Indian wedding season inevitably brings mithaiwalas and distant relatives back in business. When it comes to marriage and relationships, many of our beliefs are out of date and even regressive. If your wedding is approaching, do not be surprised if the elders of the family come together to bombard you with bits of unsolicited advice. As is usually the case, brides are at the receiving end of it more often than grooms, and we don’t even wonder why. Here are some of the advice that makes marriage a deadfall for women.
1. This Is Your World Now
For so long, we told women that when they get married, they should leave behind everything and everyone familiar and embrace a new life. We told them to call strangers their family and not to think much of their old family and friendships. Other than being a popular trope for saas-bahu soap operas on Indian television, this is just some bad advice that you shouldn’t give a second thought to. Nobody has the right to ask you to give up the family you were born in. It is only a myth that after marriage, the husband’s family is more important than your own.
2. Adjust And Compromise
The truth is, you don’t have to. Be courteous, be empathetic, and try to be as helpful as possible. Getting settled in a new atmosphere may take a few practical adjustments, but don’t bend over backward trying to please everyone. That might only make you resentful afterward. Don’t go out of your way and say yes to something that you find absurd. Politely decline, stand up for yourself when it is required, and set the standard for how you want to be treated. If you have never lived a life of compromise until now, getting married is not a good reason to start now.
3. Their Happiness Is Your Responsibility
We know this is terrible advice because making another person happy is not easy. To lay the burden of keeping an entire house happy on someone, and a new member at that, is unfair. Because you wish to be accepted in the family, you might even venture to carry out this advice, only to fail. Not because there is anything wrong with you, but because it is just impossible. You cannot make anyone truly happy, especially without their participation.
4. Keep Smiling
Positivity is an admirable trait. Maybe it is the key to a better, happier world, so this word of advice may seem harmless. Except it neglects an important aspect of the human mind: we cannot always be positive. No human being can keep smiling at all times. We are not Mary Poppins. There is no way we can stay happy and keep spreading happiness. Instead of telling a new bride always to smile, encourage them to express themselves, and communicate with her partner and other people in her new family.
5. Don’t Speak A Lot
In our society, women are not encouraged to share their opinions aloud, especially in front of men and the elders of the family. You might be advised to hold your tongue at your in-laws’ lest you should come across as strong-willed and not-so-obedient. Yet what’s wrong with being strong-willed? Nothing. In the patriarchal world, some men feel intimidated by women who think for themselves. Hence you may be falsely perceived as a threat to the status quo. It is hard to build authentic relationships with people if you are not true to yourself. When you are newly married, make sure that people see the real you, and not a version of you that is dumbed down for convenience.
Somehow we think of marriage as more of an event than a beginning. Getting married is a leap, and it is natural for anyone to have jitters. Instead of helping, such misleading pieces of advice only make matters worse. What did your family tell you when you were getting married? Share some of the advice you received here in the comments.