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In a society like India that is steeped in age-old traditions, marriage is often termed as the ‘union of families’. More often than not, this makes women believe they need to behave a certain way to ‘fit in’. This is also because they move out of their personal sanctuary to an altogether new space.
Unfortunately, many of them give in to this pressure and start to make changes in their lives, even in the pre-nuptial stages. From trying to lose extra kilos to dressing a certain way, they think it’s essential for them to participate in these norms. This leads to several changes — largely at a mental and emotional level — that women constantly grapple with, especially post-marriage.
At the outset, these seem like the most obvious reasons for all the emotional stress, but is there more to it? To understand this better, we got in touch with Srishti Jaitley, Counseling Psychologist at IWill.
To begin with, Jaitley believes that one of the biggest emotional stressors is the change in identity that the woman faces, and finds it difficult to accept. “This identity perception change is aggravated by the changes around their world and how they are supposed to act post-marriage. The expectations from them change and the shift is often overnight,” she adds.
Moreover, there is also an increase in the number of roles she has to play post-marriage.
Unfortunately, many times, women suppress their voices, even if they do not deem something to be right. They believe that they are supposed to ‘willingly’ accept everything that’s going on.
“The impact of past learnings and conditioning often leads to them accepting the wrong being done to them, in the name of societal norms. They do not understand the underlying gender-based power structures behind those rituals,” shares Jaitley.
Last but not the least, the sudden changes in their lives also brings with it anxious feelings. The phase is overwhelming in many ways, given the number of thrills, surprises and shocks it brings!
“There are some who also grapple with challenges in managing their careers and dreams with new roles and responsibilities. The clash of expectations vs reality, in terms of new relationships and companionship, is also a lot to take in,” explains Jaitley.
Here are some ways in which they can tackle these emotional challenges, suggests Jaitley.
This should be done before you get married, so that your partner’s family members understand your ideas and expectations, and you get theirs.“Apart from this external communication, it is vital for women to open their internal channels of reflection and engage in healthy conversation with themselves. This two-way understanding will go a long way in establishing healthy boundaries. Staying connected with self, when we are going through a phase of transition, is important,” says Jaitley.
“Give yourself some time and remember to be self-compassionate. Build a sense of safety around yourself in these times by creating certain simple routines, which will provide some structure and familiarity,” she adds.
Do not shy away from taking help, if that helps you. It’s only going to make you more adept at handling the situation better.
“We all grow up with dreams and aspirations. But sometimes, certain changes in your life can alter them. But you can always get back to them, or create new goals, whatever works best for you,” concludes Jaitley.