Thursday, August 28, 2014

Your Husband Is Your God

Having had very little exposure to Hindu culture prior to my husband I was a bit naive the first time I heard my husband (then my friend) say this. Having grown now I understand this phrase much better, it's meaning and the implications behind this.

To a die-hard feminist, this line about a husband being a God would probably be enough to piss you off. It's angered me a few times and still does occasionally. But you have to look past the initially shocking wording.

A husband is not meant to be literally you God. Meaning you don't bow down and worship him as if he could be the one to cure all that ails you. You're not going to the church of your husband every Sunday (or Tuesday or Thursday depending on what religion you are or which deity you follow).

Still I've heard tales of Indian wives who kiss their husband's feet every day. There are still holidays where women go without food or water for the benefit of their husbands. Some wives still get very little food because the husband eats all he wants first and they get what's left. The stories are quite shocking to those who don't understand (or agree with) the concepts behind them, myself included.

So even though this phrase shouldn't be taken literally, it sometimes is. By men and women both. From the exposure I've had to Hindu culture, I've observed this phrase to mean that a woman should respect her husband as the head of the household, the one who brings home the money and keeps the bills paid so she can keep a place to live and food to eat. He's the provider of her needs in every way. As such, she needs to be both respectful and reverant toward him. (Traditionally speaking.)

It does not mean a wife is a servant. It does not mean she takes the place of his mother as his caretaker. She is not his maid, his slave, his punching bag, or the outlet for his bad behavior. A wife is shares an equal role in ruling and managing the home. Without her, who would take care of the home? The grocery shopping? The cooking? She is a vital member of the equation.

I could even go one step further and say that if the woman is working, the man cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping, etc. is an equal and vital member of the home. These roles are not gender specific, even though traditionally they've been defined that way.

Be wary of the Indian man who wants to be your God, but doesn't whole-heartedly believe you are his Goddess. Odds are he's more a male chauvinist pig than marriage material. Marriage is a partnership, not a monarchy. Women are not 'lesser' beings. They're not the weaker sex. They're not worth less than a man.

Think about it. Without women, there would be no men. Women must give birth to and raise men. So any man who thinks that women are less than men, is saying this about his mother, his sister, his daughter, etc. His mindset won't change just for you.

What got me fired up? The advice given to this woman:
What To Expect After Marrying An Indian Man

More good reads from that same author:
Lessons from 3 Years of Dating an Indian Man
A White Girl's Guide to Indian Men
Western Girl Indian Man Relationships That I Know