We’ve talked at length about intercaste marriages, inter-religious marriages, how to convince your parents of your love marriage etc. We’ve also talked about what to do when your parents just won’t agree to your marriage. I’ve always been a firebrand when it comes to taking a side here – either suck it up and do as they say, or move out of your home and marry whoever you want to marry.
I’m surprised (and proud) to know just how many of you have followed that advice and made a bold decision. Congratulations on having been able to achieve clarity and purpose. But now what? Are you prepared to have the moving out of home conversation with your parents? Here are some tips to help you out with it.
Moving out of home – Rule #1. Write a letter
This is going to be a sensitive and delicate communication between you and two of the most important people in your life. Due to the explosive nature of the subject of your intercaste marriage, emotions will run high. Irrespective of what you say, misunderstandings are very likely. To minimize any misinterpretation of your intentions, put it all down on a piece of paper and mail it to your parents (send them an email, if they’re tech-savvy ;)). If you start with an oral conversation on moving out of the family home, it’s likely to turn into an ugly family battle.
Of course you’ll be called for a “discussion” subsequent to writing your letter, but this will make sure at least your starting position is crystal clear to your parents.
Moving out of home – Rule #2. Tell them you trust them
So what do you write in your letter?
The key is to avoid blame games and emotional blackmailing at all costs. Do not take an accusatory line of reasoning like the following:
You didn’t accept my marriage. This shows you don’t care for my happiness. Hence I’m leaving home.
Instead, take an accommodative and respectful approach. Tell them you trust their intentions as your parents. Something like:
I’m sure you want nothing but my happiness. I understand you don’t know Jane [insert your girlfriend’s name] closely enough, and hence you’re afraid she’d not make me happy. But I’ve known her for a sufficiently long period of time, and as of today I’m reasonably confident she would. I’m sure after some time when you see for yourself that we’re happy together, you’ll feel happy for us and accept our marriage with open arms.
Moving out of home – Rule #3. Explain rationally
Explain rationally: They’re your parents. It’s your duty to treat them with respect, even if you disagree with them. In your letter, tell them clearly that you respect them today as much as you always have. Explain that your moving out is not a gesture of rebellion but a practical solution that takes care of everybody’s interests as much as possible.
#1. You’ve already explained that you’re confident your decision (that of marrying your girlfriend) is the best one. You’ve also declared your belief that your parents will one day realize it. (As I explained earlier – tell them you trust their intentions.)
Hence it’s not about reconsidering your decision, but about taking the best actions given your decision.
#2. You have responsibilities to your parents and your future wife. Hence it’s your duty to strive to maximize their combined happiness.
#3. Hence you cannot imagine knowingly putting all of them in a stressful situation. Which is what you envision is going to happen if you marry your girlfriend and continue living with your parents. You cannot let your parents and your wife stress each other just because of you. Hence you’ve taken the decision of living away from your parents till all of you can live together in peace and harmony.
Your explanation should be as logical, as practical and as non-accusatory as that.
Moving out of home – Rule #4. If they threaten to disown you…
Be prepared for this threat even before you start this conversation with your parents.
When it comes, keep clam. A very tiny percentage of parents who threaten to disown their sons if they marry their girlfriends actually carry out that threat. Most accept the son and his wife after a few years at max.
Secondly, if you’re having this conversation with your parents I’d assume you’ve thought it all out very carefully already. That would mean you’re certain in your mind that it will make you more unhappy to live without your girlfriend forever than it will make you to live without your parents forever (not suggesting that’s a great option).
Hence, DO NOT react to the threat.
Simply say very politely, “I’m sure you’re saying that just out of momentary anger. I’m sure you’ll accept us when you see us happy and realize that this was indeed the best decision.”
Moving out of home – Rule #5. If they threaten suicide…
Now this is unfortunate.
We’ve all heard those anecdotes of parents locking their daughter up in the home for stopping her from contacting her boyfriend, and getting her married off forcibly.
Almost every day some honour killing (killing of couples for daring to marry against family’s wishes) incident or the other is reported in the newspapers.
Reports of young couples committing suicide over parental disapproval of their relationships also keep hitting us at a steady rate.
Tell me, how many incidences of parents committing suicide over children’s marriages have you heard of?
I can tell you – zero. That’s because they don’t happen. Emotionally blackmailing children out of marrying someone they love is quite an unfortunate action on the part of a parent. And it’s one that can well become a serious jolt to mutual trust between parents and children.
Be sure it’s not a real threat. Again, stay calm and do not react. Simply say very politely, “I’m sure you’re saying that just out of momentary anger. I’m sure you want me to be happy, and you’ll not do any such thing which will make me deeply unhappy.”
Have you ever tried to discuss moving out of home with your parents?
Have you helped a friend through this challenging process?
Tell us about your experience in the comments.