9 Demands Every Woman Should Make before Getting Married
In many families, even today, women are expected to meekly surrender to the demands of a groom and his family. Even today, women are beaten, tortured, and killed for material things like televisions and cars. Those who can afford these things, even after stretching their financial limits, see their daughters alive. And if you think this doesn't happen in urban setups, look around you at the next wedding you attend. Watch out for the gleaming car, with a bow on it, standing at the entrance of the venue. Who do you think asked for that? Look around for a car or a room that's filled with boxes, big and small. Do you think those didn't come after specific instructions were given to the bride's family?
Now, finally, the time has come that women start making their own demands. Just fighting dowry and silencing the muttering in-laws isn't enough. If you're getting married soon, make your demands.
Make demands that make sense. Make demands that'll give you the life you deserve. Make demands like these.
Time alone with her family.
"Ab toh yeh hamari beti hai." "Ab yeh tumhara ghar hai." "Betiyan toh paraayi hoti hain." Bullshit. Marriage doesn't change anything with the family, except that you may not live with them anymore. A woman does not give up her parents and siblings when she gets married, they don't forget her either. If anything, the bond becomes stronger when it's tested by distance. She will still spend as much time with her family as she did earlier. Statements like “But you need to bond with my family too” don't help the situation.
Equality and respect.
A woman should never submit to household chores just because she's a woman. If no one else is doing it, why should she? Why should she cook if no one else is? Why should she clean someone else's mess? Why should she do someone else's laundry? Why should she be the one to serve everyone and eat after the family? Doesn't she get hungry too?
Not knowing how to boil an egg or fold a shirt is appalling for an adult, and is never an excuse to get out of chores.
No ideal bahu pressure.
Marriage shouldn't change the way a person behaves. It's not expected of the groom, so why pressure the bride? She's still the same person, marriage didn't do any personality-altering magic on her. In fact, more than any other time, she needs to be true to herself in this critical time when an entire family is getting to know her better. To maintain her sanity through such a monumental change in her life, she needs to be her real self, not a forced ideal bahu.
No sanskaari wardrobe revamp.
Why should marriage change the way a woman dresses? Yes, she will get some outfits in her trousseau which she would've bought for herself or her family would've bought for her. But those are for other weddings and formal affairs, not to lounge around at home or greet guests over tea. Imagine the level of log kya kahenge if a sullen, visibly exhausted bahu is paraded around in heavy clothes and jewellery all the time.
Unfortunately, many women are still told that they must live according to the wishes of their husband and give up their job after marriage, if he so desires. Why, we don't understand. How would the man feel if he was asked to give up his job? How does a person, who is used to spending all day at work, deal with sitting at home involuntarily, and giving up a career and a monthly income? Is a woman's career not important? Is it not important for her to cater for her own expenses and savings?
Freedom to keep or change her name.
Like every other adult in the world, a married woman also has the right to decide whether or not she wants to change her name. And if she decides to keep her name, she shouldn't be shamed for it. The law doesn't require the wife and husband to have the same last names, so why should society need it?
Time alone with her partner to discuss every uncomfortable topic there is.
Birth control, your living situation, combined income, division of chores, work timings, time apart from each other and past, possibly troublesome, relationships should be discussed to avoid any unwanted situations later. It's a huge change for both people in the relationship, and they should dive in with a clean conscience and a clear path on what's next.
An equal say in all family matters.
If she's going to be a part of the family, then she needs to know that she will have an equal role in all matters of the family. Be it the family business or decisions on big purchases, her opinions should be taken into account as seriously as anyone else's.
Freedom to make her own decisions about her body.
Last but far from the least, a woman should make her own decisions about her body, whether it's about getting a tattoo, having sex, or producing a child. While the decision about a child may be taken together by the couple, at no point should a woman be pressured into having a baby when she really doesn't want to. If the male partner wants a child but the woman doesn't, her decision trumps all since hers is the only body that will go through massive biological changes for more than a year.
Also, marriage doesn't negate the need for consent before sex. To have sex, it is still just as important for both partners to consent, and not just give in to pressure. That's marital rape. It may still be legal in India but it doesn't make it right.
Make your demands, ladies. Don't hold back.