For every girl marriage evokes mixed feelings in her heart-while she is happy and excited to be part of a new family, she is also sad to leave behind her own loved family members- her parents, siblings, grandparents, her cousins and her aunts and uncles. While some do understand the pain and anxiety of the new bride in this strenuous phase of her life and help her to adjust and cope, there are some who take pleasure in embarrassing her and making her feel awkward. The only person that the bride is most comfortable with and expects to be at her side is her husband. And it’s the husband’s responsibility to ensure that his wife does not feel ill at ease in her new home.
Mine was an arranged marriage and my husband has a large extended family. When people joked and said that it would take at least a year to get to know all the members of my in-law’s family, I could feel my apprehension growing. My own family is a small but well-knit one and I was not really proud of my nonexistent social skills. I’m what you’d call as an introvert but I decided to keep my best foot forward and make an effort to please my in-laws by getting along with all.
After my wedding I bid a tearful adieu to my family and started my journey towards my new home. I sat with my husband as all his relatives came and introduced themselves. I tried to remember their names and how they were related to my husband. There was this lady, who was a close relative and while everyone was being extra nice to me, this lady started making snide remarks. She kept taunting me with a smile on her face. I tried to ignore her remarks in the beginning but after a while it started getting on my nerves.
Next morning there was pooja arranged in my new home and unfortunately this lady volunteered to help me get ready. She started insulting my family by remarking on the poor quality of my saris and jewellery. That’s when things went beyond my tolerance level and we exchanged few words. I was really hurt because I didn’t know what I had done to antagonize her. When I talked to my husband about it, he said not to worry about it and not to react back. I was really disappointed and upset because I had expected my husband to stand up for me. I was silent and withdrawn for the next few days and if people realized it, they did not comment.
After few days my husband and I had to visit my family to complete a wedding ritual. I was happy and eager to be welcomed back with open arms. When I saw my mother, I couldn’t control the tears that welled up in my eyes. I chatted with my cousins like we had been separated for years. My brothers recalled all the funny incidents of our childhood that helped me lighten up. I felt my worries giving away with laughter and the fun that I was having. It was a perfect day and with the love and warmth that I received from my family I felt my strength and resolve returning.
In the evening we all went to the beach where I had spent many of my childhood evenings. My mother pulled me aside and asked me how I was doing in my new home. I confessed about my predicament and explained the hurt I had felt when my husband hadn’t supported me. My mother then advised me that the key to a successful marriage was communication and mutual trust and respect. She explained that it was normal to feel awkward in the initial phases of marriage but with time I’d feel as comfortable with my husband’s family as I was with my own.
Her wise words put me at ease and I vowed to be patient and strong. That day I spent with my family remains etched in my memory because I realized the importance of love, support and acceptance. The day that I spent laughing and having fun relaxed me during a turbulent phase and made me understand that life is a bed of roses and thorns and the bad days are needed for us to appreciate the good moments.