A long while back, when love and such ideas were new to us and family was ‘those folks’, I had a discussion with a friend. He had decided that most women were cowards because they would not stand up to their families, not stand up for the men they wanted to be with.
For a fact, I’ve seen a good number of relationships end because of familial opposition – on the basis of religious, caste, linguistic and economic differences. It is truly sad for a relationship to end, not because of the couple’s differences but because of other people’s views.
However, I must also say that I have always had great regard for women who take their family’s desires into consideration while choosing a life partner. This isn’t quite the same as the Mama’s boy syndrome wherin they unquestioningly gulp down whatever is shoved down their proverbial throats. They make their own choices and these choices definitely factor in their family’s ideas too. I so much stand by that.
The fact is that few people will ever care as much as your own blood family, misunderstandings and irritants notwithstanding. That said, they are no more than human and have a right to their own foibles and prejudices. My greatest admiration in this regard is reserved for two women, one a neighbor and one a friend. Both women met the men they wanted to spend their lives with and had to contend with parental opposition – due to differences in religion and in caste respectively.
The families of both women (the fathers most particularly) ran the entire hullaballoo from tearful melodrama to icy coldness. Both women stood firm and held that they would not marry anyone else. And in addition, would not get married without their families’ complete blessings either. Persistance won out in both cases. The first couple has two children, both the darlings of their doting grandfather’s eyes. The second couple celebrates their second wedding anniversary this year, blissfully in love..and peacefully so too. All was certainly well that ended well in these two cases.
I guess not everyone is that lucky or even that tenacious. If it really came down to having to choose, I can’t imagine a man would be ‘right’ for me unless my family was aligned to my choice as well. Family is one’s own after all, and their well-intended perspective could be very useful in such an important choice. Does that necessarily mean that I am a coward, unable to go against them? Or does it make me any less independent – or feminist? You tell me.