staggering and imaginative, I guess I should shoulder a lot of the blame for imprecise writing.

    They have a pretty good relationship. They care intensely for each other – a standard even I would struggle to achieve, much as I adore them. They have much in common.

    But, but, but… there is a world of a difference in their spirits when I am around and when I am not. There is no doubt that concern for me dominate their thoughts more than anything else. From larger issues to minutiae. They don’t express themselves about the minutiae – but that’s not mean it’s on their minds.

    Both of them are retirees for the past few years now. I have been pushing them to more of their interests: my father’s literary interests and my mother’s interest in traveling and relationship networking. But I have no illusions that they are even remotely as fulfilling as even the smallest of my joys. I am not saying that is good or bad. It is what it is.

    I realize this most acutely when times like now. I am presently in the US, as my job needs me to be here for several weeks a year. When I chat them every other day or so, is when I know/sense how much they are looking forward to that conversation. It’s not like they have nothing to say to each other. But saying the same things to me is a multiple times more fulfilling to them. Without me in the mix, there is no comparison. And if I am not going to be there at all – i.e. not just temporarily away, but not in their midst at all – then its quite inconceivable. Everything they have to look forward to in life has me and my wife in it. Without us it is quite meaningless.

    So it is not as if I am their replacement or substitution for their relationship. But a complement that makes things so much more better, that there is just no comparison.

    Realistically I think I will get around to responding to the comments only in the weekend. Hope this thread doesn’t explode by then🙂

    Thank You all once again.

    Like

    • //Without me in the mix, there is no comparison. And if I am not going to be there at all – i.e. not just temporarily away, but not in their midst at all – then its quite inconceivable. Everything they have to look forward to in life has me and my wife in it. Without us it is quite meaningless. //

      There will be a girl out there who can understand you perfectly only because she has the exact same thoughts about her own parents and her relationship with them. She will be ready to marry you, but will it be fair that you expect her to come and live with you ? Would you consider moving in with your parents to her house?

      If that happens, trust me, all is well that ends well.

      Like

    • In at least HALF of all your comments, you say “Oh, that was just my writing….that’s not the way it really is.”

      Going forward, please say what you mean and mean what you say. None of us are psychics here. (Apologies to any commenter who is!)

      Like

      • “But a complement that makes things so much more better, that there is just no comparison.”

        That is not what a complement means. A complement makes things better, yes, but there IS a comparison. Good vs better. Or bad vs. somewhat tolerable. Please look the word up. And decide whether you’re the “thing that makes things so much better that there’s just no comparison” or really a complement. If you infinitely enhance their marital experience, it doesn’t matter what you CALL yourself. And it doesn’t matter how amazing you say their marriage is, because they’re still allowing someone who’s NOT married to them the ability to limitless-ly enrich their marriage. A good marriage doesn’t give an entity outside of the marriage that much power. Either the marriage is lacking in something, or you guys are practicing the new social institution that will soon take over marriage across the world. It’s SO MUCH better, you guys, there’s no comparison!

        Clearly, you want to do every last thing to ensure things stay the same between you and them. It doesn’t matter what anyone here says — you’re only going to take away whatever supports your own vision for your future, and dismiss the rest as imagination running wild. (With your imprecise, faulty writing acting as the catalyst, as you never fail to mention. I must say that’s a GREAT way to dismiss someone’s take: tell them it’s valid IF only you’d originally meant what you said/wrote. But you didn’t and you take the blame for that. So anyway, bye-bye thankyou comeagain, great input, sadly not applicable here.)

        Unfortunately the only way to ensure no change is to change nothing, like I said in a comment above. That would mean staying single.

        Can’t be more help! I did try🙂

        Like

    • First you say, “I am the glue in their marriage. They have come to have a largely perfunctory relationship without me.”

      And now you say, “They have a pretty good relationship. They care intensely for each other – a standard even I would struggle to achieve, much as I adore them. They have much in common”

      Flip flop much?

      Taking a leaf out of another commenter’s book –

      Scardy cat, scardy cat, what have you been smoking?
      Scardy cat, scardy cat, keep away from Pot….

      Like

    • so what exactly are you worried about? That you wont be able to skype with your parents after marriage or that your wife will not skype in equal enthusiasm with your parents?

      I am a parent and I know that my daughter occupies a significant portion of my thoughts every day. Watching her grow brings be joy. But an important part of parenting is that I need to make my daughter self sufficient, even if it means putting that little distance between us as we move forward. I recognize that soon, I will be a spectator to her life, cheering her on from the sidelines as she goes and builds her life. Yes, I will be a part of the family gatherings, the occasional vacations and those mother-daughter bonding sessions, but the fact is she will have her own independent life which will take away a lot of her time.

      All relationships evolve. A newly married couple will have a different relationship 5 years down the line. When a relationship stops evolving, it dies.

      If my daughter came and told me she was looking for a husband who would love me the way she loves me, I would probably fall of the chair laughing because such a thing is IMPOSSIBLE. While I would love to have a son-in-law I can relate to and bond with, and some day, hopefully love, I know I can never have the same relation with my son-in-law that I have with my daughter, especially if it is a forced pre-requisite from the onset of the relationship.

      And as far as adjusting is concerned, I do not know why most of the Indians have this idea that for one person to get their way, the other has to adjust. Two people can do their own thing and still be OK with each other! If your parents are really so liberal and open minded as you claim they are, then their sense of personal space will ensure that nobody is ‘adjusting’.

      Like

      • //so what exactly are you worried about?//
        that slowly there’d be a case made for moving out. And that’ll happen well before I have a strong enough relationship with my wife -which’ll take a loooot of time. And I’d be miserable. And my parents will be all ‘mature’ and ‘that’s the way things works now’ and support me moving out because ‘my wife’s and my future matters most’ though they’d be miserable too – but will earnestly believe self-deceptive things like don’t worry about us, we’ll play cards all day and be happy – or some such thing.

        Someone who thinks this CANNOT be a marriage, will be at a closer starting point from which we can begin our relationship. Things won’t be static or uniform as many of you have said. They’ll be change, there’ll be love, there’ll be disagreements. And – much as I protest – some change in my relationship with my parents will be inevitable. Let’s see how much change I can handle. Something gradual that I feel they are genuinely happy about may be out there, I don’t know. I would love to believe that.

        Like

        • You know what? atleast 50% of people getting married (read women) move out of their homes and their parents live to tell the tale. And really, if you want to have a strong relationship with your wife before you move out, arranged marriage is probably not the way to go. Develop a strong relationship with someome you can relate to and then marry them.

          There is really something disturbing about children having to worry that them marrying is going to make the parents unhappy in some way. It is not your wife OR your parents. They are different relationships.

          If your parents happiness stems from them knowing about your life and your achievements, how is marriage going to hamper that? Unless their happiness stems frm only things they want you to do and you somehow believe marriage will upset this apple cart.

          Like

        • You seem to have already decided that your wife will never have a valid reason to move out, and that if you have to really move out your world will crushingly come down and she will be the one responsible for it. You want the girl to leave behind her dear family to enrich your lives,but nothing should change for you. Afterall that’s how it works, the girl is YOUR family now.
          Though I kind of understood you in the begnning, I only see the selfishness in your thoughts now, you are not ready to change your life even a little bit for your future wife, no second thoughts about your LIFE PARTNER. Not even once saying that she might actually have a valid reason after all, and that there is a possibility that your or your parents may be responsible for her unhappiness. Really disturbing to see this sort of thinking from an educated guy but then every other guy and his family around is no different.

          Like

    • Maybe you’re reading too much into your parents’ love for you. Do they themselves say that their most meaningful moments and relationships are those connected to you? For me, everything becomes richer and more satisfying, e.g., watching a movie, playing Scrabble, baking a cake, when I can do it with my daughters, or even with just one of them. But it’s still enjoyable and satisfying when I do it on my own. Now that they’re all adults, I know that our relationships are that much better because each is an autonomous individual.

      Like

  32. Scardy cat, scardy cat what have they been feeding you?
    Scardy cat, scardy cat its not your fault…….(Sorry could not resist this)🙂

    SC – only one simple advice/suggestion/pointer.
    Marry not for any reason, be it – as you are of marriageable age; you need to start a family; your parents are asking you to etc. Marry only when you find love. It may seem cliched but to all your questions; problems – while they may not disappear – solutions will be easily found. Find someone whom you love as intensely and with the same devotion as you (admirably) love your parents. She will be one lucky girl🙂

    Good Luck.

    Like

  33. so true…. at least i’m happy that ppl are able to say that “scaredy cat” behaviour is not right.. i am also married to one such person.. i now know that i’m not alone.. there are lots of wives suffering at the hands of scared cats.. but i have firmly resolved not to carry it on to the next generation…

    Like

  34. //Most men I’ve met think they will make the best husbands ever//
    Confidence is a good thing🙂

    //wouldn’t let her goto Delhi all alone//
    I don’t think the question of ‘letting’ her do something, will arise in my case.

    //personally called him imploring to come to the wedding.//
    From this I understand you guys wanted the husband too to come to the wedding. Which he did not want to. He had his reasons – family consistency ‘you came for wedding X and not for Y’. May not have thought it worth the hassle it may cause etc. I am not going to judge that.

    I have no idea what college education has got to do with all this. And why caring about these things is being mixed up with a completely different thing: ‘not allowing’ the wife to go to some place she wants.

    One really can’t judge the former from the outside. Either both of us go, or neither of us. I can’t go without you and lose face. Your reason is silly, mine is good kinda differences of opinion crop up in all marriages I guess.

    I can totally see a situation where I’d say I’d rather not go to some place and my wife says ‘if u won’t come I won’t go’. In response, sometimes I may reluctantly go and actually find the decision to be wise one and thank her for it. Sometimes I may reluctantly go and not like it. Or sometimes I may just say ‘suit yourself’ and thereby neither of us end up going.

    I don’t think we should be judging him for ‘relatives will talk’ – which I guess you find a silly reason. What if he said, I don’t go to Delhi in the winter, it’s too darn cold – are we going to judge that? ‘Can’t you do even that for your wife’ kinda questions are really impossible to answer from the outside.

    For a few years my grandfather was infirm, any family function in another city had to be attended only by either of my parents (usually depending who can afford to get leave). All three of us taking that rare vacation meant having to check which of my uncles/aunts could ‘sit’ my grandfather. I am not saying these were difficult or this situation was very unique. Just giving an example of the kind of constraints there are when people make choices. From the outside, we rarely know enough to

    OTOH ‘not letting’ the wife- if that indeed is the case – is archaic.Hope that changes over time in their marriage.

    Like

  35. WC I disagree with your definition of calling the whole situation ‘dysfunctional’. I will come to that in a bit.
    1) WC/IHM, acknowledgement is not absolution is something I am quite aware. Whether it is a ‘raw-deal’ or not really depends on the person, is all I am saying.
    2) At the same time, I couldn’t be further in spirit from the comments like I’d do better to consider someone from a ‘small town’. That feels like taking advantage of someone who doesn’t know any better. NOT at all what I am talking about. But I can understand why people suggested that. They think only such a person could find this arrangement palatable. Because I did not respond to them, perhaps I have given the impression to you that, that is an acceptable solution. Not at all.
    3) What I meant was someone who still found what I am talking about quite acceptable. You, and many others, are of the confirmed opinion, that such a thing is impossible. ‘Who in their right minds would…’ etc. I hear you, but I reserve my tight budget of optimism for this.
    4) In you post, there seems to be a strong suggestion that there was a dehumanization of my future-wife, treating her as a merely utilitarian composition, not sufficiently accounting for the vibrancy of the individual’s, her aspirations. I disagree, there too. On the other hand, I am merely trying to find if there will be a middle-ground. That’s what the whole point. Something that works for everyone.
    5) My statements to tune that ‘love will happen over time’ are being taken to me ‘I will take no effort for this relationships’. Once again, not at all. Of course I will. But it won’t become ‘love’ on Day one. It will take a long long time, and during that time memories would have built,shared – and it is through them that the love will naturally evolve.
    6) Regarding dysfunction, perpetuating the ‘cycle’ etc. I think I clarified in earlier post that you guys are making a whole lot of assumptions.
    – My marital bond will never be strong and we are going to feel emotionally dissatisfied. I think not.
    – My relationship with my children will be exactly the way mine is. There is an unstated assumption, that my relationship with my parents is exactly like that of my parents and their. Which too is not the case. Each relationship is unique and arises based on the individuals and circumstances.

    While I challenge the notion the current situation is dysfunctional, even if for the sake of argument I consider your POV, what is translates to is that if my marital bond is strong and our relationship with our kids is different (and not ‘toxic’, as someone put it) then there is something possible.
    It will take an effort from me to break out of inertia to get this to happen, is what I hear you guys say. Understood.

    WC spoke of my ‘sense of entitlement’.

    Finally, a big thanks all for your folks who have patiently heard me out, brought your experience to bear and given me comments. It is quite overwhelming. Some of you have even related your personal experiences for my benefit. I am not sure I’d’ve done such things without the protective garb of anonymity.

    Needless to say, I don’t agree with many of you. But I will internalize a lot of what many of you had to say and brace for things ahead with the additional perspectives this discussion has brought forth.
    Thank you IHM for the hosting all this in your blog.

    Like

    • “during that time memories would have built,shared – and it is through them that the love will naturally evolve.”

      In other words, love will flow from the commitment to remain married and to share experiences, instead of the other way ’round. Once again, please read the piece on emotional incest. I’m not suggesting at all that your relationship w/ your parents is one of emotional incest, just that there’s a LOT that would apply (to arranged marriages in general, not just to your situation) based on everything you’ve said so far.

      I should also tell you that sharing experiences and spending a lot of time with someone doesn’t guarantee love. Sometimes, it doesn’t even lead to friendship. We all know of that one person who moves in the same circles and does the same activities as us and our friends, and yet is not really a friend. We also know of the friend who’s no longer a friend. So expecting that love will happen between C(6,2) (=15!) relationships is expecting for a LOT to happen.

      I’m very happy to hear you realize that seeking out someone from a small town who doesn’t know any better would be taking advantage of them. I take back my words about that and apologize for the assumption.

      Like

  36. /biwo:/’d like to urge you to find someone on your own if possible. Spouse hunting in an arranged marriage set-up works for those who are of the cookie-cutter variety; people who don’t read between the lines and ponder over shades of grey.

    Somehow, you don’t come across as typical arranged-marriage material (mean that as a compliment)//

    I’ll take it as one, Thank You🙂
    But I think you are being a little harsh on the practice of arranged marriage – for several years, the system has worked like a br… whoa! almost walked into that one.

    Jokes apart, I don’t either one is definitionally better than the other. People know each other only when they start living together a lot. And those impressions too will change over time, get richer and more complex as the personalities also evolve, as many of you have mentioned.

    So you never truly fully ‘know’ who you are marrying anyway and that person will also change! You can only have a reasonably good idea based on where you stand now.
    We’re all probably hesitant to admit the extent to which chance plays a role in our well-being.

    So I wouldn’t generalize about arranged marriages working only for certain kinds of people. It is equally possible to generalize from the other direction. In marriages that starts based on the individual romance, it is the two individuals who like and want to be with each other and the families are in incidental and to be assessed merely from the PoV of ‘can they be managed?’. Arranged marriages have a greater possibility of considering the compatibility of families first and then assessing the compatibility of the individuals. It is for the individuals -like yours truly – to ensure that the individual match that so results, is compatible

    Like

    • What is wrong with considering the family first ahead of the couple itself? Lets say you get married at 30 and live till 85. That is 55 years you spend with your spouse.
      Your parents may be 60-65 when you get married. Considering that their life span is also 85, you are roughly spending 20-25 years with your spouse’s ‘family’. So technically you are ready to be miserable for 55 years so that your and your spouse’s parents, who say, meet 10 times a year (and not live with each other unlike you and your spouse) can have a nice time when they do meet.

      Makes sense?

      Like

    • I disagree vehemently based of course, on my own experiences and temperament.

      I cannot survive in a relationship that is founded on functional, utilitarian principles. At its core, an arranged marriage is precisely that. A union that is founded on factors external to the couple’s emotional attachment to each other.

      In an arranged marriage, you cannot love the person you marry because you do not KNOW them enough to decide whether you can love them or not.

      Of course, this assumption precludes a nuanced understanding of what marriage means to different people. It means different things to different people.

      There are many people who do not crave a deep, abiding connection to the significant other. They find an amicable, peaceful co-existence to be an infinitely wiser proposition than the roller-coaster ride that romantic love invariably is.

      I’d prefer the roller-coaster ride to the repressed, humdrum stolidity of a typical arranged marriage (yes, generalising but not too much).

      I firmly believe in the old adage, “It is better to have loved and lost, than to have not loved at all.”

      However, your point is equally valid. There is no denying that people change, grow apart and outgrow the relationship. Many women marry young, at an age when they are unlikely to have finished the process of self-discovery that is a vital building block for healthy reltionships.

      That I find deplorable. When people enter marriage not understanding what they signed up for, or what it is they seek and hope to find, they only add to the epidemic of marriages that are emotionally barren, stilted and yes, perfunctory.

      As long as people enter marriage after a fair degree of introspection about what they want from marriage and what they’re willing to offer, it matter little whether the marriage is arranged or not.

      In short, full disclosure minus the window-dressing one finds in matrimonalspeak.

      All the best to you though and thank you for being unfailingly polite despite the many provocations.🙂

      Like

    • Just like love changes an dyou cannot exactly know what you are getting into, arranged marriages also work on the surface level compatibility between 2 families. int he process the individual compatibility of the couples is merged witht he family and somehow has a chance to get lost, so in my opinion, meeting by arangement is not bad, as long as you both talk, uderstand where each comes from and make sure that love, passion and joy exists.
      however much you are close to your parents , your marital bond is with your spouse and only your spouse. parents have a set of roles and can be included in your life but what you share with y our spouse cannot be shared with anyone else. That is what marriage achieves a true heart to heart partnership between 2 people which is exclusive, trusted and intimate . once you experience that you will realise that all other relationships exist and can be truly fulfilling but never the kind ot type that exists with ones spouse. if this is not true why bother marrying ? live with a roommate, produce kids and coexist like a companion. do you really want to go thru the 1 life that has been handed down to you so superficially?
      I want my sons to have that love and relationship, that focus on each other and that does not mean they ignore their parents , a parent-child relationship is different, their relationship with their spouse is totally different and i think once they are adults that relationship will be more fulfilling to them than sticking to us.

      Like

  37. after reading the comments (I havent read this much during my exam days :-D) of children being the glue that helds the marriage in India,the scenario is not gonna change in coming years coz I am one of those wives who yearn (wait for years ) to hear the term WE from our hubby darlings.I am not asking to dance around trees or do Bollywood style naach gaana…but a look or word that conveys the sense WE ARE ONE.He is a great provider,good father but if I say to him let just two of us spend some time together (once in a bluemoon) he just looks at me like he has heard something strange and thinks I am crazy . Not that I dont love my children but I yearn for a compahionship from my husband.He even makes me feel guilty or selfish for thinking like that .Since men like him still exists children will be the only glue not glue but FEVICOL that holds marriages in our great culture…..

    Like

  38. after reading the comments I couldnt help writing about children being the glue that holds the marriages in India.I am one of those wives who yearn ( wait for years) to hear the term WE from our hubby darlings….I am not asking to run around trees,bollywood style naach gaana,expensve foreign trips or valentine gifts or things like that…Its just a sense of togetherness…(He is a good father and great provider,makes me feel guilty now writing this out:-((..).I dont know whether the guys yearn for something similar…If I suggest to him just the two of us can spend some time together (once in a bluemoon) he really cant wrap his head around it.He even thinks I am crazy or selfish for thinking like that.Not that I dont love my children….but I cant understand how one can live together for a long time without any sense of companionship .Since men like that are plenty children will be the only FEVICOL that holds Indian marriages forever and thus exhibit its great sanskriti…

    Like

  39. Pingback: An email: “Is it safe to assume he loved his culture and tradition more than me?” | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

  40. Pingback: An email from An Adult Male of India : “Every single family sitting or phone call will eventually lead to a holy grail – my marriage.” | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

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