A young married woman called in her parents and told them she no longer wanted to stay married. Her parents came and informed the son-in-law they are taking their daughter away. He was shocked, to say the least. His parents were bewildered, they wanted to know the reason for their daughter-in-law’s decision. She was not willing to oblige, she just wanted to leave. Finally she left with her parents, though the husband put up a stiff argument.
He later wanted to meet her and clarify the issue. He felt after a few days, when tempers are cooled, he would be able to talk sense into his wife. He was unable to trace her. Her parents shifted their residence, they did not leave any form of contact with anyone.
The husband received a call from a mediator saying his wife wants divorce; if he wants he could meet her once and state his argument before the elders. He was banking on this one chance, he was so sure he could convince her in coming back.
He came in for counseling, he wanted to know where things had gone wrong. We discussed his marriage, and it became clear that his wife had one major expectation which he did not fulfill. He kept postponing her expectation and was quite dismissal of her wants and needs. He wanted her to take care of his family, she agreed. She is a working woman, and she stayed in the same city to be with her in-laws. He would travel, but he was basically based in another city. He did not want to take her to that city, citing the reason of no one being there for his parents.
His parents are not old or disabled. They are quite capable of taking care of themselves. It is his duty to care for them, he passed it on to his wife. His wife did not have any major problem with this, but she was expecting her one wish fulfilled. He kept postponing it and justified it at every stage. She kept waiting for him to fulfill it and in one argument, he told her rudely she will have to wait for another two years before he fulfills it. In the meantime, they live as before.
She realized he had no intention of fulfilling her expectation, so she felt there was no longer any need to be in the marriage. If he wanted someone to care for his parents, he could either do it himself, get another wife, or employ some caregivers. She wanted an out. She very calmly decided and called her parents. They came and she left.
Now he is hoping to convince her. He feels his words or the sentence he uttered is not so great for her to have taken this decision. He feels she is being unreasonable. He does not want to accept he has not really respected his wife or her wishes. He just wanted her to follow whatever he said, he was calling the shots in the marriage.
He failed to understand the importance of his wife’s wish, he failed to respect it. He also dictated how she lived, and he felt since he would visit often, she really had nothing to complain about. He mistook her quiet nature for that of a person who could be ruled over, and he mistook her patience as her having no choice. She was willing to give him enough time to fulfill her expectation, and when he uttered that sentence, she realized she could no longer be in denial. He had no intention, he just wanted a wife to fulfill his wishes.
There is material comfort in this marriage. His parents were not aware of the undercurrents, I think. So they too were shocked when their daughter-in-law decided to leave. And the young man stated that he respected his father-in-law because he is a quiet man. But the day he came to pick up his daughter, the elderly man was agitated and very angry. In fact there was a shouting match between the two men.
I do not know the outcome of this marriage. My client had promised to come for a review after his meeting with his wife and family. He has not returned.
He still considers the sentence he uttered as being something insignificant. For his wife, it was the last straw, she felt she could no longer depend on him. An unfortunate turn of events. It was possible for him to meet her expectation; she had no demands, only this request. But he failed to recognize the importance of it for his wife. He failed to really understand his wife. He told me he is willing to fulfill her one request now, but maybe the decision has come too late. I do not know.