1/8 A letter from a father to his son
Dear son, I was young and madly in love with your mother when we got married. We started this beautiful journey believing love alone would be enough to overcome all hurdles and differences. I never knew we had to climb mountains and not just cross hurdles. Most men never do. There were moments of weakness that made us lose faith in the institution of marriage. But we carried on. We conquered our worst fear and celebrated our greatest strength. I learnt from my mistakes and became a better husband and a compassionate man.
2/8 Forgive and forget
The first year of our marriage was the most difficult period. Despite knowing each other for so many years, we still had disagreements—some were petty enough to be called lovers’ tiff and there were others which made us doubt our decision of spending a lifetime together. We used to sulk and suffer for days after a fight. Gradually, I discovered the power of forgiveness and I wished I had learnt it earlier. Son, every married couple fights, but you should never let those quarrels doubt your decision.
3/8 Wife vs. mother: The struggle every man must face
Trust me, this is the worst battle most men have to fight. A mother loves her son unconditionally, so does a wife. There will be instances when both might have moments of doubt and disagreements, and may approach you for help or advice. It will be your duty to embrace both, show them that you can be a son as well as a husband. I hate to admit but the worst mistake I ever committed was to take my mother’s side. However, I realised my mistake before it was too late and learnt to strike the right balance.
4/8 She is a woman first
Always remember, she is not just your wife. She is a woman who must play many roles—that of a mother, a daughter or a sister (to name a few). Just like you, she too has many responsibilities. She might or might not need your support to carry out her duties, but as a husband, it’s your responsibility to ensure that her duties as a wife don’t prevent her from being a good daughter or a sister. Unfortunately, I failed to do that.
5/8 Share household chores
Your grandmother used to say, “Man should earn for the family, a woman should feed her family.” I grew up believing the gender-specific roles defined by our society. After marriage, I took it for granted that the kitchen and other household chores are your mother’s responsibility. She was a teacher but she used to juggle her professional and personal life without any help from me. If I get a chance to travel back in time, I would make sure your mother wasn’t the only one doing all the household chores.
6/8 Never ask your wife to leave her job after childbirth
You are our tiny bundle of joy and you always will be no matter how old you grow. With you, we began our journey of parenthood. I can still regret missing the day you took your first step. I wish I were there when you were scared to ride a bicycle and insisted that someone ran alongside while you went on a wobbly ride. I need to admit this—I made a mistake when I asked your mother to quit her job post childbirth. Life didn’t change much for me professionally, but she stayed at home to look after you. Regretfully, I ignored the fact that childcare isn’t only a mother’s responsibility.
7/8 Every woman needs a ‘room of her own’
When I say room, I don’t merely mean physical space. I know your mother made you read Virginia Woolf’s ‘A Room of One’s Own’ and I take it for granted that I don’t have to explain further the need for women to possess intellectual freedom and financial independence. Like I said earlier, I wish I had not asked your mother to leave her job after you were born. Always inspire your wife to be financially independent and help her in her intellectual pursuit
8/8 Make your choice wisely
Sometimes, I wished my father had told me about the rough ride. But I don’t begrudge him anything. I am just thankful that I learnt a few lessons before it was too late. Son, please do not make the same mistakes I did. Always remember, you would come across your own demons like I did mine, and you would learn to fight your own battles. Maybe, my experiences would help you to prepare for the hurdles you might come across in your married life. But always make your own choice wisely.
Source: Times of India