You know the saying, “Different strokes for different folks?” Well, it holds especially true for marriages in India. There is no ‘right’ answer and we don’t propagate either a joint family or a nuclear family setup - simply because what may work for you may not work for someone else. But here we highlight some basic differences between the two just so you can get into your new phase of life with your eyes wide open.
The Responsibility Angle
In a joint family: You may not need to worry about taking care of the house and being super responsible. There are other people to handle daily chores and house work, and there’s a big chance you can just move on with your life the way it was.
In a nuclear family: You are very much responsible for the upkeep of your own home. From handling maids to paying the bills, you and your husband don’t have a choice but to be hands on!
The Privacy Angle
In a joint family: Sometimes, getting time alone with your husband can be a challenge. Since there are other members in the house, you have to keep in mind to not appear greedy by always wanting time alone. This may offend them. However, if they are the understanding type – this shouldn’t pose as too much of a problem.
In a nuclear family: This is what we believe to be the biggest upside. Starting your new life with the man you love and no one else makes your new phase seem much more exciting. It really does feel like the two of you are just shacking up (like college kids) and enjoying life and living in the moment.
The Money Angle
In a joint family: Just as the responsibility and workload is shared – so are the finances. This can be a very good thing. Because the two of you are starting a new life and you can save the money you earn for your future. You can also take exotic vacations as you don’t have to worry too much about bills and other such mundane expenses.
Having said that, it may also be that you may not be able to spend your money the way you want. As money is a family matter and what happens with the inflow may be discussed with the whole family. Two sides of the same coin though.
In a nuclear family: You tend to make many sacrifices to set the boat afloat. Sometimes, you cut down on fancy dinners and lovely vacations just so you can make ends meet and pay bills. You may even feel the pressure of adulting a lot more in this situation. However, as explained earlier, you two can do what you please as it’s your money and no one else has a say in it.
The Social Angle
Being part of a joint family means many more social gatherings and family occasions to attend. It means more weddings and more birthday parties. This can be an awesome thing. And it is particularly exciting when you are a newlywed and everyone is showering attention (and gifts) on you.
This could be an aspect you miss out on if you are in a nuclear family set up. It does get kind of lonely and you could feel isolated. But you could also look at things on the bright side and create your own social life. Having friends and cousins over, and hosting fun parties are some advantages of living by yourselves. So it really depends how you look at it.
The Expectation Angle
Living in a joint family, you may have to learn the fine art of balancing expectations. Some girls take to this like a fish to water while some others struggle a bit with this part. A lot depends on what is expected of you and to what degree. The most common cause for complaint is when girls are expected to turn into domestic goddesses overnight as they move into their marital home. If you set expectations straight right from the beginning, it saves a lot of trouble and heartache later.
In a nuclear family, you and your husband have to manage each other’s expectations. And whether you fight, argue, cry or curse each other – you only have each other to please at the end of the day! It’s a lot easier to manage expectations in this case.
We hope we have given you an objective, unbiased view of both scenarios. At the end of the day, it all depends on you and the man you marry; and what your goals and dreams are with respect to your lives ahead.