Indian Married Life
VED from VICTORIA INSTITUTIONS
It is foretold! The torrential flow of inexorable destiny!
What the husband requires
Approaches in regard to bringing up children
A demeanour of respect: Apart from these generalisations, we can now go into the specific issues that need to be addressed. Apart from love, what a husband would really like to see displayed is a demeanour of respect from his wife. In all actions on this part, this should be displayed with an earnestness that would be visible to a third person. A husband whose wife doesn’t do this, or expresses a feeling of disgust of him, is a person who is mighty unlucky. It is an ill luck, which would follow him in all his social interactions, for the society at large, would be feasting on it. Especially, in Indian conditions, where the theme of respect is enacted in all social interactions, a husband should be extended this basic grace by his wife. If it is absent, for whatever cause, the marriage is in a state of decay, which if not remedied immediately, could lead to many miserable situations in the life of all the concerned persons, including the children.
The first causality and the staying power: When the going gets tough for the man, and everywhere things are falling apart, the family is the last refuge. In our society, when a man goes under, respect is one of the first causalities. For a fallen man, there is no way he can get it back once he is down and without it, he would find it a wee bit difficult to get back to his levels. But a wife, who refuses to be affected by the negative vicissitudes of her husband’s life, and continue to shower on him the qualities of respect, can be a real moral booster for the fallen man. And it is goes without saying that bad times are followed by good times, if there is enough fortitude in them to withstand the bruises. When times are good, the positive qualities of a wife may not seem significant, but when life gets real tough these qualities are the ones which by itself can bring in the staying power, and the daring to persevere.
Appraisal by others: There are women who don’t feel respect for their husband; sometimes due to the fact, that the man doesn’t deserve it due to his depravity of moral standards; sometimes due to her own distorted vision of what the world is. The latter case is the most dangerous one for a quiet man who aims for a decent family life. The wife may be in a continual search for the opinion of other men about her husband. It is a fact of Indian social life that very few people acknowledge superior qualities in other men. And if the wife is seeking the appraisal of others about her husband and then behaves accordingly to her husband, then the situation is going to be very sorry. She may get praise about her husband from sycophants, but from others it may not be so forthcoming. And if it is sought from persons who her husband doesn’t have regard for, then she can be assured that a positive response would be next to impossible.
The daily denigration: Such wives prove to be a source of daily irritation in a man’s life and interaction. She may not allow him to speak coherently; may frown, with curled up brows, at the content of his speech, which she may judge to be uninformed; may make disparaging remarks at him, all in the presence of third persons; may mimic him with mockery, in front of the children; may inform the children that he is a crook or a fool; etc. She may go on to the extent of asking other men their opinion of her husband, all of which, could be extremely discouraging things for her husband. Especially if these persons are of lower intellectual acumen than her husband. All these actions can sound the death knell of a contented married life. In this aspect what all such women should bear in mind is that in this wide world, nobody is acknowledged by another to be better than himself in any personal qualities. The basic sense of insecurity in many persons forces them to place another person in a lesser light than himself. But these need not deter a person from being what he is or from what he wants to perform in life.
The essential subordination of the wife: In many of the Indian languages, the terms used for you, she, he etc. for the wife are the what may be described as the disrespectful form, or maybe one can say, the more intimate form. And the wife has to consistently use the respectful form in regard to the husband. It is a problem of the Indian languages and nothing can be done about it at an individual level. This does not demean the wife nor is it intended to have such effect, and the society won’t see anything derogatory about it. But in the modern times, when many of us have got used to the English ways of communication, many women once they get married do have a problem when they have to go into a role of subordination, in marriage, where what they aimed at was a relationship of equality. Many would accept this secondary position without any qualms, as something, which is invariably connected with marriage. But, some others may try to find a way out of this quandary, by devising ways to go around it.
In many of our vernacular languages, there is a problem of how to address the husband. If the language of communication between them were English, then calling him by first name would be ideal, and could be a confirmation of their intimacy. But if the same thing is done in some of our languages, it could mean a stark example of irreverence and insult.
A source of strain and discomfort: But between spouses, who are used to the more liberal usage, the wife could use the first name for addressing her husband, in the place of such usage as you, he and for calling him (in the vernacular). But some wives who have lived in areas where they had not practised their vernacular, and when they come home, and marry a local man, may even go to the extend of using the lower terms of you, in the same manner her husband addresses her. This is not good. In fact it is very bad. In vernaculars, using the intimate terms of addressing that a husband uses to the wife, if used in the wrong direction, that is, if the wife uses to the husband, won’t signify equality. Instead it would only mean insult. The society would only see it as such. Maybe, between the husband and the wife, there won’t be any problems, but in the midst of other men, the husband may get an awkward feeling of inadequacy. And slowly, it may reflect in his social behaviour, when he would start keeping his wife and house away from the circle of his more significant friends. In other words, his wife would be a strain for him, and not a source of comfort.
Delaying an inescapable separation: In the context of all the things discussed above, it has to be added that immediately after marriage, if either of the two find that this is a relation, which is not suitable to himself or herself, and there is no correlation in the various factors that creates affinity between themselves, then it is always better in the long run, to dissolve the relationship before it is too late. It could save a lot of pain and agony, which might come in with a separation after a long stay together, which might also include a lot of acrimonious remarks about each other being made public.
Fidelity and infidelity: One of the main pressures in married life is that of financial security. In fact it is so in all types of living, and in almost all persons. Apart from that is the question of fidelity. It is a matter that, if not addressed, and answered adequately, could poison the whole life of both partners in the marriage. It all depends on the persons concerned. But taken in a larger context, an apprehension on this count is there in all married persons to a limited extent, especially if they are committed to the continuance of the relationship. To a limited extent, it could be considered as a healthy sign. In its absolute absence, it might point to a sort of frozen mind in regard to what the spouse is doing. And an absolute callous attitude of what is going to happen in regard to the marriage.
Insecurity and its foundations: A slight level of insecurity is there in almost all individuals with regard to how far the relationship would continue, in the face of the onslaughts of destiny. Building up a relationship of intimacy is a long and arduous thing, and in time it is a possession, which becomes equal to one’s own self. In certain conditions, or when fate brings about unusual incidents in one’s life, or even in the presence of some persons, these insignificant levels of insecurity could get inflamed. But in many cases, it is not actually a case of apprehension about infidelity or about losing one’s spouse or a suspicion that he or she is having a nice time with the other that causes a feeling, which might easily be mistaken for suspicion. For it could just be a manifestation of a general feeling of inadequacy in the person himself or herself. Or it could be a reflection of a dislike of a person, with whom the other partner’s interaction is not liked by this individual. Or it could be due to an understanding of the inimical or substandard nature of the other person. Or just a general discomfort with the general social settings, that may have shackled him or her, and given freedom to certain others.
Managing insecure feelings: To ward of these types of irritations in life, both the partners should understand the general vulnerability of both of them, to mental agony and psychological insecurities. There should be an understanding that both of them should take effort to relieve the other’s agony, if any is in existence. In most cases, an offensive talk of suggestion that the other has violated norms in any levels of behaviour is just a question, which is yearning a consoling answer. But in most cases, the other partner’s reaction is a retort of outburst. This reaction just doesn’t serve any purpose, and could only aggravate the situation. For in such cases, the first person’s accusation would be that the second person is always reacting violently whenever the third person’s name is alluded to. Actually here what is most evident is a lack of communication, between the partners. For, the first person is only aiming to establish the fact that there is unison of both souls between themselves, in which whatever one person is seeking to know about the other should be known immediately.
This type of situation can be diffused, if the second person immediately informs the first that there is nothing of the sort suggested, in a light-hearted manner, bringing the theme of suspicion into the open, without a hint of ridiculousness; and handle it as a normal human reaction. Actually it would be a very healthy thing for all spouses to discuss the theme of suspicion, and deal with it, and set out clear ways to handle it, in case one of them is having a feeling of anxiety and of rejection. In this sort of discussion, pain should be taken to handle it as a serious and pertinent issue of marriage, something that would crop up in most partnerships. For even in business partnerships, suspicion is abundant.
Warding off irritations and following certain codes: In many cases, what irritates a spouse is not the belief that the partner is unfaithful, or that he or she is being intimate to another person, but just the fact that the third person is getting the impression that he or she is being intimate, or is in a position to dominate the spouse. As a factor, which brings in peace into the mind of a spouse, it is the duty of the other partner to heed the feeling of a partner in this regard; and to decide to follow certain codes of restrained communication with certain persons whom the spouse doesn’t feel a liking for.
In the case of a man, another man who is not very polite or pleasant to him, being in a very jovial friendship to his wife, wouldn’t be a matter that could give peaceful thoughts. It fact, it would be seen by him as rank infidelity. And when it comes to be mentioned, what might come out might be mistaken as a suspicion of a love affair or some other equally disturbing intrigues. But what the husband has in mind and what comes out will be entirely different from each other. And the precise distinction between the issues may not be clearly defined even in the husband’s mind. Only thing that he would know would be that the sight or thought of the other man is driving him mad.
The exasperating scenarios: Another level of interaction that some men won’t like is the highly social interaction the wife is having with persons with whom he can’t mix with, such as persons who are his social inferiors or superiors, as reflected in the social hierarchy. Ordinary interactions won’t be the cause of irritation. But when he discerns a possibility that the other person is dominating in such interactions, he would find it highly annoying that his wife is being friendly to such persons who are entering into a level of equality or domination with his wife, for he would perceive it as his wife bringing him also to such levels. Now, an admonition on this account would only demean him in the eyes of his wife. At the same time, she will definitely understand it as some sort of suspicion on the husband’s part, which in itself would be beyond her capacity to bear. Her immediate reactions would be that she has been insulted by insinuations of such horrible nonsense. In all such occasions, the husband would be at a loss to make the wife understand what is disturbing him.
Dealing with false demeanours and personalities: A related problem is when he finds his wife being overly friendly with persons of doubtful intentions. For, in many cases these persons would rejoice in describing their fantasized conquests over a married woman in many unseemly occasions and among indecent company. As a man, the husband would not only be aware of such happenings, for sometimes he himself would have participated in such lewd talk in mean company, or would be aware of such behaviour among irresponsible men, but also would not be able to endure the thought of such person using his wife’s name in such contexts. Also alluding to her in lower words of She, Her etc.
However, since many women still live in the safe seclusion of cultured atmospheres, they may not be able to contemplate such behaviour in persons, they casually know and who they believe to be of cultured etiquette. The poor husband may find it difficult to explain his apprehensions to her, and even if he does, he may end up making a sorry figure of himself, by stooping to the level of making base accusations about seemingly decent men. It would cause much mental pain to him that he had to bring up the topic of these persons in his family discussion, and that would also cause him to get more agitated. It may help if the wife understands the undercurrents in the issue. But in most cases, the wife would be of painfully insufficient experience in this matter.
Wife’s special confident: In certain cases, the wife may have a male person, who has been a sort of confident for her in all issues, since pre-marriage days. She may continue with this connection, and would not find anything awkward in this, as there is nothing clandestine in their relations and nothing suggestive of an affair or affection is in existence between them. But, this could give a husband sleepless nights and weary days.
For, the husband would like the role of a confident to be his own prerogative, and would not like this right to be shared with anyone, whatever his relationship to his wife. For in many cases, this person could be some member of the wife’s family, including her uncles or cousin, even of very senior age. A reaction of dislike to this assignment of a role of an informal consultant by his wife to someone need not be understood by the wife as something implying suspicion of infidelity or some uncommon relationship.
Husband as an appendage: And it need to be added that it is better if the wife did not have male or even female friends who are very intimate, to the extent that they know her affairs better than her husband. For, then her husband is reduced to the level of an appendage. And it should be understood that he has to compete with other men in this wide world on many issues. And another man knowing his intimate family secrets and issues with a rare level of familiarity could have a very damping effect on his self-confidence and levels of social communications. And sometimes these persons could metamorphose into a sort of a third person in the family, which in the long run will turn out to be a nuisance to the general amity in the family. In years to come, it may be disturbing to the growing children, who may not be willing to endure the presence of an unofficial third authority in the family.
A social scene at home: There are women who have a lot of social friends, both male and female. And the husband would not find anything disturbing about it in itself. But if they become a sort of nuisance to his home life, then it could be another proposition. Some women, especially those who have a bit of dominating nature, have a habit of bringing her friends home, and allowing them a lot of freedom. Whenever the husband comes home, he would find these outsiders inside his house, maybe only in the front veranda or in the sitting room. He would be forced to open up a conversation and built up a sort of acquaintance with these persons, who may not be his category of persons, with whom he would like to be identified with.
The problem is that in such a family environment, he would not get the freedom that one is supposed to get at home. It would be just like being in the social environment. And the problem could be worse if the wife is in the habit of opening up intimate family subjects to these persons, who may in turn bother the husband with some query, which might force him to be on the defensive. The problem is definitely troublesome if the wife is financially independent or if the husband is financially weaker than his wife, and she has an attitude of not caring for the views of the husband in this regard and is indifferent to his demands that his house is a place for privacy.
The spiritual potency in loyalty and the looming disasters in disloyalty: All wives must understand that a very understanding and loyal wife is the best thing a man can have, when he is on the battlefield of everyday life. The sense of security and calmness that this loyal figure can bring in a man’s mind is unimaginable and possibly incomprehensible to persons who have not experienced such blissful feelings. For a man to succeed in life, this is one of the best ingredients that can come his way. But a wife, who is not loyal or is unfaithful or is not earnest in her attitude of affection to him, can be a source of disaster for him. For, the mental tension and the deep agony this personage can afflict on him is also unimaginable. And this can hurt him in almost all of his social and professional interaction, and can lead him to the path of assured disaster.
Weird misgivings from afar: In the present times, there are plenty of men working in places, far away from their home, either abroad, or just in distant places in our own country, from where they are not able to come home regularly. The thought of an affectionate wife waiting for him, to hear of his good tidings, and ever compassionate to his setbacks, is the sublime spirit that leads him on, even when the whole world around him is crumbling and the future looks absolutely bleak. But if he has to hear some news that puts his faith in his wife in doubt or if he is disturbed by something that is in the environment, in which his wife is living, then the severe distress and mental torture, he has to undergo is not easy to put into words. One of the main things that could disturb a man is the knowledge that in his absence, his wife is on very intimate terms with another man.
In this regard, there is a bit of a secret that no man would willingly divulge. That is, if the wife doesn’t like a man and says he is unbearable, then he husband is more at ease, when this man is interacting with his wife. But if the wife thinks that another person is likeable and admirable and likes to interact with him, then in certain cases, the husband may have misgivings. In other words, he likes men who are not likeable to his wife. It may be said that this strange trait in a man’s thinking is not usually discernable in ordinary circumstances. But in some strange environments, when the other man is very soft and polite and affable to his wife and seems to get on well with her, then this trait may manifest itself. But when the husband is living with the wife, it may not be a big issue. For, there may be many persons with whom both of them might be interacting with.
The damsel in distress: But when the husband is away for long and the other men, with all good intentions, start being a sort of helping persons to his wife that she starts depending on certain persons for each and everything, then it might cause deep concern in the husband’s highly vulnerable mind. And if such helping attitude leads to that person having continual access to the house for social talk, then it would seem to the husband that he is on the brink.
If the wife is of a character, which is used to such social interaction and is of some level of stature, then it might be okay. Howver if she is a kind who can be prevailed upon, then it is not at all an advisable situation. For, her husband might not like the thought that she is being dominated by another man and that too in his absence. Moreover, he might imagine weird scenarios, of some sort of terrible liaison between his wife and the other man. In this regard, all wives must understand the deep psychology that runs in these types of situations. And strive to see that they do not create any occasion for such agony for the husband. And if she does sense that he is under any such misgivings, then she should immediately take steps to dispel such doubts from his mind.
It would be a mistake to enjoy the feeling that he is jealous, or that ‘let him have some pain’, as it will create more attachment. If he is not putting his fears into words, then she should, herself, take the initiative and bring up the subject, either through letters or through some other means of communications and see that he understands the real facts. If that is done, instead of his failing in his efforts, he would be able to put in more sincerity to his work, for he exists for her and the children.
An unfair comparison: The wife, in her premarital days, may have had a lover or a sweetheart, with whom she may or may not have had an affair. Many men don’t care about such affairs, for it is understood to be the effects of growing up. But it need not be the case with all couples. Especially if the wife is still having enduring soft feelings for her old beau, and is continually comparing her husband with the various aspects of that person, then it definitely is a problem for the marital life. And it certainly is an unfair action on the part of the wife. And if she goes to the extent of maintaining communication with him, then she is being not only unfair, but also grossly crossing the limits of propriety. Even if there are no more feelings of the heart involved, if the husband doesn’t like the continuing connection, then it would only be correct to immediately curtail the communications. If the other person insists on continuing, then he is being unfair to both of them.
The tragic indifference: In all these matters, a very congenial atmosphere of absolute communication between the spouses could lead to better understanding of the predicament, the husband is facing. The wife should show earnestness in trying to decipher what the husband is trying to convey. In the long run, this very earnestness will bestow a soothing action on the husband’s mind and will have a very benign effect on the whole married life. For, otherwise what will be reflected would be a marked indifference to the husband’s feelings, which would strangle all bliss out of a married life. At the same time, what has been delineated here, in many cases, may be an extreme case; and in the case of many husbands, they may not react in the ways described. But these things may be understood to get a clear idea as to what ticks a husband.
Wife’s relatives as a boon or bane: A wife’s overwhelming attachment to her family could also be disconcerting to a husband. It is true that any person could have a deep affection for their parents and kith and kin. But an understanding that after marriage, both persons, the husband and wife, have entered into a holy union, which is supreme in comparison to all other attachments and affections, is an absolute requisite. In terms of significance; this union exceeds any other partnership or bonding, both of them has ever had the occasion to experience, in significance.
The vicious comparisons: An attitude of always comparing her husband with her family members could have negative effects. Especially if it is an unfavourable comparison. And then, declaring that the husband is being too sensitive or that his repulsion to such attitudes are a reflection of his inferiority complex, could only add insult to injury. In no way should a wife seek to find out how a particular issue would have been handled by her father or her brothers or even by her mother or sisters. For one thing, they are not relevant. For, even if the husband’s actions speak of inexperience or lack of capacity, it is not expected, nor acceptable that other men should come and do it for him. As a person, in charge of a family, it is his duty to run the things as per his capacity. And if he wishes to get others help and suggestions, well then, it can be had. But he is not under any compulsion to accept anyone’s monitoring in his actions. And if the wife does put him under pressure to bring her family members’ opinion on all family decisions, then he could have an uncomfortable feeling of being held on a leash. And his actions may reflect an immediate need to get out of this stranglehold, and could end up in more unintelligent actions, with consequent effects. The wife will definitely have a moral responsibility in these negative effects, even though she may not acknowledge it. Moreover the husband would be loosing many valuable insights into the various aspects of practical living, which in later years may come in very handy.
Being second in precedence: Another aspect of this issue is that of the wife displaying too much affection for her kin and kith, which might obviously be on a higher scale than what she exhibits towards her husband. To put it more clearly, if a husband feels that he is only second in the line of affections, and that her first attachment is to her parents, could in certain cases be a sensitive spot. If, in all things that are decided about the family, the wife consistently insists on taking decisions only in accordance with the interests of her family, then it could lead the husband to get a feeling of insignificance and irrelevance. For example, the husband wants to shift his family to a new place, so that many of his social and professional needs can be attended to, with much ease. But if the wife insists that it cannot be done, solely because her parents may not like it, or that she wants to be near them, or that they insist that their daughter should be near to them etc. could be highly disturbing to the husband. It could be more so, if the husband comes to get a feeling that this sort of attitude is continuously interfering with his right to decide what is good for him and his family. The example given should not be confused with the issue of the wife’s parents being physically unfit to live without support, which is a different issue altogether.
The intruding relatives: In some cases, the frequent visits of the wife’s family to seek out the welfare of their daughter could annoy the husband. But, as should be said in the case of all the aspects discussed in this book, there is always a positive side to all this. But in the case of a good husband, it might disturb him, if the visitors disturb the general atmosphere and culture, he is trying to induce in his house. This problem is more acute, if the wife’s family comes from a different cultural background, which the husband might perceive as a corrupting influence on the culture, he is aim to bring into his family. And if they start interfering in his family affairs, and also starts associating with his associates and professional acquaintances, in some cases there might be problems. For, it may be understood that all human relationships in our nation are deliberately designed, with purposeful planning. Stark outsiders intruding into these tightly designed areas can be really unsettling. Again all these things, depends on the persons involved. For in some cases, it may happen that the husband likes the presence of his wife’s relations at all times due to some sort of affinity for them. Then these problems are just in the realm of imagination.
The retorting wives: Then there are wives who talk too much. It is not that the wife should not talk, for communication is the essence of a good family life, and there should be the continual din and bustle of laughter and humour for a house to come alive. But if the speech of the wife amounts to retorting, snapping, sharp reactions, loud arguments on everything, twisting of the brows, along with such obnoxious gestures like using the forefinger in a form of admonition etc. could perturb the husband, no end.
Then there are spouses who, the moment the husband comes home, start nagging him with a series of problems, which might range from financial problems, the fever of the child and the un-repaired kitchen gadget to the problem of the incessant failure of the husband in many or all of his schemes. They could put on a pout or could complain in nasty terms, or expressions. In this context, all wives should understand that a pouting or nagging wife is the last thing, a husband needs, after he comes home from the struggles of the day. When he comes home, he needs to feel at home, and not in a torture chamber, with a schedule of persistent questioning to be faced.
Financial duplicity: Another pressure a husband has to face is the problem of a lack of financial liquidity. It is a very delicate issue and if it crops up in the early days of married life, then it could be a thing, which many husbands would like to hide from their spouses. But it may not be a wise decision in the long run. And in this case, all women should bear in mind that it is a highly possible thing that their husband may have problems of finance at one time or other. And in this case, they should not put up an expression that if this is the case, then they have been swindled or that they have been the victims of some fraud. For, once married, and willing to continue in the relation, then the duty of both the partners in the married life is to seek ways to tide over these problems. If the wife is kept in a level of glorious ignorance of what is what, then it could only be just delaying the pain, and when it comes, it could come as an avalanche.
Another problem would be the necessity of dancing to her tune, whenever she demands this thing and that thing which may be expensive and beyond the poor husband’s present capacity. Yet, when faced with the prospect of the halo breaking, the husband may manage to get the expensive items, for her. But the chances of him getting into the stranglehold of moneylenders and other usurers are really great. And when it comes to the time of reckoning it may be too late, and then the blame for acting out a false drama would again fall on the husband. So, in the long run it is good that the husband faces the relatively slight pain of revealing his financial difficulties to his wife. And let her have an initial discomfiture than an enduring source of distress.
When the path turns daunting: When the times are tough, and the going gets tougher, the wife needs to adjust to it, and take upon herself the duty to see that there is no wanton wastage of money, resources or time. It is not a time to think of shame or hurt, but to put the best foot forward and plan for a better future. Instead of that, if the wife continues to indulge in juvenile immaturity, and pesters her husband for the glory of fineries and expensive conveniences, then it could be inviting disaster.
Psychological affects connected to a sick social communication system: We live in a country, divided by extreme social hierarchies, which is reflected in, and also amplified by our languages. We have the concept of respect and disrespect, whereas in English, they are conspicuous by their absence. A man, who might be a husband and a father, once he is outside his house and interacting with the world, at various levels as master, supervisor, attendant, worker etc. and dealing with superiors and inferiors, is required to exhibit respect to his seniors and extract respect from his juniors. In certain cases, where the stature of the person cannot be measured immediately, he may have to maintain a stance of monitoring to see if he is in an advantageous position or if he has to go under. These issues do interfere with the general liberty of the wife also.
For, no man would like his wife to mix with persons below his standing, at a level of equality. For, for each level of equality, the higher level is one to be shown feudal respect. And a sort of herd instinct would grasp all members of a level, that they generally exhibit a similar understanding of the hierarchy. And all the member of the higher strata would look upon all members of the lower group as a whole with the same level of social existence. The husband who exists at a higher level may not like his wife, who is his equal, to drag him to a lower level, by her informal interaction with his perceived inferiors. Some person’s like their wife to have stature, especially persons who are moving in a liberated manner, with lot mobility. At the same time, persons who are living in situations where they find it difficult to exhibit their own mental potential, would not like their wife to assume more stature than themselves, as it might come in competition with their own stature, at least in the eyes of third persons who might enjoy making comparatives studies in a most obvious manner.
Apart from this, the husband who might have to exhibit exquisite obsequiousness to his social superiors may not enjoy his wife being a continuous witness to actions, which are demeaning to himself. And hence, he may not enjoy his wife interacting with many of his seniors, other than on special occasions. This aspect is mainly in areas where the vernacular is more prevalent as against in organisations where English is the mode of communication, where this conditioning may not be much evident.
To put it in other words, a man would like to bring his wife only into social circles, only where he is at ease. Wherever he is at a loss, or feels stifled, he would not like his wife to appear, for he is a person to whom the wife has to show consistent respect. But this is a factor on which a man cannot do much about, as in this country of ours, where many men have to struggle to make ends meet, there may not be much choice or alternative to situations where a man has to endure a lower profile in the presence of others. In this aspect, he may or may not have mental uneasiness, and may say things, which would seem to be the curtailing of the freedom of the wife. Yet, a small amount of understanding of this issue by the wife could help. And if the man or woman can communicate to each other about the various aspects of this issue, it might help.
But, the problem is that most people won’t be in a position to understand these issues in their finer aspects, let alone talk about it. The only thing, they might understand is that there are times when they are uneasy about certain actions of their wives. To explain why, would be beyond their capacity.
The irritants: One of the major irritants that happen is when the wife is unable to discern the fact that her husband is preoccupied with something in his mind. These moments of deep contemplation would be understood by the wife as times of lazing. What he might be doing might be thinking of some serious problems, concerning business or pressing social engagements, and ways to extricate himself from positions of loss or distress. At the same time, the wife may consider these moments as opportunities to charge him with many negligence, imagined and real. Another thing that can become an irritant is the asking her husband to do some minor thing, when he is going for a very serious and significant thing. In his preoccupation with the more serious affair, he might either forget to do the other item, or may do it with a level of inefficiency. In both these cases, the result might be heated words, with the wife accusing him of inadequacies. In these things, a little understanding by the wife about her husband’s mental worries, and how he functions could help a lot.
Some wives cause disturbances, with sharp tongue, to their busy and preoccupied husbands with such things as minor as of having not kept the newspaper in the proper place, the taken out shirt back in the hanger, and such other things. It may be true that there may be a streak of such clumsiness in the man, but these things come with a person, and if cannot be rectified, the atmosphere need not be worsened with a snapping tongue.
The suspicious: Then there are the suspicious types of wives. They may or may not have cause to be suspicious about their husband with regard to many things, mainly in regard to their relationship with other woman. It is a terrible thing if they have to come to such a level. It, more or less, signifies the absence of mutual trust. And to build up trust, is not easy. The only way is to deliberately take steps to improve communication on such subjects that would even encompass the issue of suspicion.
Those who stoop: Yet, beyond that what I would like to say about is the issue of some stooping to the level of asking their servants and other dependants to spy on the actions of her husband. These persons may really enjoy their assignment to the extent of causing consternation to the husband. And it is a sad day when the wife has to depend on another person to know the news about her husband.
It is not possible to go into the merits of such issues in a generalised manner. For there may be requirements, in severe cases, and it may not be good for the wife to be caught unawares. But always remember, that there is a danger when outsiders, like servants, dependants, husband’s business partners, people whom the husband consider as inferior to him etc. are given the authority, to spy on him, and the access to her, to report it. Many of these people are themselves not of such ethical and mental standards to do the job, with dignity. And many more would exploit the situation for their own benefit; and some may even enjoy putting a wedge between the husband and wife. Some may use this as a means to take advantage of the husband, so that he may get distracted and may make mistakes in business and accounts.
Approaches in regard to bringing up children: In regard to children also, there are many fine aspects, which can cause happiness and also bring in gloom. In the many aspects of children, there are many things that can cause concern in the mind of husbands, with regard to the actions and attitude of their wives. This is more in the case of men who are very concerned with how their children should be brought up. And if they find a streak of difference in the views of their wife about this, then in it itself they would have cause to get aggrieved. But if a particular policy has been formulated among the husband and wife about how to treat and look after the children, and then he finds that she is flouting all this, the moment his back is turned, could cause major upheavals.
He may not like his children treated brutally, by their mother, whenever they do any mischief, or use ugly words to admonish them. Or he may need the children to be kept in terrible discipline and regimentation. He may try to bring in a modern culture in their life, which the wife may not be able to provide. He may need his children to move with a select, sophisticated group; or he may like his children to move with the common children. He may like to have English language to be a sort of alternative language in the home, so as to induce it in the communication of the children. Or he may like his native vernacular to be the language at home, and may have an antipathy for English; at the same time, the wife may be having just the opposite ideas. He may or may not like the idea of his parents or the parents of his wife’s family influencing his children and inducing their culture in them.
Another thing that might hurt a father is, if he has to compete with others, such as his children’s uncles and aunt, for the children’s affection. Whenever he comes home, and wants to pet and pamper his children, if he finds that they are more willing to be in the lap or company of such other persons, and refuse to come to him. Then it will definitely be distressing. And if these other persons enjoy his discomfiture, and encourage the continuation of such behaviour in the children, then it may cause unpleasant situations. And if his wife also, doesn’t care for his feelings, then it may be a very sad thing.
Apart from all this, since the wife is the person who is more in contact and communication with the children, if there were any character of delinquency in the children, he would like to put the entire blame on his wife. The entire aspect of children has to be discussed in detail. But at the moment, in this context, it may be said that both the husband and wife should take an active interest in the affairs of the children and also arrive at mutually acceptable ideas on this count.
And it remains the supreme duty of the wife to instil in the children a healthy love, affection and respect for their father. If she fails in this duty, it reflects her own dissatisfaction with her spouse. Or it may reflect a real callousness in her attitude to married life.