“Tying a Knot” with your spouse is getting married into their family as well!
Institution of marriage has always resided on 4 pillars – Man, Woman, His Family and Her Family! As soon as you get married, a cloud starts accumulating over your head. The cloud of crowd; unnecessary, unwanted crowd! The crowd whose aim is to bog you with information about how things may go wrong in your marriage if you don’t handle your respective spouse’s family properly. I call it “The Half Information”. The fixation of people in other’s marriage, that too when they know nothing about being married, has led to many misconceptions about this joyous bond.
The Half Information
Interference! If it has to be summed up in one word – Interference fits the bill. Be it man’s family or woman’s, everybody will advise you to beware of the interference from respective spouse’s family. “Don’t let them make decisions for you!”, “Don’t say yes to everything they say!”, “Keep distance” are few examples everyone of you must have heard before or after marriage. What everyone is trying to say is: DON’T LET ANYONE INTERFERE IN YOUR MARRIED LIFE!
Do they interfere? Or, are they being cognizant of your well being? There is a difference between the two and one must understand it before making any allegations. Think of it in this way – When you join a new school or a new job, don’t your parents or seniors who have been through the same situation in their lives advise you? We let them interfere, rather we constantly seek for their interference as we know having a mentor will increase our chances of succeeding in life. But, when it comes to the institution of marriage, we become the professors and abhor any mentorship.
Do they interfere?
Have you ever possessed a very precious thing? Be it your first bicycle or a bike, everyone of us has at some stage of our life felt strong connect to something very endearing to us! What happens when someone else gets hold of our precious thing? It is very difficult to get disconnected. I remember I felt emotional when I sold a pair of recliners to a friend of mine. (I worked overtime to buy those recliners and was very fond of them). One day, we were partying at his place (after he had bought) and, not even for a second, I felt that the recliners now belong to him. Those were my recliners! They were with me for only 2 years.
Our spouses live with their families for a minimum of 26 years!!
Letting go of things close to you is difficult. Even if you ask the most cruel person on this planet, “Are your children dear to you?”, the answer would be “YES!”. Imagine, after taking care for an eternity, how will a parent feel when they have to let go of their children post marriage? Shattered, usually they are! But, the overjoy of seeing their little ones all dressed up in the wedding attire overcomes their pain. Momentary joy lets them forget everything but only in that moment! As soon as they go back to their home the next morning, they do realize the impact of the void created by the idea of sharing their children’s love with another man/woman.
Let’s roll back a bit – The initial years of everyone of us
Parent-child affinity doesn’t need any introduction! The purest form of love, if it exists, is parent to their child. We love them, fight with them, play with them, talk to them, don’t talk to them, argue with them or be angry with them; it doesn’t matter, they always love us! In fact, they feel that they own us, to a certain extent. Jerry Seinfeld once said, “Do hell with the world, I can make my own people”, when he was doing a gig on how a man behaves after he takes his first child in his arms.
And it’s true! Life of a parent just changes after having kids. They have to constantly take care of them … having a constant “filter: Children” applied in your life. Like how we are browsing Flipkart while looking for iPhone7, we apply a “filter: iPhone” to show only that product related to iPhone 7. Similarly, once a kid is born, a parent is interested only in things which are in welfare of their children.
While growing up…
Let’s be honest! While we use to throw tantrums at our parent while growing up but it’s even impossible to think of a life without them in those days (even today!). Hugging your mom in depression when your girlfriend dumps you, buttering your mom to give you extra pocket money when the original (which your father gave you) exhausted, confidently holding your father’s hand knowing that now no one can ever hurt you and many more…
This is how much over lives have been connected to our parents. This is how deeply they have invested in us. Most of the time, they fulfill each and every demand we make till the age of 26. And, they never complained. In fact, they loved it so much that they would ignore everything else. Believe it or not, we definitely become their life at some point in time during those 26 years.
Interference or Introspection?
Letting go of life is not easy and when your children have to settle in their own world post marriage, you are not even given an option but to let go… Suddenly, there will be another man/woman in their life who will be, if not more, equally important in your kid’s life. No one will doubt your happiness, but, feeling of love being shared is something only a parent would understand.
Believe it or not, it’s hard for any parent to have a switch in their head. A switch they can turn on/off easily when it comes to their children being a part of their life. When their child gets married, he/she is definitely busy in creating their world with respective spouse while equally focussing on various other factors of managing a family, but, a parent will always want to be in proximity to their children. At least for some time! Till the time they accept this reality that the legacy has been forwarded, the generation is ready to move ahead!
In a way, they are just introspecting their own life rather than interfering in our life. They just want to understand the void created in their life and how to fill that. And when nothing works, as they say “Time is the best medicine”, time is what they are left with. They will want to adhere to the child. “This is my Child!”, they will say. But, one day, they will make truce and let go. Let go when they are actually ready.
Getting married to a family
It’s said the when you marry, you don’t just marry your partner but, you get married to the whole family. One must always stick to this saying. I know it’s not easy to greet someone you barely know as “Papa” and “Mummy”, let alone to think of them as your parents. But, remember how we used to make friends in our early days? We didn’t know our friends before we were friends, did we? We were recipients back then! We were open to receive as much as we had to give. Thus, we were able to make friends quickly.
When we get married, that’s what we should do. We should be recipients, wanting to receive with an open mind. The family of our spouse will become our friend really quickly if we believe that we are married to them as well and are trying to bridge the gap. Be supportive of them, help them fulfill the void that has been created in their life, understand that they are not interfering and that they will be able to let go when they are ready.
The key is to understand the difference between interfering and introspection. While most of the parents introspect their own life, trying to find answers to the questions created by that void, post their children’s marriage, most of the times it’s mistaken with them being interfering in the couple’s life! This confusion leads to unprecedented troubles which does more harm than good.