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QueenofHearts

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I searched and there doesn’t seem to be any board for this.  Hinduism is the most extreme religion there is.  I was born a fundamental Pentecostal.  I escaped from that but now am facing Hinduism.  My husband is from India.   His family would be horrified that I don’t subscribe to the kind of misogyny required. I refuse to wear a veil.  I refuse to live with his family.  Look it up and you will be horrified.  Hinduism is not about peace and yoga.  

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I'm rather confused. My fiance is also from India, born and raised. His parents are orthodox, both Hindus. Yes, there's some misogyny, though not really intentional, from his parents because of the era they grew up in. His mother was not allowed an education and was married quite young. However, they had two daughters before my fiance and both of them are well-educated. One is a doctor, other has an MBA. They have only started to kinda tolerate me, but I am not Indian. It wasn't so much that they were against me being white American, but more that they had never experienced or been around any interracial couples and simply could not see how that can work. Plus I lacked a caste and while my bf and his sisters did not care much about castes (his sister married "beneath" their caste, which was an issue even then).

Could some of the issues you face be a caste issue and maybe a class issue? His family doesn't wear veils at all. We have had some culture clashes and we have a language barrier that are is a huge issue, which sucks big time. His mother barely speaks or understands English and I barely speak or understand their native language. My bf's dad can be brash and there's definitely a generation gap in some things which makes for some issues too. Though I joke that I can't hate my future mother-in-law because I can't understand her. Really though, there's that barrier, but she's really a very sweet and lovely woman. His dad can be harsh and brash at times, but he's actually a nice guy. 

Also I have to wonder if you married with his family's blessing because that's been the biggest obstacle for us. FYI, been together almost 4 years and just recently we've been able to finally get them to be grudgingly okay. Hard part was that they were in India and we were in US so being so far apart allowed them to keep me as other, separate, easy to just forget. Had they been in the US we likely could have made this work much earlier and faster. 

I hope you can all work through the divide and find some common ground. 

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I'm sure your husband loves you very much and will want you to be happy.  If you're having difficulty navigating different cultural backgrounds, I really recommend marriage counselling.  I know a lot of people are resistant to the idea at first, because it is often presented as an emergency service for relationships, but it's super-helpful to have a neutral third party there to help you have difficult conversations.  I went to it with some with my partner about 10 years ago, and it was the best thing we've ever done.  I think it could really help you if you're feeling pressure to subscribe to your husband's religion, and to help the pair of you navigate your relationship with his family.

However, I do want to gently challenge your blanket view of Hinduism.  It's the 3rd biggest religion in the world, Like all other major religions, there is a huge spectrum of beliefs that come under Hinduism, especially as India is such a vast country with so many different cultures.   The vast, vast majority of Hindus don't believe in veil-wearing, for example, in the same way that most Christians don't believe in head coverings for women.

Hinduism is no more or less inherently misogynistic than any religion, and in the same way as not all Christians are quiverfull patriarchs, it's the same with Hindus. I wonder if it would be helpful for you to find a liberal Hindu temple and find out more about that side of the faith as well?  I hope it goes well for you.

 

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I've kn0wn many Hindus. N0ne are like y0u describe. 0utside 0f weddings and h0lidays, n0 0ne where's any veils. 0nly the 0lder w0men wear traditi0nal dress.

I think y0u have married int0 a particularly c0nservative family. Th0se exist in all religi0ns.

 

*s0rry ab0ut the zer0s, my 0h key br0ke. 

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I dated a Hindu for a year and a half and we were getting ready to move in together (or so I thought) until the bomb was dropped that no one knew about me and family would never approve due to cultural differences and I feel like I just wasted a year and a half. When someone is very strict in their religion, they will eventually want you to be like them or they were just experimenting with another forbidden culture. My family is very open and accepting and I will compromise in relationships, but I won't be a secret and my traditions are just as important. 

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21 hours ago, QueenofHearts said:

 My husband is from India.   His family would be horrified that I don’t subscribe to the kind of misogyny required. I refuse to wear a veil.  I refuse to live with his family.  Look it up and you will be horrified.  Hinduism is not about peace and yoga.  

Have you discussed all this with your husband?

If not, do so and get into couples counseling as fast as you can.  It has less to do with him being Hindu and your Pentecostal background than it has to do with your expectations of each other and your lives going forward.

Interfaith and intercultural marriages are not easy.  They can definitely work though.

 

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On 10/8/2017 at 8:10 AM, Lurky said:

I'm sure your husband loves you very much and will want you to be happy.  If you're having difficulty navigating different cultural backgrounds, I really recommend marriage counselling.  I know a lot of people are resistant to the idea at first, because it is often presented as an emergency service for relationships, but it's super-helpful to have a neutral third party there to help you have difficult conversations.  I went to it with some with my partner about 10 years ago, and it was the best thing we've ever done.  I think it could really help you if you're feeling pressure to subscribe to your husband's religion, and to help the pair of you navigate your relationship with his family.

However, I do want to gently challenge your blanket view of Hinduism.  It's the 3rd biggest religion in the world, Like all other major religions, there is a huge spectrum of beliefs that come under Hinduism, especially as India is such a vast country with so many different cultures.   The vast, vast majority of Hindus don't believe in veil-wearing, for example, in the same way that most Christians don't believe in head coverings for women.

I completely agree - this is a type of thing that marriage counseling is made for. It would give a space to talk about this openly and work through the issues.

Also yeah, that's a huge generalization of Hinduism and really not warranted. Like any other religion there are strict followers and less strict ones, and Hinduism by nature is probably more diverse in personal practice than nearly any religion (I can't think of one off the top of my head but I'm sure it exists). I would even venture to say that the issues of patriarchy and misogyny are not limited by Hinduism in India, because plenty of members of other religions in India are hugely misogynistic as well: Sikhs, Christians, Muslims, etc...but again, some members, not all.

Misogyny, orthodox religious practices, and cultural practices are so heavily intertwined that it's impossible to separate them cleanly. But it's easy to tell that misogyny is a deep-rooted cultural problem in India (and elsewhere of course, but the depth of the problem in India has been horrifically illustrated recently in the news), not limited to the Hindus there. As someone mentioned there are also class/caste issues in how women are treated.

I have family who are culturally Hindu (but not actively practicing) and they're no different than anyone in the West in terms of sexism and misogyny. I have a coworker whose family is very conservative Sikh and they're super patriarchal and treat daughters as property/financial assets as a matter of course - far more misogynistic than Hindus I know personally. I wouldn't say that's true of all - or even most - Sikhs, but again, and like any other religion, it depends on the individual practitioners.

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I am Indian and was raised Hindu although I am an atheist now. There is certainly misogyny in Hinduism and in Indian culture. Different families, and sects of Hinduism may be more or less patriarchal.  There is shocking and overt abuse of girls and women. There are also people who believe in equality. I am curious what "type" of Hindu your husband is, as I am not familiar with any that wear veils. It is hard to separate cultural and religious views as well. I also suggest counseling, as a third party can be helpful to come to a understanding. Continue to reach out.

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I would like to add a note of caution though. Just as in the West horrible beliefs can be held by both educated and non educated people, and across all socio-economic lines. It can be easy to assume that because girls/ women are educated, even highly educated, that they are part of an egalitarian family. Unfortunately, some families have their daughters educated simply because a future spouse will require a certain level of education or profession. Sometimes particular Universities are required. Sometimes people make me sad..

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@Lurky  there are not liberal and conservative temples per se. Some temples may be in a geographic area known for conservative culture, but the people who go to the temple will vary in beliefs. Also, I realized I may have misunderstood the term veil. I think of a veil as something covering the face. Maybe what @Queen Of Hearts was referring to was a head covering? That is much more common, especially in certain areas/ socio-economic groups.

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On 10/15/2017 at 1:47 PM, Demonfan said:

I would like to add a note of caution though. Just as in the West horrible beliefs can be held by both educated and non educated people, and across all socio-economic lines. It can be easy to assume that because girls/ women are educated, even highly educated, that they are part of an egalitarian family. Unfortunately, some families have their daughters educated simply because a future spouse will require a certain level of education or profession. Sometimes particular Universities are required. Sometimes people make me sad..

I agree with this as well. 

Also, seems the OP has disappeared, but saying, "they would be horrified to know," makes me think they don't know you? Did he tell them about you before you married? I hope that was not the case because if they are nice people, they will come around, but you will need to do so with care and caution and HE, not you, will have to deal with it all. Trust me, swords will be thrown your direction. I hope you and he can work through it because such diverse backgrounds and cultures and generational gaps and class differences even perhaps all come into consideration. 

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