Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Adjusting in an Indian Marriage

Whenever there is talk of an Indian girl getting married, there is this word--adjust. When I was in college, my friends would say, "You're so adjusting, you'll have no problems when you get married."
I have heard that bit of dialog repeated with little variation by so many people over so many years. So many of my friends have accepted this adjustment as a fact of their marital lives. Friends who till that point had shown so much spunk and independence. And no, economic dependence or independence, or education or the lack of it seems to have nothing to do with it. It is not only the "housewives" but also the ones who are earning a living for themselves who adjust in a marriage.

I don't know if it is difficult to overturn a practice because everybody is following it? Is it really that difficult to resist years of cultural conditioning? Or is it because the players involved themselves want to take the easy way out -- the path of least resistance?

Do read Sibyl's Indian wives and power.

4 comments:

niti bhan said...

There is only so much that you can adjust before there is no 'you' left. imho. good point though. thanks.

Sibyl said...

Hi, thanks for the referral.

You say:
I don't know if it is difficult to overturn a practice because everybody is following it? Is it really that difficult to resist years of cultural conditioning?

All I know is that if you get into a situation created by others, you have very few choices unless you want to actively rebel. The question is, can you afford to (rebel)?

Also, realisation and clear thought come only afterwards--most of us don't know when we are powerless, and some live in denial.

mandar talvekar said...

Hi Sibyl,
You ask a very pertinent question when you say can the "adjusting" girl afford to rebel. But I think Niti answers it in a way -- There's always a limit to adjustment -- it is upto the person to draw that line.

And while it may be difficult for a person who is financially dependent on the spouse to refuse to adjust for practical reasons -- i don't feel there's any dignity left in such a relationship. And the line should be drawn before the person gets into such a situation.

Anonymous said...

I beg to differ on this. Its not so much financial dependence, but it’s the desperate attempt to live up to the social definition of a “good homemaker/spouse” that forces people to adjust. We adjust because we don’t want to disturb the existing truce (that is in place as a result of another set of adjustments may be), we adjust to live up to expectations of people who matter (near and dear ones and all that), we adjust so that we don’t find ourselves all alone standing on the other end of the “line” drawn to restore dignity. Dignity and therefore drawing line is fine, but the stigma that comes with the “divorced” or for that matter “rebel” tags makes life very difficult for these people. What say people?