It always takes two to make a relationship work and blossom.
For a girl entering a new family after marriage, forging new bonds and embracing new family relationships is a tricky journey and sensitive waters to wander into.
In the world of role stereotypes, in the life of a new bride, the mother-in-law is always from hell while the father-in-law is always portrayed as kind. But I have often seen autocratic fathers-in-law. Traditionally in our society sons and sons-in-law have been majorly more appreciated than daughters-in-laws in general. They are pampered and welcomed into the fold and treated with love and respect.
I’ve personally experienced how daughters-in-law are met with a high-handed, supercilious approach. More often than not, they are an unappreciated lot even though times are now changing for the better.
Yet, there are happy exceptions. And what I saw last evening had me completely floored. I was visiting a furniture store for a routine branding discussion when I met the owner, Vijay, a proud father-in-law. He had not only funded but conceptualised, supported and helped his daughter-in-law, an interior designer, build a 20,000 sq ft furniture store without any stake or personal agenda. He is a man of vision, full of concern and care for someone beyond his biological connection. Many women in our country would have had easier lives if they had a father-in-law like Vijay and I hope all fathers-in-law reading about this progressive man feel inspired to adopt such an approach.
In traditional families — especially in two and three tier cities — when a girl leaves her parents’ home or her college dorm, she is thrust into a joint family or at best, a close-knit family with an autocratic father-in-law who calls the shots. Especially when the husband and father-in-law are part of the same business and the son is accountable to his father. It would then be advisable for the father-in-law to be a friendly guide, a person who leads and guides his son and daughter-in-law in a gentle and loving manner.
Sadly, I have often encountered autocratic and indifferent fathers-in-law. It is seldom that one chances upon a nurturing father-in-law. On the part of a new bride, even she could engender a rapport by discussing issues of common interest, conversing with and addressing him as she would a fond uncle, with a warm bonhomie. However, like every other relationship in the world, it is not possible to develop a father-daughter relationship overnight, and a new bride must also strive to create a happy equation with her in-laws. It always takes two to make a relationship work and blossom.
The writer is a columnist, designer and brand consultant. Mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org