I am a 32-year-old banker. After working for six years, I got married last year. I am quite good looking and belong to a well-off family, so my parents thought marrying me off wouldn’t be a problem. However, when they seriously started considering proposals, we found out most proposals were from wannabes who wanted to marry someone with a good salary to augment their finances. Finally, last June, I got a suitable proposal from a chartered accountant. My husband is 39 years old, but my father said that getting good education and settling down takes time. We got married in August last year, and although it was a totally arranged match, I fell in love with my husband. He asked me to leave the job if I wanted and I did it because I wanted to spend hassle free time with my husband. I had a very good salary and had managed to buy an apartment from my savings and money given to me by my father. My apartment is on rent, so I wasn’t worried about my loss of income. What I had not realised was that along with my income, I would lose my independence too. In this day and age, educated girls still face problems if they live in joint family setups. My mother-in-law told me that running the house was my responsibility, which was fine. But, the problem is that for even to buy vegetables I have to ask her for money and then give her a detailed account of each expense, which irks me. My husband has two unmarried sisters and a brother. Whenever they want to go out with friends, they simply inform their mother or father and go. But, if I wish to visit my family or friends, I have to get permission at least a week in advance from my mother-in-law. When I realised this discrimination in treatment, I spoke to my husband and he said the house was his mother’s to manage the way she sees fit, but I was free to visit anyone I wanted anytime. I couldn’t accept it, and told my mother-in-law I wanted a certain sum of money for the household expenses. She blew up and called my husband and complained. To her credit, she didn’t add or subtract, and just told him what I had said. My husband didn’t say anything then, but when we were in our room, he told me not to repeat it, and didn’t speak to me for a week. I think I have had enough. I am an educated woman and financially independent. Why should I take such treatment? I think I have two options: to start working again, or to demand a separate house. What do you suggest?
Dear Humiliated Banker,
In many instances, getting married is the easy part; the difficulty lies in making the marriage work. You have been married for hardly six months, so I suggest instead of doing anything rash try to get your bearing, solidify your position and deal with everyone diplomatically - that is, if you want your marriage to work. Do you expect this man who has told you that his mom will run the house the way she sees fit to accede to your demand for a separate house? The household money thing is definitely irksome. What you can do is to make a list of things you need in advance and give it to either your husband or mother-in-law. They will either get stuff for you, or give you a reasonable amount. As for getting a job, your husband is not unreasonable; after all, he told you that you don’t have to get permission to go anywhere, so talk to him if you really want to work. It was your choice to leave your job, so he probably wouldn’t mind if you start working again. Your husband is a good and mature person; he didn’t say anything to you in his mother’s presence, which shows his regard and respect for you. So cool down and take things lightly. Everything will work out if you give it a chance. Good luck!