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Updated: December 3, 2011 10:09 IST

Breathing space in a marriage

Ranjani Sathish
Comment (116)   ·   print   ·   T  T  
The Hindu

These days, it is common to see every other marriage breaking apart in Indian society, just a few years after the grand wedding day. I am not pained by the fact that the marriages are breaking up. It is better that a marriage be dissolved, if two incompatible people have to suffer each other throughout their life time or if there is some kind of abuse involved.

But what saddens me are those cases, where married life is ruined by the interference from the man's parents. This happens typically in a joint family system, where the son and his wife are expected to stay with the parents. The urge to stay with the married son, stems from a strong possessive feeling on the part of the mother. Slowly, the tentacles of possessiveness start spreading around in every aspect of the adult son's life, throttling the daughter-in-law. The girl starts gasping for breath and is forced to look at her choices. If nothing works out, she finally opts for peace of mind — by walking out of the marriage.

Why is it that the mothers of adult sons find it difficult to let go of the attachment, which blinds their eyes and makes them do despicable things? If she wants to ensure that no emotional intimacy develops between the son and his wife, why get the son married in the first place? Why does she fail to think of the bride as a young, sensitive person full of her own dreams and ideas about her married life? Why is it that the in-laws cannot trust their son to remember his duties towards them, even if he got married? Is it the lack of faith in their own upbringing that makes them insecure?

I am not even talking about the infirm elders, who have to stay with children due to ill-health. I am talking about financially well=off people, who are healthy in mind and body and quite capable of staying by themselves. What is the need to micromanage the son and his wife's lives, staying closely?

Shifting our attention to the daughter-in-law, the bride is no longer the really young bride of 14 years, who steps into a new house and absorbs the traditions of that house. Circumstances have changed now and mostly the girl first steps out of her house to live in a hostel for a college education. Then follow higher education and job. By the time the urban woman is ready for marriage, she is well into her mid-twenties, established her career, knowledgeable about the outside world and financially quite independent. So what does such a woman look for in a marriage? She looks for love, companionship, respect and understanding from her spouse.

If every day is a struggle, wherein the husband's behaviour is dictated by the parents-in-law, if her life is not panning out as she dreamed and if every aspect of her adult life is constantly monitored and supervised by other people, what happiness does she get? What is wrong if she wants to move out with her husband so that she gets the much needed personal space? Why is she called a family breaker when she has every right to a happy life and the choice to live the life she wants? How can a woman who is so smart and independent in her professional life manage the contradictions in her personal life?

What about the son who is the common binding factor for both the parties involved? The typical reactions are usually one of these — a) the son is emotionally torn between his wife and mother and incapable of arriving at a decision; b) he is so completely brainwashed by his parents, that he starts believing that his wife is really evil, for wanting to go away and spend her life with him and not with his parents; c) the son breaks off with his parents on a really bad note and goes out with his wife.

Would it not be easier for everyone, if the son's parents gracefully allowed the son and his wife to move out, if that is what they desired? The breathing space certainly ensures a healthy and happy relation among all the people involved, for a lifetime.

(The writer's email id is:


Not a wife waiting to happenNovember 26, 2011

Even though my data may not be a statistically representative sample, I find the scenario painted by Ranjani is the norm rather than the exception. My husband and I moved to another country to get some peace and have low stress family life. I would warn people contemplating this option - this is not fool-proof either. My mother-in-law has found a way to 'teach me a lesson' by berating me to all our family and friends. Writes constant hate mail and lays a 'guilt trip' on my husband. We provide solid financial support for them to live in luxury compared to their prior living standards - no matter, the hate mail continues unabated. Over the course of my 30 year marriage I have been subjected to all manner of abuse including denial of food (when my husband was not around). If you are a daughter-in-law in this situation, pledge to yourself to break the cycle by treating your future daughter-in-law like you would have liked to be treated by your mother-in-law. This is the only solution.

from:  Swathi
Posted on: Dec 3, 2011 at 08:38 IST

why in a marriage every time the girl have to leave her house.What about her parents.What if a couple have only girl children.Marry them off and be alone there whole life.All are worried a lot of the guys parents being alone, posessive and all.No one want to even think of the girls parents being alone in there old age...that is like they are destined to be alone.Issue comes only when a boy is seperated from his family....why so

from:  Anjali.B
Posted on: Dec 2, 2011 at 17:08 IST

Dear Rajani, thank you for writing this article. It expresses the exact emotional turmoil I am going through right now.In spite of being an advocate I am at a loss to react to my life situation fearing the society that we live in.Legally speaking not getting breathing space in a marriage due to mother- in- law's possessiveness over her son amounts to her causing mental cruelty.The retaliation you have got as comments is proving to me again the fact that this society will never sympathize with a daughter- in- law, who enters a marriage with only positive hopes and wanting to give due respect to her in- laws but gets accused and cornered without being given a chance. Anyhow the society is only capable of pointing fingers- its left to us, daughter- in- laws to live our lives through this torture.And what people have to understand is: no,maybe not all daughter- in- laws in India are facing this situation but there are many who are going through exactly what's mentioned in Rajani's article.

from:  Adv. Vasundhara Ravi
Posted on: Dec 2, 2011 at 13:55 IST

This piece, typical of "educated,employed and economically independent" brides, is characteristic of paranoid persons.Education that fails to ennoble a person is a mere label.Perhaps the selfish arguments might have been different if the husbands were violent and of bad habits. When a bride, a recent entrant into the family, stakes exclusive claim on husband,an MIL who nurtured her son with perennial love and care for years, has undeniable right of "possessive spirit" over him. The bride had better married an orphan to obviate the problems of in-laws. Life without human relationship is inconceivable.

from:  G.Rajaram.
Posted on: Dec 2, 2011 at 09:03 IST

it all comes down to financial independence!! if the parents and the girl doesn't dependent on anybody (son/husband) for money, then there is whole lot room for privacy/ civilization. as long as there is dependency on the son/husband for money, the pandora box remains open. and if anyone says, this is not true, why are we educating the girls and employing them?? for financial independence, right?? why??........................

from:  chithra kumar
Posted on: Dec 1, 2011 at 18:22 IST

I totally condemn this article and it corrupts our indian society.
Girls with attitudes like the writer are better of getting married to "foreigners" instead of Indians. "Foreigner" would live as long as he likes and would get out of the relationship when he wishes.
Nobody is forcing the girl to live when she feels she isn't treated fair. She has every right to walk off by HERSELF. Why would she prefer to walk out only with the groom there by calling "no breathing space/blaming inlaws"? Is it because he is the banker and gives her an identity in society? When the newly married girl wants to save identity in society, how can she destroy the identity of parents who have built their family? She has no right to do that and a man is not a man, when he can't inculcate indian culture at home.
When the girl learns to adapt to live with the boy, why not she learn to adapt to live with his parents as well. Its just for girl's convenience she blames on inlaws to widen gap.

from:  Suji
Posted on: Dec 1, 2011 at 14:15 IST

Phisically stable or not, parents have much to get and to give by their children as well as grand-children. Whether you are a grand-parent,parent, child or grand-child, the vices within you can never be a reason to detach you from the other, instead, they are to be corrected.
Inspite of being taught that 'man is a social animal' the more our children get educated the more they become selfish. Take the case of road you are travelling on everyday. Can you guess how many hudreds or even thousands of people might have shed thier blood for years , so that, you may travel safe and comfortable on this road?. If this is the case,how fast the people are forgetting that the family is the primary unit of the society? The thoght of freedom and enjoyment has made the people devoid of commitment to their own parents and society.
A child is connected to the society by a natural dual-linkage system; vertical and horizontal. The first is the traditional linkage like parents and grand-parents

from:  Sayyid Fazal
Posted on: Dec 1, 2011 at 13:56 IST

Author seems to watching too much of TV serial.
We are now married for over 32 years started in a Joint Family.
My wife was employed. My mother treated her like her daughter.
When my mother passed away visiting us in Hong Kong my wife
went in to depression missing her.
My mother told me just before my marriage which took place when
I was 25, at any cost you should let down your wife under all circumstances.
If you find there is a fault in perception tell her privately and not in my presence.

from:  Ravi
Posted on: Dec 1, 2011 at 03:50 IST

Very interesting article.Even if the couple lives separately from the boy's parents,
there are many instances where the girl still does not get the breathing space.In
such cases the boy considers as if he has done a favour on the girl and prick her
every now and then with harsh words.What if he considers that the girl has took
him away from his relatives? And regarding micromanagement from the boys
parents, it does not fade away with just shifting to a nuclear family.The technology
has developed so much that micromanagement can take place from any nook of
the world.It is high time that couples have mutual respect and understanding .
Both the girls parents and the boys parents must be treated equally because we no
longer leave in a society where girls are brought up only to marry,cook and give

from:  Lakshmi Prasad
Posted on: Dec 1, 2011 at 02:24 IST

How very right! Parents seem to have forgotten that their roles in all current movies have shifted from being the villians/ teachers/ role models to comedians and bystanders to clap in marriages

from:  Pratim Banerjee
Posted on: Nov 30, 2011 at 23:19 IST

Ranjini its really excellent article.And obviously male breed cant understand all this facts because male breed is always selfish. Either his wife cries or mother is unhappy they want themselves to be happy free from burden.They dont worry about anyone.Guys who give solution will either make his mother happy or his wife or neither. Guys who dont have the capacity to balance better dont marry.See comment "When asked "Do you still live with your parents?is it so common in india?"". The point is that "your" refers to husband's parents not wife's.I dont understand why do everyone talk about orphanage,old age,parents should be taken care sort off stuffs.I jus want to ask this question to folks like MaheshRajannan,Sameer,Srinath,Sajeer Fazil,Saurabh,M ArunRamachandran,A C Soundararajan,VinayKumar &others."If a guy's parents should be taken careof so importantly then what about teh girl's parents?Can they be left as such ?" &"If a guys wants to stay with parents why shud not girl wishthe same

from:  Kruthiga
Posted on: Nov 30, 2011 at 16:55 IST

Nice topic was headed in Hindu, But Ranjani fails to put her views from the Girl's Family. Now a Days the most difficult thing is managing the Mother in law and their family from Man's prespective. If she is the only daughter, they are thinking like they are the Most efficient parents in the earth and wants to intervent in All aspects happening between the couple.

from:  Srini
Posted on: Nov 30, 2011 at 16:38 IST

One of the worst mindset Rajani. Worst article.

from:  Santhosh
Posted on: Nov 30, 2011 at 16:17 IST

I personally feel that this article is published late by at least 20 years. 6 Out of 10 married in this decade are either living with girl’s family or separately. It is now felt that those who are having girl babies are luckiest since they are more attached and the sons in lows have no problem to get along with their parent-in-laws. More over we are in the era of growing old age homes and love marriages. It seems we will further move to "living together" "remarriages", may be finally "survival of the fittest to their convenience". We can only pray and dream that it takes a U turn and goes back to old traditions.

from:  S. Ramachandramoorthy
Posted on: Nov 30, 2011 at 14:20 IST

The article dwels upon a wrong notion that all the woes of a daughter-in-law & breking a family is on account of the in-laws. On the contrary if today's bride take a positive view and if she could be diplomatic & patient she could easily win over the mother-in law in a short time. She as a new entrant to the elder's company she should have the wisdom & foresight to create a good will by a better inter-personal relationship. Such an attitude will pave the way for better understanding and foster a favourable response from the in-laws which will in the long run create a win win situation for both the bride & her in-laws. Days have gone the conservative attitude of the elderly people have undergone a sea change & in the process they have a better understaning of the new generation. Unlike the previous set of in-laws they have learnt lessons & have realised the practical approach. In this context the bride can take advantage and try to be as a part and parcel of her husband's family.peemg

from:  p.m.gopalan
Posted on: Nov 30, 2011 at 12:15 IST

Ranjani Sathish is absolutely right. Possessiveness and Selfishness are siblings. If only Mothers in law pause for a moment and assess themselves what they had been to their mother in law. The leadership in a family is the duty of the Man and not his mother. I wonder why mother in law do not express the same possessive attitude towards their own daughters!!

from:  Mary Thomas
Posted on: Nov 30, 2011 at 06:13 IST

Having parents at home is a great help especially when raising children.
Either through school curricula or through some others means some sort
of education/skills should be given to both men and women about this
aspect of life so that they are better prepared for their married life.

Regarding breathing space, I suggest that wife and husband spend some
personal time together every weekend and also take at least one vacation
per year.

from:  kalyan
Posted on: Nov 30, 2011 at 03:18 IST

What is interesting is that the incompatibility between the Boy's
family and the girl arises because of social backwardness of the
former. While the boy wants a bride who is educated, smart, social and
independent which is so opposite of who he and his family is, the girl
also expects the same from the groom. When the boy and the family
realize that the girl is 'socially not as backward" as they are, they
start to create problems for her telling her that she cannot wear
this, nor do this, she should not go to work, to the extent that she
cannot even travel to her parents or even speak with her parents
and/or meet with her siblings. I cannot emphasize how difficult it can
be for young brides, who are of the variety mentioned in the article
who find themselves in new countries not knowing the local language,
and having no money of her own, she is utterly reliant on her husband
who has been told neither to spend a penny on his wife nor to give her
any money ever.

from:  response to human
Posted on: Nov 29, 2011 at 22:29 IST

This is a totally biased story and the Mother in law of bride is portrayed with ill. The author mentions that Urban Bride is financially independent and has a fair knowledge of the world affairs. Since an urban bride required love, companionship, respect and understanding from her spouse she is in marriage. But is that alone sufficient for a marriage? Does she not have role in welfare of her husband family?

from:  R.Srihari Raghavan
Posted on: Nov 29, 2011 at 16:23 IST

Dear friends
All the time the difference of opinion surfaces between women only ie mother in law Vs daughter in law, who the Boss is.
So please do not pass on the Bug on MEN.
Sons are the victim of the circumstances. All the time he is in Dilema whom to side.
Ultimately the children are the most affected about whom none are bothered.
In the name of modernized society women are losing the"Femine touch" which is one of the specialised gift provided to them by GOD.
With that they can conquer anything in this world.
So let us not widen the gap.

from:  christopher
Posted on: Nov 29, 2011 at 14:30 IST

Nice topic!! The root cause is insecurity of parents that their son would opt his wife instead of them . in my view it is whole and sole responsibilty of the son to make them realise 'how important they are' by giving them respect and love they deserve but make them realise too that his wife is part of the family now and they should accept her like they accepted him unconditionally.

from:  Dev
Posted on: Nov 29, 2011 at 10:47 IST

The writer talks about joint families. But from my experience even living far apart mother-in-laws can make the life of the daughter-in-law hell. Don't they ever feel they have also been a daughter-in-law some point in their life?

from:  Aishwarya
Posted on: Nov 29, 2011 at 06:10 IST

Ranjani, first of all, I appreciate the depiction of the present day in-laws in your article. As few people commented here, no one can depict multi-faceted points in a small article. It can well suit only in an anthological movies. Superb! I really wish our readers are mature to understand your wordings. All, please understand that it is one of the problem in today's joint family system. Though I dont wish to break families, I agree with the author that mother's should understand their children's desires and live accordingly.

from:  Karthik
Posted on: Nov 29, 2011 at 02:04 IST

Am not married though but i strongly believe there is no problem in this world that cannot be resolved by an open talk. 99.99% of the people (be it the girl/boy/his-parents) are really good at heart. I am pretty sure this would have never happened in most of the divorce cases. Life is not always black and white. If people are not mature enough to handle these situations carefully then whats there to say other than having to say sorry.

from:  Ramesh
Posted on: Nov 29, 2011 at 00:05 IST

Actually, even if I agree to the author for sake of argument, it only proves how femininist propaganda is sending husbands and families to jail. So while the reason of breaking up of marriage is mere interference from husband's family(as seen from perspective of girls), usually that separation results in FIR filed in dowry harrasment cases. That is why Supreme Court says dowry harrasment cases have become legal terrorism.

from:  AA
Posted on: Nov 28, 2011 at 23:38 IST

SPACE FOR SPOUSE The open page article ‘No space of her own for the
daughter in law’ (Nov.27) by Ranjani Sathish was sentimentally heart-
touching. In fact, it nearly reminded me of the drama serials where
such scenes and situations prevail in an atmosphere of anxiety and
fretfulness. But, on the other hand, in a society where mothers are
worshipped as gods, it is unfortunate to read such commentaries and
articles. Obviously, we should comprehend that it is only for our sake
and well-being, the mothers, at times explode emotionally when they
feel that their sons are going out of their hand. May be, their
trepidation would have been that they would be left all alone after
the daughter’s-in-law ingress. Poor mothers! How could we blame them?
Of course, I would like to paraphrase Tagore’s words and quote,
‘Inscrutable are the ways of a mother’s heart’.

Posted on: Nov 28, 2011 at 18:51 IST

The issue today is not the mother-in-laws. Its the attitude of know it
all young brides who spoil the family life of the guy without even
getting to know what the guy wants. If you dont want to live in as a
community why get married to a person who likes a joint family and spoil
his happiness ??? I think these issues raised by author is limited to
"so called educated" brides who calculates married life like a balance
sheet of companies rather than an emotional bond.

from:  Prasanth
Posted on: Nov 28, 2011 at 18:10 IST

Its simple logic, put yourself in opposite persons position and think. Yes for sure there will be some disconnect between an educated girl and old fashioned/not well educated MIL. Adjusting and sheer patience from both end will resolve a lot of conflicts. There should be some more articles on advantages of Indian joint family culture over Nuclear family. wihthout a hue of patience and adjustability, Joint families dont flourish.

from:  Srinivas
Posted on: Nov 28, 2011 at 17:22 IST

Dear Writer, can you come up with correct statistics about how many
couples go for divorce in 2 sets? First set is the number of couples
staying with boy's parents (or joint families) and second set of the
number of couples who stay separately.
No body is against development but if just adopting everything from
the west is the objective then why dont the parents in India also
adopt the same? They should kick out their children out of their
houses the moment they turn 13 years and let them think, do, live on
their own!! No Rights and hence no duties.
It is really sad to see that you are advocating nuclear families where
now a days boy's parents are treated more like nanny's who would get a
unpaid job once their son and daughter-in-law get a child in their
It is even more sad to see that you just targeted the parents of the
boy as it is the remote management of girl's parents that is the
trouble for all troubled marriages.
I will not be surprised when you write next on great 498A.

from:  Human
Posted on: Nov 28, 2011 at 17:10 IST

The Indian marriages are breaking bcos of the awareness being created by like article and women who just want their husband to be used as ATM machine and break the family. This breed so call Educated urban women misusing the Indian laws fo their sake. The day you will be mother will understand the bondage between son and his family.

Ridiculous biased one sided article. Deeply condemn from bottom of my heart.

from:  Vinay Kumar
Posted on: Nov 28, 2011 at 16:54 IST

This is really a interesting topic, I have some views over here 1. Parents should defiently try to be open mind towards their son and daughter in law. 2. Parents should also try to be finacially independent of son / daughter (as it is been expected by some daughters parent's ) 3.Daughters and Sons should be trained that both will have to adjust and understand each others point of view. 4. Every thing has advantages and disadvantages like nucleur family and joint family. 5. Everyone in the family has a role to play and accordingly everyone should be respected and mutually respected. 6. At the time of marriage both bride/ Groom should make their expectation and desire from partner very clear.

from:  RPN
Posted on: Nov 28, 2011 at 16:32 IST

You point of view is worth to give a thought about but still you are speaking only on one side of the coin. You need to consider the other side of coin about inlaws staying with their son. Parents are the people who has given birth and brought him in such a way where a resourceful, confident, well-educated, earning and independent girl can admire and accept him to be her lifetime-partner. Why does parents are to be sent out of home or why the newly wedded couple has to live away from her inlaws just because she is educated and independent. If she can manage so well with egoistic boss and incompatible colleagues at office then why cant she manage or get along with her husband's parents.
Okay if at all the case is where the mother-in-law(in most of the cases) is intentionally not allowing the new bride to get close to her husband and pulling the legs of the new bride. Then your arguments are considerable.Otherwise, the new bride has to understand that her husband's family is her family

from:  Rama
Posted on: Nov 28, 2011 at 14:52 IST

Such issues are matters of personal and family preferences. Each person has the right to take one's decision and call the shots.w.r.t thier own experience, understanding or prejudice.
No evil meant and no beast glorified. Public debate on such issues is of lesser relevance. I hope we get to read much more broad minded articles.

from:  Raghav
Posted on: Nov 28, 2011 at 14:48 IST

that was a good piece, Ranjani.
there have been comments galore. anil kumar talks of the culture that has stood the test of time.
those days girls were married off early and in a hurry to make way for the new in law and pa in law had a gala time as the DIL depended on them for and shelter and she in turn procreated fairly regularly with a decent number of male children in her score card.
her upliftment,empowerment,education and financial standing has been leaping to newer heights. but society chose to play it down like we do to the problems related to the case of our population bursting at the seams.and the wise people of the in laws' family have been propounding primitive and hollow dictum to the DIL.
one way traffic works only for the roads at the behest of the police. not in real life.marriage is a new stage in one's life.leave to the will evolve in a healthy way.

from:  revathi s.
Posted on: Nov 28, 2011 at 14:00 IST

I is thinging that a Mother in Law is a common binding factor of the daughter's husband's mother and the daughter's husband's father's wife is the same and is one and only Mother in Lw. This think was very common in Iraq and Italy, and is slowly coming on India, because of the common factor. I wish the author all the best in all her endeavours.

from:  Rajumon
Posted on: Nov 28, 2011 at 13:46 IST

Marraiges are between two souls - Husband and Wife. If they understand each other well, everything falls in place. I thiink this article would have been relevant 10 - 15 years back, not anymore.
What about the divorces that are due to DIL and MIL (Daugter's Parents) intolerance towards the man's parents. This is equally pronouncd these days. What is your advise for such DILs?

from:  Raj
Posted on: Nov 28, 2011 at 12:50 IST

This is a highly one-sided article. The author seems to be hell bent on moving away and blames the in-laws for this. I guess for people with such an attitude, a marriage is not required. There are more problems in a nuclear family than the joint one. The other side is always green

from:  Giri
Posted on: Nov 28, 2011 at 11:39 IST

A lot of the (male) commenters above have spoken about how important
it is to provide for one's aging parents, take care of them, give back
to them etc... but none of them has talked about their readiness to do
the same for the parents of the bride. How chauvinistic is that! If
the girl is ready to step out from her parental home to build a proper
married life, how come the groom isn't ready to do so? And if he
isn't, why is he even looking to get married in the first place?
If the couple give equal care and attention to parents of both sides,
it would be fair. (Though ideally, the young couple need to grow and
bond in their own private space, with parents from either side coming
over for the occasional visit..) It's horribly unjust to see that only
the boy's parents get that privilege... no wonder in India there is
such a bias against the girl-child!

from:  Mjc
Posted on: Nov 28, 2011 at 11:34 IST

Ranjani , your article is only showing the half part. This story shows that woman is a victim and a man and his parents are criminals. You have not shown the other part of the story where wife is real criminal and wants to separate her husband from his mother and father and wants her husband to join her parents. There are many marriages which has been broken by wife's mother and father's interference.

Since you are a journalist I would request you to either refrain writing such biased articles or if you want to write such articles please do write from both the sides.
Just visualise if you have a son and your sons wife keep on nagging and tell the whole world that her marriage broke because of you will you accept it? No good parents on earth will try to destory their son or daughters married life. Please stop blaming parents . Even our hinduism says "Matha , Pitha , Guru , God" .

from:  Pravin
Posted on: Nov 28, 2011 at 11:15 IST

I get many calls as a counsellor for men who are facing constant interference from in-laws of the like:
1. Soon after marriage, wife wants husband to throw out parents, EVEN THOUGH before marriage she said she is ok staying in same house with his parents
2. wife wants husband to break total contact with parents, siblings, basically all his relatives.
3. force hubby to buy a property /flat even if it means taking huge loan and stretching finances
4. take a house on rent separate from hubby's parents; but wait here's the beauty, take it NEAR to wife's parents. so the interference from wife's in-laws can be physical also not just through mobile phones.

from:  vivek
Posted on: Nov 28, 2011 at 11:14 IST

The suggestion that couples should set up home away from the man's parents to
provide the wife "breathing space” is disingenuous. How many couples can afford
a brand new home soon after marriage? (Harsh economics do not allow many to
even move into their own room after marriage). If moving out is the solution,
divorce rates wouldn’t be so high in the US where you move out as soon as you
reach adolescence and parents are often merely invitees at a wedding. Interference
in another's life is inbuilt into our psyches. It is a unique Indian delusion that we
know what is best for another whether that "other" is our own family, in laws or
even neighbors. While no one can find fault with the argument that it is pointless
to stay together if you are incompatible, marriage does involve a whole lot of
compromises, and a spirit of letting go. Stubbornness, and refusal to respect a
point of view different from one’s own are often at the root of marital discord and
for that you don’t need in laws.

from:  Dr. Narendra Nair
Posted on: Nov 28, 2011 at 09:37 IST

If the young hostel trained educated financially independent wife wants to move out then why is she coming in, in the first place? The answer is simple, "those who don't wanna be part of the community are not needed in the community".

from:  Prassoon Suryadas
Posted on: Nov 28, 2011 at 08:53 IST

The author has not written this article in a balanced way. While understanding that the bride needs a breathing space in a marriage,
more emphasis is on staying alone. Might be the author did not evaluate the benefits of staying with the elders, may be the brides parents or the bridegrooms, a single benefit, no creche's for the new born from 3 months onwards. And for a parent who in a indian culture has spend all his earnings for the upliftment of his son or daughter a monthly pension would not suffix. They need care too and we will also need the same in future.
We cannot copy western culture ,where you need to have a baby sitter right away after birth and have cams to supervise them.

from:  Maharajan
Posted on: Nov 28, 2011 at 08:12 IST

The article is very one-sided and has failed to investigate the issue
from both sides. The MIL being evil is such a cliche. Where women of
today's generation (incidentally I belong to the same generation) are
quite capable of making independent choices and are equally
responsible for becoming possessive, unreasonable and irrational when
it comes sharing life with the in-laws. Newly married, coming from a
nuclear family and living in a foreign land, I would give an arm and a
leg to be in a joint family. Maturity and Understanding is the key.
You need two to tango so there is no one guilty party. Wish the author
had done a better job of presenting a well-rounded perspective as
opposed a biased, one sided perspective in a public forum.

from:  Subha Anand
Posted on: Nov 28, 2011 at 03:09 IST

Well written ona real issue.As we have seen in real life & also depicted in serials nowadays, woman is th enemy o another woman. The mother is not willing to think that her son has become an adult & he has his own views and changed with age.She always thinks that the daughter in law is responsible for his son's change. Further, the son's parents also think that they have invested in their son so that they will be taken care of by the son. Though in Indian society where there is no social security for the elders, it may be the duty of the youngsters to take care of the parents(of both girl& the boy) the in-laws may allow the girl to live in peace without interfering in their daily life.Still the boy's parents think that the young couple are supposed to take care of only them & not support the girl's parents.

from:  Ram
Posted on: Nov 28, 2011 at 02:49 IST

More than the article, i love some of the comments :) The article is
cliched! I would need more light on what section of society the author
is talking about. In case of metropolitan/educated families, the story
is a misfit. Marriages break due to differences between the couples.
IMHO, families,especially parents, have graciously distanced
themselves from the couple over the last decade. Parents want their
kids to be happy at the end of the day. Cruel MIL, DIL, FILs donot
exist and we are not in K. Balanchander era any more where women need
their souls to be freed and opinions to be heard! I am representing
the section of women who are educated, exposed and mid twenties who
are married / looking forward to get married. I liked the comments of
Mukundan, Anil kumar, Mahesh Rajannan, Arun Kumar, Sajeer Fazil, Arun
Ramachandran and others which followed the same flavor of argument. It
would be great if the author can be more precise which section of
society that he/she wants to talk about.

from:  Vaidehi
Posted on: Nov 27, 2011 at 23:54 IST

There are some obvious yet interesting questions raised in the article. Nonetheless, most of the comments above focus on relationship between the newly married husband and wife, their egos, responsibilities and personalities. However, the root cause, as the article points out, is a possessive mother who has not seen her son (until he turns marriageable age) devote most of his time to another lady except her. A partial cause is the way the mother's own husband has treated her over the years, and another cause is that a woman in our culture has been limited to her house and finds it hard to find social, emotional and intellectual support in anyone else except her husband. As women become more independent, start working, and are treated like equals by their husbands, more mothers would find solace not only in their son, but also in their husband and other friends. Hopefully, the son will then be free of such motherly attachment and the newly wed couple will live their own life!

from:  Abhinav
Posted on: Nov 27, 2011 at 23:44 IST

A well analyzed subject; however,kudos to the Chettinad Communities who invariably
arrange to provide for and set up independent families for the son/s and daughter/s at the
earliest after a marriage in the family.Other than the Chettinad cuisine this aspect of family
life has to be emulated by the others in the interest of good family amity. They may arrange
for the upcoming family to be in the same neighborhood or in the same building as a
"separate family" but it has a healing touch in strengthening the bonds. Such a pattern
ensures that the good qualities of a joint family as well as "independence" &
interdependence - all successfully co-exist.

from:  MSVenkataraman
Posted on: Nov 27, 2011 at 22:55 IST

Very true but this is only one angle of a multi- faceted aspect..Not
only Grooms mothers tentacles but the over ambition of Bride creates a
problem for her to adjust in Marriage... Beside love and Compassion marriage has a wider perspective and meaning.It involves family and societal solidarity.. A married man and women are not isolated unit. They are having important contribution to the Society...

from:  Sandeep Pandey
Posted on: Nov 27, 2011 at 22:51 IST

Very true but this is only one angle of a multi- faceted aspect..Not
only Grooms mothers tentacles but the overambition of Bride creates a
problem for her to adjust in Marraige... Beside love and Compassion
marraige has awider prespective and meaning.It involves family and
societial solidarity.. A married man and women are not isolated unit.
THey are having important contribution to the Society...

from:  Sandeep Pandey
Posted on: Nov 27, 2011 at 22:50 IST

I just want to bring your attention towards the biased laws in India
which are supporting women unreasonably. The wife's of today are simply
asking a bit too much. one sided Laws like 498 A, Domestic violence etc
have given women a chance to exploit their husbands. More than 1 lakh
arrests are done every year in these cases and almost all of them on
false grounds.I request all men out there to be aware of these laws and
be safe while getting married.

from:  Sam
Posted on: Nov 27, 2011 at 21:58 IST

Well. Agree this is one side of the story.
The author would have done well if she tried to balance her opinion by viewing it from other angle also.
Ms. Ranjani, why have you chosen to ignore the situation where the daughter-in-law who is ill advised by her parents? What about those wives who are possessive about their husbands and ruining the lives of everyone (Herself, Husband, Kids and Extended families).
As much I've seen your story, I've also seen the opposite side of it where men are absolutely torn into pieces by Girls and their families.
I guess you have not really seen the life outside and your article is inspired by Tamil mega serials.
Though this is author's opinion, The Hindu should really make sure the articles are balanced and just hurl one sided accusations.
PS: This story doesn't appply to me. But it's unfair to leave one section and pretend as if they dont exist.

from:  Hemnath
Posted on: Nov 27, 2011 at 20:52 IST


The open page article ‘No space of her own for the
daughter in law’ (Nov.27) by Ranjani Sathish was sentimentally heart-
touching. In fact, it nearly reminded me of the drama serials where
such scenes and situations prevail in an atmosphere of anxiety and
fretfulness. But, on the other hand, in a society where mothers are
worshipped as gods, it is unfortunate to read such commentaries and
articles. Obviously, we should comprehend that it is only for our sake
and well-being, the mothers, at times explode emotionally when they
feel that their sons are going out of their hand. May be, their
trepidation would have been that they would be left all alone after
the daughter’s-in-law ingress. Poor mothers! How could we blame them?
Of course, I would like to paraphrase Tagore’s words and quote,
‘Inscrutable are the ways of a mother’s heart’.

Posted on: Nov 27, 2011 at 20:10 IST

Why cannot the daughter in law be normal and try to get acclimatized
to the new home, then calmly put forth her views? This article has a
tone that is alarmingly combative, has a generalized prejudice
against mother in law, inconsiderate to and assuming of the boy's
conformity to the wife's wish and in general, haughtily
Earning and educated woman? Fine and good; That means she would be
emotionally intelligent to handle an issue that was, to her
uneducated and suppressed predecessors was hostile. Walking out
indicates either her inability to cope with a new set of people or
her unwillingness to know the other side of the coin, due to her own
oversized ego.

from:  Bhuvaneshwar Dharmalingam
Posted on: Nov 27, 2011 at 18:59 IST

75% of India and China urban jungles population is now aping west. Western values are a deep cut in the joint family system. Science and technology has ruined the humanity. The equality and freedom is not understood and followed. As solution to issues our ancestors had given us astro personality study and analysis. How many well educated individual or parents really understand the nature and personality of all 12 sings that was basic to understand one another. Astrologers are much western aping ones for some 5 generations like the parents. Science and technology has brought material prosperity or hunger for it quick wealth in easy hunt is the goal. It makes the couple value money not the relationship. Burning brides ended and this lead into to next demon divorce. Tolerance and understanding of charecter when missing our education is useless to live happy life in peace . It is our education and values shift to material life that made us to this state .

from:  NJBond
Posted on: Nov 27, 2011 at 18:42 IST

With the western culture pervading indian society and with the present "ME,MY,MINE" generation breaking of marriage is unavoidable.
The article might have been relevant 30 years ago taking into account of existing joint family system at that time.At present even with
one son family, the son after education when he get a job ,the first
action is to book a flat and a car,even though parent have a nice
independent house.This is the attitude of present generation Most of the educated working married woman never respect the elders for their position or the age.The elders were exploited as a baby sitter and cooks.Please do not blame the elders.blame your self only

from:  kumaravel
Posted on: Nov 27, 2011 at 18:21 IST

I am totally against with the writer comments and its view. As many said, this article is one sided and does not reflect the real life atmosphere of todays situation. I think this article will give a wrong notation to the public where already lot of complaints about the younger generation not giving due consideration to their old parents.Further, this article will justify those daughter-in-laws who are arrogant with their in-laws.

from:  D S Raja
Posted on: Nov 27, 2011 at 18:15 IST

the absence of give and take between the mother in law and the daughter in law was the main reason for all these problems. earlier the women depend on their husbands for each and every thing. so they were all submissive and did not raise their voice. but now they earn a lot and are independent. as they are independent they take their own decision much to the dislike of mother in law. in both the cases the cases, the sufferer is none other than the husband. he could neither support his mother nor his wife. when he takes a position in support of his wife, he has to face the wrath of his mother or the vice versa. good sense should prevail among the women and save his son or husband.

from:  S.Vydhianathan
Posted on: Nov 27, 2011 at 17:26 IST

Well its also equally applicable to the daughters parents too, the breathing space has to be equally available from both ends.
and even if the breathing space is available on either sides, its also the influence of ideas from either ends that sometimes makes life miserable.

from:  rajesh
Posted on: Nov 27, 2011 at 17:14 IST

If you are brought up in joint family, it is mandatory that you go
along the rule of adjusting to any circumstances that too only for
girls this holds good. But the boys do not have such difficulties. It
does awfully helpful and secure if you have elders in your house. But
all the parents are not that large hearted to give space for new
daughter-in-law. Girls are normally suffers in everyway i.e.,eating
habits, dress code and the list goes on if I am not correct. Modern
generation and some of their culture of divorce rates does make you
think, whether the patience and adjustments is decreasing drastically.

from:  Rajini
Posted on: Nov 27, 2011 at 16:24 IST

I don't think it is practical in Indian setting for a man to desert his
parents as in our system parents support us all the way till marriage
unlike in Western countries where kids are let off by their parents as
soon as they enter their teen. The author has taken a very less
percentage where the in-laws are healthy as well as trouble-some and
written this article generalizing the entire situation.

from:  SLN
Posted on: Nov 27, 2011 at 16:02 IST

In my opinion, the couple should stay with both sets of parents [in case it is possible i.e. they stay in the same city etc.] or with that set of parents who need them [whoever is sick or less financially well off etc] or vice versa [if the couple live in a particular city due to their jobs, they should stay with those parents who live in that city]. Or stay alone if none of the above is applicable/possible. Why should one set of parents be more important? It is hard enough for two people to get to know each other well after an arranged marriage without having to adjust with in-laws who view her actions with suspicion. Once the couple have understood each other well, they will have lesser problems dealing with their respective in-laws. Otherwise, a new bride would find herself struggling against the combined might of her in-laws and husband since her husband has not yet had the opportunity to understand her as yet and bound to give more weightage to his mother

from:  Sheela
Posted on: Nov 27, 2011 at 15:01 IST

When people say that it is the duty of the son to take care of his parents after his marriage and hence he must stay with them, do they spare a thought to the parents of the girl? We say that the girl child should not be aborted and thankfully this has led to many parents having only one daughter or two daughters and no sons(previously,
people had 5-6 daughters in the hope of conceiving a son). What about
these parents? Does the girl not have any duty to take care of her
parents after her marriage? Saying that Indian tradition works this
way is escapism. Indian tradition would dictate that people should
also have as many children as necessary to conceive a son since he has
to perform the funeral rites, will ensure you don't go to hell
etc(this may not be written explicitly but this is how people have
chosen to interpret and understand it). Is this what we want to

from:  Sheela
Posted on: Nov 27, 2011 at 14:53 IST

The article brought out a few points which are very true for some marriages. But some of the comments really saddened me. Comparing the divorce rates years ago and today will not lead to any meaningful insights. In previous generations, women were forced to bear insults, abuse etc because they were either not financially independent or the social stigma (from relatives, society and even the girl's parents who say that they would prefer their daughter to die in her in-laws house rather than coming home to stay with her parents) prevented them from walking out of bad marriages. The assertion that the divorce rate in America is due to the nuclear family system is also deeply flawed. I do think that this generation is more impatient and wants to change things rather than accept them as they are. This has benefits and drawbacks. But the biggest problem in many arranged marriages is that the woman has to suddenly adjust with not just one person, her husband but a whole family.

from:  Sheela
Posted on: Nov 27, 2011 at 14:46 IST

It's common for a new person to adapt into a new family all of a sudden. As like the girl expects her husband to pay respects to her parents, the other way also is expected. And as rightly said above, if the groom or the MIL set aside the EGOs and try to understand each other, all of these issues would be resolved.

from:  Karthik
Posted on: Nov 27, 2011 at 14:29 IST

One sided opinion. it is the neuclear family problem that faces india. Yes there may be problems butnot with educated family.I am an octogenerian who had implemented the suggestion.But it is the daughter in laws who from the first day of their marriage wants more independence and wants a separate family butafterwards they want the help of either parents whenever there is childbirth or for babysitting work. in fact when someone says he or she is going to states the first question everyone asks them is pre delivery or post delivery, son or daughter's !! As was rightly pointed above many girls dream about their arranged marriage and thinks that their pastfreelife should not be lost and maladjustmen end up in problems. sometime ago there was a picture samsaram atu minsaram which explained the problems and >solution which may or may not be accepted. our culture is different from the west where there is a great celebration when the child becomes sixteen and separates from the parents.

from:  N Ramaswami
Posted on: Nov 27, 2011 at 14:09 IST

Blaming mother in laws for the increasing rates of divorces is vile and despicable. The problem is much more complex than that. The writer also inadvertently does concede that the modern women has a far lower threshold than her older counterparts. If the contention raised in the article were true we would not be having a totally dysfunctional and crumbling marriage system in the west. With the majority of divorces being initiated by women (educated women) what if it is said that the modern woman is far more selfish and is less capable of holding on to and nurturing a family altogether. All the writer does is search for a scape goat and offloading a bride's responsibilities to a mother in law.

from:  Ram
Posted on: Nov 27, 2011 at 14:00 IST

This article is a true picture of what has been happening in households of today. Though I would not want to bring in the North SOuth divide, This scenerio is much prevelant down South Indian families.And it is definately not dependent on whether it is a love or arrange marriage.We belong to a new generation.In the west it is a very crucial decision on the couples part to say "I DO", because it involves starting a whole new family together.This means that man and women set up a new home,take decisions together.It makes sense only if both the girl and the boy come out of their respective homes and start a life. A very bold article and right representation of a "Indian young Gen Y Women".Brilliant article.

from:  Prakriti
Posted on: Nov 27, 2011 at 13:55 IST

The problem today is the emergence of a new life-style which is highly personalized and ego-centric due to various social and economic realities. Every individual wants his/her own personal space for his/her imbibed values. It becomes difficult for the wedded couple to adjust with each other-- let alone the mother-in-law. The problem has become complex due to demographic tilt in favor of women and their assertion of their own beliefs/rights. A more careful and in-depth study is required to put the factors of incompatibility in proper perspective.

from:  G.Naryanaswamy
Posted on: Nov 27, 2011 at 13:42 IST

India remains proud of the statement : "Unity in diversity" . But the truth is mutual respect is dying in all aspects INCLUDING religion, caste, gender and age. THIS IS THE ACTUAL CULTURAL DECAY . everyone should realise this and also spread this simple message; before we are doomed.

from:  anand
Posted on: Nov 27, 2011 at 13:27 IST

Simple truth : All modern women are not irresponsible (to be realised by elders) and not all in-laws have a combat attitude (to be realised by women).
Parents should not involve inter couple issues unless it comes to them; at the same time the man or wife should not forget their duty and love towards their elders.

from:  vira
Posted on: Nov 27, 2011 at 13:20 IST

In India break in the marriages have increased .if we look at the past we can see that joint family live with much happier than nuclear but in India so called modern marriage try to follow western culture and that is why problems have arrived in families .On the other hand the generation gap .

from:  Tapas
Posted on: Nov 27, 2011 at 13:10 IST

It is very common to see man and women post marriage move to live as a nuclear family with the consent of both the families and men are obviously waking up to the fact that gone are those days when women was primarily confined to be the caretaker of the family which includes the groom`s parents, niece and what not. Divorce rates are 7% right now which increased from 2-3 % 2 decades back. This coincidentally indicates that nuclear families are also prone to their own versions of susceptibility, and the issues related to 3P`s (protect, profess, provide). I am not saying joint families saved marriages by not allowing the women to take an independent decision for her own good. Putting the blame squarely on groom and their in laws is not completely fair. Your article should have increased its scope and portrayed the contradictions (career, husband, family, money) that a career oriented women is also prone to face and its implications on relationships.

from:  Seshadri
Posted on: Nov 27, 2011 at 12:49 IST

I think its not fair to hold the "Mother"/"Mother-in-law" as the only possible "intrusion". Its not specific to mothers. Fathers can be so too. In a modern society, where the young people get accustomed to certain degree of privacy and independence, I guess there needs to be a balance of opinions when they get married and start living together with their parents. On the part of parents/in-law, they should also accept that these are changed times, and give the couple their own space, without intrusion.

from:  Pasya
Posted on: Nov 27, 2011 at 12:40 IST

In our society, however educated girls are and looking for a fulfilling career life, she is 'expected' to adjust to the new role of being a coy bride who will place the priority of the new family first putting her career and aspirations in the backseat. As pointed out, there is also a fear of 'losing' her son to the new bride as per mother-in-law's thinking. This itself puts lots of pressure and tensions build up over a period of time between the daughter-in-law and the mother-in-law. All this can be reduced if the in-laws give some time and space to the new bride to know the family and respect her as a human being and encourage her to do what she wants. Most of the daughters-in-laws will surely give due respect to the husband's family and consider them to be her own after some time.

from:  Deepa Nagaraj
Posted on: Nov 27, 2011 at 12:22 IST

I don't think any thing wrong breaking marriage.The chaste and dutiful wife is traditional upper caste concept.In lower caste divorce are common from ancient time. As women are educated standing their own leg it is natural when couple not adjust themselves they to separate.In middle age woman is economically depend on husband so she is helpless sustaining all inconveniences remain in family. I think this is a true revolution against tyranny of middle age mentality

from:  Ramesh Raghuvanshi
Posted on: Nov 27, 2011 at 12:14 IST

Millions of complications show up in married life and there can never be readymade solutions which one can apply. I believe parents should consider the son or daughter they beget and groom up should be nurtured into a adult who has a set of belief/notions/convictions and he/she is a unique one. The children are the result of parent's lust and may be partly love. As they plan and spend the money for their son or daugther's education and marriage they must try to squeze something for their old age - a life independent of expecting son or daughter's financial support. Also the parents are not baby sitters,watchmen or errand boys. Life is a wonderful thing. It need not be spent with stress/tension/suppressed anger in a stifling atmosphere. Please allow the son or daughter to lead their lives. Guide them with your knowledge gained from experience-when asked for. Move to old age homes or villages. Enjoy nature.Involve in social work. Do some voluntary work.There are plenty one can contribue.

from:  chandrasekar
Posted on: Nov 27, 2011 at 12:10 IST

Iam a mother of grown up children.A boy and a girl. So I have no prejudice!! While the opinion of Ms Ranjani Sathish is true in most cases,it would have been better if she had thought about the other side too.Interference is not only from the boys side .Its from the girls side too.Most of the parents now a days tell their girls that she is not to worry about anything and if she is not comfortable,to just come away.trying to change the husband to suit their needs is the present norm.that too knowing fully well what they were getting's girls are not so innocent to just agree to whatever their parents say.they are level headed and know what they want.So if there is disharmony in their life ,why blame the parents.why couldn't it be that they are expecting too much from the relationship.when children come these very interfering parents are needed to baby sit.Duty should not be one sided.this applies to my daughter too.

from:  Shobhana Krishnan
Posted on: Nov 27, 2011 at 11:57 IST

"Breathing space in a marriage" is nice quick article, depicting the happenings of today. But Solution provided in last line was brief. The road that had led to this present state must be reminded that, the women of the 2 different generations (bride and in law) have been bought up by 2 different society that inculcated values and nurtured differently. From community based family system to empowered women in the global world. Further, preparation for parenthood for post marriage and preparation of bride hood in the transforming and evolving system of inlaw family lacks and lessons are not learnt. Assurance of social security, identity to both these women is primary responsibility of both the men in the Family, relatives, friends very importantly the society as well, which needs to bring out debates, counselling in open, removing the stigma existing in our society as it evolves with time.

The sketch drawing here is cool but it is time now for 1 more picture
with transformed state.

from:  Suresh Velayutham Subbiah
Posted on: Nov 27, 2011 at 11:39 IST

Dear Ranjani, I read your article and found it really nice. As i was reading i felt that this is something which i keep telling myself. I hope all guys, girls and parents read this and understand the difficulties of reacting so immaturely.

from:  Smita
Posted on: Nov 27, 2011 at 11:21 IST

This is one side of story from the perspective of the girl who do not want to live with their in laws . Let me tell you our whole family value system is degrading and it is quite visible from this article. Other story is that boy want to keep their parents with them but girl, the so called independent girl do not that his parents will live with them. So parents have to go old age homes to spend rest of their life. They will die there thinking of some day their children will call them and say "papa or mom come live with us". This is another story from the perspective of the parents living in old age homes. Whole point is that do not generalize every thing. In some cases mother in law is bad and other daughter in law are bad.

from:  kulveer singh
Posted on: Nov 27, 2011 at 11:10 IST

In such cases, Man has to choose right from parents or wife. He has to make parents as well as wife understand each others values, culture and their thoughts from different perspective. He has act as a binding agent and bridge the gap if comes.

from:  Jagat
Posted on: Nov 27, 2011 at 10:58 IST

"Would it not be easier for everyone, if the son's parents gracefully allowed the son and his wife to move out, if that is what they desired?" What if the son wants to stay with his parents? From the tone and tenor of the article, It would have been better off if the author had used the pronoun "she" instead of "they". I do not see the son getting any say in this situation.

from:  Siva Bhaskaran
Posted on: Nov 27, 2011 at 10:58 IST

Kudos to the article. This is a well thought out and well written article. I am one of the Son's of a mother who has chosen the choice C. This is a reality in our Indian culture. Peace!

from:  sai kumar
Posted on: Nov 27, 2011 at 10:27 IST

The reasons are multiple and compound one another. 1. Most mothers find it very hard to realize their love for their son necessarily invades his personal growth as a person. 2. If the son has not lived by himself, independently, he is not ready for co-habitation with another woman in a marriage. 3. Extreme practicality dictated the previous generation, while couples getting into marriage today can afford to think about happiness - this fact is lost on the parents' generation. 4. It is almost taboo for Indian parents to think about children as individuals fully capable of growing up without supervision. 5. It is one thing to be ready for the wedding, and entirely another to be ready for the marriage that follows - and this goes for all parties involved. 6. It takes only enthusiasm to get married, but it takes work to stay married. 7. The institution of marriage itself an overly sanctified one - two people who genuinely would want to stay together can do so without the ritual.

from:  B S Kumar
Posted on: Nov 27, 2011 at 10:19 IST

Agree.It is not just in marriage. It happens in any new place you go to. First things first, there are different rules in a new place. I am surprised many women keep dreaming of arranged marriage being such and such. If you want to live hundred percent by your way then moving out is the right option. but that can tear appart the guy who feels he should be there for his parents at their old age (its a sense of duty).
But overall, a lot of problems in indian marriage can be solved if the guy understands the need of companionship and love in marriage and stops stereotyping all women. The guy has a lot of responsibility in the current scenario if he wants to be with his parrents.

from:  Karthik
Posted on: Nov 27, 2011 at 10:16 IST

Just today, similar issue cropped up in a discussion. One of the attendees commented that the son's life torn between mother and wife is very stressful, and his option is consume poison! It is rather a strong 'medicine'. However, my opinion is that the father usually adapts to the situation that it is his son's life and rarely ill-treats the daughter-in-law. But with mothers, it is different. She is too possessive of her son and cannot accept that he has to lead his own life. At times, she wants his payback, for all the love and affection she had rendered to him. Some in the modern generation feels that they are not obliged to their parents in any way and the parents just did their duty for having brought him into this world.

from:  D. Chandramouli
Posted on: Nov 27, 2011 at 10:16 IST

great article on a real issue. Remember the situation is more painful when children have to be taken care of by either of the parents of the couple. The young-middle age-woman gets to balance it all.

from:  Sirisha k
Posted on: Nov 27, 2011 at 10:13 IST

It is not always the man's parents that are responsible for the break in the marriage.The woman's parents are also responsible for the break. They are accustomed to the income the girl was providing till the after other they start interfering leading to discontent not only between the couple but also between the families.

from:  A C Soundararajan
Posted on: Nov 27, 2011 at 10:12 IST

Well, I don't think just living apart from in-laws would be the solution. Nobody in America lives with their in-laws and divorce rate is more than 50%. If the Mother is controlling, manipulative, and emotionally attached, even living a few miles away can cause problems. I think the problem is more with the couple. Son is a little weak and the dtr-in-law may have to over compensate, ie come across aggressive. This creates a cycle where MIL feels threatened, and may become more controlling, manipulative, etc. etc. Anyways, nothing is ever simple. But I think waiting longer to get married may eliminate a divorce or two, just a thought :)

from:  Harminder
Posted on: Nov 27, 2011 at 10:11 IST

My brother actually had a love marriage and he told my mom that it is our duty to make the new person in family comfortable staying with us and advised mom especially to be very polite. And yes things are smooth and we are happy family now.

from:  Naresh Kumar B
Posted on: Nov 27, 2011 at 09:37 IST

Man, you do sound like the daughter in law that most guys dread. The entire article felt as if it was the thoughts of a daughter in law who wanted her way no matter what. You dint even consider the fact that the son might want to stay with his parents. Why does the wife expect to move away from the parents. Why point all the fingers at the parents for the lack of intimacy between the couple.Most parents in the family type that you talked about are educated and know more than better when to step away. But its the "want to move away" atitude of the daugther in law that really causes the problem. The fact that she does not want to get into a system and make it work instead start a new system of her own is what causes resentment between parents and daughter in laws.

from:  Arun Ramachandran
Posted on: Nov 27, 2011 at 09:32 IST

The author talks about the well off families, where parents can independently handle themselves through money! But most middle class parents, devoid of post retirement benefits, depend on their sons to look after them! Only God knows how many parents get their due respect due to their 'pensions'!

from:  Harish
Posted on: Nov 27, 2011 at 09:32 IST

While we take your point on daughter-in-law being the victim of a marriage, we have seen equally or may be more often- the son-in-law gets brainwashed by his new wife & neglects or even forgets his parents, who have given their all for their offspring. Increasingly women have begun to assert their rights over their partners that weans off the wonderful & much cherished relationship we had in looking after our elders, unlike in the west. I have seen & experienced marriages break up only on a minor difference of competing interests from both parents. If this continues, we can safely believe that we have let the social decay of the west creep into ours, in the fake name of feminism & liberty.

from:  Arjun Koshy
Posted on: Nov 27, 2011 at 09:29 IST

From my experience with relatives and friends, most of the break-ups are caused by the impatient parents who do not give the bride time to get acclamatized. Also the single child syndrome influences the boy's mom to be possessive. The over-indulgence of parents in every thing ruins the pleasures of the new couple. It is better to admire the new couple from across the road and guide them when called for.

from:  Balasubramanian.M.V.
Posted on: Nov 27, 2011 at 09:22 IST

My words may sound strong, but it is despicable on author's part to zero in on joint family system as the reason for rising divorce in India. On the contrary to author's belief's significant number of marriages sustain in India purely due to support system created in the joint family. I am sorry to learn that a reputed newspaper such as yours has allowed such contentless articles to be published in the Opinion section. In the Western societies divorce rates are several multiples of India and as per the research done there, it is a public knowledge that nuclear family is found to be one of the biggest reason for breaking up of families. I have read your newspaper for over 10 years and expects much higher standards in the editorial/opinion section.

from:  Saurabh M
Posted on: Nov 27, 2011 at 09:14 IST

I am not very much aware of other part of the country. But, this is a very hypothetical situation if taken the south indian scenario. I believe the case is described based on one-sided approach, which is not quite true. Whatever solution described here supposedly 'easier for everyone' is nothing but the parents let the son and wife to move out. That seems quite a perfect solution. Wait!! We already have the American style as an example to see how this solution had worked in the past. Wow! It worked perfectly well there, isn't it? The wife gets peace of mind, so does the son, except that the number of break-ups is very high. I would like you to have a look at the interview of Aishwarya rai by David Letterman. When asked "Do you still live with your parents? is it so common in india?" there is a perfect reply "yes, But it is also common in india that we don't have to take appointments with our parents to meet for dinner".I hope you got the point from this as well.

from:  Sajeer Fazil
Posted on: Nov 27, 2011 at 09:04 IST

great article , it took so long for us to accept the reality

from:  uma s
Posted on: Nov 27, 2011 at 08:48 IST

It is a bane on the Indian Society. This cannot be cured. It is in existance since time immemorial. It will continue so. It is microscopic that where there is no disharmony. This comes to the fore in the middle and lower middle class, mostly. In a higher society, it still exists, but cannot come out due to ego problems of both parties. But ends with some person dying.

from:  swamynathan
Posted on: Nov 27, 2011 at 08:43 IST

I think your views are appreciated but your solution is not correct. This is the same reason that the west is suffering today. The west does not have the strong social system that India has. Lack of proper communication between children and parents has lead to many single mothers and uncared for elderly that has put severe strain on the society and hence the economy as a whole. The Indian social system is based on very sound principles, actually taking into account the creation as a whole. Due to increase in individual selfishness and lack of understanding of our culture, these things are happening. I think the present generation have to be educated properly as to why the system is designed the way it is and inculcate principles of marriage. At the same time the parents who belong to the previous generation have to revisit the values which is bharatiya samskruti. The technology of the west with the spiritual and social background of India is the best utopia and not vice versa.

from:  Srinath
Posted on: Nov 27, 2011 at 08:15 IST

I have always found it strange how a mother-in-law mistreats her daughter-in-law in much the same way as she was treated. 'Do unto others as others do unto you' dictum taken too seriously for generations together. For me, it is a fight for control. Just as dogs mark their territory and fight when its trespassed, the women in the household want to be able to control what goes on in the household and the men inside it. A man is often asked to 'mend' his ways after marriage and do things the way the woman wants. Mothers are not faultless either, with regular nagging on lifestyle, food and cleanliness - often driving bachelors out of the house for some breathing space.

from:  Aditya Changavalli
Posted on: Nov 27, 2011 at 08:12 IST

In fact the main reason why the so called "modern" marriages do not work out is because of their isolation from their families. The newly wed couple has no support and try to emulate the western way of living which finally crumbles to pieces. The writer should take a look at our glorious past and compare the divorce rates then and now. As per what i have seen by my own eyes, a joint family provides much needed support to the newly weds. The are there to help them and also take care of the new born which a nuclear family can hardly cope up unless someone gives up their job. All in all the writer seems totally blinded by selfishness and has presented a very distorted view of the topic.

from:  Sameer
Posted on: Nov 27, 2011 at 08:09 IST

I agree with the author in parts. Sometimes, the problem is not with the parents or the wife, it's just a problem of egos. There is no clear black and white. Usually, creating good trust in the family is the duty of the guys in the house. So, eventually, I guess they need to be blamed.

from:  Sandeep P
Posted on: Nov 27, 2011 at 07:59 IST

The article is so one-sided.Even a lot of nuclear couples do break up due to incompatibilities between them, or wrong expectations and such. Joint family system is a lot of work in the beginning, but it has its own rewards in the long run, in bringing up kids etc..People are more and more impatient and less tolerant towards each other and hence more and more marriage failures. Please express your views after thinking through. At best, i agree joint family system is not suitable for the impatient and those better be left alone. I got married last year and leading a nuclear family and hoping to be a joint family soon.

from:  Mahesh Rajannan
Posted on: Nov 27, 2011 at 07:40 IST

I appreciate the suggestion that parents of the bride/groom should allow to live seperately with the partner after marriage. This suggestion is partly in line with the customs of western culture. When everyone want to live in western way for their own happiness, well my further suggestion to parents is please try to follow it in to-to; as in western culture allow your issues to leave you after school studies and make up his future himself in his own way. This relieves the parents from spending their means to their son in a system that does not substitute their strain in their olden days; further give them the practise of detachment over their issues besides relief from innumerable strains that follows from whom you get little.

from:  V.Subbarao
Posted on: Nov 27, 2011 at 07:36 IST

The author’s opinion lacks anthropological credibility, stating that every other marriage breaks apart.The idea that only a young bride at 14 and not the independent urban bride is expected to absorb the traditions is farce. Marriages break down not because of the need for independence, but due to the lack of cultural fit. Relationships are to be understood not to be between two people, but two families. Mankind has evolved because of societies and human interaction is vital for sustaining such families and societies. Organisations today understand the need for such cultural fit and ensure that psychometric testing and other tools are used to recruit, though they have limitations and such tools are circumvented by the clever aspirer. The increase in separation is because of the increase in love and incompatible marriages. Authors who ride the fad do not understand that the Indian society has a seasoned culture that has stood the test of time and no amount of harping will make a difrence.

from:  Anil Kumar
Posted on: Nov 27, 2011 at 07:34 IST

The breaking of the joint family system, in most of the cases, is caused by the ' i am the mother- in- law. Being my daughter-in -law, whether she is an office goer or a home maker, she should be a submissive and subserviant house maid as per my dictates' attitude of the mother in law' . There may be a very few honourable exceptions to this historical mindset. We salute them. Unfortunately, most mothers, immediately after the wedding celebrations , view their sons just as husbands of an alien girl (even in arranged marriages) who has come with the sole aim of controlling the son and the household. This is a strange, often incurable psychological disorder. The problem gets worse if there is an unmarried daughter in the house who also expects her brother's wife to be her subordinate, irrespective of age and other merits in the new entrant in the house. In short, everyone in the in law's family wants the daughter in law, a silent servant as vividly portrayed in TV serials.

from:  Shekar
Posted on: Nov 27, 2011 at 07:27 IST

Interesting article. I have a sister who has been going through this exact problem for the past decade. It seemed that the mother-in-law never really wanted the couple to have a good time - go to a movie, or out for dinner, or take a vacation break. I tried to facilitate a process to have them live on their own, but the son either does not have the wisdom to see the benefit in it, or is gutless to do it in a society that deifies the mother.
And now, looking back, I feel sorry for them about the happy times they will never get back...

from:  KP
Posted on: Nov 27, 2011 at 06:19 IST

The above article is perfectly true. But, the writer has to also talk about the desire in the wife's mind to make her husband move closer to her parents and also take care of them. This is a growing tendency in today's Indian society of smaller families, especially a girl who is the only child to her parents or does not have a male sibling, to expect her husband to take care of her parents equally, if not more than his own parents. This is a significant factor in making the boy's parents to feel insecure and make them go overboard sometimes to have him not going entirely with his wife's family. It is the poor boy who is torn inbetween his mother/father and the wife/children that he loses all the peace in the world. Do a survey of the young married males in the age group of 25-40 in India and see how many people agree to this fact? This is the main root cause of divorce in India.

from:  Natarajan
Posted on: Nov 27, 2011 at 06:15 IST

The relationship pattern between parents and in laws, brothers and sisters, uncles and Nieces have changed throughout the world, and that reality has to be accepted by one and All. The changes took place earlier in Europe and America, and we are now facing those changes in India. If we are getting perturbed on that, we will loose our balance. At 82, I have closely watched this change in several families, and I have found that the financial position of each individual in the family, is the main reason for this development. The shift From the agricultural society to information society is another and everyone wants a separate space for " individual betterment" compared To "entire family betterment" dreamt In the past. The relationship between Sri Rama and Bharatha has given way to the relationship between Mukesh and Anil in in the present age. If we can live in the present, we will have mental peace. We can win, if we can absorb the Changes.

from:  C.p.Chandra das
Posted on: Nov 27, 2011 at 05:56 IST

One cannot completely deny the points raised by Ranjani. But the fact of the matter is that such instances are common only in single-male-child households. For a woman of the previous generation - to whom the world began and ended with her family - the thought of another woman intruding the private space between her and her son would be tough. But that is where the daughter-in-law has a responsibility - to prevent such thoughts from taking root in her Mother-In-Law's (MIL) mind. It is a common observation that some working women of today lack the patience and "adjusting" capabilities, which eventually lead to failed marriages. This whole article by Ranjani fails to take the MIL's perspective.

from:  Mukundhan
Posted on: Nov 27, 2011 at 03:50 IST

Indian society lacks safety net. Elders don't have life, health, general insurance, social security as in the USA and Europe. This causes dependency on the breadwinner. Request the author not to get emotional but be rational and see the real world issues like finance, security. Indian society will go through this tumult at least for the next 30 years until joint family system disappears

from:  Bharathi karthik
Posted on: Nov 27, 2011 at 03:39 IST

I totally understand the view of this article and the bride’s view point but there are lot more which can be done in order to get a breathing space, few points are :-Husband should take a firm stand on according to the situation. If he can take a stand of moving out then I think he can also take a stand in other matters because moving out is a big decision.- We need to understand that it’s a possible case that Husband has to turn down on wife recommendation sometimes over his parent’s recommendation. But he should also do vice versa to maintain the balance. It not always about who is right or wrong.-We should lower down our egos. When the bride doesn’t show ego issues with her parents then why to show ego with her in-laws. All of them are part of a single family. Same holds true for Groom and Groom’s parents. I think if some (not all) of these are tried then the husband wife will spend less time in figuring out what went right and what went wrong and will have more time.

from:  Shubh Vashisht
Posted on: Nov 27, 2011 at 03:22 IST

Ranjani. I read your comments. I find it hard to believe when Tamil TV serials portray mothers in law as Rakshasies. A man who cannot defend the honor of his wife is not a man at all. How can all the highly educated young men of India can silently watch their mothers treat their wives with no respect? How can the highly educated wives tolerate humiliation? probably lack of self esteem. The young wives are brain washed by their mothers who want them to put up with the cruelty of sons in law and mothers in law. According to Manu sastram, a society where women are not treated with respect would go to dogs. Young women of India under no circumstance should tolerate this social injustice. There is nothing sacred about a marriage where a wife silently suffers humilation. A man and a woman are equal partners in a marriage. Marriage is not a human bondage where a wife is trampled by a mother in law or a husband. Young woman should have the courage to break this shameful bondage.

from:  Lakshmi Sridharan
Posted on: Nov 27, 2011 at 00:53 IST

the article is of much worth as it lcearly depicts contemporary situation in almost every house in indian society,and piont mentioned by writer are of importance to think upon in perspective of every individual involved be it be parents ,son or daughter in law. I am my self very thankful for knowledge it sprinkled on me as i m also planning my marriage and i m a officer in indian govt and belongs to a normal family and expecting a well educated ,compatiable wife ,ofcourse she has her dreams and life she has cherised and now it has become more clear for me to deal with future more flexible manner. thank you.

from:  Surinder Singh
Posted on: Nov 26, 2011 at 23:28 IST
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