A Son his Wife and his Mother

“I promise to Love, Cherish and Care for you always, until death do us apart” – this is a promise that is made by a couple to each other when they enter into a marriage. This promise in essence is the same, though it might vary in different languages and customs and traditions. This is the only promise a Man and Woman make to each other in front of other people as witnesses. They do not make this promise to any other relationship. But then again this is one promise that is taken for granted and leads to disappointment and heartache.

Men especially sons have this habit to go on and on raving about “my mom’s cooking” to anyone and everyone willing or unwilling to lend a ear. Would the father of that son, husband of that Mother, have appreciated his wife’s cooking as much as his son does his mother’s cooking?

Does that loving, adjusting husband ever think, let me get up at least on weekends and make the coffee/breakfast she loves. Does he even try to learn to make a decent cup of coffee?. Does he even think it’s necessary to share a cup of coffee with her, just to give her company, though he doesn’t like coffee that much? But, it’s taken for granted that the wife will learn to cook all that he likes, would change her taste to suit his, would do all the things his mom would have done for him. Even if she hates coffee or tea or hates the vegetable that he likes, she will eventually start to adjust and eat what he likes–because it’s just cumbersome to cook 2 types of food, or to just make coffee/tea for oneself. The argument would be “who stops her from eating what she likes or cooking what she likes”. But when the wife does just that, cooking what she likes, how she likes it, the opinions and criticism come in free and flowing. “You should try making it like this? (like this meaning–like my mom does). Why don’t you add more of this? Why don’t you make it less or more spicy?.

Men fail to understand that in all the years they have eaten their mother’s cooking, they themselves can’t replicate their mother’s creation or don’t even know what ingredients go into her cooking. But he expects the wife to start liking his mother’s cooking, start learning how to make it and make it just the same way-not even a slight pinch of difference here and there. The wife who has never known her MIL, never tasted her MIL’s cooking, never understood the completely different style of cooking from her own mother’s cooking, is expected to learn, like and replicate everything exactly as his mother would have done. Even if she has lived for more than 30yrs with her MIL, she would never be able to replicate someone else’s creation. Even your own sister will not be able to replicate exactly your mother’s cooking and bring the same taste. What about when the wife want’s to eat her mother’s cooking? When she yearns for something she likes and has eaten all these years? Can she expect her husband to come and live with her parents because they have to live alone? Can she expect her husband to change his eating habits, likes and dislikes and eat only what her mother prepares?

And when the wife is all too happy to leave the cooking and the kitchen to his mother and does not want to cook or interfere in cooking–then also there is a problem. Questions like “have you cooked anything for me in all these days/years. You have not even made tea/coffee for me”. When everything a wife does if gonna be compared and scrutinized with no appreciation for the genuine effort, even if the dish tastes good, why would a wife want to take all that trouble in the first place?

Then, there are men who feel guilty for everything. Guilty for buying the wife flowers, guilty for taking her out, guilty for eating out, guilty for buying her gifts–because he thinks his mom would feel bad, and some mothers do. “He has never bought me flowers, he has never bought me a gift for my birthday, he has never liked what I bought for him. But now, he has changed. He does all this for his wife”. Sometimes the mother would not feel bad for her son showing his affection to his wife, but still the son feels guilty for being happy.

Then there are men who don’t even think it’s necessary to run through their ideas or thoughts and decisions through their wives. A wife’s opinion and what she has to say does not matter. They know the best and their decisions are the best. Be it any decision – which school to enrol the kids in, what they have to study, when to invest, what to invest in, what car to buy, what house to buy, what colour to paint the house, what TV to buy, whom to get the son/daughter married to. Every decision be it small or big is taken solely. But these might get discussed with his mother. Of course the inputs from his mother is very important.

Then there are men who leave every decision to their wife. even where to go, what to eat – “you please decide. I will take you wherever you want. I will buy you whatever you want”. They just fail to realize that the wife does not want to always make the choices. They also want to be pampered. They also want the husband to take some interest in choosing the restaurant, type of food, the movie to go to. They want the husband to take the initiative in the relationship. But the argument from the husband is “you are much better at all this than me. I give you all the freedom to choose. I am not that fussy. I am ok with everything”. But dear men, women are not always happy with that excuse. It’s plain laziness, it’s showing no interest, it’s showing that you don’t care or don’t want to make decisions. Some men bring in the “I work so hard to bring money to the house. I have so many tensions in life. The least you can do is take these small decisions and not bother me with these”. Everyone has tensions, everyone would like to just say hell with it and would like to curl up and sleep the whole day. But can they? But when someone else calls and asks them to do something, they bend backwards to get things done for others.

A man has privileges as a son-in-law too. When there are guests he doesn’t like or when the wife’s parents or siblings or friends visit, he can always go lock himself in his room with a headache or tension or just the plain excuse that – “he is like that, he is not very social. What will he talk with his mother-in-law/father-in-law”. As long as he does not drive them out of his house, he is a wonderful son-in-law, but, can the wife ever do that? Go and sleep off her headache? Go out as per her plans with friends when her inlaws are visiting? Just keep watching TV and not participate in a conversation with the inlaws? Oh she has to be interested in everything they say and do. But when his folks visit, the wife has to be an epitome of grace. She has to cook various dishes to please them. Never mind she is not in the mood to entertain people, never mind she is unwell, never mind she is plain lazy and does not want to cook anything elaborate, never mind she is tired coming back from work, never mind she has some urgent work she has to complete for her office. There are men who don’t even inform the wife that there are going to be guests at home. They just walk in with them and expect the wife to be on her toes and make them a feast-then and there.

There is no guilt in the man’s mind when his wife is not treated well by his parents. There is no guilt when they abuse her mentally and physically. There is no guilt even when he knows that his parents make mountains from molehills, twist tales, manipulate him. He asks the wife to adjust for peace in the house. It does not matter when his wife is not accepted by his family and don’t want anything to do with her. It does not matter when they make their own stories among themselves that “their dear boy” is not happy in his marriage and is living just for the sake of it with that girl. But, it matters and breaks his heart that he is unable to do more for his mother because he chose to live his life with the the woman whom he promised to love and cherish.

Emotional blackmail and tears and manipulation from the mother is ok, its because she has done so much for me, what I do is not enough and I am unable to do more. But when the wife is upset or depressed or cries that is not important and becomes “I have so many things on my mind, don’t do this to me, I am doing so much yet you are not happy”.

Mothers who have sons and daughters feel guilty and ashamed to ask the daughter for help or ask the son-in-law to take them to the doctor or ask them to buy something for her. Because a son-in-law is not expected to love or take care or genuinely be interested in the welfare of his inlaws. If he is, then his wife has manipulated him and makes him spend all his money on her and her parents. The mother just has to ask, and if the son is genuinely unable to make time or postpones anything, then he is heartless and is a changed person. He doesn’t care for his mother.

The same mother expects her daughter to be treated well and pampered by her son-in-law. She is happy and takes pride in telling everyone that her daughter is so happy, her son-in-law takes care of his wife, stands up for her every time, helps her with everything, takes her out frequently, makes all decisions with his wife. But when the son does the same with his wife, then its bad very bad.

Mothers, if you did not have a friendly, loving, intimate, understanding and fun relationship it does not mean your son should not be happy with his wife. Because your husband did not put your interests first, does not mean your son should treat his wife the same way as your husband treated you. Mothers who have fun loving, understanding, loving husbands and have lived their life happily and have had a strong relationship with their husbands also can’t seem to take it when the son turns his attention to his wife.

Mothers, please do yourselves and your sons a favour – by bringing them up to be independent and to have a spine and a mature mindset. Please do not bring them up in a way that your son would feel guilty for you. When kids are young, every mother says – “my child’s happiness is my happiness”. But when the same kids become adults, then their son’s happiness becomes their sorrow. Please understand that your son learns from your life. If his father has been good to you, and you have been happy,he will try to do the same to his wife too–to keep her happy. If his father has not been a good loving husband to you, then he would learn how not to make the same mistakes. He will try to become a better husband than his father was. Ensure that you bring them up so that they love you back in a healthy way, not out of guilt.

A wife does not want guilt. A wife does not want competition. She leaves her whole past to come and start a life with you. She is “expected” to make a new life with you. Show them the same love and same initiative you show for your parents. Like a wife is supposed to make her husband the first choice and her parents become extended family, show that your wife is the most important person in your life. Stand up for her, do not let people make their own stories about her. Do not let your people disrespect her, do not let them take advantage of you and take her for granted. Do not feel guilty to accept that your parents and siblings become your extended family after marriage.

If you as a man are unwilling to even take initiative to decide when to take her out, where to take her out, what to do for the weekend, give her company in something she likes……..then there is no point in believing that you are interested in a life with her. The marriage is doomed and will only result in disappointments and depression. Just as you want your wife to take an interest in your hobbies and appreciate what you like, do the same for her, not just once a while. You are not doing her a favour by showing her you love her just once in a while. She is not your puppy for whom you have time to cuddle only once in a while. A puppy too expects your undivided attention and love always and your wife is human.

You men cannot get away anymore by saying “I am not the expressing type, I cannot do this, I am not used to doing that”. Women are also not the type….but they want to show their love by showing their emotions and expressing their love and making you their first priority in life. They change their whole life to suit your needs. Least you can do is reciprocate their feelings and love.

Do everyone a favour and do not get married if you can’t express your love, if you feel no girl can be equal to your mom, if you feel you can’t give 100% to your wife and marriage. Stay away from it and stay alone, or just stay with your parents if you don’t want to take responsibility for your life.

In all cases, there is no such tremendous guilt towards the father, though the father puts the same love and does everything he can for his sons. Just like how your mother did not like her husband’s side relatives, do not judge your wife when she cannot bond with your relatives.