Lakshmi and Rahul Desai are first timers at couple therapy. The idea was suggested to them by a friend of Lakshmi’s. They have been married 6 months and Lakshmi feels trapped by her bond to Rahul. Lakshmi feels that the only thing they share anymore is their Indian background. Laskhmi feels that Rahul is too in touch with his cultural side and insists that Lakshmi shouldn’t work after having their child. Lakshmi is currently in her 8th month which means that she was pregnant before the couple got married. Lakshmi is currently on a 6 month long hiatus from her job.
She took the first one month off because the couple headed to their honeymoon. Rahul convinced her to take time off from work till her pregnancy because Lakshmi is anemic. At first Lakshmi thought he was being a caring husband because he didn’t want her wife to work through what is already a hormonally misbalanced time period. When they were back from the honeymoon Lakshmi was in her fourth month and felt that her husband’s advice was good and that she should take her of herself and their baby. Thirty five days away from delivery, Lakshmi and Rahul had a fight leading them to seek couple’s therapy.
Rahul suggested the Lakshmi should take at least 3 more months off after having the baby when Lakshmi brought up the idea of going back to work. A few days later Lakshmi proposed the idea of going back to work after 3 to 6 months of the baby’s birth hoping that Rahul would be excited about the idea. Unfortunate for Lakshmi, Rahul insisted that she should wait till the baby had grown up and at least got big enough to go to school. At this part of the story, the couple broke out into a fight in front of me.
Rahul quoted his mother’s example of how he was so thankful he had a fulltime mom and that it was necessary for the proper well being of a child. The couple has significantly more issues than just Lakshmi’s battle to want to work after being married. Rahul wants to see in Lakshmi what perhaps he saw his mother be for his father. Rahul certainly seems aware of the idea that Lakshmi wouldn’t like the notion of not working after the marriage because he tried making the baby the reason of Lakshmi’s hiatus from her job. Rahul was did not communicate clearly to Lakshmi what were his real reasons for her not working after the marriage.
The couple might have gotten married without having prior knowledge of each others expectations out of marriage because of Lakshmi’s pregnancy and the fact that sexual relations before marriage are taboo in Indian culture. Lakshmi seems to have a different picture of Rahul in her mind than what he actually is because she wants to see everything in a positive light because she cares for her marriage, not to say that Rahul doesn’t. But both of their concerns might be due another Indian cultural taboo, the failure to stay married and divorce.
Although Indians in the West and the East get divorced the pressures of keeping a marriage together are sometimes very high. Both Rahul and Lakshmi were born in America but their parent’s Indian ways seems to affect them deeply. At the end of the session I asked them that next time a fight comes up they should sit down and talk it through giving each others the real reasons for their initial objections of an idea. I asked them not to keep each other in the dark about what bothers them about each other and to share the real reasons behind the fights.
I asked them to be honest about their idea’s and their expectations of each other and to be honest. Summary of Session II Date of Session: May 13 Time of Session: 5 PM Location of Session: The Desai Residence Lakshmi and Rahul’s PAIR test results revealed that they’re expectations of what what they wanted from each other were not being fulfilled. The fact that Rahul did not want to Lakshmi to work bothered her but she covered that up with him being the ideal husband who listened to her and bought her presents.
She described that so far in their relationship he had never forgotten her birthday and always got her what he wanted. She had told her self for the first few months of the wedding that Rahul will be okay with working afterwards although she felt that he wasn’t. Emotionally, they fared well because neither of them held back in that department. Lakshmi cried when she felt she needed to and Rahul helped her by listening. They couple is also very intimate sexually. Before they were married they had a one year relationship and sex has never been a problem for them.
Both of them seemed quite happy with each other and felt that their expectations were met. The problems started coming in when Lakshmi and Rahul returned from the honeymoon. They used sex as a measure for making up with each other after fighting instead of communicating with each other. Doing this sometimes can seem okay but they continued doing this and this harmed their relationship greatly. Intellectually, their relationship could not fulfill what Lakshmi had in mind. She wanted to discuss more things that were relevant to her workplace and she felt that Rahul should discuss them with her.
When he ignored any of her talk about work or anything that was more than trivial Lakshmi felt lonely. She once again tried to convince herself that it was okay and went into denial. Her mother played a big role in this because she felt that Lakshmi had already embarrassed the family by getting pregnant before getting married and now she would embarrass them even more if she could not keep the marriage intact. Their recreational intimacy was also declining. Before their marriage they’re friends knew them as the happy couple who lightened up each party.
Ever since the topic of Lakshmi going back to work sparked some fights, their ability to interact recreationally declined. They became socially unable to function. They kept on telling themselves that it was okay. Laskhmi told her self that Rahul was probably stressed from work and Rahul told her self that she is probably tired and her anemia is causing her to feel low and out of energy. In conclusion the couple lacked the essentials of keeping a marriage together and one big problem paved the way for several different problems that were affecting the marriage greatly. The couple’s reaction was in the form of a fight.
Lakshmi yelled out that Rahul was being hypocritical because he was okay with having sexual relationships before a marriage and wasn’t okay with her working afterwards. She felt that the session helped her realize that her marriage had been built on self denial and that her mothers pressure to keep it together. She asked Rahul for a divorce. Rahul felt that they should give it another chance and that this time things would be different. I asked them to listen to each other and think about what they wanted from each other and express to each other and not mix the expectations of their culture and parents with it.