Ask anybody who stays away from his/her family, and they’ll tell you what the experience of living with a joint family means. Around 10 or 12 people staying under one roof is a lot of fun, an experience words can’t describe too well. But there are some people who’d rather stay alone with just their partner and kids. Most girls want to have a ‘love marriage’ these days. And when you ask them why, they’ll probably say “Arranged marriage kaise karlu! Joint family hogi toh?” I’m not sure where this terror of joint family comes from but they say that a daughter-in-law needs to make adjustments to survive in a joint family.
Well, let me tell you something loud and clear. REAL LIFE JOINT FAMILIES ARE NOTHING LIKE THE ONES YOU SEE IN TV SERIALS!
If you’re engaged to someone who lives in a joint family set-up and are dreading the future, be rest assured. Here are some tips on how a daughter-in-law can easily and happily adjust (without compromise) in a joint family!
Respect your in-laws: First and foremost comes the respect that a daughter-in-law must have for all her in-laws. However elder or younger a person maybe, whether closely related or not, you must respect them as you would respect any member of your own family. A marriage is a union of two souls, and two huge families; so realize that and try to accept them as your own, right from Day 1 in your “new house”.
Understand responsibilities: A large family will have many responsibilities, but the biggest misconception most girls have is that all the responsibilities will be on their inexperienced shoulders. If the family is large then there are chances that there are other women too there; so fret not, as you will be sharing the household responsibilities with them. Try to understand your responsibilities and take the initiative to fulfill them at your best. If you need help, it will be quite close.
Be helpful: Since you are in a new household, you may need help in getting used to their ways. At such times your sister-in-law and your mother-in-law will help you at their best. But this doesn’t mean you can’t do your bit to help them out in return. Ask to help them often and make them feel you are as interested in their affairs as any other family member would be.
Weigh your words: If you live with so many people who may have different temperaments and personalities, clashes are bound to happen. Avoid any such clashes (especially in your first year of marriage) by consciously measuring your words. You never know how a person feels about something, so it’s always better to keep your tongue neutral at all times.
Don’t complain: If a misunderstanding or a clash occurs between you and a member of the family, never complain about the same to either your otherin-laws or husband. A complaining attitude will paint a negative picture of you in your in-laws’ mind. Try to reflect on where you must have gone wrong or how the misunderstanding came to take place. If you find yourself at fault, apologize and promise to never let it happen again.
Maintain healthy relationships: Every family witnesses quarrels, but that shouldn’t mean that you’ll stop interacting with a person. This can lead to souring of relationships. So try to view things from the other person’s perspective and never severe ties with a family member.
Stay away from gossip: There are chances that a particular member of your in-laws dislikes another, and they may try to reason with you so that you support them instead of the other. DO NOT LET THAT HAPPEN! If you hear any gossip about a particular person from another family member, do not believe it and don’t judge the other person on its basis. Gossip is very unhealthy and can only break family ties.
Don’t advocate: You may have been a great debater in college but your husband’s family is no place to show your skills. If someone has a different point of view, try and agree to disagree. This attitude would mean you stand by your perspective but also respect the other person’s views.
Also read: Contemplating an arranged marriage?
All in all, if you really want to stay on good terms with every member of your new family, try to make everyone happy and give everyone a benefit of doubt at least in your first year of marriage. The first year of your married life will teach you a lot of things and will help you to settle better.
All the best!