Indian Married Life
VED from VICTORIA INSTITUTIONS
It is foretold! The torrential flow of inexorable destiny!
What is a good family life?
The essential ingredients: A good family life includes an affectionate husband, a loving wife and cheerful children. These are the essential ingredients. And since living is a dynamic event, there has to be various ways and means to maintain it that way. For, everyday is a different day.
The affection of the husband should encompass not only his wife, but also his children. And the best thing that a father can do to display his love for his children is to exhibit a deep love for their mother. For, if there is any sort of antipathy or disenchantment with his wife and he makes it very apparent, then no amount of petting or charming the children would be able to bring in an atmosphere of security to the children. A feeling of security and peace is one of the ingredients for the proper mental development of the children. And so it all amounts to the fact that for a happy and contended family living, there should be an atmosphere of deep and enduring attachment between the husband and the wife.
The imps: Yet, here one cannot disregard the responsibility of the wife in this crucial issue. It is her responsibility to rise up to the level of being worthy of her husband’s affection. For, a wife with a nasty mood is not one to be loved and shown affection. If she acts impish, then the affection shown by a responsible husband becomes an act of foolishness.
Concealing the financial status: The question of finance is a major one, and there should be adequate means to secure it, so that the needs of the family can be met without difficulty. It is better if there is an atmosphere of open discussion about this factor between the spouses. Actually in our country, among a great many people, it is a subject that is not divulged to the wife, on the belief that it is none of her business. And the general social climate in those areas may be conducive for such attitudes. But in the modern families, where the wife also comes with a lot worldly knowledge, it is not only not fair to keep her in the dark, but also dangerous, that she does not know the fluctuations that might effect it, and also about its source.
For, in modern times, she herself may have to take a lot of decisions, which might involve the question of finance. Generally the woman would be more careful of spending money on extravagances, if she does know the complete details of the family’s financial standing. Otherwise, she would be at the level of a child who may pester the parent for all the useless, yet attractive things that may catch its eye. Each time the husband tries to please her with an extravagant gift, it would only whet her desire for more.
Buying affection: A husband who tries to buy the affection of his wife with expensive gifts, which he can ill afford, is doing a disservice to his whole family, including his wife and children. He will end up with financial commitments, which may gobble up his savings and lead him to the path of disaster. So it is always good that the wife also understands the complete financial situation. If a man fears that he would lose his wife’s respect, if he discloses these details to her, then he may first understand the fact that he has no need of such a wife, whose affection is absolutely connected to the purse string. The fact is that, though the wife will initially be disillusioned by the figures, which may not match her expectation, in a short period of time she will understand the reality. Then there would be the much needed coming of maturity in her. In fact, from that moment onwards she will acquire the mentality to see to it that the family resources are not wasted on useless social exhibitions and buying of unwanted gadgetry, without which the family can do equally well.
Telepathic communication: In a happy family, there should be unison of purpose; an understanding of what each of them is doing, and a capacity to anticipate what the other wants. Each should know what the other wants, to the extend that in most of the requirement of everyday life, there needn’t be verbal communication required. It should be so smooth and effortless to arrange a thing for the other’s convenience.
That much for the generalisations. Now we can go into the details.
A household comes with a husband, a wife and children. The husband would have to go out to his work. Some wives also may be having jobs. Most of the wives don’t have jobs. The children may be very young, requiring continuous attention or they may be going to school.
Facing the morning: It is a very healthy habit if both the spouses get up early in the morning and get about with their morning chores. If the wife is a housewife, it is not a definite requirement that the husband should help in the kitchen. He can if he has the time and mood. Otherwise it is better that he gets ready for his own going out. And he can await the morning tea. But if both the spouses are employed and need to go out, then it is an absolute necessity that he helps in the kitchen. And if there are children who have to be send to school, then the husband should absolutely take care of many of the things in the morning busy hours. But it need to be said that most of the husbands are addicted to their daily dose of newspaper reading, and the only help he might extend to his wife, who is toiling in the kitchen might be an occasional comment on the shocking thing that has come across his attention in the paper.
This is not a very attractive attribute, nor is it a commendable one. But many women bear this grouse injustice in silence. But, it is not a thing about which a wife should react aggressively, for a nice talk of a suggestion that it might help if this habit of morning browsing of the paper could to be dispensed with, might help.
A matter of physical ease: One of the things that really set the good mood of a man for the day is that he has been able to relive himself in the toilet. For many people, it is a very sensitive issue, and any tension or distraction in the morning hours may cause a temporary constipation, which will destroy the mood of the whole day. Though some husbands may not have mentioned it as such to the wife, it is only a reasonable thing for a wife to understand this need, and advise her husband to maintain a proper timing for it, so that it, as an absolute necessity, is finished. To put it frankly, this is a very relieving thing for many persons, which will improve their spirit no little.
Warming up, physically: A bit of a warming up exercise, in which both participate, along with the children could also be an ideal thing, which will further improve the sense of physical wellbeing, and could by itself lead to a pleasant atmosphere inside the house. For, a husband who is like a couch potato, is a very unattractive being.
An air of spontaneous communication and gaiety: There should be an atmosphere of cheer and laughter inside the four walls of a house. A cold forlorn and dreary climate, which would infect everybody, should not be there. Spontaneity of humour and gaiety would go a long way in bringing brightness to the countenance of all, and engage them in actions of mutual good. An atmosphere of easy interaction between the different members of the family should be there. The stifling feudal hierarchy that exists in our society should not be allowed to enter the premises, and infect the various levels of the family members. To put it in more clear words, the feudal levels of superiority and inferiority that go with difference of age and status should not be there. But in areas where only pure vernacular is the spoken language, it may not be able to do away with it altogether.
On perceiving the cause of mental agitations: There should not be scenes of discord between the spouses. Angry retorts and spontaneous bursting out with anger, all point to weak spots in the relationships. And if a clear analysis could be made on these issues, it will be evident that there are many other issues that are actually causing the mental disturbances. Especially if it is found that frequent shouting matches are going on between the husband and wife, and yet both of them understand that they both have feelings of affection for each other, then the need to find out the real cause that is sparking the issue is important. One of the things in this regard, when one of the spouses is reacting strongly, is for the other person to understand that there are some problems, which is genuinely disturbing him or her and causing this response.
Don’t take this lightly. For, it is the duty of the other person to communicate with his or her spouse, when he or she is in a less disturbed mood, and find out the real reason. And even then, the real reason may not be forthcoming, as sometimes this person may find it awkward to put all his or her feelings in words. For he or she may feel foolish, or sometimes the person may not have enough communication abilities to put the whole undercurrent of emotions into words, or sometimes the person may not have a clear idea of what is really disturbing him or her, other than that certain things, actions, events, words or persons are causing mental agitation.
Irking factors: Sometimes it could be the actions, gestures, tone, the words used, the facial expression etc. of the spouse, which is irking the other. Or it could be the philosophies and attitude to life of the spouse. Or it could be the habits and levels of cleanliness of the other. Or it could be the company the other keeps. Or it could be that of anyone of his or her family members, like father, mother, brother, sister, uncle, aunt etc. Or it could be something to do with the people in the neighbourhood. Or it could be something that is a continuing irritation in the workplace. Or it could be something that has happened sometime back or something that is happening in some other place. Many things can activate a human mind in singular directions.
It is the absolute obligation of the other person to understand what are the topics and circumstances that are causing consternation in the spouse. In this enterprise, an attitude of understanding, compassion and affection should be there, and the whole thing should be considered with a deep analytical mind. In such deliberations, the spouse himself or herself is the best person to do it. As much as possible try to avoid the help or advice of others who may or may not be relatives. For, sometimes the attitude of the spouse to get outsiders’ advice on each and everything might be the very problem.
Intrusive counsellors as part of the problem: If there is someone in the acquaintance of either of the spouses who is not known to the other, who may have the capability to evaluate the situation, then he or she can be sought for getting a detached suggestion as to what is the problem that may be irking the other spouse. In this regard, care should be taken to see that this is first of all a person who has the worldly knowledge and insight to understand the intricacies of human relationships, and also the integrity to keep the information, passed on to him or her, confidential and also not to make profit out of it. In this regard, there should be an understanding that there are many persons in this world who are desperate to act as mediators in places of distrust and dispute, that they really carve for such situations and problems. Never allow such persons into the realm of family affairs, for they would, with characteristic ease, create more problems than solve. Moreover, they would create an everlasting need for themselves, to the extent that they would become an indispensable apparition in all the affairs of the couple.
The guiding principle should be that no third person should have an access to the spaces between the spouses. For, if things reach such a state, then it is a mighty bad situation. And the sublime theme should be that the family, which includes the spouse and children, comes first, and then only comes the opinion and reactions of others. And in every endeavour, let an earnest affection for your spouse motivate you.
Reacting to provocations: There may be times when one of the spouses goes into deep despondency, due to something. In which case, the best treatment is to find the reason for this, and try to get that changed. The cure will come automatically. Don’t, for God’s sake, heed the advice of some ill-advised person and straight away put him or her into the clutches of some half-baked doctor who may pump in some drug, the cumulative effect of which the doctor himself may be working out.
In these times of terrible stress, remember that there are times when things are bad, and there are times when it is good. The bad, we have to face with fortitude. Also, remember that in almost all cases, where a person is reacting with terrible anger, there is someone who is making him angry. The cure is to see that such provocation and provocative persons are removed from the victim’s presence, and then there will be a remarkable change visible.
The intelligence in deferring certain decisions: Living within the means is something that should be practised with enduring patience. It is something, which can affect the overall ethical standards of the family, and the impression the family builds up in the society at large. For, once a family practices this technique of making their limited levels of income to stretch to the maximum, by applying the principles of austerity on things which don’t need to be done with pomp and pageantry, then they can be assured of an income which is enough. The couple would need to discuss what the essentials are for a month and decide to use the funds most efficiently. Like buying the vegetables which are cheap at that time, buying provisions in bulk, if required, if there is a cost reduction if done so etc. And in buying clothes, which are good, even though they are a bit expensive, for the saving comes in the way of the lasting of the clothes. Both the spouses should decide not to make any purchase on the spur of the moment, and always consult the other in such matters. This is more so, when confronting a salesman with a glib tongue. For, if one of the spouses is convinced by the talk of a salesman who has come to sell some household goods, and the other is not, then don’t take the decision immediately. Defer the decision, if the thing is expensive.
Never make on-the spot-decisions about buying of such things as land, building, house, vehicle etc. without the consent and knowledge of the spouse, and a discussion on this regard has been done in privacy. That is, if the spouse is not a businessman in these items. And also, when signing any agreements or making monetary commitments, see that proper discussion has been done at home. For, sometimes the spouse may come up with fantastic insights.
On diverging attitudes: There is then the problem of the different attitudes of husband and wife to the habit of spending. If one of the spouses is a person who is very careful in spending, and the other has a more liberal attitude in this, then there might be problems. Especially if the family finances are not very sound. In this aspect also, there should be a definite policy, especially till the time the family is financially strong.
There should be a habit of making a budget for at least one month. A provision should be made to save something for medical expenses that might crop up at odd times. If possible, a medical insurance policy, also. And some steady savings for the proverbial rainy day. A life insurance policy making the children, the beneficiaries might reduce a bit of the tension with regard to the future of the children.
On deceit as a way of livelihood: Let there be an attitude to be truthful and virtuous, in dealings with the members of the family, which include the spouses and the children, and to the world at large. A habit of keeping the word and commitments, to the children and the spouse could bring in a feeling of respect that goes beyond mere affection. But with regard to a virtuous disposition to the world at large, there are many dimensions. And to put it frankly, in our country, it is a proposition, which many significant persons would find a bit of tough to practise, especially the government servants. Though it is not in the parameters of the topic of this book to go into the theme of bureaucratic corruption, all persons who are in the bureaucracy should bear in mind that they are not displaying a habit worthy of emulation when they make money by dishonest means. And when one of the spouses is being deceitful to the world, then what the other spouse and the children get as moral teaching is one of the worst kinds. Bear this in mind. For, even if destiny may leave you, nemesis may not.
A theme on positive energy: The premises of the house should be neat and clean. A clean and tidy house improves the atmosphere, and makes the mood positive. On the contrary, an untidy, unkempt house is a real inauspicious thing, which will infect the inhabitants with a lot of negativity. Let both the spouses and the children take effort to maintain a healthy atmosphere in the house. Let there be a place for everything and a place for disposing of the wastes. The toilets should also be spick and span. A large open window might bring in the free fresh air. But, sadly in many places in our country, the reality is that it only brings in mosquitoes.
Supernatural sciences and superstitions: I don’t want to suggest that you should become superstitious. But if you do have belief, then it won’t do any harm if you arrange your house according to the major concepts of the vastushastra. And even if you do not have much belief in its benevolence, if your attitude is one of taking the extra care, then it won’t do you any harm if you heed its suggestions, if they do not go against common sense, and propriety.
There might be the parents of either of the spouses living in the house. Though it is not necessary for anyone of the spouses to be a sort of serving person, to the parents of the other, if they are aged persons, then it is required that proper care should be extended to them. And such love displayed to them might add on to the attachment the spouses have for each other. The full extent of this aspect of the relationship to the parents-in-law, shall be detailed at a later stage.
Another aspect is that of the children. They are one of the major fruits of married life, and the whole theme of how to bring up children needs to be discussed in detail.
Another very important aspect to a very happy married life is that of sex and its complexities. This also requires detailed treatment.