Thursday, June 9, 2011

Love in Marriage?

How do you define love in Kerala/ Indian marriage?


Different people, I believe, will answer this question in different ways. However, an ideal answer might be: it is having a sense of belonging, closeness, care, responsibility, accountability, trust, care etc, between the couple.




Some will say love is sex though in a hushed tone.  Yes sex is important in marriage. Experts are of the opinion that marriage without sex does not last long.


Love is control. Only a small minority might give that answer. The rest will disagree with it, especially the wives, for they know that control is a word that comes with a lot of negative connotations, when it comes from their side.  In Malayalam the mother tongue of Keralites there are so many dictoms and sayings that ridicule control freak wives but not control freak husbands.  Not only that they condone male-control in marriage as a good sign.  In the history of marriage, men controlled family system gathered more social status than female controlled ones.    


But what is control? Is it a bad thing? For eg.if somebody keeps tab on the family finances so that it does not get into red is not a bad system. If there is no control in a system it is prone to collapse, whether it is a family, company, government or State.


But what is responsibility? Is responsibility the same as control?


Entering into marriage is a huge responsibility.  Two people coming from two different circumstances and families to start a new life based on intimacy is a big thing. It involves new learning and unlearning. Openness, acceptability, care, patience and above all  mutual respect are key to it. It is a process that involves huge challenges.


But how many couple in Kerala truly go through this process which can make their marriage a pleasant and caring experience? 


How many Kerala husbands know what are their wives' favourite things, their dress taste, the colour they like, their temperament, passion, wishes, needs or wants.  Wives out of their female instincts know their husbands' tastes better. This is because in most Indian marriages the above responsibility stage is deliberately blocked and replaced with a control system.


Or in otherwords the husband is allowed to know his wife only through the frame of mind of the in-laws-his mother, sisters, aunties etc. The MILs and the SILs inform the husband about their impressions on his wife and he has to swallow them up just like that. He swallows them due to many reasons, one of them is fear in loosing his clean image as a ' caring' and 'loving' son or a brother. A good wife has to follow her husband, so she, the DIL takes it upon herself as her life mission to please the MILS and the SILs or she knows she will loose her life and marriage.


Many people think this is a male-female issue. If it was so, the MILs and the SILs should be fair on the DILs. Then what is it?


That is control.  It is possible that this control comes from the opposite side too. Some DILs have their own methods to keep tab on their husband's relationship with his family.  They are very good in training their husbands to do what they want to do.  Dowry and gold they seemingly use as an excuse to have more control over the in-laws. 


In both the above cases marriage life goes on as a monotonous machinery, having no beauty and values. 


The cases where husbands are able to play middle roles showing justice to both their family homes and their own homes are less.  Similarly few wives openly communicate with their husbands and in-laws to make them aware that they cannot be taken for a ride.


While either of this is happening, by the ninth month after marriage a child is sure to be added to the family which is often going to be a new object of control and authority.  If there was no love relationship established between the couple that child is not a love child but a sex child.  Even before born into this world it is possible that it has picked up the feuding vibe in the family.


By the advent of the urban economy, and the changing of the traditional family systems into the nuclear ones the feud between the MILS, SILS and the DILs may be becoming a thing of the past at least in some cases.


These are my views.


What do you think about all these things? Should there be a love relationship between couples and what should be the in-laws roles there? Or is there anything wrong in having a controlled relationship just for sex and having children?

















54 comments:

  1. How do you define love in Kerala/ Indian marriage?

    Different people, I believe, will answer this question in different ways. However, an ideal answer might be: it is having a sense of belonging, closeness, care, responsibility, accountability, trust, care etc, between the couple.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I think you are blaming MIL SIL influence for failure of husband-wife love, its not true. Mother nature has given an inherited property to humans that after mating both want a separation. Nature created instincts only to produce next generation, so its natural that after say 6 months boredom comes into marriage, when child is also coming, mother's attention is more diverted to child and husband starts feeling neglected. If second child is also born without much gap (a common phenomenon) after 5 years of marriage wife is fully dedicated to child care and additional burden is cooking housekeeping etc. In such a situation grudge between two occurs because husbands are very rare to help wife in child care or kitchen or housekeeping, naturally wife starts complaining. Gap is increasing only. Such aspects if a joint family wife's duties are shared, she just have to say a few pleasantries or keep good relation with inlaws or in worst case do not indulge in gossips, stay nuetral.

    Basic reason is boredom, human by birth is polygami not monogami. The monogamy we practice has been imposed on us by society, it was not practiced until 1940s we still can see many examples of brothers having children in elder's wife in previous generation.

    Even those married after long testified love affairs are tend to separation when they start living under matrimony. But arranged marriages are more stable as financial and other helps will be always there. Boredom is also curtailed to certain extent because of presence of so many members and relatives.

    Children are the glue who keep husband and wife together and make family stable.

    If we are able to adjust with inlaws etc even for one year marriages are tend to be stable because after 1 year they have some other couple to interfere with and you will be spared.

    Tendency to have affairs is there more in men but by nature in both species, only society is controlling it. If we ask any love married couple we will see the main factor which made them love is opposition. When family oppose colleagues make stories infatuation becomes love.

    So accept that its natural to have outside relations instead of getting jealous and making hue and cry if we just ignore it as a common thing, it will have a natural death, never try to control a husband, but when feels he is getting distracted from marriage just play cool, he will sure come back. Afterall there is some divine force which united a woman and man.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Sushil,

    ''Afterall there is some divine force which united a woman and man''.

    in your definition, what is this divinity? A power that control you.

    I do believe that only your action control you. If you set a stage for having a loving caring, understanding forgiving and forgetting relationship with your wife and vice versa, the relationship will last.

    I have seen in many families the initiative from the couples to build up such a relationship was deliberately thwarted by the MIL and SILs. This is a trend, it does not mean that it is happening in all families.

    And your theory that until 1940, men were polygamous, where was it. In Kerala Need to give more evidence for that.

    .

    ReplyDelete
  4. This article is written by a woman ,,Thanks for the attempt and It made many valid points.What we see now is financial security of women ,hence parents do not want the girl to be totally devoted to the husband's home,Many women have the Jezbel spirit(google the word)It is very difficult for the couple to establish a home with a controlling wife, However the number of divorces are increasing and it is got to do a lot with patient counselling of both the partners,

    ReplyDelete
  5. This article is written by a woman ,,Thanks for the attempt and It made many valid points.What we see now is financial security of women ,hence parents do not want the girl to be totally devoted to the husband's home,Many women have the Jezbel spirit(google the word)It is very difficult for the couple to establish a home with a controlling wife, However the number of divorces are increasing and it is got to do a lot with patient counselling of both the partners,

    ReplyDelete
  6. There should be a perfect harmony of mutual understanding, companionship, love, sex n all in a married relationship. The husband or wife shouldn’t be biased or stubborn to any idea which makes a married life discordant. Each of the couple needs to play their own own role. Women are always insecure about a married life due to the points highlighted by you. But, remember, there are husbands who know how to read through her mind n know the space n importance of wives and open-minded enough to understand her likes n dislikes while being together in a relationship. Likewise, romantically romantic too. Otherwise, the relationship will b a mechanical one. To gain a mechanical relationship, no need to get married either. If a person does not like the patriarchal system n does not want a child there are so many other options to choose to have love, sex, n companionship. Why should he/she tie a knot?

    ReplyDelete
  7. 'But, remember, there are husbands who know how to read through her mind n know the space n importance of wives and open-minded enough to understand her likes n dislikes while being together in a relationship.'

    No question on this. May be their percentage is increasing too. But out of the total they come to what percentage.

    'To gain a mechanical relationship, no need to get married either.'
    I agree, but the reality is that most married life in Kerala are mechanical. I mean it is like doing a set work. The funny thing is that the number of people who question this set work style is much less than those who accept them. :)

    perhaps that is easier !!!"

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