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Look Out for Yourself

-by Kaushali Patel

Although it is difficult living with in-laws, often, even living apart from them doesn't bring relief. You may be constantly expected to call them, keep them updated, and your husband may be in constant touch with them, and may act according to their instructions. You may thus face constant interference. This situation is worse when you are in a foreign country, as you may feel helpless and isolated. Here are a few practical tips every wife should know.


Set a low bar for expectations from the beginning, and you will be glad you did. Don't rush to show what a sweet daughter in law or wife you are; you will only be hacking at your own feet in the bargain.

Phone calls

Many enthusiastic brides call their in-laws every day or every other day to inquire about how they are. If you do this, the day you don't call if you are busy, you will have to endure sarcasm, and if you call regularly, chances are, you will soon start facing criticism during the calls. However, if you don't get into the practice of calling regularly, you can have a pleasant conversation every now and again. Your in-laws may not like it at first, but soon they will stop expecting anything else and will adjust to the situation. This works for both. The alternative could turn into a situation where you have to call your in-laws regularly, and the calls can turn into a nightmare.

Staying on holidays

Say you both live in the US, and your parents and in-laws live in Bombay. Every time you return to India, make it a point to spend some time with your parents. If your husband says something like 'You can stay wherever you like,' forget about being goody-goody and staying with both. Just stay with your parents and visit your in-laws for a few hours every now and again. If your husband insists that you spend at least an equal amount of time with your in-laws, then don't spend a single day extra there. Remember, what you do in the beginning will set the expectations for the rest of your lives together. Many women say, 'I sacrificed so much for my in-laws but they don't appreciate anything and treat me so badly.' If you don't sacrifice anything, you will be treated better and will have peace of mind.


Always be polite and respectful towards your in-laws. While you don't have to bend over backwards to accommodate them, you should not be rude either. This may seem manipulative, but strive to be excessively polite in front of your husband.


If you are a working woman or have your own investments, always keep your own bank account. Financial independence is of utmost importance. If you hand over your entire salary to your husband, like some women do, and find yourself unable to stop this, take the first step towards self-help by opening up an account in secret, and not letting your husband know about any raises, bonuses or stock dividend you may have received. Also, ask for all such bank correspondence to be directed to your office or to a post box.

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