“We have been married for 25 years. A milestone that was once no more than a distant dream…
I always dreamt of a tall, handsome knight on a white steed sweeping me off my feet. But dreams don’t always turn into reality and our match was made through a matrimonial column. There was no courtship, no candlelit dinners, no serenading, nor gifting … our families met and the marriage was finalised.
Within a week of our betrothal, we tied the knot. And like any new bride, my heart fluttered with excitement. I stepped over the threshold of my marital home dreaming of a rosy future, filled with love and happiness. But I was in for a rude shock.
My thus far honey-tongued mother-in-law suddenly turned into a screaming banshee, finding flaws with everything I did. I was subjected to regular tongue-lashings. I looked to my husband for rescue but he remained tongue-tied. But the worst was yet to come.
Within two months of our marriage came my husband’s marching orders – for a six-month training period to a place where spouses were not allowed. I had no choice but to stay with his parents. We were not the typical newly married couple, and he left, not betraying a single emotion.
Those 6 months felt like 6 years. I was treated like a POW (prisoner of war) – not allowed to meet friends and relatives, expected to do all the household chores and adjust to all the idiosyncrasies of the family members.
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I had an excellent academic record and got a lot of job offers during this time but there was no defying my mother-in-law – she was hell-bent against my working. Not even my father-in-law could question her decisions.
My books became my constant companions. Finally, the six-month ordeal ended and my husband was posted to another city. At last, we would have some bliss, minus the scud missiles which were constantly being shot from mother-in-law to daughter-in-law and vice versa.
Alas, it wasn’t to be. My mother-in-law would call us every single day, telling us how to live our lives, her phone calls creating complete pandemonium in our lives. But my husband doted on his mother and couldn’t get himself to call a spade a spade. We took to abusing each other instead.
I started moping around the house, envious of friends who couldn’t stop gushing about their romantic escapades. Marriage had turned out to be no bed of roses for me.
I’d considered taking the extreme step of a legal separation from my husband. Having been brought up with middle-class values, however, I had imbibed the idea that marriage was for keeps, forever a work in progress, to which both parties must give their hundred percent at all times. I started accepting my husband for who he was. He, too, started making an effort and soon we were parents to a beautiful boy.
Soon our daughter came along and I, who had never seen my husband’s tender side was in for a surprise. Suddenly, he became more responsible and was even helping out with household chores. He was changing diapers, making night feeds, cooing the baby to sleep… the metamorphosis was like that of a chrysallis to a butterfly.
But there was still no getting away from his parents’ old- fashioned attitudes. Whenever they came visiting, they could not see their darling son helping out and, being the dutiful son that he was, he would immediately stop.
Related reading: My mum ill-treated my wife despite all that she did for her
I couldn’t take the drudgery that my life had turned into and started jotting down my thoughts. Soon a few of my articles were published and I even started winning prizes for some of my stories. And lo and behold, my husband finally started realising my worth!
We have come a long way since. Facing the vicissitudes of life, we have evolved in the true sense of the word. A chord has been struck between two strangers and my husband is now the empathetic shoulder I rest my head on whenever life starts to wear me out. He is more patient and understanding now, making me more confident and positive in life.
I may have dreamt of handsome knights whispering sweet-nothings into my ear, but it is my flawed husband who is the perfect match for me.”