I once overheard a mother telling a friend that her son had agreed to marry a girl of his parent’s choice but would settle for nothing but the best.
“And why not?” she beamed. “He is qualified, good looking and has no commitments. He’d be an ideal partner for any girl.
I intervened and asked what she meant by ‘best’. Was it possible for anyone to be the best in everything.
The lady gave me a look that said it all.
‘You have neither looks nor status. How would you know?’
The other lady was less opinionated.
“One cannot have the best of everything. Marriage involves a lot of give and take.”
“I don’t need to take anything from anyone.” Said the first lady. “I have enough to give and more to spare.
I burst out laughing. The term ‘give and take’ was certainly not literal. A well qualified daughter in law with a good job may also say –
“I have enough to give and more to spare. I don’t need to take anything from anyone.”
At the time of my own marriage a family friend had something different to say when he left for Madras after the function.
“Life is going to be different from now.” He said. “You will be taking on new responsibilities. Your mother in law may be the best person. But she can never be your mother. Never compare the two.( I have mentioned something to this effect in this post of mine). Learn to accept and love her for the person she happens to be. Follow your instincts and adapt according to the situation. You have inherited great qualities from your parents. It is up to you to make them proud.”
In the initial years of my marriage I lost count of the number of times I remembered his words of wisdom. I do remember that they gave me a lot of strength to my troubled mind. It was as if my dead father was advising me.
I don’t mean to say that it is the whole and sole responsibility of the DIL to adjust. Her acquired family should also be willing to compromise. The mother in law may want to listen to bhajans while attending to her morning chores. The DIL may want pin drop silence to practice yoga and meditation. The husband may be an early bird and the wife a night person. Compromises have to be made and they cannot be one sided.
I was surprised that an acquaintance of mine rejected proposal after proposal because they did not measure up to her expectation. Her mother once approached me for details about a colleague of mine. This man had started as a Lab Attendant, improved his qualifications and had become a Lab in charge. He was an asset to the college and was in great demand whenever there was a mechanical/electrical problem. I foresaw a fairly good future for the couple and suggested that his parents be approached. The girl was visibly upset.
“Would you consider him for your own daughter?” she asked.
Her question baffled me. It really did. My daughter was in Standard III at the time and I hadn’t given it a thought. While I agree that I would have looked for a better placed match for my daughter, I certainly would not have insisted that she should have no commitments towards her husband’s family or that her in laws should not spend more than a fortnight with her when they visited her. These were reasons for her rejection of other proposals. Ultimately, the girl did not marry but my colleague married a nice girl from his native place and his son is now doing his engineering.
What then is meant by ‘give and take’ in a marriage?
Give your time and attention.
Give your love and affection.
Give your care and compassion.
Give your support be it physical, moral or financial.
In short give your best to make your relationship work
Take correction and remember that it will help you improve.
Take criticism in your stride and remember that no one is perfect.
Take on responsibilities. You will be an indispensable asset to everyone.
Accept life as it comes and deal the most adverse situations with a smile saying that ‘this too shall pass’.
Take some moments from your busy schedule and count your blessings.
All this applies not only to the relationship acquired by marriage. The rules are the same in any relationship. What then are we waiting for? Why not get started right now?