Sunday, March 23, 2014

What's in a relationship, sans gender talk?

"Everything," I'd say! Explain, I shall, if you permit me a few digressions.

A day, a story, and a perspective:

"A man who really loves you and wants you to be in his life forever will never give you reasons to doubt him. He will never take you for granted… He will always keep you above everything else. He will fight for you and not with you… He will remember your likes and dislikes and will not forget what is important to you. He knows you the way he knows his own shadow… His own soul… His own life."

I read this on Facebook a few days ago and was wondering, once again, about relationships. Why should the above things be true only in case of the man, the husband? So, does it mean that a woman need not really love the man in her life and need only wait to be loved? Suppose it was posted by a man instead of a woman, words like the 'man' and the associated pronouns would have been replaced by 'woman' and related pronouns. Frankly speaking, not in Arnab Goswami style of course, I feel the onus lies on both the partners. How can love and relationship issues be different from one gender to the other?

'The war of the genders' is a highly misused, and abused, phrase. So are terms like 'love' and 'respect.' I really love, and totally relate to, what Sridevi says in 'English Vinglish' - 'I don't want love. I want respect.' Once both partners learn to respect each other - respect the significant other's opinions, ideas, tastes, likes and dislikes, interests, and passions, love will happen quite naturally. And then the battle of the sexes will end automatically. And naturally! Somehow, I feel, it all boils down to ego which is a deep-rooted emotion and plucking out which takes a lifetime of futile efforts.

Another day, another story, and another perspective:

On the first day of their marriage, wife and husband decided and agreed not to open the door for anyone! On that day, first husband’s parents came to see them, they were behind the door. Husband and the wife looked at each other, husband wanted to open the door, but since they had an agreement he did not open the door, so his parents left. After a while the same day, wife’s parents came, wife and the husband looked at each other and even though they had an agreement, wife with tears on her eyes whispered, I can’t do this to my parents, and she opened the door. Husband did not say anything.

Years passed and they had 4 boys and the fifth child was a girl. The father planned a very big party for the new born baby girl, and he invited everyone over. Later that night his wife asked him what was the reason for such a big celebration for this baby while we did not do it for the others! The Husband simply replied, because she is the one who will open the door for me! Daughters are always so special !!

This story hit me real hard as it was a bit unpalatable to me. Its appeal to me was much different from all the touching/ sentimental comments that flooded the status update. I felt this can be looked at in a different perspective where the moral of the story can be perceived as below:

"The husband changes himself completely for the wife and sacrifices everything (including his own parents) for her sake, in order to keep her happy always. But the wife doesn't really seem to care for him or his parents as much as she does for her own family."

I agree that daughters are extra special... being a daughter myself and a mother of an amazing daughter, at least I should know that daughters are indeed special. But I also know that the world around is cruelly ignorant and our actions can be perceived in so many different ways - highlighting the grey areas especially! This story, to me, is not really a happy one. It's a real sharp comment (probably in the most subtlest possible way) on the sad state of affairs clouding the most amazing institution called marriage! :(

As my husband insists - always - understanding and trust are the keys to a successful marriage. And those are the very same things lacking in marriages these days - and that's probably why so many couples are falling apart. If the husband can support the wife in a joint agreement, I wonder why the wife cannot do the same for him! If the husband is willing to accept his in-laws' family with open arms, why does the wife find it so difficult to do just the same! I always wondered if it has got to do with the mental make-up of both the sexes. And if what everyone says - Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus - is true!

A different day, a new quote, and a newer perspective:

In yet another equally disturbing quote that's doing the rounds on social networking sites, the ultra-modern, educated, economically-independent Netizen women preach that the man shower his love on his wife in abundance "in order to gain their children’s respect. Love your wife, show the children that you care for her! So they’ll learn how to love, and respect women when they grow up!" Or something to that effect! I’d still hold on to my point and say, this is quite so true in case of the woman too! "Show your children how to love and respect the man in your life… and in doing so, you’re doing a favor to your girls by teaching them how to do the same – without bringing in biased concepts like ego, sacrifice, independence, individuality, and so on!"

I’d personally love it if my daughter can punch in the face of the man who troubles her in any way – not to protect her ego or her superiority complex, but only to uphold her self-respect and push her self-confidence level up by a few notches. That’s the positive spirit I’ll try to inculcate in her and make sure, as a woman and as a mother, that she knows how to be feminine without being submissive, how to be a woman without being a feminist, how to be independent without being arrogant, how to be selfish without being mean, and how to be herself without being egoistic…

I hope mothers – everywhere – are listening! Mothers with daughters, mothers with sons, mothers all kind, and mothers from around the world!


Serish Nanisetti said...

Like ;). The laziest way to comment :)

Sheeba said...

good post. totally agree with you (my non-useful comment; of course you don't want to get started....

Usha said...

Is the post reserved for mothers? ;)
On a more serious note though, I mostly agree with you and will not repeat reasons for the circulation of seemingly pro-women quotes on social networking sites. I know you know the reasons. I have only one question. Whom would you call a feminist?

memories said...

@Usha: Feminist, to me, is someone who supports gender equality and strongly speaks for, and stands up for, women's rights. But unfortunately today's society looks at Feminists differently and they get "branded". And feminists themselves are confused about their role - they seem to think that being a feminist equals to hating men or being anti-men/anti-equality/anti-everything that's got to do with men and gender equality. Sigh!