I’m Someone’s Wife Today But How My Parents Brought Me Up Made My Wedding Day A Nightmare For Me

Anonymous Anonymous in Your Story on 11 March, 2017

I grew up among sisters, may be that’s why I never understood that the upbringing of a daughter should be any different from that of a son. So I can’t comment on why some parents decided to bring up their daughter in a particular way. But I know my parents brought me up in the best way possible because I know they didn’t bring me up to be a ‘good wife’ to my husband, they brought me up to be a successful woman, an independent woman.

My parents never told me — ‘you are a girl, so you should not do this, should not say that’ and I am grateful to them for they taught me to be me and not a girl, they taught me to be an individual with a mind of her own. I was given the freedom to say Yes when I wanted to and say No when I wanted to or wear what I wanted to. I wonder if I had a brother would he be treated any differently. I suppose not and that’s why I’m so proud of my parents. They are Indian parents by the way.

From a very early age, I was given the freedom to do what I wanted to with my life, when I wanted to study and not study, the friends I chose to make, the dress I chose to wear, the college and the subjects I wanted to study. Did I ever make mistakes in my life, oh yes many, but who doesn’t. I’m sure you did and so did I. Those mistakes just made me a better human being and a responsible person, even if I screwed up sometimes it was by my own choice and I myself cleaned the mess. Nobody else did it for me, I learnt to fall and fall again but more than that, I learnt to pick myself up. Because my parents didn’t bring me up to be a sensitive thing, they concentrated on turning me into a successful human being.

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I fell in love with a guy in college and after dating each other for almost 9 years, we got married. He loved me, gave me the space and the freedom I always got from my parents, never forced me to do something I didn’t want to. If I was ever confused about doing something new or not doing it at all, he would ask me — “What would make you happy, you should always do what makes you happy” and he would help me make decisions that way. We had a fair amount of hiccups in our relationship but we loved each other and always brought the best in each other.

The moment in which I realised what my parents had done all these years with me was the day I got married. That was the day I felt a bit lost, actually completely lost. Fortunately or unfortunately, my parents forgot to bring me up as a ‘girl’ who has a ‘certain role’ in this unreasonable society. I didn’t even know the difference between a son and a daughter. It was my wedding day and I had never been so happy in my life, I was marrying the man of my dreams. I knew this was perfect — if soulmates existed in this world, I knew he was the one for me. But what I didn’t know was that I was not the perfect bride material according to the societal norms, I just didn’t fit in.

I wasn’t brought up just to be someone’s wife or a family’s daughter-in-law.

As soon as the priests asked for the bride, my heart skipped a beat. I knew that this would be the best thing to have ever happened to me. I was getting married to someone I loved and he loved me back. He was my best friend, my critic, my pillar of strength. But, I felt out of place for reasons unexplained.

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So while I was walking from my dressing room towards the mandapwhere the groom and everyone was seated, my pace was that of a happy confident woman, it wasn’t like that of a bride. I walked how I normally do with my wide signature smile, I just didn’t know how to walk slow like a bride. One of my relatives told me I should walk slow and look down, I looked up at her and said —

“Why should I walk slow or look down?”

I was a girl who would not even buy a pair of socks if I was not confident about it, and this was my wedding day, I always wanted to get married to this guy. And I wanted to look at everyone and smile at them, thank them for taking out time to attend our wedding. So I just didn’t get the whole theory of walking slower or looking down, avoiding eye contact and so I didn’t do it. I understand some girls might be shy and avoid eye contact, but it wasn’t the same in my case.

This was the first time I had many unanswered questions in my head. I just couldn’t place what just happened during my walk from the dressing room to the love of my life. This episode left me a bit lost, I still don’t understand what happened that day and why. In our society, as soon as the girl is married, she is supposed to become an integral part of the groom’s family, talk or behave in a way that their family or the society would approve of, change her way of thinking, never question anything.

Do we expect anything similar from the groom? No we don’t, but it’s fair. Why are there so many expectations from the bride? The bride leaves her home and parents behind to start a new life, her new family should welcome her and make her feel at home first but mostly, the bride feels abandoned.

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Why?

Why is it necessary that she should do everything as the groom’s family expects out of her — to become a member of their family? The way she dresses up suddenly depicts the culture of the family she got married into, so how was the culture depicted before she got married?

Why is it that tradition and culture are always the responsibility of the woman, though the rules of tradition and culture are made by men?

Even a week after the wedding, the girl should be dressed up like a new bride while the groom is back to his shorts or jeans the very next day.

There are so many such questions which I never got an answer to, and I don’t think I ever will. I don’t know if it’s fair to expect that an adult who had lived 25-26 years of her life on her own terms with a strong personality to change overnight just because she is married. Why can’t a family accept a girl the way she is or the way she was loved by their son — for having a strong independent personality? Why is it that a girl’s life is successful only when she becomes a good daughter in law or wife?

Should we raise our girls telling them every single day that — “Baby, one fine day your Prince Charming would marry you, and that day you have to change yourself all over again.”
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Why can’t the girl remain as she was and make her own choices in life? I am not against changes but against the fact that 90% of the changes have to be borne by the bride or she is the one who is under a scanner all the time.

When would a girl be entitled to live her life on her own terms but not according to society’s? I await that day, I’m sure you do too.

This post was submitted by Bagmita Sharma.

Author's Note:

I am lucky that I do have a very supportive husband, but these are just experiences the so-called society forced me to go through and I do not understand any of it. He tried his best to shield me from all these and does it even now.