Unusual story, take on relationships in NHS / Public Health England, love a good metaphor and great creativity in thinking about where / how we work
My Arranged Marriage - Thara Raj
I thought I’d avoided it, but here I am stuck in an arranged marriage. In my case, my parents are Public Health England and my in-laws are NHS England. I haven't suffered domestic abuse or anything like that, but I do feel I’m always expected to wash up in both houses, to show my gratitude for being rescued from ‘being on the shelf’.
Am I happy in my marriage? Actually, I am. I bounce out of bed with a spring in my step every morning. My partner is great. He makes me laugh, encourages me and wants me to be emotionally fulfilled, but I’m not convinced my in-laws feel the same.
You’re living dangerously. That’s what my friend and colleague said when I told her I’d signed an open letter voicing strong objections to the latest dictats. Was she right? Could someone in my position be politically active without being exchanged for a more compliant model or simply getting the chop?
It nearly happened a year ago. I got a visit from the in-laws saying my paper work wasn’t in order and they would be forced to terminate my marriage. The fact that they had lost the contract was apparently irrelevant. I had to apply to get married again.
And yesterday we were called to the in-laws’ house to hear the news that more divorces are going to be necessary. This is particularly galling given the proposals, which, in the unlikely event of us being successful in finding a new partner quickly, will allow the patriarch to retain an ongoing financial interest in former daughters-in-law.
My in-laws’ extended family is the largest in Europe. Why would it want to cut people like me off? It’s so short-sighted given the significant contribution we make to our overall health and wealth?
Of course I know any relationship takes effort, but I am resolved that while I have breath in my body I will keep fighting the injustices, I will continue to live dangerously, because I don’t have any other option and because, although the in-laws may not always believe me, I really am committed to making my marriage work.
Thara Raj is a pubilc health consultant