Dear daughter SP,
If you date an Indian guy and are engaged to him, and the seemingly nice parents (esp the mom) of his use the following expressions, expect tremendous interference in your life from them unless you do some work of bringing them on the same page as you and your fiance:
- I am bringing a daughter-in-law to my house: They feel your marriage is about them, not about their son and you. They don’t realize that you and your husband are building your own nest. You are as much an extension to their family as your husband is to our family. Will they be okay if I say “I am bringing a son-in-law to my house”? Some work needs to be done to put them in the right mindset.
- You are like my daughter: When there is a conflict between you and your husband (about chores or vacation or just opinions), sympathy (or even tears) will be expressed in favor of your husband but not you. I don’t blame her, she’s the mom. But why make a show of mother-daughter relation that is impossible to acheive? What happens if there is a divorce? Is the mother-daughter relation intact? Plus, a mother could be a term to exercise control. It’s very easy for her to get away with a nasty comment saying, “I would say the same to my daughter! She wouldn’t mind it”. Some work needs to be done to keep expectations realistic.
- In our family, this is how it’s done: If you come across statements like this, the hidden intent of which is to ‘advise’ you to do it in the same way, remember that from your perspective, the advice is an option. The person (or rather the relation) giving the advice does not put any weight on the soundness of the advice. You could choose it or reject it as you deem appropriate. Some work needs to be done to manage egos.
If your fiance feels there is no need to put them in the right mindset or make their expectations realistic or manage their egos, consider them RED FLAGS. You are not trying to change his relationship with them, you are just trying to start your relationship with them on the right note. He has to do the homework to ensure harmony between his parents and his spouse. You are not demeaning what they have done for him; you respect his relationship with his parents. You just want to make sure they respect his relationship with you.
And yes, I would love to engage in the level-setting exercise you conduct between your fiance and his in-laws 😉
You loving mom,
Small Town Feminist…it’s no joke!