One parent had written to say their new daughter-in-law was not really what they expected her to be. They found she had her own values in life and it was clashing with their values. They were disappointed and wanted to know what options they had.
Frankly the parents have no option. The marriage has been solemnized and she is part of the family. If her attitude was causing problems for their son, he was to take action. He had to see how things could be set right. The parents, if they interfere, would create unnecessary problems. Then her parents would pitch in, and soon it would be a free for all. Pride would come in, and being emotional, things could turn messy.
The marriage is young, the youngsters are still to discover each other. Maybe their relationship would falter, then pick up speed. Maybe her attitude may not jar him so much, when they are alone. Her outlook is different from her in-law’s, but it is not wrong. This is where things go wrong. One labels the other person’s attitude as wrong, actually it is only different.
It is so easy to label other people. We go by our values and feel those who do not match ours, are wrong. Why? There are so many people in this world. Everyone cannot have values similar to ours. Even two children from same family could develop different values. We inherit values from our parents, but we also form our own as we go through various experiences.
Coming to this case, the young man could try and ask her to see where her attitude was creating trouble. He could ask her to try and look at things from his viewpoint and see if she could understand what is expected of her. She does not have to give up her values, only shift her perception a little. Now that she is married, she could learn to accommodate more.
Her upbringing and attitude seems to have served her fine till now. After marriage it is bringing on unhappiness. She can be more flexible to see that without compromising on her values, how she can accommodate her husband and in-laws.
On the other hand, the husband too can try and see why she is having such an attitude. She is not indulging in it deliberately. It has been ingrained in her, she did not need to change till now. So probably she needs time to understand and learn to give more.
In one case I handled, the young bride’s behavior was not appreciated by her mother-in-law. She was offended and wanted the young girl to change her ways. This created a lot of problems in the family and they had come to me for counseling. In this case, the young husband did not think his wife was behaving oddly. He felt she needed time to adjust and he said she seemed very sensitive. He wanted his mother to back off.
His mother was offended. But that young man was right. The marriage belonged to him, he had every right to handle it the way he wanted. He wanted to support his wife totally, he felt the less pressure on her to conform would yield better results. If in future her behavior does not change, or he finds it a problem, I guess he can seek help.
In the case I mentioned initially, it is for the young couple to understand and accept each other. With understanding will come tolerance as well as the want to change. When things are forced, it will only create unpleasantness.
Of course the young couple can seek professional help. This will help them understand each other well. The parents have to realize this and give them the required space. Their inputs can be given when asked, not thrust on the couple. The lifestyle the young couple create may not be to the elders’ liking, but they have no choice. Each couple has the right to happiness, and their marriage bubble cannot be breached by anyone, not even parents.
The young couple will find their rhythm. Either the boy will totally accept his wife and her behavior, or the girl will decide to totally change. She will try to fall into line with his expectations. They could also arrive at some compromise formula. Or both of them will remain on their side of the fence and shoot barbs at each other. This is when professional counseling will come in.