A long while back, when love and such ideas were new to us and family was ‘those folks’, I had a discussion with a friend. He had decided that most women were cowards because they would not stand up to their families, not stand up for the men they wanted to be with.

For a fact, I’ve seen a good number of relationships end because of familial opposition – on the basis of religious, caste, linguistic and economic differences. It is truly sad for a relationship to end, not because of the couple’s differences but because of other people’s views.

However, I must also say that I have always had great regard for women who take their family’s desires into consideration while choosing a life partner. This isn’t quite the same as the Mama’s boy syndrome wherin they unquestioningly gulp down whatever is shoved down their proverbial throats. They make their own choices and these choices definitely factor in their family’s ideas too. I so much stand by that.

The fact is that few people will ever care as much as your own blood family, misunderstandings and irritants notwithstanding. That said, they are no more than human and have a right to their own foibles and prejudices. My greatest admiration in this regard is reserved for two women, one a neighbor and one a friend. Both women met the men they wanted to spend their lives with and had to contend with parental opposition – due to differences in religion and in caste respectively.

The families of both women (the fathers most particularly) ran the entire hullaballoo from tearful melodrama to icy coldness. Both women stood firm and held that they would not marry anyone else. And in addition, would not get married without their families’ complete blessings either. Persistance won out in both cases. The first couple has two children, both the darlings of their doting grandfather’s eyes. The second couple celebrates their second wedding anniversary this year, blissfully in love..and peacefully so too. All was certainly well that ended well in these two cases.

I guess not everyone is that lucky or even that tenacious. If it really came down to having to choose, I can’t imagine a man would be ‘right’ for me unless my family was aligned to my choice as well. Family is one’s own after all, and their well-intended perspective could be very useful in such an important choice. Does that necessarily mean that I am a coward, unable to go against them? Or does it make me any less independent – or feminist? You tell me.

* A revised version of this post is here. One version is posted to Yahoo! Real Beauty.

8 thoughts on “Meet The Parents & Their Expectations”
  1. It is easy to do as you please but difficult to please others with your deeds. Those who think they’re better as they do as they desire, no comments for them. But they’re not supposed to pass comments, at least not call the other cowards. Coz the coward is the one displaying more strength.

  2. you bring this topic up when I am witnessing in my own family couple of people, one male and another female marrying out of their parents consent, I see how bad the first case has turned out to be, with their parents blaming many others for what their son has done, I look at him..and I feel what wrong had he done, why should one be so much upset.. In the second case I see the parents upset, but then good enough to see that the kids are happy..what all this has done is that focus is totally on me and couple of other unmarried people in the family..and all I get to hear these days are I am a good guy and will never do something like what he did.
    I am fed up with this discrimination stuff

  3. Well, your parents are the people who have taken care of you all these years. They know you. And if they have severe objections to the person you want to marry, there must be reasons for it. If, however the sole reason was caste or religion, then its worth fighting it out, but still I think it would be really hard to back away from your parents.

  4. Albus Dumbledore said, ‘It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to your enemies, but a great deal more to stand up to your friends’… So you’re definitely not a coward…
    Kiddish I know, but fits doesnt it.

  5. That makes you a pragmatist in my book.
    Our family defines us in a way and going against them is something we do not like doing more because of the hurt that could be caused to them. Definitely not a coward’s way.
    That said, it would be interesting to know what we would do in cases where the families stick to their stand for years (happened in a number of cases). Some couples I know went ahead and married after waiting for something like five years and realising they were no-where near getting anything like a blessing and one couple is on the verge of breaking up after waiting for six years. The man is marrying a bride of his parents’ choice.

  6. Members of my immediate family have been the only people who’ve stood by me despite any crap i dish out or all the scrapes I’ve been through. They’ve stood by me even when they didn’t understand coz my actions were neither conventional nor rational. now why the heck would i want to alienate gems like these.. I’d rather wait till they came around…it may take time but one thing I do know for sure is that my happiness matters to them and while they may be blinded by anger or a sense of betrayal or just plain adamance, I matter. I always have and I always will. So choosing your family doesn’t make u a wuss, it’s an intelligent choice. You’ll just need to stand your ground along with that!

  7. No, it does not make you any less of a feminist.
    It’d be awful to go against one’s family- after all, they are the ones who are always there, despite our stupidities and ideas and whatever- My Mom always said that I dropped a new ‘bombshell’ on them every couple of months (from a new boyfriend to going abroad). She says I’ve been the most ‘dukhdayi’ daughter ever, yet they’ve always been there for me.

  8. Timing is what this is. When you are trying to come to peace with an experience, is when you come across a blog post on it :-). To answer your question, really depends on the stage of life you are at. As an adloescent/ teenager, there is no question of going against parents I feel. But I do think, beyond a certain age and experiences, individuals are gain a power to sense what they want, and to some extent differentiate right from wrong. However, the trick is perhaps in rationalising the parents view, and as long as one is not a coward to stick with the ‘right’, all is good.

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