Learn How To Be A Successful Family?
To build a successful marriage, apart from understanding each other well, if only you understand each other’s family well and support them, mutual love and respect will grow. Where there is respect and love, happiness and peace is bound to follow.
Vijay got married a few years ago and immediately after the wedding he moved out of his hometown on a new assignment. His wife Priya was happy for she felt she could set up their life independently and also enjoy the early part of married life with more freedom. Once in a while Vijay’s parents would visit them, stay for a couple of weeks and return. Vijay noticed that even during those short stays, Priya found it difficult to cope with the style of his parents, especially his mother. But before his wife and mother could understand or misunderstand each other, his parents would return to hometown. Life went on like this for some years.
When their son was born, Priya was busy managing the child sometimes with her parents’ help and sometimes with Vijay’s parents. While Vijay wanted his parents to stay longer, knowing well that Priya did not find comfort in coping with his mother’s style, he did not pursue it further. On the other hand when Priya wanted her parents to stay longer, they could not do so for they had other responsibilities back home. So, most of the time she was managing the child on her own. It was really exhausting for her, both physically and mentally. Her helplessness resulted in frustration due to which over a period of time Priya and Vijay had lost that intimate touch and lived a routine mundane life.
In the meantime, Vijay got a good break to work in his hometown and he was happy as well as sad. Happy: he could stay with his parents. Sad: apprehensive about living in a joint family knowing Priya’s temperament. On the other hand Priya was candid about setting up independent living for she is used to it. He was really confused and did not know how to move on. I happened to bump into Vijay in a seminar and during the break he was sharing with me about what he was going through in the last few months and how it was affecting his work. Knowing both of them well, I could feel what must be bothering them and assured him that before he leaves the city I will meet them at home.
After playing with their son for a while, I slowly opened up with Priya asking her about the new life back home. She said, “I only wish I get the same independence back home as well. I feel it is always better to live in a nuclear family these days.” Vijay immediately retorted, “I told you. See this is the real issue. She does not want to live with my parents.” I asked Priya, “What is bothering you so much that you are averse to living with his parents. In fact they can be of great support to you.” She said, “I know what you are saying, but their style is very different. I have to adjust to their style all the time. It is not that their style is wrong, but it is just that it doesn’t suit my temperament.”
I said, “Look, it is not that they don’t want to live your style. Our parents prefer to live in a simple way and their own way. My father even now travels by cycle though I own a comfortable car and I respect that. Improved standard of living does not mean we standardise everyone’s living. All we need to provide our parents is quality of living. After all, they are parents of your life partner, which means they are part of your life as well. I am not saying adjust, but at least look at alternatives.”
Vijay said, “She doesn’t want to understand my feelings and she is stubborn.” Priya intervened, “He never listens to me and the love he has for his parents he doesn’t seem to have for me and my parents.” I understood the real problem. As Priya went inside to get us a glass of juice, I told Vijay, “How much ever you shower your love to your wife and to your parents, unless they feel connected to each other emotionally, everything will remain incomplete. The only way to complete this cycle is by you showing your love to her family as much as you love your parents. May be, creating enough opportunities to express your care for her family will open her heart towards your parents.”
Sipping the glass of juice I said, “First of all, both of you must be open to each other’s view and get deeper understanding of each other. Remember, depth in your relationship can be found only when both of you share deep emotions – both positive and negative, amongst yourself. Where there is transparency in sharing emotions, depth of understanding will happen. Where there is depth of understanding in relationship, mutual respect will grow. Where there is respect, love is bound to flower forever. To make this happen, both of you need to create some exclusive time with each other. Think about building a happy home keeping in mind the larger interest of the family in future.”
I added, “If both of you agree that you want to share the responsibility of providing peaceful life to your parents, then think if you can build a home for your parents close to your home so that both your wishes as well as apprehensions can be overcome.” Vijay enquired, “Will it be nice if in the same place we live separately. What will the world think of us?” I answered, “It’s ok. Do not worry about the world outside. The quality of your life depends upon what you think inside your world. As long as all of you will be happy with this arrangement of nuclear family there is nothing wrong in this.”
I also said, “One of the surest ways of making your parents look forward to life is to continuously expand their lives much beyond family. Create enough avenues for them to mingle with the outside world. Keep encouraging their special talents so that they channelise their energy. Idle mind is always a vulnerable mind. Enable them to spend their time peacefully together. You will find peace around your life always.” As I was leaving, I saw both of them in deep contemplative mood. I could feel a sense of purpose in the way both looked at each other. I was sure things will turn out positively for such a wonderful couple.
Vijay built a house for his parents close to his home where his parents not only feel secure living close to him, but also live their own way independently. There are no more day-to-day trivial issues to be dealt with. Each one lives in their own space with ease and at the same time support each other physically and emotionally when needed. Today Priya is a pillar of strength to his family and Vijay is a role model in her family.
By loving her family, their love grew multifold and by respecting his parent’s preferences their mutual respect grew. By showing enough care in each other’s family, both of them gained huge respect in their families.
It is not that nuclear family is the solution to all issues at home. In Vijay’s life it worked. In the life of someone else, the solution could be different. But one of the key learnings to build a successful marriage is, apart from understanding each other well, if only you understand each other’s family well and support them, mutual love and respect will grow. Where there is respect and love, happiness and peace is bound to follow.
One of the surest ways of making your parents look forward to life is to continuously expand their lives much beyond family. Create enough avenues for them to mingle with the outside world. Keep encouraging their special talents so that they channelise their energy. Idle mind is always a vulnerable mind.
- S Ramakrishnan.