If you are a PDSM (you know, Post-divorce single mother), just like me and 13 million other living and breathing humans in India alone, then just like me, you too have gone into stages of a maddening afterthought, sleepless nights, wrecked nights, and hangovers in the lull that you find in your life in the period right after your divorce.
It is during this lull stage that previously overlooked questions, come to mind. And try as hard as you may, they soon become unavoidable.
The most crucial question why your ‘happily married’ parents didn’t take you aside and talk to you about life after marriage instead of showing you boxes upon boxes of jewellery?
Why didn’t they ask you if you were happy, really happy instead of asking you if you preferred saffron yellow or salmon pink (LOL for all the Ross fans reading) for your Sangeet function?
Why didn’t they prepare you for the bigger questions in a marriage and instead told you to respect and love your in-laws as you would your own family?
Why was marriage never a topic of discussion in the family, but Bollywood inspired muck was allowed to take up space in your head?
But instead of asking the questions for which lies no answers, let us break down what Brown Parents should talk about necessarily before sending their daughters off into holy matrimony
1. Kyunki Saans is a Saans only
Many mothers and mothers-in-law deceive the bride-to-be by telling her blatant bluffs like that ‘Apna Ghar samjho’, ‘You can study after getting married also, nobody will stop you’, ‘You can continue working, but the cherry topping on this cake of lies is, ‘Mother-in-law is like your mother only’, the key operative word being ‘like’. This lie is like telling a goat that he is going to a spa when in actuality his neck is going to be cut because just like that goat, the bride to is going with a head full of hopes only to have them quashed at the patio of her new home.
Parents, listen up, be upfront with your daughters and tell them exactly what it is going to be like once the leave the comforts of Papa’s home, break it down for them because only you can prepare them for a life that is so different from the one that they are used to. Tell your daughters that while a Saans can be loved and respected, to never equate that with the relationship with a mother, which is and should be kept separate. This will help to set better expectations and boundaries in new relationships too.
2. Daughters still have their place in their pre-marital homes
Dear Parents, when you send off your jigar ka tukda away, make sure you also tell them beforehand that while arguments and fights are commonplace within a marriage, that if ever these fights were to take even the tiniest shape of abuse, they can come back home to rest their heads in familiar territory and to catch their breath.
3. It’s all about the money i.e.; Financial Independence
One of the most common practices that is still condoned is that girls are plucked out from school/college and made to see prospective grooms, on the promise that they can continue their studies after their marriages too.
More often than not, this does not happen.
Parents, don’t do this. Not only is this traumatic to the bride, but also the times have changed.
Value your daughters life enough to allow her to make a choice in the matters of her education or marriage and understand that a Woman being independent does not lend to the emasculation of her husband or his family.
4. Martyrdom is not a good outfit to wear
It could be that our mothers and their mothers before them were Mother India’s and laid their life down for their kids and family, but the times are different now. More women are getting educated and working towards greater financial independence. Women are also socialising by themselves or with their own group of friends a lot more than before, which has proven to be a great boon to their mental health and ultimately to their relationships. So, dear parents, encourage your daughters to have a life for themselves before you get them hooked on to a never-ending life of responsibilities. It no longer an izzat ki baat, it’s about mental health.
5. The Sex could be sloppy and you can say No!
Ah, the most abhorred topic but a very necessary one for parents to have with their children in Desi culture, Sex!
Sex is often not understood or is completely misunderstood in desi circles, by the young and old alike. Since sex education is completely unheard of, with else does the responsibility of educating children lie? No, not playboy, Parents!
If not the talk about organs and safe touch, it’s about consent and giving children the understanding that they can say no to their husbands and that sexual fulfillment is a two-way street. Women no longer have to lie back and take it for fear of their husbands going wayside, this assurance and handholding support has to be given by the parents.
This is my take on essential conversations to be had before a marriage, do you have any more, do let us know in the comments below!