What’s the first thing that pops into your mind when you think about a Barjatya movie? Big house, joint families and women scurrying around all day attending chores! This is a scene not just from movies but straight out of several Indian homes. Joint families are still a major part of Indian communities. With a ton of responsibilities and a constant stream of guests, couples find less time to connect with each other.
Did You Know?
Between 2001 and 2011, joint families in urban India grew 29%.
Not just joint families, but nuclear ones where both the partners work, spending quality time together happens rarely. And when kids come along, they overtake whatever little time you have. Women have it tougher when it comes to finding time for their husband. In most Indian households, the bahu is expected to wake up at dawn and prepare a lavish breakfast. Unlike metro cities, this is a common practice and an important part of a woman’s duties.
A 55-year-old woman from a suburb in Maharashtra shared her 90s experience. Working full-time and handling multiple responsibilities and twins was a humongous task. She recalls her only outing in 4 years, celebrating her anniversary as the twins turned 2, with a day out in Mumbai with her husband.
3 Major Reasons Why Spending Quality Time With Your Partner Is Difficult
1. Duty Comes First
In most Indian families, duty comes first. The day is tied to several things like the tradition of having a puja at 10 am, preparing several meals a day and the schedules of the elderly, men and kids. In such situations, your spouse gets ignored as a result of habit. If your day runs around a clock, it would naturally be difficult to find time to spend with your partner.
2. Lack Of Space
In many such households, children tend to sleep in the same room as their parents. This creates a lack of space for the couple. Talking about the day and sharing thoughts become difficult. Such couples lack the privacy to lead a healthy sex life as well.
3. Rules Of The House
Every khandaan has rules that each family member needs to follow. If you have guests staying overnight, you need to be present like a genie to grant their every wish. A number of families forbid outside food which means women are in the kitchen 24×7.
A fairly newly married woman shared her experience living in a joint family. The mother-in-law has a strict rule that from 10 am to 7 pm is family time. Which meant no one will be allowed to close the door to their rooms!
5 Ways To Connect With Your Partner
The list of hurdles is endless but don’t let that stop you. You can still spend quality time with your partner and here’s how.
1. Have One Meal Together
If you live in a joint family and are expected to have breakfast, lunch and dinner together, then here’s a solution. Make it a point to have the morning tea together, just the two of you. If you have kids, make sure you do this after you send them to school.
2. Go On Dates
Date nights are simply times you carve out of your hectic life to be alone with your husband. Once a month set aside a day just for the two of you. Communicate this to the family and take the day off duties. Since finding time without kids is half the battle, remember to keep the kids at home. Let them have a playdate or ask their favourite family member to spend time with them. Eat at the latest restaurant you wanted to try, spend some time at the gaming arcade or even go hiking. Do something together, even if it means taking a long walk on the beach or in the park.
3. Communicate With The Family
Healthy sex life is vital for a healthy relationship. If you don’t have enough time and space to be physically intimate, talk this through. Ask for a family meeting and discuss the issue. If you are uncomfortable talking about it with everyone, communicate it with someone you trust. Your nanand or jethani/devrani can understand your problem.
4. Hire Help
If you work during the week or handle your own business from home, hiring help is a great solution. Several couples hire nannies to help them out with the kids. Though you might want to do everything for your child, if it’s taking a toll on your relationship, it’s best to get help. A nanny will not only tend to your child’s needs but also help you focus on your work. This will ultimately aid in finding quality time for your partner.
A 28-year-old mother of a 3-year-old boy says that it was vital to get some quality time with the hubby. Having relocated far away post marriage, she can’t emphasise enough on how her nanny made things easier. It not only allowed her to reconnect with her husband but provided her with spare time to pursue her interests.
5. Don’t Feel Guilty
A major reason women tend to not take out time for their partner is guilt. Guilt about pausing chores, asking someone else to look after the kids or not tending to family members affects women. With the age-old traditions of women expected to do certain things in certain ways, they have been conditioned to feel guilty. But there’s no shame in taking some time off to tend to your relationship. It’s absolutely okay to strengthen your bond with your partner. And it’s okay to put your needs first.
If you want to spend more time with your husband, it doesn’t have to be as complicated as we make it. Yes, our lives are busy, but we can make it happen. So rework your calendars, ask for help with the kids and enjoy some quality time with your husband.