Hello everybody, hope you’ll are doing well. I haven’t been writing very frequently lately as I was having a down time. Around a month ago I slipped and fell from the stairs while visiting my parents place and while I was having a few days of bed rest, I got to spend some leisure time and during that time I realized that I’ve been only focusing on my blog and ignoring my social media for a long time and there’s no balance between the time that I spend on my blog and on my Instagram. I decided to focus only on my Instagram for a few days and then start afresh with a healthy balance between the both. However, things didn’t go as planned and I became too lazy that it’s been over a month and I’m still unable to balance my time and thus have been ignoring my blog for some time. Every morning I’ve been deciding that today I’ll write a blog post but when it’s time, I’m like “a few more minutes on Instagram and then I’ll open my laptop” and before I know, it’s bed time already. So today I decided to write another offbeat post for a change, maybe it will help me get back on track?
I’ll be very honest, this 1 month of professionally down time that I had, was amazing when it comes to my personal life. We went to the movies, spent too much time together, bought another instrument and did a few fun photoshoots. We are having the best time together (*touchwood) since we met 6 years ago. And it’s a pleasant surprise since things weren’t this smooth 4-5 months ago. I’ve always been open and frank about my personal life and it’s not going to change. You see, being a hardcore feminist, I was always mentally prepared that my ideology is going to affect my relationship and my marriage. In my society, gender equality is not something a girl can easily get, but I grew up to a pair of strong, liberal parents who didn’t love their girls any less than how much they would have loved their son (if they had any). I was allowed to do a lot of things (including going to a solo trip) that most girls in my society can only dream of. And apart from that, I belong to a Luso-Indian community and our culture is a lot different (and more liberal) than the native culture, which is more of the reasons why I was raised not as a girl, but as a human being in general.
When I got married to my husband who’s from the native community, the diversity was both beautiful and hard. The hard part? Gender equality is a concept alien to them. As the tradition goes women have to follow all these rules while men have to follow no rules at all. Married women have to wear the white bangles, the red bangles and the iron bangles all the time and wear vermilion on her head for the well-being of her husband while the husband has to do literally nothing for his wife, as if her well-being means nothing to anyone. This is just one of the many rules that women in our society have to follow. While another rule is for women to wear only the traditional attire for weeks (and months and sometimes forever) after the wedding, while men can go back to their regular-wear just a couple of days after the wedding. It’s not fair, is it? The days that followed my wedding wasn’t very pleasant to be honest. I knew my husband is not misogynist to the least, but right during and after the wedding, he became one to please everybody else (except me). When I was forced to follow ridiculous and unfair rules, I began questioning him, why do only I have to follow the rules and not him. He thought I’m disrespecting his culture and his tradition. I wasn’t, I didn’t refuse to wear the traditional wear for weeks, I wore it, but I also asked him why isn’t he wearing a traditional wear too? I knew it was affecting my relationship, but I’m not the type of person who silently follows what she’s being told. And at the same time I was also worried where my marriage is headed because we were fighting just days after the wedding.
After a few months went by and nosey relatives finally decided to get some rest, things took a turn for the better. On the other hand, I too was tired of questioning everything and started following some of the rules even if with a grumpy face. The moment I stopped fighting and questioning all the rules, my husband started noticing by himself the inconvenience caused by some of the baseless rules. He started noticing that I was getting allergic rashes on my hands from the white bangles (that are made of sea shells) without having to mention it myself, and asked me to only wear them around his family and relatives. And during allergy season, he asked me not to wear them at all, and explained his parents as to why I’m not wearing them. This is the same person, who was fighting with me some months ago, saying I’m disrespecting his culture while I was only questioning why I’m forced to wear them against my will. I know it sucks that we have to answer for what I wear and what I don’t, but according to the superstition, if a married woman removes her 3 types of bangles, her husband dies and yes, even educated people believes it.
Anyway, what I’m trying to say is, the moment I stopped fighting about everything, he started noticing the inconveniences. Maybe it was me, maybe I was fighting too much that he was always on a defence mode, defending his culture and defending the beliefs of his family. But we did work it out; we didn’t head towards where I feared we would. The misogynistic remarks from his distant relatives that used to offend me soon disappeared along with them once the wedding hype was over. Looking back now, I feel stupid for fighting with him over something his distant relatives said whom we never met except for the wedding. They don’t know me, they don’t know that we decided to have a gender equal marriage, that we decided to share the bills and to share the chores, they don’t know us. And I wasted way too much time on people I shouldn’t have. They say marriage is in between two people, but in Indian culture, they say a girl just doesn’t marry the groom, she marries his whole family. But trust me, when it comes to our marriage, the moment we stopped focusing on people other than the two of us, we worked things out and couldn’t believe that we spent the first one month of our married life fighting over these silly issues.
Currently I’m sitting here wishing we had this level of understanding right when we got married so we wouldn’t have wasted the very special month focused on other people. And I know deep within, that hadn’t we worked things out like we did, I probably would have opted for a marriage counselor within the following few months. I’m always vocal and open about the necessity of therapy and counseling and I know how important it is to visit a marriage counselor if your relationship doesn’t turn out the way you thought it would. In our case, I knew both of us seemed right from our own view points. For me, fighting for gender equality became more important than my marriage, for him, protecting the sentiment of his family and relatives became more important. What we desperately needed was a reality check. We’ve been married for just 6 months, and there are more years and more fights to come. And I’m already mentally prepared that if (God forbid) situations ever turn back like it was 4 months ago, or if ever other people become more important in our marriage, I’m going straight to a marriage counselor’s office.
People often relate marriage counselling to failed marriages but I think it’s more than that. The reason for visiting a marriage counselor doesn’t always have to be heavy. It can be as silly as to get an unbiased opinion. Imagine you and your spouse are having different opinion and viewpoints and you are able to get the opinion of someone unbiased, someone none of you are related to, someone with a degree in psychology, someone who’ll guide you without taking sides. I think it’s healthy, because talking to a marriage counselor is a sign that you value your marriage and are open to the idea of getting help to save your marriage.