4 important things you must know before you marry an Indian man

in Intercultural Marriage

Indian Couple in the mustard fields

When I read about a Gori’s blog post describing her pain and disappointment over her Indian fiance who puts her only second place after his parents, it made me wonder if all Indian men are the same (althought I lean more to “no”). I understand that Indian men are wired to value their parents’ opinion and advice and they usually continue to do so even after marriage; but I ask, what about the wife?

When does listening to your parents views and putting them ahead of your own become wrong?

I’ve an Indian friend, a teacher, who’s married to a decent Indian man who works for a multi-million textile company in Thailand. Her husband has been working abroad even before they met through an arrange marriage. After the wedding, she came to Bangkok to join him, took a job and bore him children. Her heartache started early in marriage when she found how her in-laws brain washed him not to disclose his earnings and properties to her. Up to this day, she never has any idea how much her husband earns because his money is sent straight to India and it’s the mother and the sister in-laws that handle the safe. When she’s around and they have to go to the bank, she’s left outside while the family goes inside the bank. She’s only given what she and the kids need, every purchase is monitored.

Want to attract the man or woman of your dreams? How To Attract Women And Men.

When she visits her in-laws in India, she has to serve them by giving them massage, preparing their meal, fixing their hair and giving in to all their whims. When she complained to her husband how she was treated like a servant by his family, the husband ordered her to continue to serve them because they’re his family. The mother in law has a say to everything related to their marriage, from child rearing, money management and every big decision making.

Can’t she fight for her right as a wife? Can’t she lay down her terms and start demanding him to include her in decision making especially disclose to her his earnings? She said she can but only if the man chooses to prioritize her over his parents. I went crazy!

This knowledge urged me to do a little research. It isn’t fair to stigmatize all Indian men as subject to their parents’ manipulation. I had to know. I interviewed several married Indian women regarding this issue. As a result, I learned four things about Indian men.

  • Not all Indian men are the same but there are only few who differ

Growing up listening to his parents and putting their view ahead of his own, Indian men are made to value their parents’ advice above everything. Parents think that they know better when it comes to matters of marriage so even if the son is a fully grown man, his parents will continue to intervene in his marriage. But not all Indian men are the same. There are some, and just a few of them, who dare to break the rules, choose their own life partner, value and prioritize their spouse more than their parents.

Families from the rural areas have a closer family ties and Indian men from these places are very likely to value   their parents more and abide to their wishes.

  • Joint household culture is what you gotta blame

There is a culture of joint household in India. All the sons that are married remain in their parents’ house and their wives join them. The daughters on the other hand move out from their parents and join their husbands’ parents household. This explains why Indian mother-in-laws have the behavior to get a grip on their daughter-in-laws and even to those who live abroad.

See: American-Indian interracial marriage and learn how Kristy finds living with her in-laws and entire extended families in the same house in India.

  • It depends on your Indian man if he chooses to break the rules

To stand for his wife all depends on the Indian man. “It’s changing for Desi people even in India but will take a while before Desi parents start letting their sons and daughters be in control of choosing their life partners and living their lives. For those who dare to break the rules they will find that it can be quite liberating although the process of getting there is excruciatingly painful and so many don’t make the cut.” (Anonymous Desi guy’s perspective)

See: American-Indian interracial and interfaith marriage – choosing the man that makes you number one!

Therefore my advice to those ladies who are in loved with an Indian man, take time to know him. Know which area he comes from – city or country side; examine his orientation and stance towards choosing which to prioritize between you and his parents after marriage. It will help you decide early on if you have the chance to be number one or simply number two in his heart thus save you from, if not prepare you, for future long term heartaches.

photo by tibchris

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When does listening to your parents views and putting them ahead of your own become wrong?
The question isn’t about right or wrong. You are judging indian morals through western moral compass. In non-indian context, marriages are a union between two people. In indian context, marriages are a union of two families. Big difference. Total different approach.

I’ve an Indian friend, a teacher, who’s married…
There’s no mystery here. Obviously, the family has not accepted her and prefers to keep her out. Her act to “bore” the family children doesn’t have much to do with acceptance. After marriage, it is not unusual to see the parents and the new bride fight with each other to claim the groom for themselves. This is pure family politics. The boy will have to balance the two sides diplomatically. A bond between the parents and the bride can also create problems for the boy because they can gang up on him together.

she has to serve them by giving them massage, preparing their meal, fixing their hair and giving in to all their whims.
Ha. She’s been conquered. It has the perfect elements of a future dysfunctional family.

Can’t she fight for her right as a wife?
Off course she can. You don’t seem to understand the issues in a joint family. The boy is pulled from both sides. His prime focus is to maintain calm and normalcy. If the wife raises her decibel levels then he will be forced to make compromises on the parents side. This is a never ending task.


Indian sons and their parents
A big priority of an indian son is to accommodate his future wife and his parents under one roof. If he see’s signs or feels that the future wife will be unwilling to live with his parents then he will have to make the difficult choice.

Marrying the women of his choice is not the problem. The problem is whether she is willing to be a part of his family.

Rural indians and urban indians
Rural families will press harder to include them in his decision of choosing a bride. The end goal is the family; whether they can all stay under one roof without any problems in the future.

Joint family system
This is a way of life in india. There are some changes but eventually the parents will come under the boys care. If he is the only son then the family will never stay apart. If he moves out from his parents house then he will have to answer to his uncles and aunts firing.

The indian family structure is defined and each has a part to play in the show.

The rules…
This is a moral question.


Hi Chiron, yes you’re right, this is a question of morality but more so on culture. Is it wrong to put your parents wishes and advice ahead of your own and your spouse? The answer is relative to whom you’re asking.

This article is not to point out whether the joint household culture or prioritizing the parents’ advice even at adulthood is wrong or not, but this is to orient women of other cultures of what they have to prepare for in case they date or marry Indian men. Some women of other culture will gladly embrace the joint household (this is an example American-Indian) while others won’t. And for those who can’t, it’d be beneficial for them to be aware about it.

Thank you for your wonderful input and for giving us fresh insights into these norms which otherwise can be potential challenges to an intercultural marriage.

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