As a parent I find living in a joint family a boon. Given the care and support a joint family offers, it is no surprise that joint families in urban India grew 29% between 2001 and 2011. (Source) This itself indicates the convenience of joint families. However, the traditional setup where couples live with their parents in the same house does have one undeniable flaw – the lack of privacy. Couples living in joint families do not find enough time to themselves, and the relationship tends to suffer. Given the advent of modern gadgets and their entry into the bedroom, couples in nuclear families are complaining about lack of romance and alone time together, so you can imagine the plight of those living in a joint family.
Why is it tough to find romance in a joint family?
Joint families come with added responsibilities and survive because the Indian system value relationships first. This often translates into doing something for the sake of it, since we consider it rude to say ‘no’ to family members, particularly elders. For example, most women in the house would get together to prepare meals, starting from the early morning breakfast. So as the wife gets up early to tend to her morning duties, she does not get time to be cosy-mushy with her husband.
So there goes your first chance of having a romantic, morning cup of tea together. The couple then gets a glimpse of each other in the evening after a hectic day of work. They come, they freshen up and share the day with everyone together. Have dinner, watch television again all together and finally go to their room, their private heaven. This too depends on your seniority level. The youngest daughters-in-law shall be the last to retire for the day. And sex? Well, sex seems to be quite a planned task when you are living in a joint family set-up.
8 ways to keep romance alive when living in a joint family
If you are newly married you will just be glad to be alone and make the best of this time together. But then, as time goes by, either discussions or arguments about the day, future planning or just plain fatigue sucks away the romance from your life. Add to that the many responsibilities an extended family brings about. But you cannot let time pass you by just imagining romantic situations with your spouse. Here are 8 ways to keep romance alive when living in a joint family-
- Find some alone time: It’s a known fact that a sad person can make no one happy. So you have to take some time out for yourself. Rejuvenate and pamper yourself. Make yourself irresistible, feel romantic and romance shall flow in your otherwise dull and busy life
- Sneak in some couple time: If you don’t want to be blunt, by outright announcing that you are going to spend some time together ‘alone’, then probably, you will have to do a lot of planning. You can accompany each other during official trips. Your friends can lend you some place and time to rekindle your romance. If nothing works then think of some family errands that you could run together. You could actually land up spending a lot of time together in the car or the queues. Do not talk about serious topics. Just try to enjoy your moment together. Finally you could just have a romantic chat at the café
- Get romantic: To be or not to be romantic is your choice. If you decide to be, then even an army of relatives can’t stop you. It’s all in the mind. The word ‘romantic’ means making your spouse or partner feel loved and special. So just think about everything that your spouse loves and make it special. It could be elaborate, like lighting scented candles in your bathroom, followed by oil massage or just simply watching your favourite romantic movie together all snuggled up. And here is a fun, but true piece on
- Display your affection whenever you can: Whenever you show affection to your partner, it makes them realise that you are thinking about them. In return they start thinking about you and how to return that affection. Make sure not to go overboard with your PDA, and occasional holding of the hands or a hug is good enough. In private you can go to any extent, just make sure no one hears you
- Let love rule: Feeling of being romantic is momentary, but being in love is timeless. Do not let the love for each other fade away, especially due to external interference. If your spouse does not feel loved all your romantic gestures will be futile
- Take help from other family members: Do not shy away from asking favours from other family members, once in awhile. If you feel that your relationship needs a quick dose of romance and can’t think of anything yourself, ask for opinions of your trusted ones. You may be surprised with the romantic fantasies of either the oldest granny or the youngest teenager in the family
- Find romance during family celebrations: Joint families are known to have grand festivities. This is the best time to be romantic. Wish each other, before you join the rest of the family. Compliment each other’s festive attire. Try to do some rituals together
- Discuss family stories: Your extended family is the closest to your spouse. Sometimes they may know things that you may have no idea about. Sometimes just exchanging glances while you listen to stories about your partner is romantic
As a couple, you need to have clear projections on making some time for yourself. This will lend strong foundations to your relationship and while you enjoy the advantages of living in a joint family, you will also be able to take a slice of independence and privacy amidst the chaos.