Monday, November 10, 2008

Wedded to a cause than the man!

When my eldest brother finished his studies, there was a spate of weddings amongst his batch mates. These were boys from families, who believed in getting their sons married early. Soon after the wedding, the newlyweds would drop in home as my parents would invite them for a customary meal. And as is the custom in my house and most Bangalore Christian homes, alcoholic drinks would be amongst the choice of beverages available for the guests male and female. Some of these guys would have a small drink hesitatingly. Some would refuse altogether. My brother understood and would not press guys who did not want to drink in front of their wives.

Soon, wifey in the enthusiasm of a new bride will start putting down the law. No drinking and no smoking. She thinks she will have the eternal devotion and love of her husband with her concern for his health. What happens instead is a stupid battle of the sexes that sours relations and throws the romance out of the marriage forever.

In the first flush of marriage hubby listens to his devoted wife often gushing over her concern and the stability marriage has bought in his life. Soon he has a drink with his friends or team mates at some occasion or office outing. Then he goes home and faces the wrath, tears or sulks of the wife. Then he starts wondering what the big deal was in an occasional drink! He doesn’t realize the notions wifey carries in her head that it is her duty to correct his supposedly “erring” ways. Constant reminders not to drink puts him in a defensive mood as he resents the nagging. The wife in turn makes this a cause célèbre and thinks that hubby is just being stubborn and needs a firmer hand to get out the habit. In her mind, this would be her success as a wife. If you were to question her at this juncture, she would have no clue as to why she was acting thus. She would probably say that it was her duty or alcohol was injurious to health or something like that. Some were misinformed that an occasional drink will lead to Cirrhosis. However most treated it as their duty as wives to stop it.

Soon wife resembles the nagging Mom and we have two people who wonder when or how the romance went out of their lives. He will complain to his friends about her nagging and drink on the sly or belligerently in front of her. She will complain that he doesn’t care anymore. Single friends who witness this drama count their lucky stars that they are single. Some prolong singlehood so that they can have some more time of peace. For most of these guys from traditional families or small town, wedding means restrictions.

Alcohol ironically without being drunk in excess cause problems in these families!

I blame the girls squarely and their upbringing and Hindi movies for this. Hindi movies portrayal of men is the most misleading and makes millions of Indian women believe that men are people with no brains who can easily be misled by friends to destruction and women are people who should protect them and if gone “astray” ( read: have an occasional drink) bring them around. Then the men are shown as being eternally grateful and devoted to their wives and following them around them like a puppy singing songs and buying her sarees! To top it all the women in these movies shed their smart clothing for the boring saree, sindoor and mangal sutra and a demure demeanor to boot and you wonder what the guy finds so attractive in her now when he was romancing her smarter self a few reels ago!! The whole portrayal sends out wrong messages and reality in the form of man a.k.a husband is a bitter pill to take for these girls. They persist however, as shown in the movie, driving deeper wedges in the relationship.

Most of these girls have strange notions of the word “Wife”. They think, cooking and cleaning and keeping a swanky house is being a wife. They think correcting their hubby and fussing over him is being wifely. They think hubby’s approval and praise of their cooking skills and housekeeping skills is their life’s mission! And a few years down the line, when hubby is used to the pampering and now thinks it his right, she joins the millions of women grumbling about being treated like an ayah and cook! I don’t know who puts the notion into their head that they are supposed to take over from their mother in laws and that their men expect it!! I wish someone would tell them that a wife is a live in girl friend and the household chores of the shared house are to be equally divided amongst them!

Over the years I have noticed something very interesting. Married girls in the family or acquaintance or neighborhood circle who are criticized by the elderly ladies for not cooking or keeping smart homes, are the happiest and contended wives I know. They do not have the burden of expectations on them of running the home or cooking and hubby who is used to this from the beginning is an adjustable guy who would not think twice about an empty fridge and grab a bite on the way home than pampered men of traditional wives, who make life miserable for their wives if the home and hearth were upto the mark and the table laden with piping hot food.

Like someone wise said, happiness and sadness is all in our own hands!

They serve too who serve quietly!


Ashish Gupta said...

As you've rightly pointed, its part of our cultural notion that wife must correct his man. And woman seem to carry this as mission. As early as during Gautam Buddha, people thought that best way to make a man responsible was to marry him so that wife will have control. As popular joke goes...

after marriage:
man doesn't want his woman to change but she does
woman wants her husband to change but she doesn't

"Ladki Kyon" song from Hum Tum also points to similar mission to girl.

Vivek Menon said...

excellent correlation between wife and alcohol for a successful marriage LOL !!!
My wife's brother and SIL set only one condition for marriage: if u drink u marry her, else learn to drink !!!

Vibushan Lakshminarayan said...

Ha ha ha :) Nice post. I had just visited your blog because I had been tagged by Rakesh Vanamali. And now, in a half an hours time, you have a new post.
Any yeah, as you've said, it starts out as a simple caring attitude and ends up as obcession and compulsiveness in wives. After all whats a small drink going to cause anyway? ;)
Nice blog

silverine said...

Ashish: Good observations! I grew up with guys so found the movies absolutely blasphemous in their portrayal of guys! :)

Vivek: That is the rule for anyone marrying a gal from my family too! :)

Vibushan: Thanks and welcome to my blog! :) You are right. I have seen and heard of marriages breaking up due to this!

Jane said...

HEAR HEAR!!! ( I mean the sarees, cooking and housekeeping part) ;)

You are right abt the alcohol thing.. But oru paalamittal angottum ingottum vende? I wonder how many husbands r there who wouldn't mind his wife having an occasional wine/beer with her friends....Haven't seen many in Kerala anyway.

Machiavelli said...

Have sent a link to my fiancee. Either it will all be over by tomorrow or I will have a very content life ahead. In either case you will be hearing from me..

Abraham Menacherry said...

"the household chores of the shared house are to be equally divided amongst them!"...!!!!

Such misguided notions!!! Pease!! I beg you! dont give such ideas to women... that would mean the death knell for us lazy men! One more post like this and I am inventing a virus to bring this blog down!!

On a serious note... I've seen first hand, people becoming "degenerate" drinkers. They too start with a peg and end up ruining the family. I guess women may be spooked of the end result and hence the nagging.

Your point abt the non-cooking women being the happiest was an eye opener though!

confucius said...

This has happened to a lot of my friends..I feel very bad when I see them 'adjusting' with each other. The problem, as you pointed out is with the so called 'culture'. I know a very well educated girl who lives with her fiance ( a mallu boy ) , thinks that all the ppl who drink are bad. She, being my friend tried all she could do to stop MY drinking. She talked to me...she talked to my wife. And when she saw that was not working, she told her BF that she doesnt want him to keep my company. Its because of our strong friendship that he didnt agree...any other guy ( not trying to generalize )wud have agreed I guess.
I think the guys are to blame here. They try and put their best possible face for 1 year and then put on their thinking cap.
I think once we start ignoring our happiness for partners...the real problems arise in marriages. And 'adjustments' never leads to a happy married life !!

The Layman said...

I'll comment on the alcohol part

"Soon, wifey in the enthusiasm of a new bride will start putting down the law. No drinking and no smoking.......What happens instead is a stupid battle of the sexes that sours relations and throws the romance out of the marriage forever."

More of this please... :D

mathew said...

Seriously you would make a good social analyst...

"I wish someone would tell them that a wife is a live in girl friend and the household chores of the shared house are to be equally divided amongst them! "

At the same time I would prefer that a marriage is more about understanding of each other and to do such chores not per rules of equal splitting but with inherent desire to share work with your partner..Lets not make it a contractual obligation.

And yeah in perfect world a non-cooking wife..a non-cooking hubby with a cooking maid is the best case scenario...but that is as well quite specific to the person..a wife who loves cooking might have a completely different does a husband who likes to cook as well..On a lighter note I have seen romance is best in the kitchen as seen in this video..

Thanks for this post...I think this will help a lot.

Offence though taken on one point.
Saree is not boring!!;-)

Sal said...

Very interesting thoughts there. Would like to see the reactions of the fairer sex on this.

Mind Curry said...

wonderful post and great observations (as usual). this is one reason why i feel that women should be encouraged (irony here - i dont know why this needs encouragement!!) to have a career focus and gain independence. this will bring in more stability (and courage) to make independent decisions and stick to what they think is right.

on the contrary, many men find a working woman quite a "challenge" and would rather prefer a "homely" and "family oriented" one. and worse, a large number of girls prefer to be just that!!

drives me crazy to think about all these complicated equations and calculations that form the very basis of our social/familial existence and cultural fabric!! oh..i mean.."ancient" families and "aristocratic" culture. tsk tsk..

~==[[[ Abhi ]]]==~ said...

This is soooo true. Even i'd say the same thing to my sister when she gets married. Guys may be teetotalers in family gatherings and with old peoplr around, but once they're amongst the guys, boys will be boys and drinks are the rule for any party. Wish more gals read this, esp someone i'd marry :)

Deepti said...

This is so true. I have seen guys bending their backs to adjust to their Girlfriend's notions of a good man. It doesnt just stop at the so called vices like drinking and smoking but also monitoring what they eat like a mother. Girls get married to boys who drink and smoke with the notion that they can change their ways after marriage ... why marry the guy in the first place if you dont approve of their habits na...

Nice post!!

Anonymous said...

Live and let live, no..? Nice post! :)

Rakesh Vanamali said...

Wonderful words of wisdom!

On a lighter note, if you ask me the difference between engagement and battle.... I'd say "Engagement precedes a marriage and the battle comes later" ;)

The clincher is "Like someone wise said, happiness and sadness is all in our own hands."

That is so very true!

$ur@njit@ said...

Awesome post.Very Apt and true.

Rockus said...

Wonderful post. You hit the nail on the head about "non-traditional" wives. They are happy mainly because they don't care live upto others expectations.

Cris said...

What puts these ideas to wifey are usually the people who raise her plus the society and what she sees around her and concludes is expected of her.

But I wouldnt say showing concern over alcoholic consumption is always out of a misguided sense of duty to husband. It could be just that - concern. Just like one person believes an occasional drink is no harm, another person can sincerely believe thats where it all starts and is the first step of addiction.

Wanting to keep a friend or anyone you know away from what you think is the worst possible harm to a human being, is I believe out of genuine concern.

Guess it all comes back to that boring cliche - understanding each other. But then it neednt be so - if you knew what you wanted or didnt want out of your partner, then you neednt worry ending up with someone who didnt confirm to your strong held beliefs.

rm said...

Are you getting married, Anju Miss? :(

silverine said...

RM: No, I am not! There is till time for me dear :)

kumar said...

Just the post i needed,just about a month for the big day this is so reassuring..have fwded the link to the wudbe missus.

rm said...

In that case, nice post. :D

silverine said...

Jane: You are right about hubby's reactions to the wifey drinking with her friends! But that is not common and confined to urban girls only.

Machiavelli: LOL!! Hope you are a content man now...either way! ;)

Abraham: Dont worry most women have these notions..:) Non cooking and non traditional wives are the smartest people wives on earth!

Confucius: I understand. We have had many hubbies stop coming to our house because the wives thought we were bad for the very same reason you mentioned.

the layman: he he Bookmark this post and distribute it liberally as per need for a happy and contended life! ;) It has already changed one person!

Mathew: I am afraid from what I hear, work and work sharing is a big issue in most couples lives. That video link was cute. I just love Frasier! :)

Sal: The reactions will be mixed depending on the person and her background I guess! :)

MC: I have seen even working women do this...but you are right. If a woman has a life of her own she will stop concentrating on hubby alone. But there are many hubbies who dont like an independent wife. I guess they deserve the nagging! :D

Abhi: Good for you!! I mean that!!

Deepti: Absolutely spot on. In fact I was about to write a post on that!! :)

Anon: Right! :p

Rakesh: lol!!

suranjit: Yet another enlightened gal I see. Great to hear that!

Rockus: I have observed this myself! At one time I would nod as the ladies dissed such women. Now I see the ladies were fools! :p

Cris: Concern is fine...but these women make it their life's mission to stop hubby from drinking completely!!

Kumar: Hope the feedback is favorable! :)


kumar said...

will sure let u know....

Annie said...

Its not sharing or bearing important, but living happily by making others happy that is by adjustments upto time and need for the happiness of family. Happiness can be enhanced or sustained by giving and taking naturally. If we wait for take and give, we may not ever get to take I think(experience). Exaggerated and perplexed notions spoil the cause.

Anonymous said...

hai new here..Loved reading your perspectives..just like seeing someone whom i know for yrs..
Dont remember exactly,but as far as i know the movie was"Sahib beebi aur gulam"(oldie hindi)The movie had a drunkard husband and a suffering wife trying to guide him..ha ha finally the man gone mad trying to discourage the drunkard wife..Isnt the plot interesting ? that too in 70's ?

Regarding the kitchen part and life as a whole,it has to come from a woman's heart.Today people want her to suit into a particular structure...and take her for granted..
As such i love to cook and serve people especially my hubby.But i wont like it if he takes it as his right..thats a different point.
very sad that education cant make woman that strong ...which can make her liberate from within..or we are lazy to understand what we much to many stories to share..but ?

Anonymous said...

Guess things are changing the way women are treated these days even in small towns in Keral. But i feel tings are bad up there in north, the skewed male:female ratio itself being the biggest answer.

A sugegstion :Try to watch a mal movie by name 'Veruthe Oru Bharya'which echoes your thoughts to a large extent.