Indian Mother-in-Law keeps offering to buy me things- is this a cultural thing?

posted 2 years ago in South Asian
Post # 2
Member
6858 posts
Busy Beekeeper

I’m not sure if its a cultural thing, but my indian Future In-Laws do the same, but its not a real offer lol. Its more for show that you’re supposed to decline rather than accept. That said, my Future In-Laws aren’t very well off, so I think its more about trying to look like they were so generous to offer but we turned them down.

IE – we got cheap wedding bands, when they found out they were like “what. You didnt get platinum? Let us buy you platinmum bands.” And we were like, no, its ok, we dont want platinum bands (we’d rather have had the $1k thx lol). And then theyre like oh ok. 

We aren’t having cake for the wedding, but mini pies. “what. Youre not having cake? Let us buy you a cake. You have to have cake” no, its ok, we dont really like cake. We’re getting married in fruit country anyways, fruit pies just make sense. 

So IDK if thats cultural or just them, and we happen to have similar experiences lol. 

Post # 3
Member
44 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: July 2017

Similar story here, only I did not get any direct offers. Future Mother-In-Law was telling my Fiance (who was only my boyfriend at a time) about all the things she wants to buy me. He told me about it and I asked him to make sure that she does not buy me expensive things.  I did not want to get showered in Rubys -LOL.

I did get a few gifts afterwards but all of them were inexpensive. 

Post # 4
Member
982 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

My Chinese mother in law does that too, but after a few years she dropped it as she realized I just wasn’t going to stay yes. Actually before the wedding she wanted to buy a piece of jewelry for me – told me to pick out something for $5k. And I hadn’t even met them yet due to geeen card issues (they don’t live in the USA). I told hubby flat out NO I was not going to take a gift worth that much when I never even met the people or talked to them more than 10 minutes! 

They are nice and all but we see them like once a year, I’m not close at all. So I don’t feel right. Hubby used to have a hard rime being the go bwtn but it’s better now.

Post # 5
Member
1149 posts
Bumble bee

pussinboots07 :  I’m not Indian, but one of the rules we have here is to politely decline, but if she insists the third time you accept. Usually they will insist once or twice to try to be nice and hospitable. With that said, it really varies from person to person. It is hard to predict what the meaning really is over text, but if you happen to experience it in person, you can maybe tell if they’re offering to be nice or geniunely want you to have it. Then you can use that experience to guide you for future reference.

Post # 6
Member
974 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2017

pussinboots07 :  definatelly a cultural thing. In some cultures when you say how nice something is they must offer it to you. So when she offers to give it to you or to buy you one of the same politely decline saying she already is way too generous and that you are surprised at how many gifts she gives you as is!

The good part is that she likes you. Indians don’t spend money on people they dont like, I mean does anyone?

Im am not Indian, just know a few people.

Post # 7
Member
320 posts
Helper bee

I’m in the same situation – fiance is Indian and I am not. His mother lives here though so I get to spend time with her; she is teaching me Hindi and we cook together, etc. She doesn’t have a daughter and says she always wanted one. She bought me a couple of dresses while she was visiting India earlier this year, as well as gold jewellry for the wedding. As I did not know she was planning to buy gifts for me there was no way to decline and I do love the things she has given me! I think she’s very generous and I feel very welcome in her family. She has also offered to buy my dress for our Hindu wedding ceremony, as well as saris for my mom and sister to wear. It does seem like a lot but I didn’t think to protest; I don’t think she would offer just as a show – only if she really wanted to! I am planning to buy my dresses for the pre-wedding ceremonies myself and I’ve already bought a western-style wedding dress for the reception (sooo many dresses!) laughing

Post # 8
Member
1363 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2018 - Banquet Hall/Conference Center

Yup it is absolutely a cultural thing. I’m Indian-American and it’s still hard for me to get used to getting a complement like “ooh what are you making, it smells delicious!” without my immediate reaction being, “Would you like some? Come, try a bite!” 

And it’s also an age thing…in Indian culture in laws and parents tend to shower their sons/daughters with gifts. Or at least, they offer it and you’re just supposed to know when to suck it up and accept it and be gracious, and when to draw the line. Sometimes it’s super offensive to not accept it.

I’m sort of struggling with this now myself. My Mother-In-Law is super nice and gets me gifts…but not necessarily stuff that I would pick out for myself. You just have to know how to politely be like, “thank you so much! That’s very kind of you.  I was wondering though…is it okay if if I choose different color or style or different type of outfit next time? ” In the case of your cake, you could say “Oh, thank you so much for offering! That’s very kind of you. Actually, we were thinking of getting pies instead because of X reason…would you like to help pick out the flavor, or help contribute to pies instead of a cake?”. Indian parents just like to be involved and feel that they are contributing, because the culture of “bride and groom plan their own wedding” is likely very new for them and they might feel isolated or kicked out of the process.

Slowly but surely you will both get to learn each other’s tastes 🙂 Good luck!

Post # 9
Member
7 posts
Newbee

pussinboots07, your question made me smile. Darling Husband and I are Indians so I’ll try to shed some light on your FMIL’s behavior.

In India, generally speaking, wedding responsibilities are shared as follows: Bride’s parents buy the wedding dress and the jewelry set that goes with it. They also pay for most/all wedding events (weddings are 2-3 day affairs with several events). The groom’s parents may offer to pay for one event or host a separate reception. But their main responsibility is to buy jewelry and clothing for their daughter-in-law. While there is some regional variation in wedding customs, it is fair to say that most Indian mothers believe it is their duty and also their pleasure to buy jewels & clothing for their new daughters-in-law.

Your Mother-In-Law has likely been waiting for this wedding for a long time and her offer to buy you things is her way of showing affection and welcoming you into the family. I also understand your discomfort and not wanting to seem greedy but I would be surprised if she ever thought of you that way. My advice to you is – if you like something she offers to buy or if you need something from India, don’t hesitate to tell her that. If she’s anything like my mother or Mother-In-Law, it will make her very happy. If she gives you jewelry (not just offer over texts, actually gives it to you before or after the wedding) accept it graciously. Don’t feel uncomfortable and don’t refuse.. allow her to pamper you. Also in situations that you want to say ‘no’ or are confused how to respond, use a standard line like “Mom, we just need your love & blessings”. Feel free to repeat it whenever needed; overt expressions of love and respect are the keys to Indian parents’ hearts and can get you out of uncomfortable situations. Hope this helps a little bit and good luck!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Post # 10
Member
320 posts
Helper bee

It’s really helpful to hear from Indian brides about this issue 🙂

I can relate to being a little unsure about having clothes chosen for me (it’s been a long time since someone else chose an outfit for me to wear!). But meeting with my Future Mother-In-Law regularly and planning the wedding together has been really good so far. Who pays for what is a little stressful for me as my parents are not aware of cultural traditions in that regard and do not have money set aside to help with my wedding. So it will be his family plus my own (small) savings. My family is more into DIY and finding great deals – my mom is more than happy to make decorations, flower arrangements, etc. and she’ll be visiting town soon to look at the venue with Future Mother-In-Law and discus plans together, which I think will be really good. There are so many parts to plan; I’m more than happy to have his mom in charge of events that are centred around her culture and she is sensitive to running everything by me first.

Post # 11
Member
1292 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2010

All I know is my Mother-In-Law is American and Sinfully greedy and wouldn’t give any of us anything not because they’re hurting but because they are just uncharitable, unginving, takers. Maybe I should have married someone not American LOL jk. I feel for you, I would be uncomfortable too, but I have been married to In Laws who are the complete opposite and it sucks too. The only thing they ever bought us was a changing table when my daughter was born and I think they felt pressured because my parents and In laws were all together with us at local Baby shop and my parents were buying us the crib, then they wanted to keep it at their house in case our new born baby were to spend the night, that’s when my red flags began to show up. Anyway, they’re nuts. I would take overly generous in laws over greedy, selfish penny pinchers who live extravagant lives but pretend to be poor any day. Could maybe your Future Husband say something to them politely? something like since she is American she is simply not used to it and lets just keep the offers a little more minimal and less frequent? I certainly couldn’t stop complimenting her purchases either. Saying you like what she has purchased is the kind thing to day. Best of luck. 

Post # 12
Member
1629 posts
Bumble bee

I have a close friend in a mixed marriage who complains his parents are constantly showering their daughter (the grandchild) in gifts. So heads up this will be a long thing to navigate. 

Post # 13
Member
7 posts
Newbee

rosabelle :  I hope it did not sound like I was suggesting that your or OP’s parents must pay for the wedding. That was not my intention. I was trying to provide some cultural context for behavior that might seem, quite understandbly, strange or uncomfortable  🙂

p.s. Not sure why my first post includes so much extra space. Do you know if there’s some way to edit comments? I don’t see the option anywhere.

Post # 14
Member
320 posts
Helper bee

thenetgirl :  Not at all! It is definitely something I think about often, and feel guilty for how much his parents will be paying. I am planning to contribute as much as I can though and we’re working together to keep costs down. Sorry I don’t know about editing posts!

Post # 15
Member
427 posts
Helper bee

It is a cultural thing, in most Asian culture. I read about some ppl pretending, there are different kinds of ppl I all cultures so while some may be pretending n showing off , all are not. It’s very normal for parents to buy clothes and jewelry n other gifts in my culture.

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