CRISES OF TRANSITIONING INTO ADULTHOOD

Transitioning into adulthood is momentous – almost like completing the finale of the first lap of life and embarking into the genesis of the climax. There isn’t any demarcated interlude called ‘transition’ in between shifts from one stage of life to another. I wish there was!

Though each of us is sculpted by the Divine Sculptor, how we for our parts, handle the life events of various stages would be a lot different if we can be prepared for them. When sculptors carve or painters paint, they essentially give shape to an etched mental/ physical imagery. Artists who start randomly and end up with masterpieces are few and far between. So is it with our lives!

Guided transitions are less stressful and less chaotic. By guided transitions, I do not mean to refer to cut-out modular paths to be charted by individuals. Nor do guided transitions pertain only to the transitioning individuals. Along with an individual, it is the family, the society, the nation and the world at large that transitions. Hence, guiding the minds of people to be part of transitions into adulthood at large is vital.

Have you ever tried pushing a door open with all your strength, only to be met with an even greater force holding/ pushing the door from the other end, thus preventing the door from being thrown open? What happens eventually? Either you give up and resign yourself to the fact that the door won’t open or you garner even more strength and break open the door, in the process damaging the door (and any other thing or person that is holding it up at the other end) but letting yourself free. What if someone at the other end realizes that you are trying to push a door open and opens it up for you? You are let free and the door is saved from damage as well, plus you are grateful to the one who opened the door for you.

Transitions are crucial. They involve constant pushes and pulls. As individuals we constantly evolve. Guided transitions help the transitioning individuals and those witnessing the transition to be on the same page.

According to me, four transitional crises commonly hit adults. Understanding, acceptance and adjustment of these are vital.

BODY DYSMORPHIA – Who hasn’t gone through a morning before the mirror wishing for a little bit, if not massive, changes here and there in the body? These wishes are more or less guided by societal standards, media promotions and the infrequent taunts by significant others. Even five year olds are too conscious of their looks these days! Intentionally or not all of us have surely gone through this. Transitioning into adults, girls and guys alter their looks to be attractive enough for their prospective better halves. Though I do not intend to be gender-specific, the reality is that it hits females the most!! Having to continue in their efforts to be presentable and beautiful is a pressure most women carry with them till their dying breaths even if the men in their lives don’t bother much about the retracting foliage on their heads or about the paunches that enter doorways before their feet. While taking care of the body and remaining fit and healthy are essentials, obsession about one’s own body image or body shaming others is an unwanted baggage of adulthood. The crisis of body dysmorphia can be better dealt with if adults realize how the body functions and ages with time, how certain sicknesses force one to look a certain way, how child-bearing alters a woman’s body, and so on – rather than expecting an ideal look from adult men and women.

ROLE PERPLEXITY – The once carefree fun loving daughter faces the daunting possibility of managing an entire household as a married woman. The once nonchalant son is caught between the dilemma of being an obedient son to his parents and a dutiful husband to his wife (in which sorry to say, most men fail miserably). In this transition into adulthood, the spices and condiments thrown into the pot by extended family and society play a crucial role in making the dish delectable or rendering it tasteless for life. Breaking stereotypes is no small game!

WORK – LIFE EQUILIBRIUM – We live in demanding times. Bosses at each higher ladder have families, but rarely realize that their subordinates have families too. The family fabric is being stretched into the extremes with each generation focussing on earning the livelihood that they cannot enjoy spending. Children have parents who are MIA. Wives have husbands who are MIA. Husbands have wives who are MIA. The crisis is individual-specific in certain cases and organisation-specific in most of the cases. Some adults who wish to devote time for their families, hobbies and adventures find their hands tied due to the work commitments, whereas, other adults do not realise the importance of family and hobbies.

SOCIETAL IDENTITY – No longer is the Bunty next door addressed as Mr. Sharma’s son, but by his own name, occupational and societal identity. This identity creates a sense of responsibility which is new for most adults to shoulder. Also, there is the added pressure on singles to “settle” down. The young person may be quite satisfied with his/ her occupational identity in society, but till s/he gets married, the poor person is considered “not settled” by people with sorry faces as if they are genuinely burdened by the singlehood of others around them.

I had my mother share once how my father used to fuss over the sarees that she picked to wear, soon after they had married. His wise father who had been observing this for a while, gave him a piece of his mind, much to my father’s amazement (who didn’t know that his father had been noticing all along). Well, my father hasn’t let go of that habit to this day, but my mother surely felt a hand of support and understanding from her father-in-law that time, in a new house with less known people away from parents.

Facing such and many other person-specific crises, is a huge load on the shoulder of the transitioning adults. Role of adults themselves, caregivers, society, media and counsellors is of paramount importance as to whether the adults that the world will be home to, would be well-adjusted ones or those who would continue to pass on the generational legacy of crises over the years.

I AM THE MAN, HOW GOD WANTED ME TO BE…

I sometimes wonder whether I am truly grown up as an adult according to the generalized societal standards or not. I rarely bother about what should we eat the next day, make a financial plan for the future and what will happen if there is a crisis. Usually, any adult man will poke his whole nose into these matters but I stay aloof about all of them.

So am I still a young boy and haven’t matured to be a man?

Adolescence is a liminal stage—it is the transitional threshold between childhood dependence and adult responsibility. The hard part is knowing when you’ve arrived.

Nancy Darling Ph.D.

I was and am aware of that threshold very well; then why am I wondering about my being a man?

From the very beginning, I had always relied on some or other person to accomplish something or other concerning me considering my ill health. I struggled to lift a heavy school bag, so my aunt and friends helped me to carry it. I found it difficult to run while playing cricket so someone else was appointed to take a run for me. I was not allowed to carry my own bucket to wash or take bath, so someone else at home did it for me. While travelling I rarely carried my own luggage, forget about helping others. I never rode a bicycle to my school or college so I used to go to my classes either by rickshaw or on a friend’s bike or bicycle. I never had the guts to stand for my friend when there’s a fight while studying in my school or college. I was scared considering my health. I used to back off or ask my friends to protect me.

According to me, the standards for reckoning a boy becoming an adult or man depends on his THREE M’s – Muscle, Money, Mind.

The growing muscle power or strength of a boy makes him a man. So when I look at myself in the mirror then I find myself to be the same boy who has never grown up to be a man in regards to his muscle power. I mean, I am not that same boy, I have grown up but I am talking about the degree of the growth in my muscle power.

Considering my health, I studied what would be easier for me than what I was interested in really. And I started working which was never very strenuous or fetch me good money. So I never had that mindset of financial plans considering what I have been earning. Though earning or working in a certain place was not primarily because of my health but it was because of my desire to do something. So whatever may be the causes behind my working in a certain place, the planning in regards to money has never been my mindset. Living in the present, finding joy in whatever I have, leading a simple life and in faith have been my ways. So if money is the major aspect to qualify as a man from a boy, then I haven’t grown to be a man yet.

But!!!

I grew in the midst of pain, suffering, rejection, weakness and sickness which made me mentally very matured and tough. I didn’t become hard-hearted but very sensitive to the pain and suffering of others. I understand a particular person and consider his certain behaviours or actions leniently than how others would react to his misconduct. I grew up to be more compassionate. I grew up to be forgiving and I have always believed in reconciliation than resentment. So considering Mind as one of the standards to qualify me as a man, I am a matured man. I grew up well. My transitioning from a boy to a man in regards to the strength of my mind was absolutely great. I praise God for that.

As I still struggle with my Muscle power, sometimes I curse my not being so manly in regards to physical strength. Sometimes I feel bad when I could not do something for my loved ones or help them financially. But when it comes to the mental toughness, maturity to handle stress, taunts, negativity, I always express my gratitude to God for transitioning me to be an adult this way.

I am the man, how God wanted me to be, and I have transitioned in a special way, only for His divine purposes. I don’t question anymore but take pleasure in them.

Stay Blessed!

TIDES WILL TEACH TO SWIM

That’s quite cliché and cheesy, as if from a run to mill Bollywood masala movie, isn’t it? But ironically that’s the reality of life. * Note: don’t try underwater stunts if you don’t know how to swim.

Well, that joke bombed. So let’s talk about life now. What marks a transition in an individual? Marriage, heartbreak, love, responsibilities, failures, success….. It’s endless, each person has different factors or trigger points that set the change, marking the arrival of new perceptions towards how one views life. For me, it was the serious financial crunch that hit our family (2003-2006) due to a blindfolded decision was taken by my father based on his trust in a person who is quite close to us. That decision proved to be fatal. If I say we were hand to mouth, it won’t be an exaggeration. Our financial condition was always somewhat strained as far as I remember but when people avoid you lest you would seek any help from them, in a way almost shunned socially that hits really hard.

What was the transition in my case? As a teenager who has started going to college and had a world full of fun and frolic enticing and inviting, I had to take an important decision of life – fill in shoes of an adultfrom carefree loitering to shouldering responsibilitiesI actually come of age; from demanding to contributing. I dropped out of college after second year, took up a job so that I could do my bit to keep my family going. It was not just me, but my brother, as well as my mother, chipped in, we swam along and against as well the tides of difficult situations of life to make sure we were not only afloat but soon find our ground. I am not ashamed of sharing it, in fact, a frail sense of pride visits me regularly whenever I think of that struggle.

So what’s the big deal!!! Every human being has a trail of struggle at some point of time, I am not an exception. But my struggle has given me some important lessons of life. Money commands respect and you always have a choice of either fighting or succumbing to the adversities of life aren’t the ones making to the list. Movies already portrayed them to the T, isn’t it😁? What I learnt from that situation is:

1. Choose your idols carefully. Idols need not be of celebrity status but must have a high moral stature accompanied by qualities like grit, perseverance, patience, honesty and humility. Look carefully around, you will find many unsung heroes whose life experiences may not have made it to Yes Talks or Forbes list but surely can gift us a new thought to ponder and look at our lives. Fortunately, I have many around me that helped me to hold my head not only high but levelled.

2. At the end of the day, it’s your character that speaks on your behalf. If you can’t respect yourself can’t demand the world to do the same. The glitter of fallacious showoff will wear off eventually but the impression that your character makes stays forever. At this juncture of life when I am leading a comfortable life I believe in sticking to the lesson I learnt in the bad phase of my life. That has earned me some real friends and relations in my life to date.

That lean patch of life has given me enough confidence for a lifetime. I can take life head-on. That reminds me of one beautiful thing my friend said to me: I once playfully (teasingly) said to him “why would you talk to someone poor like me?” To this, he said ” are you handicapped? Then why call yourself poor when God has given you every capability?

That struck me hard and rightfully. Till the time we block ourselves mentally we can ride with or against any tide that time throws at us, isn’t it?

BE A MAN!

If you’ve watched ‘Russel Peters’ – the Indian turned Canadian – stand-up comedian, you’d probably be very familiar with the above phrase. That is what his father always told him. My Father of course never did – however, it always seemed to be implied. After a certain age, a boy just knows, he needs to be a man – or at best try his best to act as one.

And on the other hand, the common phrase used by women globally that “Boys never grow up” is probably correct to some extent as well. We actually don’t and admitting than women know better about us that we know about ourselves – is always the right thing to do, they do know so much more.

It then, boils down to a series of 2 questions that need to be asked:

Do boys ever grow up to be Men?

or

Are Men just older version of boys in long sleeve shirts and neatly ironed trousers?

It’s said that girls naturally become women, but boys become men only with proper guidance and taking specific steps and actions.

A girl or a woman cannot guide a boy through this process, only the community of men can do it.

The above statement can be highly debatable from different sections of society, surely – we aren’t getting there. But then again – when a boy is pushed out into the world to do things that he must find his own solutions for, it is only then the male instinct kicks in – to find, explore and come out with a way along with this tribe to be able to have the satisfaction of showing rewards for the completion of a certain task.

Fathers on the other hand are instrumental in the early transitioning of the boys’ life, playing a massive role in helping his boy to be a man.  Officially a “boy” is the same thing as a man, the only difference being, the labels of “young” and “youthful” attached to it.

So when does the transition begin to happen – if at all it does? It does differ from individual-to-individual, while for some it happens gradually, for others it is more of a sudden “level-up”. Transition happens when one stops dwelling on trivial things and begins to understand that there’s more to life.

Transitions can be expected or unexpected welcomed or unwelcomed, chosen or imposed, sudden or gradual. Of course, taking all the options above into consideration: our natural tendency is to resist change in our routines.

However, if we look much closer, the transition is more in the mind than anything else – “One doesn’t become an adult, one just learns to act like one”. Transition is about milestones that people gather along life’s path – be in person, professional, academic, athletic or in business – not missing out on the development and maintaining of successful relationships, sex and fatherhood. We cannot single out any on of these that define the transition of a particular individual. It is a journey that happens invisibly unless we decide to pay more attention to it.

I am all of a Man with 39 completed years behind me. You’d think by now, I’d know to do the right thing, take the take the right decisions and fulfill the duties of an almost 40 year old. I also understand the roles and responsibilities that come along in the age bracket I fall into, but like many – I fall short at many places.

If I have to call myself a man today, the transition from a boy to a man would have had taken place somewhere along life’s path – and I was probably oblivious to it. Yes, life moves on from ‘study’ to ‘work’ – from the ‘single’ journey to a ‘married one’ – but is that enough indication that we’ve grown up – that the transition has taken place? We all probably have to answer that question for ourselves.

BALANCE YOUR CIRCLE OF INFLUENCE

For all the kids who are soon going to be entering adulthood, I just have this one advice. If you learn the art of balancing your circle of influence, you will grow up to be a really strong and mature adult.

This is something I learnt over the years of entering and maintaining adulthood. The range of emotions and experiences that an individual goes through while growing up is quite complex and the art of deriving learnings out of those experiences is not an easy task.

What is a circle of influence?

A circle of influence is a circle that constitutes all the things that can be controlled by an individual. When a baby is born, the circle of influence of that baby is really small – it constitutes crying for every survival need. That is all a baby can do. As the baby grows to be a child, the circle of influence grows. Now a child can control when he wants to walk or run or crawl or play. As the child grows up and starts going to school – he can further control his schedule, his habits, his relationships and many more things. The same child later has the freedom to choose his career and later his profession and his life partner. Life goes on and on increasing the circle of influence. 

The bigger the circle of influence, the higher are the stakes. Your circle of influence also depends on the kind of work you do. Shri Narendra Modi definitely has a much larger circle of influence than me because he can control the nation to a large extent. A number of social activists, politicians, industrialists have a big circle of influence. One must strive to increase his/her circle of influence to an extent that he/she can handle it peacefully. 

A mature human being knows two things 

  1. He has a defined circle of influence. He knows exactly what is within the circle and what is outside of it. He plans for the stuff that is inside and doesn’t stress over what is outside. This distinction is the key to happy and mature life. One who has the wisdom to understand the boundary of his circle of influence lives through every situation blissfully. When I was growing up, I was a much-stressed child. Everything used to make me nervous. The exams, my result, my image in front of people, my looks, my confidence and everything else. This is very obvious for a young adult. But over the period of time, I realized that I can only control what I can control. I cannot control people’s opinion about me. I can change myself in any direction but I need to decide the direction myself. Only this attitude turned me from a people pleaser to the person that I am today. 
  1. He knows how to grow his circle of influence at a slow and steady pace. He doesn’t want to grow his circle just in a day, if he does that – he knows that he won’t have the resources to control all that is inside the circle. He plans for it and slowly steadily expands his circle. While I was growing up, I was always in a hurry for making my circle of Influence larger. I was not aware of this concept but unconsciously I was trying to do the same. Many times I even made mistakes because I was in a hurry to influence the world. I lost friends and damaged relationships because I was in such a hurry to be a responsible person who is looked up to. These things take time. If we take our learnings and failures in stride, what we want will eventually happen.

People who fail in balancing their circle of influence usually make following mistakes:

  1. They don’t know how to control their circle. I have seen grown-ups who cannot handle their professions or their studies or their relationships. They get just too overwhelmed by things that they are expected to control. This is generally a disaster and leads an individual to all sorts of frustrations in life. These are typically the people who are depressed or have suicidal thoughts because escaping is eventually the only route they are left with if they don’t learn to control their circle. 
  2. They want a huge circle in a very short period of time. Have you heard of celebrities who grew up too fast and got too much media attention too quickly? Eventually they land up in some or other controversy just because they grew their circle too quickly and never learnt the art of controlling their circle.
  3. They cannot distinguish what is inside and outside of the circle. This is a very common problem that most of us suffer with. I know of few of a people who stress over every negative news that is sold to them on the News Channels. They get sleepless nights if our Indian Army men are getting killed at the border. They worry when they hear of robberies happening in broad daylight. They love the “crime patrol” kind of shows. I don’t want to say that you should not be aware of what is happening around the world or not have compassion towards people. But if you have over-compassion, it doesn’t help. It is something that is outside of your circle and it is best to let go off that feeling.
  4. They believe the emotions that they feel are outside of their circle. This is one of the key problem, many of us believe that a negative emotion that is stirred inside of us are caused due to something outside. “He made me angry or mad” or “She makes me feel really happy” – when we say such things, we give the responsibility of our emotions to others. We allow them to control something that should be inside our circle. The emotions that arise inside my head are supposed to be controlled by me. If I hand over my emotions in somebody else’s circle of influence – then I am practically like the baby with almost negligible circle of influence. 

Balance your circle and if you can do that well enough – people are going to appreciate your maturity wholeheartedly. 

TRANSITIONING FROM UNMARRIED TO MARRIED WOMEN

Marriage is a turning point for most people in their lives. No matter the reasons for marrying, its an event that leaves a mark and becomes a starting point for many subsequent events. Religious texts and rituals all across the world have spent much time and thought dictating how and why two people should marry. Biological reasons aside, when two people come together, they are expected to think or and maintain each other as one joint unit. It encourages togetherness, tolerance, an adjustment that paves the way to cooperating and adjusting in society. Our societies do not appreciate individualism or staying alone and it’s the reason why parents trouble themselves over their single children to the extent that they are willing to sell or buy happiness for them in the name of marriage. No matter what you may name it – happiness, a financial cushion, or gifts, this practice is called the dowry system and it’s prevalent in every culture.

Historically though, only one gender has been geared up since infancy to make marriage their whole-sole occupation in life – Females.

Take any patriarchal society in the past or even in the modern world, every one of them has treated daughters as only a means of securing a connection with a ‘good family’. The prospect of shouldering the burden of a girl’s marriage is so bothersome that girls have been either aborted, murdered in infancy or married off while they were still too young. Things may have changed some but till she is married, collecting a girl child’s dowry becomes her parents’ sole occupation. She thus becomes a ‘burden’.

This burden dictates how the girl is brought up even in her own family. It robs her of identity because she is being brought up only to take on the identity of another. It robs her of agency, her claims, her voice and the right to choose because she must only belong, first to her father then to her husband. She has rights neither here nor there. Because after all, she is a burden that must be pitched onto another set of shoulders in the end.

The transition from an unmarried to a married woman becomes the only occupation of a girl’s life. She is constantly bombarded by reminders that she must soon be married off. From the cradle up, she is taught, mostly by members of her own gender, that she must learn to detach herself from her identity, her roots, her history and adopt that of another family without any backlash. A young woman aspiring to marry into a ‘good family’ is expected to excel at managing a household, being servile, anticipating the needs of others and repressing her own desires.

How many of you women were subjected to this while you were growing up? –

Don’t raise your voice.

Don’t mingle with boys.

Don’t disrespect or object to your elders.

That’s not for you to think/decide.

Stay quiet.

Don’t protest.

Society is not the only culprit of a woman. Pop culture, media and literature like Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi, Uttaran, Hum Aapke Hain Kaun, Hum Saath-Saath Hain, and many other examples exhorting the virtues of female sacrifice serve as reminders to young girls that their acceptance comes from their silence and sacrifice. Its what they are fed, morning, noon and night. Education and women empowerment have done little to efface these degrading practices because the idea of a woman being a slave to the family is deeply ingrained in our Indian ethos. Parvati, Sita, Kunti, Draupadi, Padmavati… there are too many examples to quote here of women who gave up their everything only to retain a place in history earned at the cost of self-effacement. This notion of a married woman being the epitome of self-sacrifice has become the ideal of the Indian Bahu. If she dares to want another identity than the one idolized by society, she is forced to change, shamed, shunned, divorced and called names.  

In the Indian context, the transition is defiantly skulking several centuries behind the present times. The most obvious change that comes in a woman’s life is changing her last name which is a practice observed worldwide. But in some communities in India, women are encouraged to change even their first names and it proves that our societies are not comfortable with the idea of a woman having her own identity.

The minute a girl is married she is required to bid adieu to her former way of living. Because for some reason it’s unacceptable for her new family to stomach the fact that she has a different way of dressing up, different ideas, her own preferences in food, movies, songs, clothing, ideals and philosophies. I wonder that if sameness is all that is expected out of a married woman, then why not practice inter-family marriages instead? That would ensure that the girls of the family remained and propelled the ideas and practices of the same family. There wouldn’t be an issue of painfully teaching the new bahu the ways of her new home. Right?

This isn’t an article approving incest or inter-family marriages. This is an article highlighting the unfair treatment of women who are forced to change their identities in the name of marriage.

I’m sure many women across the country have heard these barbs –

Your parents didn’t teach you even that?!

Bahus don’t laugh and cheer like that.

Change the way you dress up. Change the way you eat. Change your habits.

Change your company and don’t interact too much with your own family.

You can’t work after marriage. You’ll have to shift to our city/area. If you want to work, ensure that your chores are done before you go.

Why should we? What are you there for?

Who do you think you are without this family? Who do you think you are?

I’ve had to listen to ALL of the above. These are ALL my personal experiences. Surprised that an educated, forward-thinking, independent woman like me went through it? Like I mentioned above, education has done little to change the perception of women in this society. Education has become only an embellishment desired in an ideal bride. Often its women themselves who propagate the idea of being a slave to the married home and while out there, they might light candles and rave about unfair treatment of women, at home, they still want ideal bahus.

Some may argue that if women are trained for this transition since infancy, it should be easy to adapt to the married household. I’ll counter with a question –

“Can a plant from the tropics thrive in the tundra? Sure, it may survive; it must, because its being given the essentials to survive – earth, water, sun…but will it thrive?”

We’re kinder to the foliage we import from their exotic homelands. We create greenhouses, spend on keeping them moist and warm. We invest in the right potting mixes, worry about the soil being the right pH level. We’re kinder to the pets we adopt from other countries. The pet-food should be right, the water should have enough oxygen for the fish… the list goes on. And yet for a newly married woman, no one creates a greenhouse of her past life to ease her transition into the new one. The pag-phera ceremony, where a Hindu newly married girl goes back to her previous family, lasts only a day, after which she must come back to her new family. I did the same and did not see my family again for more than a year after that. Even when I did go back, I was told that I shouldn’t make the stay too long. I went only for ten days. So much for easing my transition!

I’ll pose a searing question to the families of the husbands now –

“When she came home, how long did you tolerate her ways of living before you or someone in your family told her to change them? Or did you do a barter – change this aspect of you and I’ll give you such and such thing or do so and so? Or did you allow her to keep her ways?”

This question will ruffle feathers. Some may even counter – we adopted her ways instead, or that, we gave her enough freedom. First of all, who are you to give someone their freedom or allow them to do something? That right must remain in their own hands. But I feel Democracy doesn’t apply to married Indian women. Some may have been generous in accepting their bahus’ ways, but I bet most didn’t. I wasn’t given much choice in whether I wanted to follow the customs of my husband’s family. I had to engage in practices I didn’t approve of. I had to teach myself to change or be quiet so I wouldn’t fan any fires. This isn’t an adjustment. This is coercion.

It is true that things have changed a lot for women. We have the vote now, a voice, we can dress up beyond ghoonghats and burkas. We can make choices in partners. We can choose to divorce, to work, to raise our children our way. But it is also true that while we can do all of the above, in many cases the choice is not in our hands. Or let me just put it this way, the circumstances surrounding us enable us to either make or drop the choice of making independent decisions. Often the choice is made for us and we are only to submit. If we assert independence, it’s not without resentment. Like I was asked, “who allowed you to study after marriage?” when I independently chose to pursue LLM post-marriage.

The message is clear – a woman’s choice shouldn’t be in her hands.

When I recall my own experiences, I am left with nothing but anger at how I was expected to change to fit into the lifestyle of my husband’s family. Subtle changes like changing when I used to wake-up or go to sleep, the kind of shows I must watch, the way I talked or laughed, how I dressed, preferring the company of certain type of people, chipped away at my own personality so much so that after a while, people I knew from my past life wondered why I had changed so much. The change may not have been expected overnight but it was definitely expected and while I did earn a lot of love and respect from my husband’s family, I often wonder if I received those only in barter for my willingness to change. I am left with a lifetime of bitter experiences that I wouldn’t want for my own or for anyone’s little girl.

While marriage is a transition that impacts both genders, it must be said that it impacts a woman more than it does a man. Would it be too hard on the ego of a husband’s family to let a woman be her own self while she becomes a loving, caring member for her new family? Would it be too hard to accept her family as part of your own? Why is it unconscionable for a woman to stick to her own ideas and philosophies in life, or to carve out her own path, or to be part of major decisions in a family, or to wear the pants in the family? Afterall, she is equally responsible for the well-being of the husband’s family, if not more.

Why must acceptance come at the cost of changing herself only for a woman?

If marriage is the merging of two families, let both families change to a better way of living, accept each other’s flaws and work around the differences to reach a consensus. While adjustment is a must in all relationships, setting limits on a human being is nothing but a form of slavery.

Coercion brings only a temporary change,

but it sows the seeds for a lifetime of resentment and hate.

Should that be the foundation of the family?

You decide.