How do you tell a guy you don’t want to live with his parents? That yes, you can’t wait to live with him, marry him, be more than his girlfriend, but that the thought of living with his parents makes you want to book the first seat out of Heathrow and fly as far away as your plastic allows you. How do you tell him, that it’s not just his parents you don’t want to live with, but anyone’s parents. That as much as you love and care for them, you’re even looking forward to not living with your own parents any more.
What is it with this Asian culture. It’s not a Muslim thing, it’s an Asian sub continent thing. And for some reason, it seems to have seeped into our generation. Well, the male members of it anyway. Yes, there are financial constraints, and yes, there are concerns about looking after elderly parents. But till they need us to look after them, surely they value their no-need-of dependence-yet state of life.
I’m sure that, back in the sub continent, or east Africa, or where ever this derived form and is practiced, it worked, because that was society and that was the context and it was done for a reason. But you can’t apply every tradition to every context; it just won’t work like that. Times are different, people are different, society is different, even hopes and dreams and aspirations are different. Children are raised differently and even the roles of men and women have altered and changed somewhat. Many friends have entered into this living with the in laws thing, not one has had no problems, not one is 100% happy.
And yes, no marriage or relationship is going to be perfect, it’s all going to be hard and a test and involve sacrifice, why make it even harder, why put extra stress and strain on everything?
Take an adult, a grown up in their own right with their own career, and ask them to live under the roof of another family, follow their rules, regulations and practices, sacrifice parts of who they are, and do the best they can. Who would willingly do this? Then throw in the person they’ve fallen for in to the mix, and the conundrum arises. Still, do you go for it? Knowing that you would have to quell and sacrifice parts of who you are, your being and your nature, to please the people you live with. Even though those parts of your being and nature were the very things that made said person fall for you. Then what happens to your relationship, your marriage?
Culture is a beautiful thing; it informs us of our identity, gives us tradition and belonging, fills life with colour and music and clothes and food, zest and family and spice and love. But it’s not all lovely and perfect, it has constraints and conditions too. Will it cage in my free spirit, my tendency to fly and sporadic bouts if impulsive spontaneity. My independence – what attracted you to me. Or do we consolidate what we know, mix it up with the best bits of cultures we are from and have grown into, amalgamate the best of both worlds the best we can, and create a better future, a better culture for our children, whilst maintaining our spirit, our identity and our roots. Finding the balance and getting it right somehow.
Free spirit culture cage.