The Kenyan Nomad

The Kenyan Nomad

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The Good Old Extended Family

Before I start, I want to go ahead and stress that this post reflects my personal point of view. I'm in no way telling others what they should do, or judging them on how they live their lives.
Okay, maybe that last part isn't all the way true. Everyone judges others to some degree, and I'm certainly no exempt angel.

When I talk of the extended family, I'm talking about the type that is common in the Indian culture; in India, and in people of Indian origin in other countries who have managed to keep up with aspects of the culture. Also, I'm talking about this in terms of a wife living with her in-laws. The reason this came to mind is that recently, a friend and I had this discussion, and he challenged me to think about why I was so uncomfortable with the idea of moving into my 'husband's parents' home' (in the potential distant future).

When a couple is starting off on a new life together, they need privacy. Period. They need to be able to set their own rules, build their own house, have their fights, and set out on a life of their own. I think this is extremely difficult to do when you have to worry about the other relationships in the house. I'd find it hard to move into a house with pre-established rules and traditions, and be expected to follow them. Now, I know I'm a non-conformist (within reasonable bounds). I like challenging the status quo, and if I feel something is wrong, I'm not comfortable complying, no matter how uncomfortable the situation gets. And definitely, a pair of newlyweds in a house with others will not have as much freedom to pave their own path. I'm not saying that everyone wants to. But I do.

Another aspect of being newly married is the fights and disagreements that will inevitably arise; in any relationship, this is the case. However, the direction of such a disagreement can be heavily influenced by external (though well meant) forces.

What else has made me wary of such extended families? In a large proportion of the ones I've known or heard of, the problems they've had living together have outweighed the benefits. From disagreements on how to raise children, to inability to make decisions to outright abuse, I've heard of and seen a number of problems.

One of my reasons could be seen as petty; whey the husband's family, and not the wife's? (I don't think it's petty, but others could).

Yes, I know that it is extremely important to be around family, and I am really close to my own. I know that my ideal situation would be one where I had the privacy to live on my own with my (again, in the potential VERY distant future) husband, and yet lived in a place that had close enough access to both sides of the family.

1 comment:

Simi said...

Nicely put!! 😊

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