You will meet many people who consider 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 (according to a TOI report). 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, even couples in nuclear families are complaining about a lack of romance and alone time together. So, you can only imagine the plight of those living in a joint family.
It’s not a cakewalk to adjust to a joint family after marriage, especially for the partner who has to live with their spouse’s family – more often than not that onus falls on the woman. A lot of effort goes into pleasing the in-laws and other members of the family. The situation is challenging for the man too, even if not as much as it is for the woman finding her way into a completely strange household. Trying to balance the priority and affection between his family and his wife turns out to be trickier than that most men imagine.
Couples get to spend quality time only after all the familial politics and duties, which can diminish the opportunities to connect with each other. Anyone who can relate to this scenario is bound to be left wondering, “How to be romantic while in a joint family?” We understand the stumbling block you are facing. Stay with us for an in-depth discussion on privacy in Indian families and ways to keep your relationship spark alive.
Why is it tough to find romance in a joint family?
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Joint families come with added homely and relationship-related responsibilities and they survive because the Indian culture prioritizes family relationships above all else. 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 with breakfast. So, as the wife gets up early to tend to her morning duties, she has hardly any time left to be cozy-mushy with her husband.
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 with everyone, and finally go to their room, their private heaven.
This too depends on your seniority level. The youngest daughter-in-law will be the last one to retire for the day. Strangely, joint family relationships cross all boundaries and privacy rules. If there are a few children in the house, they might keep knocking at your door for some storytime. And sex? Well, having sex while living in a joint family is not less than a wild adventure. After solving all the equations, sex can seem to be quite a planned task, like another household chore.
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8 ways to keep The romance alive when living in a joint family
As a newly married couple, you would be glad to be alone and make the best of this time together. But then, over the years, discussions or arguments throughout the day, planning for the future or just plain fatigue can suck away the romance from your life. Add to that the many responsibilities brought about by an extended family.
But you cannot let time pass by just imagining romantic situations with your spouse. Seize the day my friend! Consider yourself lucky if your husband is equally frustrated over the whole situation and very enthusiastic to find a remedy. Trust us, it can be a whole different struggle if he chooses his family over you.
Assuming that you are both on the same page and determined to resolve your privacy issue, here are 8 ways to keep the romance alive when living in a joint family:
1. Find some alone time
It’s a known fact that a sad person can make no one happy. As you are stuck all day in the kitchen, then rushing to the office, and back to family responsibilities again at night, when will you meet your personal needs? Unless you carve out some time for yourself, after a few days, you will go through the daily chores like a robot, not feeling any urge to do something exciting or passionate.
It’s high time you revisit the many different ways to love yourself. Finding inner peace and mental sanity is extremely important even when navigating the web of joint family relationships. Rejuvenate and pamper yourself. Make yourself irresistible, feel romantic and the romance shall flow in your otherwise dull and busy life.
2. Sneak out for some quality time
I guess you don’t want to be blunt by outright announcing to the family that you and your spouse are going to spend some ‘alone’ time. Now, probably, you will have to do a lot of planning to enjoy uninterrupted private moments. You can accompany each other on official trips.
Your friends may offer you a place and time to rekindle the romance in your relationship. If nothing works, then think of some family errands that you could run together. You will get an abundance of free time to spend together in the car while commuting or waiting in the queues. Do not talk about serious topics. Just try to enjoy your moment together. Finally, you could end the day with a romantic dinner at a fancy restaurant.
3. Get romantic
How to be romantic while in a joint family? Isn’t that the most commonly asked question? And with good reason too, it can seem as if keeping romance alive in a joint family is an impossible feat. But to be or not to be romantic is completely up to you. If you decide to keep the romance in your marriage alive, 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 some special arrangements. It could be something elaborate, like lighting scented candles in your bathroom, followed by an oil massage, or just simply watching your favorite movies together all snuggled up.
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4. Display your affection whenever you can
Whenever you show affection to your partner, it makes them realize that you are thinking about them. It will make them think about you too and find ways to return that affection. Maintaining privacy in Indian families is the most crucial. The senior members of the family won’t appreciate a couple being too close openly.
So, if you are trying to maintain a good relationship with your mother-in-law, it’s better to keep the PDA to a minimum. Although, occasional hand-holding or a warm hug won’t attract many judgemental eyes. In your private space, of course, you can go all the way, but it will be a good idea to keep a check on those noises.
5. Let love rule
The feeling of being romantic is momentary but being in love is timeless. Do not let your 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. Make sure to tell each other about your feelings in actual words.
Steal your spouse from everyone’s attention for a while and give them a sweet peck on the cheek. Brush your hands under the table when you are all having dinner together. These fleeting moments of touch and adorable gestures will keep your love evergreen.
6. Take help from other family members
When you are lost in the middle of a joint family relationship setup, sometimes you just run out of ideas and scopes to make your wife happy in bed. Rather than feeling frustrated about it, you should step up and seek help from your allies at home. Do not shy away from asking for favors from other family members, once in a while.
If you feel that your relationship needs a quick dose of romance and can’t think of anything yourself, ask for the opinions of your trusted ones. You may be surprised by the romantic fantasies of either the oldest granny or the youngest teenager in the family. Give this a shot.
7. Find romance during family celebrations
Joint families are known to have grand festivities. These are the days that make it easier for you to adjust to a joint family after marriage. Indeed, it is the best time to be romantic as everyone is in a happy festive mood. Make a special wish for your spouse in private for the festival before you join the rest of the family. Compliment each other’s festive attire. You may as well try to do some rituals together to keep the romance alive.
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8. Discuss family stories
Your extended family is the closest to your spouse. They have a lot of mischievous and funny stories to share about your life partner. Sometimes just exchanging glances while you listen to stories about your partner is romantic.
As a couple, you need to have clear priorities and making some time for each other should definitely be one of them. 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.