A deep dive into Kashmiri wedlocks  

“If something as hard as stone gets pierced with water, what would happen to a human heart constantly under criticism?”

At the time of getting betrothed, many men will find the woman charming and sweet. But as days go by, a lot of men complain that the woman is not the same, the relationship has lost all love and it is just a social obligation to keep going. 

The women feel the same – that they don’t care any more and that the relationship is just some obligation they have and can’t wait for their life to end. 

Why though? 

Marriage in our part of the world is not just between a man and a woman, it is sometimes more between a woman and her in-laws and a woman and the chores. A lady is expected to leave her maternal home and shift to some random person’s home, then change and mould as per their wishes and whim. 

On top of that she is also expected to handle all chores, irrespective of who handled them earlier. Somehow the society never tells a man his duties towards his wife, so at the end of a month of marriage we find ladies grappling with managing all the household chores, new relationships and figuring out how to navigate them as well as trying to form a bond with her husband. 

The issue comes in when the husband is emotionally unavailable or immature. He will either think that her top priority should be his parents and nothing else, or he himself will be a workaholic and will not have any time left to spare for building the relationship, or he will think that wedding is it and now there is nothing for him to do. For someone who does not know anyone in the house and the husband behaves like this, it can start feeling lonely and depressing. Add to this unsatisfying relationship the demand for a grandchild after a couple of months. 

The lady will succumb to the pressure or might be herself interested in having kids early so she would conceive, then go to her maternal house for like a year and a half, during which the husband will visit fleetingly and then she will come back and again she will have to manage the kid along with the household and a job if she has one. What bond will she and her husband have with that kind of distance? What bond had they created in a month or two? No one wants to acknowledge that lack of trust and respect. No one wants to understand that this relationship needs time and effort to blossom into a beautiful relationship. No one wants to understand or tell the men that they need to work their asses off to earn that “sajdah” that is only allowed for husbands. No one will come forward to help her out. He cannot even lift a spoon forget about changing diapers or feeding the baby. Why? Is the baby not equally his? Is it not his responsibility as well? Why should she be slaving at childcare and he can just come home and say he is exhausted? Is motherhood not more exhausting? 

This unavailability is what makes women bitter. 

If the family is having breakfast and sipping tea, why should the bride have to cook in the kitchen alone? Is she not part of the family? How much effort does it take from the husband or the mother-in-law/sister-in-law to accompany her? Maybe not help but at least give her genuine company. Talk to her. Ask her things, tell her your own anecdotes. Why should she feel she was married just to clear up everyone’s mess? How is it justified that she is isolated in the kitchen and everyone else is just sipping tea and enjoying some family time? Why can’t she also sit there and enjoy some time before going back to the kitchen? 

Why should she not be bitter?

If the in-laws are discussing something, why is the daughter-in-law asked to leave or the doors are closed so she would not listen. Where is the acceptance of her being family from the groom’s family? Isn’t this isolating the lady and making her feel she doesn’t belong or that she is not trusted enough to be talked in front of? Or involved in family communication? Why bother with asking her to adjust and accommodate when the husband’s family is not ready to do the same for her? It is even more bothering when the family criticizes everything – the food she cooks, the way she cleans, the way she dresses. Everything. Somehow the mother-in-law is always perfect and the daughter-in-law is filled with mistakes and imperfections. After putting all day in cooking if all the family says is “Noonie tchus ni” how is she going to feel? How will she warm up to anyone in the family if every time she does anything they start pointing out faults instead of praising what is good. If she doesn’t know what is appreciated, how is she going to increase the occurrence of that? For the criticism, everyone will tell her she should ignore it but even if a single drop of water is leaking from a tap, over a period of time the stone underneath that leaking tap is hollowed out. If something as hard as stone gets pierced with water, what would happen to a human heart constantly under criticism? How will it grow fond of the family? Why wouldn’t she think all her efforts are a waste and it is no fun even being alive in the first place? 

If not bitter than what? 

Then add to that the fact that many times the ladies have to bear all of this without the option of moving out. Even when it is their right, bestowed by the Almighty, the husband will refuse to move out because he has to care for his family. So when things go haywire and there is a quarrel, they will threaten the lady with divorce. In many cases the mother-in-law will instigate her son against his own wife and he being a mother-worshiper will act on it without thinking. Asking the wife to be in line, become a slave of his mother, stop living even and make sure she is happy. When that does not happen as per the mother’s satisfaction, it will further instigate the guy to have a divorce and find a better wife. If somehow the relationship survives, how does anyone expect her to love and respect her in-laws after what all they do to make her life hell. 

She has given up on building the relationships and putting effort and energy when there is nothing going in her way. She turns into a helicopter mom and forms and unhealthy relationship and dependency with her children, and then the whole cycle repeats.

It is a blessing onto the family that she is merely bitter and has not turned into something else.  

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