The Oxford Dictionary defines ‘Nag’ as to harass (someone) to do something they are averse to. The Free Dictionary associates words like ‘constant scolding’, ‘complaining’, ‘fault finding’, and ‘torment persistently with anxiety or pain’ with ‘Nag’. Needless to say, it is a negative word and obviously, the husbands are so loving and caring that they do not nag at all and they let their wives be (raises an eyebrow with a smirk).
On the other hand, what do we wives give in return to our husbands? We nag. More often than not I see people sharing husband-wife jokes (forwarded messages) that tell how common is a complaining, fault-finding and scolding wife. The kind of jokes that the husbands laugh their hardest on and then they look at their wives and say, “You know it is just a joke, right?” or “O baby, you are not one of them”. Well today I want to say to all the husbands that we wives know that all THOSE are NOT jokes and that we ARE one of those women who make demands. YES, WE NAG (the way Obama said, “Yes, we can”).
Yes, we nag but nobody called us ‘nagger’ till the time we were unmarried. I remember the first time I complained to my husband. It was about having at least one meal of the day together. My husband and I both were working when we got married. I used to get up at 5 am in the morning, do my yoga, cook breakfast and pack lunch for both of us, and get ready by 8 to leave for work. Kabeer used to get up when I was leaving for work. The afternoon meals were obviously at work. And dinner time and post that was with all the family together leaving us at 10 pm to get to our room. Sometimes we used to talk post that but mostly we found ourselves hitting bed at 11 pm to carry on with the routine the next day. Hence, I made the mistake of nagging to my husband to get up 10 minutes early so that we can share a meal together. He understood and mostly we started having breakfasts together.
Many similar episodes happened wherein I nagged my husband to take me out for a movie, call my parents once in a month, spend at least an hour taking care of our daughter, invite my siblings over for dinner, wish my family members on the special occasions etc. etc. Thankfully, my husband is a willing learner so most of these complaints were promptly taken care of by him. However, it was the recent episode of my ‘nagging’ that brought to me the answer to this magical question, WHY HUSBANDS DON’T NAG?
In 3 years of our marriage, for the first time in my family came my brother’s rokka. I was super excited so I enjoyed and danced my heart out at the function. However, during the entire function my mind was not ‘free’. I was worried if Kabeer was enjoying the function and I was also disappointed by his lack of participation in it. On the way back from function I brought this topic up and yes, nagged him that it would have been appreciable if from next time he gets involved (in any way he wants) in my family’s celebrations. Car was surrounded by silence that was broken by my husband’s understanding response, “Sure Div, I understand what you mean. Your family is very nice to me and they have never complained about anything. I will take care of my participation in the future. You won’t have to say this again.” I touched his shoulder and gave him my most thankful smile.
While I was just thanking my stars for having such an understanding partner, Kabeer’s statement echoed in my ears, “…….. very nice to me and they have never complained about anything. I will take care……”. I knew exactly why is it that husbands do not have complaints.
In our society, a marriage happens between two persons-a male and a female (mostly). However, we all know that Indian marriages are about two families also but it is only the ‘female’ (soon to be wife) who is prepared for it….from I don’t know when….from her birth may be. My parents raised me in an open environment, guiding me wherever needed. They shared with me their experiences but they never instructed me on what to do and what not to. Even such learned parents, at the time of my wedding, preached me on the qualities of a good daughter-in law and yes, those qualities ranged from wearing conservative clothes to not arguing with elders to cooking etc etc.
Anyhow, when I entered this new home after my wedding, I made new relations with Kabeer’s family. Apart from the happy moments I had with them, the family members guided me on how to gel with everyone. Every new environment has some way of living around and such traditions grooms one into a better person (of course, the difference between traditions and restrictions needs to be known). I made my own share of mistakes in this new home and yes, I received complaints of correcting them as well. Over the period of three years, I have learned how to dress (fully loaded with jewellery), how much to dance (light steps with no lip sync) and how to laugh (light smile across lips…..nothing loud… yes that is laughter) in family functions. There are many other things I keep in mind so that my actions don’t hurt others, deliberately.
However, this post is not to argue whether one should change or not or what adjustments one has to make after wedding. For that I believe you are the better judge to strike a balance in making adjustments while maintaining your identity. But the point is, that society at large NAGS US WOMEN, at many steps to be a good Woman….the one who is an ideal daughter, a loving wife, a sacrificing mother and an obedient daughter in law.
So yes dear husbands, while you are still coping in striking a balance between being a HUSBAND and SON (laughs at this confusion in men), your wives are facing at least one dose of ‘preaching’ every day in how to deal with their lives and multiple roles. And, to keep the plant of marriage alive and adjust in a totally new (your) family, she nags. She nags to you so that you listen to her confusion. You attend to her chaos when she chooses between attending to your family event or going to work. She wants you to take her out so that she creates a memory for both of you when other times she is busy creating memorable times for your family.
I am not saying that it is only a woman who is all accommodating to make relationships work. I totally believe that any person (not just the women) has to invest a lot in terms of time, emotions, gestures etc etc. in their relationships to make them last long. It’s like taking care of a plant to keep them alive. But the families and the society, at large, puts this onerous task as mainly a responsibility of women.
Do you think if we women would have sat in one corner at your brother’s wedding or taken an early exit from a family dinner or dressed inappropriately as per against your customs, your family would have just sat on it? From our neighbours to our society, each one and every one has nagged us women to do this or that so that our relation as a husband-wife lasts longer or we have a healthy family life. So, dear husbands, answer me now, “WHY WOULD YOU NAG WHEN THE WHOLE WORLD IS DOING IT FOR YOU….ON YOUR BEHALF?”
You should be thankful that your wives nag. Because that is what is keeping your relationship alive. It is an indication that she wants more of your involvement in her life. I don’t know if you have taken all this nagging had you left your homes and gone to live with your wives’ parents and family. I wonder how you all will react if you receive a call from your fathers in law complaining that you forgot your mother in law’s birthday.
In the end, I will say, Husbands, go figure why your wife is nagging? Not all complaints are blah blah. And dear Wives, you also carefully choose where nagging is really required. I believe it is okay to nag, it is okay to complain till the time it does not hinder the freedom of others.