The other day, I was at the park. We, a group of five to six ladies, were discussing all things beneath the sun while our kids kept monkeying around. I generally shy away from large groups but this time I was there in their midst. Like most of the time, the topic of discussion was in-laws. I tried to turn my back on them but you know, when the topic is so gossipy it really isn’t easy not concentrating. I did move around a bit here and there pretending to look for my kids but then, I could sense what the bottom line of the discussion was about.
It is the duty of the husbands to stand up against their parents in support of their wives.
Well.. I had to disagree (although mentally!) to this point of view. I may agree to this to a little extent but I think the onus is more on the wives to stand up for themselves first. If we try sorting out the issue and then it doesn’t work, may be, we can shift the responsibility to the husbands. I do agree to asking for the husband’s help in the first few months of marriage until we are comfortable with each other. But, later on, I believe it would be saner and more effective if we choose to fight our own battles? I know I will find a lot of criticisms for this point of view, so I wish to elaborate my reasons here.
Most of the times, the issues that happen to be a tug of war between the MIL and DIL, do not have a concrete good vs bad side to support. They are grey with each one justifying their own sides. (Okay.. A small disclaimer here. I am not talking about extreme cases on both sides. Pretty nice in-laws and pretty nice wives is my target group!) We are two ladies who come from completely different sets of backgrounds and are of different generations. Which means, differences of opinion are bound to arise. Conditioning is so different in both of us. So, when there is a problem that needs to be sorted out, it is easier for the defendants to put forward their cases than seeking a lawyer’s help. Because the issue is ours, we shall explain our points of view better than our own husbands do.
The husband is sandwiched between the mother and the wife. Every time I wish my husband to stand up for me, I put myself in his shoes. What if my husband had a problem with my mother’s actions? Given that both of their actions are justifiable, whose side would I take? Would I not be torn between the two most important people in my life? Am I not subjecting my husband to such torture now?
Okay… The only other reason I can think of for taking the husband’s help is that the parents listen to their sons better than their DILs. But, wouldn’t the effect be short-lived ‘cos it is only out of fear of their son? Again.. I go back to my favourite point. Nothing in this world can be controlled permanently by fear; the effect is more short-lived if it stems out of fear. If we need a permanent change, then only mindset and attitudinal change will help. Which, can happen only if we communicate our points of view effectively. Which, I am sure will take a long time to come.
I am sure we can’t be meek and choose to accept life as it is. For all this talk, I am very vociferous when it comes to establishing my identity with my in-laws. Thankfully, the husband is supportive enough when he eggs me on to fight my own battles. Most of the time, I make sure he is not dragged into any of these petty squabbles. And, sometimes, I do; which I later regret to have done.
So, what do you think about this? Am I being too idealistic? I’d love to hear your opinion.