This is in response to today’s post by IHM. She always writes about issues that make one think.
My mom is visiting us for a few months, and like always, we invariably end up talking about marriages in the family. How some are working in spite of all odds and how some are “made” to work. Of past marriages and marriages in the current generation. But this post is not about failed marriages for unhappy women. It is about how women have evolved over the years.
One thing my mom said she has observed over the years is that girls are taking it upon themselves to get a good education, and a be independent, have a nice job and start saving for themselves, irrespective of what the parents say about marriage and irrespective of how good the husband is to them. That to me is a big change and something to cheer about. A lot of young girls are no longer studying merely to snag a good match but to make a career for themselves. They are working not just to have a good “matrimonial resume” but to have a good “professional resume” that stands them in good stead. And they are earning money not only as a time pass or to save for their impending weddings, but to save for a secure and independent life ahead.
It is very important for a girl to remember that her life is not all about getting married and staying married, irrespective of what her parents or rest of the world says. A marriage will be successful only if she and her husband are sharing and doing things together, rather than she alone making compromises to her life to make the lives of those around her as comfortable as possible. Gone are the days when the new daughter in law came in and took over the kitchen and home responsibilities from day one while everyone around her acted like nothing new has happened. Now the husband and wife have to contribute towards the successful running of the household if there is to be overall happiness in the relationship. And gone are the days when a woman, even if she was not very happy, sucked it up for the happiness of her inlaws. Now women want to be as happy as their husbands in the relationship, they want equal share of work and leisure, of responsibilities and fun.
Sure there still are so-called liberated families where the woman is ‘free’ to work outside and have friends but has to be home in time for babuji’s chai or cooking dinner for the entire family, like the Star Plus’ crappy anthem would have us believe, but I believe that women these days are making conscious choices in their life so that they don’t get burdened with all the responsibility of earning as well as housekeeping. About this my mom has a lot of anecdotes about how some of her colleagues are aghast that young women these days have become “choosy” because their useless sons are not finding the perfect girl. One particular incident my mom narrated to me was of her friend’s son who is about 30 and does not have a ‘good’ job, and stays with his parents to save money. The mother was very excited about bride hunting, but her enthusiasm was soon dampened when she realized that the kind of DIL she wants, one who is educated, working as well as timid and “homely” is hard to come by, and most educated and working girls wanted someone who was more independent than her son! She complains to my mom everyday about how girls these days have been spoilt by their parents and given wrong ideas about marriage. My mom calmly told her that it is good girls have a choice, to say NO when they really want to say No!
It is this evolution that has helped women them find happiness irrespective of whether society approves of the mode of happiness or not. And that is what cheers me up about today’s woman. There is nothing selfish about thinking about one’s happiness in a marriage. After all, a marriage works both ways well only if both parties are happy. It has been long enough that only men have been happy in the relationship, because the relationship was not a two way street for men, it was all about take take and take, and never a give and take. Now that women are aware and have choices and not afraid to choose, there will be a marked increase in the quality of marriages in the coming generation, or so I would like to believe. What do you all think?