The key to a happy marriage is…
A successful marriage needs to…
blah blah blah..
You can google all you want and these are one of the generic quotes you will get on marriage. The facade behind these never hits you unless you are about take the life altering decision of getting hitched. Or say, you have already ‘been there, done that’. Point is, the story is the same, and so is the conclusion. You dream of a 50-50 partnership, that life is going to be a three-legged race and you will be the first to breast the ribbon at the finish line.
Ah! To have such dreams and believe in them. Although out rightly calling them as ‘dreams’ makes the marriage hoopla sound like a blunder. However it is not so in reality. Marriage, a happy marriage any way, is in fact a partnership, or so everyone says. It means to give your half at every step of the way. No, it does not simply mean giving your spouse the access to your financial accounts or just your time.
The very basic need that fulfils a happy marriage is lending a hand.
That is it. There is no secret mantra to it, no expensive diamonds to do the trick (however, a little jewellery now and then never hurt anyone).
A typical Indian marriage begins with the dreaded ‘rishta’ meeting. I would go through the terrifying details of it all, but let’s leave that for later. What I want to talk about is an extremely normalised dialogue said by a guy’s mother which goes something like this, “ji hamare ladke se toh kuch kaam aata hi nahi (our son doesn’t know how to work)”. Well, bravissimo to your lad, because I believe you were expecting one. There is often evidence of the same when the guy boasts about his bachelor life’s messy living, for want of a better word. So… not washing clothes for more than a month is supposed to impress a woman. I speak for women everywhere when I say that it is appalling, to say the least.
It is 2017, we say it to prove how far we have come, but to no avail. Even in this time and age, a man fails to pull his own weight around the house.
A general consensus among people is that a woman should know her way around the kitchen, both figuratively and literally.
In a working couple’s house, this gets even worse. The tedious nine – six job is the same for both, then why is it that only a woman does the chores and prepares food when she comes home.
Now your arguments might speak for the ones where a wife does not work. Then let me ask you this, does that imply that a man should not even raise a finger to help?
Please do not bore anyone with the age old, “woman earlier used to do all the work too, but there were no signs of any complain”.
A moment of enlightenment: to believe it was so because they were super humans is ignorance at its best. The sole reason they never made a cry was simply that you never took it upon yourself to listen to the silent whimpers. Back then, it was a wife’s duty to make it a home. The truth is this: the idea of a happy marriage is a partnership of two equal parts that come together as one. So no, women do not “expect” men to help with the housework; this makes it seem like a desire that women have today. The crux of the matter is that a man should be responsible enough to know he has to contribute his half as well.
The cherry on top of this cake is when a woman stays at her place for a couple of days. You see, somehow, there is a prevailing conjecture that the said visit is a vacation, to relax and be merry, before getting back to her life. Do people even hear themselves speak? Apparently not, considering they hold the view that the only off time she deserves is when she is not around the house. Yeah right…
Who’s to blame?
I would not lay off the female sex of the blame. Women tend to police on each other too, intentional or not is beside the point. Remember the times when you claim (yes, it is for those women who say this proudly) that your husband cannot even lift a spoon by himself. This unabashed comment accompanies a laughter that goes around more often than you know. If you do not feel a twinge of shame at this, I have big news for you.
THIS IS NOT A PROUD WIFE MOMENT.
Those often involve an entirely different scenario. While this is nothing but the sign of an incapable man, too immature to understand what it means to be married.
I could give a list of arguments and explain the whys and the how’s, but you get the point seeing as it is quite easy. There is no novelty in the idea of expecting your man to do his own part. It is a marriage of two, not a job for one.