Social and political activists always demand equal opportunities and respect for women. Somebody once told me that “respect is not demanded, but commanded.” This is very correct. It is also the fact that women are not demanding respect. They earn respect by investing their duties for the family and society. In our tradition women have been given respect in family and society. This respect covers not only equal opportunities but more than that.
In the case of male youth also only with the entry of his wife he gets respect automatically in his own family, without demanding or commanding. Readers will be surprised but this is the fact. Wife brings respect for husband. Even at the age of 45 or 60, if the man is not married, he is called kunwara. He is alone. He gets all facilities in the family, but not the respect like a married one. Let me explain with an example. The moment 20 or 25 years man gets married, mother, sisters and the male members of the family also start behaving differently with him. There are two causes behind this change of behaviour. Married man has his wife with him. He is not alone now. Accepting their double weight in the family, other members change their attitude towards them. Boys are always scolded by their mother, for their small faults also. Father and other persons also behave in similar ways. But the moment one is married, family members change their behaviour and have check on their words. This is not because he is married, others give respect to the newcomer in the house, they do not want to see that his wife should take him lightly. She is not alone. If she deserves respect, her husband will automatically receive the same.
One more thing a young man gets separate room in his small or big house after his marriage only. An unmarried man in middle and upper class families, does not posses one separate room, sometimes not only separate bed. He has to share his bed or room with other siblings or guests. The preparation of marriage of boy starts from building one separate room, flat or building. In juggies also, parents construct one room for their son. This is also another way to give respect to young man with the entrance of his wife.
Like other mothers I used to scold my elder son till the age of 25 also. My husband said, “Now as he is going to marry, we should practice to change our behaviour. He is not a small child. Now his wife will be in the house. For her he will be a mature man.”
I could not realise that he had become a man. After his marriage I consciously checked my language and behaviour while talking to him. This change in the behaviour of parents of male child indirectly gives respect to his wife only.
Not only parents and relatives, the servants and dependents of the family also start valuing ‘younger master’ after his marriage only. He is taken as responsible person of the family and society. It is understood that the moment, the responsibility of family (wife) comes on his shoulders, he starts taking care of the society also. People take him as experienced person. Family members start giving ear to his problems and advices also for the betterment of family. On the contrary, where the family members do not give respect to married youth, his wife also does not take care of him. This way a healthy relation between wife and husband does not grow.
Here the respect stands for understanding and valuing the ideas, actions and behaviours of each other. It is seen that if husband takes care of his wife, family is bound to behave accordingly.
From our childhood we saw our parents giving respect to each other. This type of family is happier than others where respect or understanding between each other is missing.
Now-a-days in our society especially in urban areas number of nuclear families is growing. Husband and wife are living together without other family members. In many cases both are working also. In this type of family, the situation does not arise whether husband or wife gets respect or not. Nobody is there, neither to watch and appreciate for their good behaviours towards each other, nor to teach how to behave or handle the new relation properly. They may be life partners, room partners without respecting each other also. The feeling of equality persists between both the partners. They have emerged as partners in earning money and doing all the household works. They are not life partners. Actually, the definitions of ‘life’ and ‘life partner’ have changed. The concept of Jeevan Sathi is dismantling.
Concepts are changing very rapidly in our society also. We have imported and adopted the economic system of West, i.e. everybody has to earn money in the family. Nobody is going to take care of each other. Both are independent to take decisions of his or her future, not “our future”. This situation does not bring respect for each other. Without going into the depth and understanding the essence of the word respects. Some younger one may laugh on the word. In their view they are equal. They are not going to give respect to each other. This adamant view has ruined the basic fervor of the marriage. Accepting and honouring the views of each other to run the family, both respect each other. The commitment for the growth of the family starts from respecting each other’s views. The so-called love also originated from these actions. Respecting each other’s contributions brings life long love and affections also.
Marriage is not for entertainment. It is not for husband and wife only. It starts with two persons but ends among so many persons. Children are the outcome of the married life. Every pair has to look after its children. Husband and wife should create a healthy atmosphere in the house where children feel relaxed and comfortable, which is necessary for their balanced growth. Both should give due respect to each other. It starts from the entry of wife in the family.