I Had An Arranged Marriage When I Was 24 And It Changed My Life, Thanks To My Mother-In-Law

Feni Shah Feni Shah in Let's Face It on 26 January, 2017

I was 24 when I got engaged and it was actually a miracle. A girl who never understood the concept of arranged marriages and was always of the opinion that it's impossible to judge someone in a few meetings, was suddenly so positive about a guy in the first meeting. I come from a nuclear family and his was a big joint family with 14 people staying in one house.

Yes I agreed to everything and I can't be more glad that I did. 

India is known for joint families and most of the time, staying with mothers-in-law is unavoidable and also painful. After marriage when a girl goes to stay with her in-laws, even a simple day to day life looks like war for her. A war of emotions, a war of preferences, interest, love, and even living becomes a whole big fight. I think nobody ever understood why mothers-in-law are so difficult to handle.

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The scariest part for an Indian bride is in fact the main woman, her mother-in-law. I can't imagine how difficult it must be. 

My case is very different and that's why I'm writing this. Every time I listen to the miseries of my friends who go through hell with their husbands' families, I always thank my stars. My mother-in-law is nothing like what I hear of from my friends. She's a loving woman. I smile a little more in my house because of her.

She is another mother I only met when I married her son.

It’s been a year that I've been married but not once have I heard a knock on my room's door early in the morning. I'm free to put my alarm on snooze and sleep some more. In fact she keeps telling me to go back to sleep when I wake up early on holidays.

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Usually I've heard my friends complain that they are supposed to cook and come to office and go back home and cook again. In my case, I always have my tiffin ready and hot and fresh food available by the time I come back home from work. This credit also goes to the joint family I live in. The small things that my mother-in-law does like, she always ensures that when I leave for work, I have a glass of milk or she will make sure I carry a fruit with me to the office to have it in evening — all of this makes me feel at home. 

I have seen the result of my mother-in-law's upbringing in my husband, a gem born just for me. My husband treats me like a princess which is proof that he was raised by a queen. When someone loves you truly, they don’t have to say it. You can tell by the way they treat you.

There are times when I'm angry and just then, I remember the first advice ever given to me by my mother-in-law — “LET GO”. and I actually let go and ignore it, trust me, the situation becomes much easier to handle. 

I just want to thank her for being a part of my dream. With her and my husband and the entire family's support in this one year I have again started studying and pursuing my Master's in Law. I was always passionate about teaching and with their encouragement, I gave it a try. I got selected as visiting faculty in one of the colleges for teaching Law. Also being a Company Secretary by profession, with the support of my family, I have started my own firm along with my existing job.

Till last year, all of this was just a dream but my marriage made it possible to achieve it. 
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Everyone says that a mother-in-law can never be a mother, but in my case, she is my mother, I just met her 24 years too late in my life. She is the heroine of my story and I can't thank her enough for being one.

It's true that I have two mothers. The one who gave birth to me and another who I met after my wedding. I would like to tell people that yes, miracles do happen in arranged marriages and joint families can actually be a blessing if we can learn to “LET GO” by appreciating the similarities and respecting the differences.

The cover image is a work of art by Arjun Kamath Photography.

Author's Note:

This is my personal story. Today is my first anniversary and I thought I should gift my husband something. But then before him, I want to gift something to the lady who made marriage so simple for me.

Editor's Note:

Very few women stand up for other women, PLEASE share this story so it can inspire just one more mother-in-law to help another ambitious girl achieve her dreams.