The Fine Print of The Happily Ever After

This is not going to be a rant. I promise. OK I will try and not make this into a rant. But I believe that everyone who thinks of getting married must read the fine print. And no I am not trying to scare anyone. None of this fine print material should put you off marriage. But treat this as a handy route map. “The top 10 erogenous zones that make him jizz.”  maybe not jizz and definitely not erogenous but what the hell, I was trying to be all cosmopolitan about this.
Honestly most of these are things that, the minute you read them, you will say, please I already know this. Yes you do, so do I, but strangely I never acknowledged them.
Your in-laws are NOT your parents: the sooner you deal with this, the easier it becomes to handle everything in your marriage. Don’t try and expect your in-laws to be your parents. You were born to your parents. That’s it. No one else will ever come close. So stop trying to convert the poor old couple and just know that because they are not YOUR parents, they won’t act like they are either. So they will think differently and will be shocked at your tattoos, choice of clothes and general style of living. So if you come back drunk from a party, don’t expect a lecture. Expect a lecture on ghar ki izzat. Actually that was a joke; you will not be allowed to come home drunk from a party, except on water. So treat them like you treat all your other relatives. You love them and you take care not to upset them till they decide to make you bend over and stick a bamboo up your ass. So do what you would do in that situation, unless you like a bamboo up your ass which will be very weird.
It will always be their house: yes! No matter how much you are told that you will be like a daughter and nothing will change once you get married to their son (even if you are their neighbor before marriage) do not fall into that trap. It’s not your house. At least it won’t be initially (the period of this ‘initially’ varies and could last a lifetime). Therefore, the kitchen will be your Mother in Law’s territory, and more likely the entire house. She would claim to have nourished and built it, the father in law will agree and if you try and exercise your rights on this one, well goddamn you! You have to drill this into your head; you are married to the SON, that’s where your territory ends. And trust me that’s already giving them sleepless nights, which they will very kindly put forth in conversations to you. So just be happy, not about not being part of the house, but about knowing which part of that house you truly own. The son. Also till the time this becomes your home, remember, you HAVE a home, the one you were born in. and never let that be your secondary home.
All mother in laws like control: this is an offshoot of the previous point, but it’s such a huge entity, your mother in law is, that it needed its moment in the spotlight, just like your mother in law does. All. The. Time. It’s been her domain all these years and you can’t just up and stake claim on it, no sire. So in HER kitchen you do as she says, on HER dining table, you eat what she cooks or cook what she has decided to cook that day. Don’t try and upstage her. That makes her think you are better than her, and lord forbid if in fact you do know some things that she doesn’t. That will lead to long painful months. She is already trying to deal with the ‘loss’ of a son. She will hate you more if you try and make her lose her house keys to you too. So because she likes control you just need to remember a simple formula for when she is around. Ctrl+C and then Ctrl+V. also tell me if you are able to master this at any point in life.
What’s good for the goose is not good for the gander: You are the gander. Now don’t get all offended and go all feminist on me. You will be treated differently than the son. So whether you upstaged the world and left your career and came to a small town or whether you continue doing what you did before and just got married without any drama, the son will be different. He is their son, and now that he is old enough to have taken the decision to get married, the baton of his well being (tee hee, his baton! Snort snort!) is passed onto you. And hence, you must serve him. You must make his life comfortable. And you must be his sidekick. And a lot of you will laugh at me and say that this does not happen in modern families, but trust me it does. Only when the parents are around. So whether you live alone with the son and the in laws visit, or you live with them, this will happen. The son is the goose and he can get away with a lot of things, you just won’t.  What you need to do is to just do this and die of ennui someday or do it in a reciprocal fashion, do what he would do for you. He goes down on you, so return the favor. Or something like this.
You need to be hard of hearing: well this is the only way you can get past all and many more of these fine print-ish things out of the way. wear those damn blinkers now. Look straight ahead at what you want your life to be like, make allowances for the many little compromises that you can make and then filter everything out. Stop hearing it. Nod your head but just so that the thought or that statement jerks off your head an falls on the floor, to be trampled by your foot later. Just because you say ‘okay’ doesn’t mean you have to do it. Remain non-committal. And just don’t say ‘yes’. And treat everything said by the family to the filter of your life chart. If what is being asked for, or not asked for can be put into the compromise basket, just put it and shut the lid. be hard of hearing when something you don’t like is being said. Pretend like you aren’t there. Sit on your unicorn and go off into the woods. And come back when you have to do the head nod thing. This will prevent you from looking spacey and yet not make you agree to anything you don’t want to do.
I am sure there are more, these points. I am also sure that what I have written may not hold water with some of you. I say some, because I know it does, with most of you. In some part or another. You may accuse me of generalization, but yes, generalization is the only way any theory was ever made. I am not telling anyone to give up their dreams and become a shell of themselves. But maybe a little understanding and the fact that there are more of us out there would help you get through this. Whatever it is.  But till such time go and read that article about the 10 erogenous zones or top 100 sex secrets. It’s bound to help you more than this. 🙂

4 thoughts on “The Fine Print of The Happily Ever After

  1. You are so so right, Tanzila! Hats off to you! You have learnt more in a short space of time..what I still trip over after 32 years of marriage! All I have learnt is- to NEVER fall in the mould of a ma-in-law. Yes- I know, maybe my daughter-in=-law wont be my daughter (could ANYONE take the same place as someone you have borne out of your flesh and blood, nurtured for years, slept with podgy arms wrapped around you, wiped your cheeks from a million sticky kisses, tortured your soul about with every scraped knee and heart??? Then why expect HER to be someone you cannot accept in the avataar? can she not be a favourite companion, a goof friend, a soul-mate who shares a common hobby with you?- Your son:-)) For now- take one tip from someone with more than three decades of experience. Switch off your brain, heart, soul ego, ears and thoughts. Do as you want to- it IS your home ultimately- and She knows it! That is what makes her insecure actually:-) Learn the art of Sleeping with the Eneny. who knows? maybe you get lucky and find you have a friend instead??

  2. I feel that people who do not have daughters sometimes just don't understand what it is to have another woman come and live with the family. you probably have this understanding because you have 2 daughters and a son. also because you are one of the two most chilled out, progressive mothers i know. but these are views from the outside, when i am in this situation, i mostly forget to be dispassionate about any of this. 🙂 but i will try.

  3. Well written, Tanzila!I think it is the healthy spaces in relationships that keep it going smoothly. When a son marries,he should set up a home separately with his wife and live and learn from there on, rather than have territorial fights and clashes of opinions-inevitable-while he is living with his parents.

  4. Its not about having or not having daughters actually. My ma-in-law has a daughter..who used to become her Boxing Glove and Willing Ear through all the battles:-) Its lucky you have no sis in law maybe:-)))My views are very much from the inside, Tanzila. 32 years..and am amazed/dismayed/incredulous to find I am still the alien. Given up torturing my nights & days asking anguished questions of myself and the world. So long as you aren't wedded to a mama's baby boy- its fine! Believe in yourself at all times. Try to be good, understanding, patient, caring- but to the extent that doesnt batter your dignity and comfort zone. Leave the rest to time. One advice?- Do not let the other side win:-))

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