"We Too" (Day 2) Respect, Love or Practicality?
I loved how many people commented on my first article, on whatsapp, on Facebook and of course here on LinkedIn. Except for a couple, all of them unanimously, irrespective of their gender, agree that violence is wrong. Whether its done first time or more than once, it's wrong. Great. Let me start by thanking all of you for your comments and likes.
So for today, let me set the context first. This one is again inspired by another character in the movie Thappad. This person is a lawyer, a highly successful, celebrated lawyer. She fights high profile cases, lives a high profile life. Has a highly celebrated journalist for a husband and a highly celebrated judge for a father-in-law. She drives expensive cars and has a posh office, She is often on TV and fights cases for women. She looks powerful. Now the husband is least interested in her, and often attributes her success to his status. He is often heard saying that she got a particular case because she happened to be his wife and his fathers daughter in law. For any success she gets, he praises himself and commends on how it will improve her status in society. His entire focus is on himself, his status in the society and his success. He doesn't beat her at all, doesn't even call her bad names or anything. He simply disregards her. There is no love between the two, there is not respect for the person she is.
Growing up often I heard that marriage is between two families. I always thought this idea didn't make a lot of sense. Yes, two families do come together when two people marry. But shouldn't marriage first and foremost be between two people? Aren't they supposed to love, respect and cherish each other before we move on to whether the families love, respect and cherish each other? In this entire two families conversation, the woman is lost somewhere. Slowly, the marriage starts becoming about the larger good, rather than the person. However, ironically, the husband and children are often included in the larger good, but the wife isn't.
Today, I want to talk about the metaphorical thappad that many women live with in their marriages. These are not living with any kind of physical violence. But they live in a marriage where their existence is secondary. Where they have neither dignity nor respect. They are often taken for granted and not valued for what they bring in into the marriage. Have you ever said or heard someone saying "My husband has no problem with me working", "My husband doesn't mind me going out with friends", "My husband helps me do the housework"? Do you or they realize what is wrong with these statements? Culturally we are told that others are more important than us. We are told to let things go for the better of the family. As Tapsee Pannu's mother in law in the film says "Thoda bardash karna padta he" (Sometimes we have to tolerate it).
The funny thing that I have observed in many of my close relationships is, many times it's the woman who thinks of herself as a secondary person. You may all have had mothers and grandmothers, who in the name of love, have not eaten till you or your father eats, have kept the last bit of sweet for others, who would sacrifice her pleasures for the family. A very interesting scene in the movie is when Tapsee Pannu's father, a very kind and loving and women respecting person, says to his wife "Did you ever have to sacrifice anything in your marriage that you are asking your daughter to do it"? I love it when she looks him in the eye and says "Of course, I wanted to sing professionally, but I knew my family came first. If I had walked out of the house to sing what would your parents have said? So I decided to not sing. Did you ask me ever why I stopped singing? You simply accepted that I didn't sing any longer". How many of you recognize your mother, your grandmother, your aunt in this female? One who decided for herself that family comes first, that the only way to get her dreams is to neglect her family. That if she focuses on herself, she is selfish.
So what does a person do when she isn't respected in a marriage? An otherwise proper, perfect marriage. A marriage where she can work (because she is allowed), she doesn't have to worry about house work (because her husband is okay with having a maid at home), where she is loved by her in laws (because she fits in their expectations). There is everything in that marriage except love and respect for her as an individual. She is very much a secondary person, but practically she has everything that many women still don't have.
So my question for today is: What is more important in a marriage? Respect & Love or Practicality. Are you a secondary person in your marriage or treated as an equal. I look forward to hearing from you all and lets have a good discussion. I will also share a link to the first article in this series, in case you missed it.
Leaving you with these thoughts and a controversial quote I came across....