“Re-engineer yourself” to Lead your Relationship.
Its 25th April 2008, I got promoted from a bachelor to a married man, within six months, I realized that once known as an intelligent person, now struggling hard to keep himself cool. I had fallen hard. I was overwhelmed, fearful, and not respected by my in-laws in particular. Why?
Just because I was more than 25yrs of age, which is considered to be the age of getting married. I was married, expected to learn the skills to make my married life successful, all by myself. As the way, some top technical performer promoted into management and expected to learn management by osmosis.
But I had not envisioned the real challenge of married life. For example, after getting married, the dynamics of all the relationships get changed. Even your parent expectations from you changed. And few other’s expectations are being added, to your lists i.e. in-laws. Amidst all the jugular issues that my marriage had brought on the surface, I had a hard time making sure my personal growth/achievement and growth of my wife. That’s how I perceived marriage as, two people getting together to help each other in their 360-degree growth. But despite all my struggle, this one good intention, or perception, saved me, and my wife and in turn my family, later.
Insecure about asking for help, I turn inward. My entire family’s morale plummeted, happiness is gone, relationship faltered. I asked myself, how can I save myself, and my wife, and family in turn.
It was not just I was new to the role as husband, in fact, my wife was also new to her role as wife, even my parents were new to their role as parents-in-law and similarly my brothers, and in-laws. So it was, indeed a difficult equation to solve and keep everything normal.
Questioning myself- how can I get a situation better in the family led me to think strategically. I decided to communicate with my family members to understand their expectations. I took some of the household work from my wife, to make her realize that I am interested in solving the problems, and in her personal growth, and ultimately I care for her.
She uses to everything herself, so I convinced her to delegate some of the works to me, and to my brothers.
Under pressure to appease everybody in the family, my wife fears losing connection with other family members or overburdening others. She uses to do everything, or better to say most of the house-chores herself. This way she was eroding herself, draining herself and feeling exhausted.
HOW I HELPED:
1. I made her understand that caring for herself is as important as caring for others.
2. I asked her to believe that she is doing her best, and need not exhaust herself trying to appease everybody. Just do your best, with the time, everything will get settled.
3. I encourage her to communicate with other members and try to understand their expectations and concerns.
4. I asked her, to find the way to workout with clear expectations and milestones.
GETTING SUPPORT FROM PARENT AND IN-LAWS:
• My wife was behaving, and serving to family members as if she is in servitude to all, not in a respected relationship, or partnership. And to avoid seeming vulnerable, she does not ask for help. Because she doesn’t see my parent or even her parent as a source of critical support, consequently she was not able to see herself as one for her brother-in-law, despite working too hard.
I talked with my wife to emphasize that open communication is essential to your success as a wife, daughter-in-law, and sister-in-law. Don’t cover up the problems, rather discuss it with the concerned people.
I started taking her to my other friends for socializing. And decided to do it at regular intervals. We began calling our family members regularly. And this helped us to establish- good relationship.
I encouraged her to be consciously aware of the image she was projecting. You should serve to your family members, out of care and love, not as being in servitude, I said.
• Being a family member, you have an authority to decide many things, you are supposed to ask me or anyone for every small/big thing you do. It’s your own house, have a sense about your establishment here in the family.
• Don’t act of insecurity, think in the long run, big picture. Imagine yourself 10yrs later from now. How you are interacting with your family members. How are you feeling being with them? What kind of environment is there in your family. Then to achieve these, how should I behave. Now act accordingly.
• I told her to remind me whenever I cross the set-line. And we decided to give feedback to each other whenever we fall-back from the set goals of our personal growth. We started role-playing to get feedback about behaviour without fingering out each other’s personalities.