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'Treat your in-laws like your parents'
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May 15, 2007

In keeping with the spirit of Mother's Day, we asked our readers to contribute stories about the best advice your mother ever gave you. K Deepthi, a 30-year-old technical support executive from Chennai sent in the following contribution discussing her mother's wise words:

My mom has always been giving me sound advice, right from when I was a child up until now, even after I've married. And the best advice she ever gave me is about the secret of a happy married life.

When I came of age and proposals began pouring in, she would tell me, "Treat your in-laws not as your in-laws but as your parents. That is something your husband will sincerely appreciate, even if he doesn't express his feelings openly. Behave with them as you would like him to behave towards your folks, but don't expect the same in return -- the bonding boys develop with a family is different from girls. So remember never to complain to him about his people."

At the time, I found this advice a tad unacceptable. "Won't I feel like he should consider my parents like his own if I try to do the same for his happiness?" I would think to myself. And yet, when my match was found and decided upon (it was an arranged marriage), I would telephone my mother-in-law and sister-in-law often and chat with them. Once in a way, my father-in-law, rather a reserved person, would also speak with me. 

But, just as Mum had predicted, for every 10 to 15 conversations that took place between my in-laws and me, my fiance would speak to my mother once, despite my requesting him to keep in touch more often. In fact, he would address my mother as 'Aunty,' even though I called  mother Amma.

However, when I got married and my in-laws took me to their home after the wedding, I realised something. I was not at all apprehensive (very unlike a new bride) about entering a new household -- nor was I worried about how my life here would turn out. The warmth and love they showered me with caused me to realise that I no longer had any in-laws. These people were another set of parents God had blessed me with. 

My father-in-law now became very attached to me, and it gave me great joy to call someone Daddy again, six long years after my own father passed away. I felt lucky to have such a family.

Another thing that struck me was that while my husband did not talk to my mother freely before marriage, he considered her as his own thereafter and started calling her Amma. As for my sister, she found a brother in him, not a brother-in-law; she and I had always yearned for a brother.

I don't think I could have found a better husband even if I had fallen in love. Although we moved away from our hometown, every time we go back for a visit he makes it a point to spend time equally both with his family and mine.

Today, although married, I have no idea what the in-law relationship is like. I know I have two mothers, a father, two sisters, and a brother (my sister-in-law's husband). I use the term 'in-laws' to refer to them only when I'm talking to others, so they don't get confused.

My Dad lovingly sends me chocolates made by him every now and again, and Amma sends me snacks and masalas. My new sister and I enjoy hour-long chats over the phone. And every time I go home, they treat me like they do their own daughter, even shopping for me and buying me the same things they buy her. These are just small gestures, but they make a big impact.

Whenever, my friends complain to me about their in-laws, I thank my Mum for her simple advice. Had I not listened and kept asking myself the question "Why should I when he doesn't?" my relationship with my in-laws would have been very different; it may not have been so positive. My mother is very happy that I have no problems in my marriage.

I thank you Amma for giving me this valuable advice (and a lot more), which I promise to follow always, and also pass on to my children in the future.

Would you like to tell us about the best advice your mom ever gave you? Send your stories to, and the best entries will feature in the Get Ahead section of Along with the article you submit, we will need personal details (your name, age, occupation, contact number, and the name of your city), and photographs of you with your mother (if possible). 

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