I read IHM’s post Some basic questions on joint family finances and daughters in law and it reminded me a few things from my own life. It made me question “is it really only about joint families?” or “is it true for couples as family staying away from in-laws?” as well
I and my husband have been staying away in another city since our marriage so I can’t call this a joint family. Though I realize where these questions are coming from still feel I am also a party to many of these issues.
I am an independent person with my very own opinions and way of life. I had a love marriage and knew my husband quite well before marriage and let me assure you I discussed almost everything regarding my thoughts though most of them were very different than his. I now feel that we were stupid enough to get married with those differences.
Though with all other big issues somehow I didn’t give proper attention to finances.
I was a very straightforward person before marriage and did what I wanted to and had my reasons for my choices. I never realized how I became someone who fears her husband to discuss many topics she wants to just to avoid any altercations and not telling a few things she would have told him clearly 4 years back.
The first day of my married life, I was given a whole lecture from my mother in law regarding the bahu dharm. That included how I don’t belong to my parents anymore and I should not call their place as my home as this is my home. Imagine a new bride’s surprise. But that would be another post.
We left after 3 days for our honeymoon and on our way to our city I spoke to my husband on the financial arrangement we should make. I suggested that we should open a joint account and we can pool our monthly expenses plus savings in that but keep our own accounts going on for salary and our personal expenses. This was our first fight after marriage. He was almost astonished at this idea. He could not understand why I want to keep my account separate. It took a long round of discussions which included how much my father did not pay during wedding , what he did wrong at the wedding and all other things. Though all expenses were paid by my father except one thing which he refused since he didn’t ask for that. They had to pay for that one thing and it became a big pain for them. Anyways, finally we ended that discussion though we did not open that joint account till 3 years later.
I do not like sharing my banking passwords with anyone and neither am I interested in his. I believe we are adults and do not need to keep track of petty expenses of each other. I trust him and wish the same from him. This is a big bone of contention. Even when I usually pay all these bills etc so 90% expenses are from my account only. Not that i am not sharing my income. I just don’t like the constant watch. My funda is :You need to know something, ask me and i’ll tell you.
Also, I should mention that he is paying for home loan for his parents’ place (which I have absolutely no issue with). But on the same side I feel that he can do anything for them without thinking twice while I don’t have that option. I am not able to do anything for my parents. If I want to, first I need his approval and this I am not comfortable with. Why can’t I decide what I want to do with it? And I am sane enough to understand how much I can spare. (I handle all household finances ).
My parents are retired and we are two sisters and I am the eldest. So I have the same set of responsibilities as him (or so I believe). I feel so bad that I can’t do things that I want to do for them. It’s not that he will say no if I help them in need but he is not in favor of sending every month (which will be a part of what he spends on that EMI). It’s not that I want to compete but if he feels it’s his responsibility to pay for his parents EMI, isn’t it possible for me to feel the same? I asked my parents repeatedly to buy an apartment for them so that the EMIs start before wedding so that everyone knows that I am going to pay for that. But my parents didn’t want that. Typical views of an Indian DILs parents. They lived in government provided apartments till retirement and then had to buy one with his PF and other money. Now, I feel since he paid for house and doesn’t have much left so at least now I should help him with monthly expenses but not sure how to put this forward.
I am planning to have a talk on this and if he disagrees I’ll just agree to disagree this time. Hope I can do that.
It hurts to confess that even though I am not living under my in-laws roof, still all those rules implicitly apply to me too with all that geographical distance in place. I understand that i should have been stronger in my convictions but i caved in due to this institution called marriage which expects females to behave as per their in laws ideas.