Husband Wife Relationship

In the context of arranged marriages and joint households, the husband-wife relationship is not initially one of love, affection, and companionship. A wife should be devoted to her husband and the husband respectful of the woman who will bear his children. Love (prem bhakti), it is assumed, will grow over time, but husband-wife bonds should be contained and not threaten the well-being of the joint family.

In more traditional households, husbands and wives spend little time together. At mealtime a wife first serves her husband and then her children, and she eats last. Once there are children, a wife sleeps with them separate from her husband, or they may share children in separate sleeping spaces. A general orientation to sexually segregated activities limits the time that husbands and wives spend together. However, more educated urban husbands and wives are beginning to seek a more conjugal relationship, symbolized by dining together, sharing a bed, and socializing together inside and outside the home.

Post-independence law allows divorce on the grounds of mutual incompatibility, but high-caste marriages are still considered indissoluble. Separations may occur but rarely divorce. Although children belong to the father's patriline, specific circumstances will dictate with whom they reside (Seymour, 1999). There is less stigma attached to separations and "divorce" among low-caste groups, where husbands and wives are freer to leave one another and to remarry without the benefit of legal procedures.

Pregnancy And Childbirth

Pregnancy And Childbirth

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