From the African Context: In Law Relationship Advice

African Pixabay mother-and-daughter-668167_1920Marriage, the bedrock of any given society, is a union between a man and a woman for life. But Satan will not allow it to be. He will try to steal, kill and destroy every good and healthy marriage by all means. One such means that he employs is the in-laws attack and manipulations of marriages. That is especially true as it concerns the African relationship.

In some cultures, the in-laws, that is, ‘the extended family members’ either on the man’s side or the woman’s side, exert a very strong influence on marriages and this influence has on many occasions had a bad effect on the marriages, resulting in either sadness, regret, or even a total disintegration of the marriage.

In this article, I will try to help our young people who have been married or are planning to get married on how they can turn their relationships with their in-laws into a blessing instead of a burden.

Diverse Cultures

By the grace of God, I am an African, a Nigerian in particular. I am also married to a Nigerian lady. We have lived together as husband and wife for an unbroken 28 years (October 2007). This was not without experiencing many bitter lessons, however. I will therefore address this matter from the African context and to our African brethren and people of other cultures with similar marriage experiences about in-laws. I am doing this with the hope that this article will be a blessing and source of healing to your marriages.

One inherent problem in the African marriage is that our extended family members are seen as integral members of our marriages. In some cultures, members of the husband’s family see the wife of their brother or son as an addition to their family. And in some cultures, they expect the wife to serve every other member of the family including the youngest child of that home.

In some cultures, the wife is expected to call every other member of the family ‘my husband.’ This means that she is to marry not only her husband (except in sexual matters) but the whole family. It also means that if she decides to relate to her husband alone, she will incur the wrath of other members of the family. They will in turn make her life miserable in that marriage.

On the other hand:

The parents of a lady can be so possessive that they will manipulate her and direct her on what to do or how to marry her husband. In some cases parents may decide to move over to their daughter’s matrimonial home. They will live together with her and her husband or convince their daughter to bring her husband to live in their own home.

In such cases, their daughter may start by spending most time with her parents, causing the man to come visit her most of the time in her parents home. If she becomes pregnant, they will retain her till she delivers the baby and becomes pregnant again. Then the cycle continues without end.

In some other cases, the brothers and or sisters of the husband may not be happy about their brother’s intention to get married. This is because they think the woman will cause them to lose all the financial support which they have been enjoying. This can lead to a serious tension between them and their brother and eventually the wife of their brother. This can go on for years if not the life time unless God intervenes.

Educated and Employed Ladies

In the case of the ladies, if they are educated, gainfully employed, into a successful business venture and wealthy, some parents, brothers and sisters of such ladies, will hardly let her go into a marriage relationship without them remote-controlling her to be their bread winner even after her marriage. They will want her to build them a house. They also want her to buy them a car, train others in school or set up profitable business venture, etc, as a recompense for her training.

In some very extreme cases, some family members would prefer to retain their loved daughters at home and permit them to have children out of wedlock rather than giving her out in marriage.

These points can be a real source of trouble in any given African marriage but God has solution to every marriage problem.

SOLUTIONS TO THE IN LAW PROBLEMS:

1.  Accept the problems as cultural problems.

Although the degree of the problems differ from culture to culture even within the same country, it is very important that every intending couple accept them as real. Do not try to treat them as non-existent or you will multiply your sorrows. The scripture says, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” This knowledge will save your marriage.

2.  Discuss them before marriage.

Before you say, “I do” it is wise to discuss these points. Remember that God hates divorce. Therefore, it is better to discuss these trouble spots and accept or reject them before you get married.

One problem that I have noticed is that either the man will say, “I will change her after marriage” or the lady might say, “let me get married first” but secretly she thinks, “Then I will show him my true colors”. Or both the man and the woman have no idea of such problems. They are so deeply in love that they do not foresee any problem from the in-laws. And when the problem begins to show up, they are unprepared to handle it. It then tears them apart.

3.  Seek the face of the Lord.

Having discussed the matter together, present it to the Lord in prayer and go ahead with the relationship if the Lord approves the relationship or quit the relationship if He tells you to quit. A broken engagement is better than a divorce or a painful and sorrowful marriage.

4. If you must marry him / her, make sure that the marriage is godly and legally conducted.

Avoid co-habiting. Be determined to handle the problem very maturely and positively. Throw away every form of hypocrisy or deceit. Determine in your mind to love your in-laws.

5. Be determined to live in peace with every member of your husband’s or wife’s family.

It is achievable in every culture. But one problem we face is that most young people wanting to get married, have determined to have nothing to do with other members of their husband’s or wife’s family.

Therefore, even before the marriage is consummated, they are already scheming to displace every other member of their spouse’s family with the result. Even their good intentions, deeds, and requests produce negative results. That is because of the deceit and hypocrisy behind the good intention. Such people try to present themselves as good but have other plans. Try to live in peace even with the worst of your in-laws.

6. Leave and cleave.

It is very important for both the man and woman to understand and accept God’s formula for a healthy marriage. They must determine to leave their father’s houses and cleave to one another as is clearly demanded in Genesis 2:24 and Psalm 45:10.

What God has joined together in marriage must not be put asunder by in-laws. Any man or woman who allows his or her father, mother, siblings, etc to come between his/her spouse is not wise. Put them where they belong. I do not mean that you have nothing to do with them. But they must allow you to build your new family with your spouse. You must make sure that they know that.

7. Determine to support you in-laws.

The law of leaving to cleave does not mean that you must have nothing to do with the welfare of your in-laws. God expects us to extend our love to both our own family members and members of our spouse’s family to the extent that we can without grumblings and complaints for God loves a cheerful giver.

In our own marriage, we support both my family members and my in laws without discrimination to the extent that we can carry. My wife and I consult one another before taking any action. By doing this we have laid to rest every such problem in our marriage. It is partiality, like was in the case of Joseph (in the Bible), can wreck any good marriage. Try not to be partial.

8. Do not marry a man or woman because of his/her wealth.

If you marry a man or woman because of his or her wealth, you will be blinded by that fact so that you will concentrate on grabbing his or her wealth. People who marry because of the wealth of others will do everything within their power to keep the man or woman completely to him or herself and his or her own immediate family and therefore incur the wrath of his or her in-laws.

We must understand that, in the African and similar contexts, both families become one by marriage. We must therefore endeavor to balance our treatment of both families. The man and his wife become one by marriage so they should care for both family needs (i.e. that of the husband and his wife) to the extent that they can cheerfully do without grumblings because God loves a cheerful giver.

EXAMPLES OF IN LAW SITUATIONS FROM THE BIBLE:

1. ABRAHAM

Abraham was a father in-law that wanted the best for both his son and daughter in-law.

2. LEBAN

Leban was a selfish father in-law who was willing to keep his son in-law to himself for life as his servant with little wages. Leban’s desire was to keep Jacob perpetually in his own home so he could continue to manipulate and retain him.

3. JETHRO

Jethro, despite being a Midian Priest (an unbeliever) was a father in-law who wanted his son in-law’s success. He kept his son in-law’s family when the situation required it.  And he released them at the appropriate time. He also cared about the welfare and success of his son in-law. He gave him a wise counsel and brought success to his ministry (business).

4. NAOMI

Naomi was a godly mother in-law who showed love and care for her daughter in-law. She gave her useful counsel that gave her a befitting husband. Naomi did not determine to keep her all to herself but let her have her freedom away from her. She did not meddle with Ruth’s marriage.

5. RUTH

Here is an excellent example of a daughter in-law to be desired. She proved that her marriage to her late husband was not dependent on anything he had, but was based purely on love. Her love continued to radiate after her husband’s death and extended to her aged mother in-law. This is true to the extent that she took good care of her and God blessed her.

6. JACOB

Jacob was a determined son in-law who was prepared to go an extra mile to have the love of his life. He was ready to die for Rachel but he had his bad spot. He cheated his father in-law in his business venture. May your son in-law rather work for your progress than your downfall in Jesus’ name.

7. JUDITH AND BASEMATH

(Gen. 26:34-35) —These were the wives of Esau, Isaac and Rebekah’s daughter in-laws. The Bible says of them, “They were a source of grief to Isaac and Rebekah.” Are you such a daughter in-law?

8. ORPAH

(Ruth 1:14) —She had emotions for her mother in-law. But they were not strong enough to overcome her selfish ambition. She was not prepared for further suffering with an old mother in-law who had no chance of having more sons. She preferred the luxury of her comfort zone. Is this a picture of you?

9. BOAZ

(Ruth 2-4) —He cared both for the security and welfare of both Elimelech’s properties and family. He was prepared to give hope to a daughter in-law, Ruth. He did and God blessed their union. May God give us more Boaz’s in Jesus’ name.

10. THE KINSMAN-REDEEMER

(Ruth 4:1-8) —He had interest only in acquiring more property to add to what he already had. But this interest was not in the welfare of a daughter in-law, Ruth. Some near relatives desire their late brothers’ properties and not the welfare of their daughter in-laws. In some African cultures they would confiscate their late brothers’ properties. They would leave the widow or daughter in-law without an inheritance. These kinds of in-laws still exist in our days. But may they never come our way. Amen.

SPIRITUAL ANGLE TO THE IN-LAWS IN MARRIAGE:

I will not conclude this article without a mention of the spiritual aspect of the in-law’s problem in marriage. Africans practice witchcraftry. There are some African women who use their witchcraftry to manipulate their sons/daughters marriages.

Some True Examples:

1. A certain mother was spiritually carrying her daughter at her back. Thereby she was making it physically impossible for suitors to propose marriage to her daughter. This is because, rather than notice the beautiful young virgin, suitors always saw the old woman as they behold the lady. Physically her daughter was walking freely while she was having her on her back spiritually. That way no man could notice her and propose marriage to her.

This was discovered through prayer and she was confronted before she let her off her back and she got married after being assured that her daughter will take care of her after marriage. The daughter’s husband knew it and complied with the promise. When confronted by the pastor, she confessed that she did it because she feared that her daughter would not come for her if she got married.

Also:

2. Another mother in-law was using a spiritual belt to tie the pregnancy of her daughter in-law. This was giving her much pain perhaps with the intention to abort the baby. This is because she did not approve of her marriage with her son. This was also discovered through prayer and her daughter in-law was delivered.

3. Another mother in-law spoke out loud beside her sick pregnant daughter in-law’s hospital bed and said ‘if she wants to die, let her die and leave my son alone’. She hated her daughter in-law because she wanted her son to marry another lady. This wicked mother in-law is late now and this hated wife (daughter in-law) is the bread winner of the family today.

4. In some cases, it may be a strong family tie rather than spiritual manipulation that causes trouble between husband and wife. Such husband or wife should be honest with herself or himself and confess it to his or her spouse and their pastor and seek deliverance from such family ties.

Some husbands and wives behave abnormally, not because they love to do so, but because they are being manipulated spiritually by their diabolical parents, or have very strong family ties that must be broken.

Therefore, if you have sought counsel and done everything you believe would help you regain your spouse’s love and attention to no avail, I recommend that you seek out a minister of God who can help you with prayers to deliver your spouse from every evil bondage, imprisonment, or family ties, for God to restore your marriage.

Conclusion

In conclusion, let me ask you a question. Are you a son or daughter in-law? Would you like to have godly mother, father, brother, and sister in-laws? If you answered yes to the above questions, the next question to answer is: are you a godly, lovely son or daughter in-law? Do you give trouble to your in-laws? Decide right now to be good to every member of your husband or wife’s family.

Stop being like Esau’s two wives who were a source of trouble to Isaac and Rebekah.

Are you a father or mother in-law? Are you troubling your son or daughter in-law? Also, are you manipulating their marriage and giving them trouble instead of peace? What will be your gain by so doing? Would you have wanted someone to trouble your own marriage? If not, I urge you in the name of our Lord Jesus to repent now and let your son / daughter enjoy his/her marriage.

Prayer

I pray that God who gave me a happy, healthy and successful marriage with a wonderful (in-laws) relationship will do so for you in Jesus’ name. Amen.

This article is written by Israel Ikpeka. He and his wife Elizabeth live in Nigeria. They are Co-Presidents of Family Life Ministries and Freedom Bible College and Seminary. Concerning his marriage, Israel says the following: “My wife and I are very much incompatible in almost every way. But God has helped us to master our areas of incompatibilities. And rather than let them separate us, we handle them as good friends to the shame of Satan and the peace of our family.”

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Filed under: Dealing with In Laws & Parents

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Comments

43 responses to “From the African Context: In Law Relationship Advice

  1. (USA)  I am a very young wife of 22 years of age. I have a very caring and loving husband. But, there are times when things just don’t seem to easy. But, with love for each other you can get through anything in life that life may bring to you as one and your marriage. Love conquers everything…

  2. (NIGERIA) The problem I have with my sister-in-law is that she reports me to my wife. I never suspected this but always wondered how my wife always knew what happened in her absence even though she claims it was her own observation that gave her the insight, until one day, something happened while she was not around and my sister-in-law was around. See, before I knew what was happening my wife already started asking me questions to that effect. I answered here wife alright, but decided to set a boo-boo trap for my sister-in-law.

    One morning, around 4 am, I woke my own blood sister, who is staying with us, and was discussing some issues with her. A few minutes after 5 am, my sister-in-law woke up too and saw us sitting down in the sitting room. All this, while my wife was nicely tucked beneath her blanket, sleeping warmly under the sheets.

    Could you belief that when we were going to work in the morning, my wife asked me what I was doing in the sitting room in the morning? So I lied that I was reading and she hissed and squeezed her face in a big frown which I interpreted to mean that it did not tally with what she heard but could not probe any further because it would arouse my suspicion.

    What do I do with this kind of situation? Confront my sister-in-law or tactfully dislodge her from my house?

  3. (UK)  Phelyx, I have had the same problem as you have. My husband’s sister used to report me to my husband about whatever happened or was discussed in his absence. We live in different towns, same country, while my husband is in another country. I used to meet with my sister in law on family occasions or gatherings. I have visited her before and she never visited me. When I asked her why she said these things to my husband, she is always too busy to spare time to visit me. Sparingly I phoned her or text (I avoided saying much because of fear of being misinterpreted like what happened before).

    I never had the courage to ask her why she behaved the way she did and what was her motive. One day I did. She dismissed the whole story jokingly. Since then our relationship with her has become even more strained. We now hardly communicate since she complained to my husband. I used to feel angry with her for wanting to destroy my marriage. In my culture she is suppose to be our bridge when it comes to marriage problems but instead she acts the opposite.

    I could not discuss this matter with my husband because of what happened in the past. He used to take his sisters side in whatever disagreement we had. One day I let him know (through a close relative) that I was disappointed with him for letting his sister run his marriage for him. He got so angry but it helped because now each time he asks about something, which his sister would have told him, I reply with a question “Who told you since you were not there?” He is then silent.

    He won’t go any further and has stopped these “inquiries.” We used to quarrel a lot about those issues. I have since started praying about it and for my marriage as well. I have since forgiven my sister in law (I have told her) because I realised she is just a devil’s vessel. I should deal with the owner (she is depressed as well, having had a failed marriage). I’m now praying to God to break that bond which declares blood is thicker than water when it comes to my marriage. After all, we have a God who knows no boundaries. I pray the two of us (my husband and I),not three becomes one flesh indeed.

    I do not wish for him to forsake his relatives but to stop them from controlling our marriage. He has the power to do that.

    Phelyx, your wife is the one allowing that nonsense. You need to talk to her or to both of them, either individually or together, whichever seems proper for you. Let your sister in law know that you cannot stay with her if she continues with her behavior which could destroy your marriage.

    1. (CAMEROON)  My sister! The only thing I can tell you is to take care of your in-law far from your common home with your husband. The minute that either your brother or sister, same as your husband’s family resides in your house, there is an 80% chance that most problems will originate from them. Conclusion: assist your family members, including your in-laws, far from you except when there is an emergency where someone is serously sick and depends totally on both of you.

      By the way I will be married in 6 months time. Thanks.

  4. (NIGERIA)  I wedded 15th August 2009, but before then my husband lived with his sister and a brother. Then after the wedding the lastborn (male) stayed where there is now one sister in-law and two brothers in-law and we live in one room self-contained.

    Each time you ask them whether they will eat they will start quarreling with you that you should stop asking them whether they will eat before you give them food. The reason I ask them is because sometimes when you give them food they will say that they are not eating so I decided to ask them before giving it to them. Sometimes if you ask them something they will not talk to you. They are very stubborn and do not have any type of respect, not even to their brother, not to talk of me who is from a different background.

    When my husband supports, they will be against both of us and say that their brother supports what is wrong because of me. I have been trying to be tolerate them but it seems impossible. I don’t know what to do. These boys, I senior them with so many years, except their sister that senior me with 7 months. Please, I need advice on how to follow them please.

  5. (ZIMBABWE)  Hi all, I have been married to my nigerian husband for three years and we have been together for 8 years. My husband is the first son and has two younger siblings; one already married and the other is 26 and in final year at university. My major problem is the financial strain my mother in law is. She demands money every month for endless problems. This ends up with my hubby sending his whole salary almost every month.

    We are broke all the time because of this and am beginning to hate both my hubby and his mum. Please, I have no problem with my hubby supporting his mum as I understand looking after parents. I also provide for my mum. However we have a financial understanding of how much I give her.

    This month my mother in law has asked for £3000 which my hubby said he is happy to give,,,,this means I am footing all the bills this month. I cant cope anymore and I feel like leaving him. My future plans and the life I dream of does not seem achievable if we continue to live like this. I have talked to my hubby and he understands his mum has a problem even my sister in law says she is greedy. What can I do.

    1. (INDIA) I thought these things happen only in India. I am not married yet but getting tied in this relation very soon. My fiancé also has two younger brothers. My father in law has a small shop for their earnings. My fiancé has a good enough earning. He showed me his savings before tying. It was not much but it was okay for me. I have no interest in his parental property.

      Later on after engagement I came to know that his whole savings is getting used in making a new house although we both can’t stay in that house frequently as our jobs are very far from the place. I understand that he is not doing wrong. It’s his duty to serve his parents and his brothers. But what about our future? I can’t fulfill them with my single salary, not only house he has many more responsibilities. I know that money is not everything but without money life seems challenging. The only solution I found is that I have compromised in everything. I love him and promise to be with him my whole life and will support him in any way I can.

  6. (IRELAND)  Sorry Meriln, are you sure it is your real mother in law in Nigeria demanding this huge sum of money? Have you been to visit her is Nigeria? It is advisable for you to go and visit your mother in law in Nigeria to assess for yourself of her situation. Keep in mind you may be surprised that you are the victim of a scam.

  7. (NIGERIA)  Gosh… so many people with in law problems. I wish the author of this article would respond to our posts individually or post his response on the board. I am new at this in law challenge thing. Got married 2 years ago and had observed that my mother in law tries to have a say in everything including what I hang on my wall. I have learnt to say ‘no’ or ‘I’ve heard you, mum’ and do what I want. That way she knows that I still run my home.

    Now they are constantly showing up at my door, and two of his siblings have come to live with us permanently. My husband claims that they have no choice and that there’s nothing wrong with them living with us yet I am the one carrying the financial responsibility as well as the physical one of cooking for them and cleaning after them. Although they are a lot younger than I am, they constantly flout rules, and avoid house chores.

    I feel it is very unfair of my in laws to dump 2 teenagers on me with my work schedule and all. It’s also telling on my marriage. I think that there should be a rule against in laws living with you permanently in your home. It almost always brings trouble. My husband should know better. I am so stressed up already.

  8. (ZIM)  I think you should take your in-laws as you take your own family. If you can live with your family then you can live with in-laws and you should treat them the same. If you can’t then don’t live with any from either side. If you financially support yours then divide it in half. If you can’t then don’t support either. Divide time, and everything in half and do not live with your mum if you can’t live with his mum. It’s that simple.

    Do not spread yourselves too thin becoz you have a family of your own to build. Manage the time you spend with them knowing that no matter what they ask you to do at their house, at the end of the day you have your home which you go to. Realize that you cannot change them and must not try. If your mum-in-law hates you, do not show it or try to smoother her with things hoping that she will like you becoz she will probably not. Do things from your heart so that no matter how they take it, you are still satisfied. Never hope that they will love you like their own becoz they probably won’t.

  9. (SOUTH AFRICA)  I have been married for almost a year. My mother and father in law stay away from us. However, his sisters are around the same place. I sometimes feel like the sisters are in competition with me. They would do the same hairstlyes I do and would also be observant of how I dress and would copy my lifestyle.

    I can however, tolerate that, but as “makoti” i.e. daughter in law, in their culture they expect that when there are events you must work during the events i.e. cook, wash dishes, take things back etc. whilst the ladies of the family sit and watch i.e. they don’t help at all. You really feel like an outsider at all times because of how they treat you.

    I know I am an outsider but I really regret marrying in to this kind of family because to them they just got a maid instead of an extra daughter… but I made my vows in front of God that I will be with my husband forever. I really love him and I only do this things to keep peace but it bothers me.

    1. Hi B, I understand how you feel. I know how you feel. My elder sister in law buys whatever clothes I buy. She is very much in competition with me; I don’t know for what. She was size 42 and she made sure that she slims to my size so that she can get the very same clothes that I have. Whatever thing I buy in my house she must also buy.

      My advice is to pray about it and ask God to give you peace in the matter. Take it that you are their role model. We the makoti’s (daughter in law), are always working but put your feet down. You are not a super woman and you cannot be in the pots and washing of dishes always. You are getting tired, as well. Please politely discuss the working issue with your hubby. Take care

  10. (SOUTH AFRICA)  Sometimes I feel that our in laws don’t support us much especially if you are a lady marrying into that family. They don’t consider you as a person. The only thing they want you to do is cook and clean the whole day.

    Hence I have decided to stay away from my in laws. I only go see them when it’s necessary when there is a funeral or wedding or so forth. Even when I had my baby I was expected to go to the in laws but I couldn’t cause I feel it’s actually abusive if you have a newborn. You are expected to clean and cook with the baby on your back.

    Hey, I also say to myself I should have married a white man.

    1. Hi there, I have a similar situation. I have a white South African fiancé and his mother treats me like a maid. I am a white person too, so don’t get me wrong, but don’t ever say that marrying a white man would make this better.

      Because in my case, they want me to clean, cook and wash the dogs. It is so unfair because when my future mother in law’s daughter comes to see her mother she does nothing.

      In my upbringing this is rude and offensive. The future mother in law does not even say thanks or call me by my name but “she” in front of me. It is so disrecpectful…

      1. Please know Camila, that this is a foretaste of MUCH more to come in the future if you marry this guy… I won’t even say “man” because I question his manliness if he allows his mother to treat the woman he is to marry this way. I understand that many in the African culture permit this type of behavior to go on, but when something is wrong, it’s the people insisting and living up to change, that breaks this type of thing from perpetuating in the future. The saying, “as for me and my house…” can be lived out if we decide to do so. And when something goes against biblical principles, it should be changed.

        You will be treated as a maid, now and in the future, if you and your fiancé continue to go along with this. Personally, if I was engaged to someone who showed me that he would allow this type of thing to be pushed upon me, I would wonder what other things I’d be expected to put up with in the future. I couldn’t marry someone who would allow his mother to do this to me. It shows that he doesn’t respect me as a person to be honored and respected. I would be considered more of a “lesser” than him and his mother and that just would not be a marriage I would want to enter into. The Bible talks about “leaving” the parents and “cleaving” to each other as husband and wife –not to allow either parent to take control over you, as if you are their maid –at their beck and call.

        Please count the cost of this in the future. This will peck away at the love you have for this guy and will eventually empty you of any positive feelings and usher in confusion, bitterness and disrespect. Look around at marriages in this type of situation. If you want a marriage like those, then so be it. But don’t complain about it afterward, because you are being forewarned. It sure isn’t a biblical approach to marriage. There is a difference between honoring a mother and father and allowing unacceptable, unbiblical behavior that dishonors that person’s marriage. Please prayerfully consider what I am writing. You can leave or work together to change this now, but after you marry, you have made a bed that you will have to lie in –you are being forewarned.

  11. (NIGERIA)  Hello sir, my husband and I were very poor when we got married. As a matter of fact, my parents were instrumental in our getting married, managing any little resources my husband brought. After our marriage, things were so hard but my family members, inspite of their poverty, were still a little supportive. His family never supported us but kept making demands and mockery of our situation.

    A few years has past and we’ve had children, then suddenly God started blessing us. To my greatest suprise, my husband sees all his family members as his responsibility and my own family members as otherwise. He solves his relations problems with zeal, and they keep making demands without stopping, there’s nothing he gives them that’s enough and for his inlaws he doesn’t care if they are happy or suffering. Anything he ever did for my relations, he did because we quarelled over it.

    I’ve decided not to have problem with him again over this, I’ve decided to allow him to spend his money on who he wants to but am afraid as I keep feeling anger now and then concernig the whole situation. I see myself exploding one day and causing serious harm to our marriage. I love my husband so much, but I am afraid of what our marriage will turn into if he continues this way. We are planning our financial life together but sometimes it’s like a fluke to me. Please advice me, what should I do?

  12. (NIGERIA) I got married in feb 2012. Before then, a brother and sister had been staying with my husband. I didn’t complain. The temptation now, is that my brother staying with us, wants to settle down, and is planning to marry and live with the woman in my matrimonial home, and my husband is not really taking up the matter. Help please, what do I do? I certainly can’t live in that condition.

  13. (NIGERIA) Nwamaka, first of all find out if both of them are jointly paying the rent of the house. If not, he doesn’t have any right whatsover to disturb the peace and harmony of your marriage in that manner.

  14. (SOUTH AFRICA) I am a Christian. In my church it is against our doctrine and the Bible to marry a divorcee if the ex is still alive. I got married to my husband without him disclosing to me that he was married and divorced a very long time in the US before coming down to marry me. Now I am in a dilemma. As a Christian it is wrong for me to marry a divorcee and if I divorce him now, I also become a divorcee. What do you think I should do in this kind of situation? Thanks.

    1. Glory, do you think your husband is truly sorry for deceiving you by not telling you about his past marriage? Was he aware of the fact, before marrying, that this was an important point to you and to your church? Is HE a Christian?

    2. I think that your now husband didn’t know about this I did not know, because: My future mother in law is a divorcee, she got pregnant being a teenager and married the father of the child. After a couple of month she divorced and started dating again. She found the perfect man (a man without previous marriage, or kids and without family) and married him.

      She is a Catholic and the funny part is that she married in white in the Church like a maiden. Then, she did it better and the new/second husband after two years legally adopted his wife’s kid.

      So, I think that you are a decent person and probably your husband didn’t know. For me, it was quite unconvential to be divorced and marry in white, but I think it is up to the priest and the bride’s sense of decency.

  15. Before I got married to my husband, the entire world was against us. My mother in law loved me at first, but started hating me after she got lots of negative reports from church members to sabotage me even when I did nothing wrong. She hated me so much she would beat me up if she came across me anywhere even in public. Worst of all, my husband was so broke that after two months of marriage, we had to move into their family house where she lived. She would rain curses and painful words on me from morning till past midnight. I had no right to enter her kitchen, let alone cook for her son.

    In fact, it was so bad she would spit on me, slap me and in all of this I was obliged to love her and not retaliate no matter what, because that is what she was expecting so that she could tell everyone I disrespect her. When for three months she tried all to get me talk back at her and she was not having any headway, she got up one night and threw me out of her home at 2 a.m into a cold night. My husband did not even react. He taught me to always love her despite the fact that it seemed impossible to change anything.

    To cut a long story short, I went on for seven years moving to her, offering her gifts and money. I had to bear all the insults but it wasn’t till after all these long years that my mother in law began to repent. She could not believe any girl would bear such humiliation and still love that strong. Today, I have won her over and I try as much as I can to keep my new found relationship with her by offering her gifts to appease her and I give to her even when I don’t have much. But I guess she loves me today for the unconditional love I showed her. Her behavior is not always the best, but I have her on my side.

    Advice: Show unconditional love to your in laws. You will find fulfillment and God will hear your bitter cries someday.

    1. JANE, this is not unconditional love. You gave her gifts and money to appease her. Unconditional love does not have to ‘appease’. Unfortunately marriage has been so twisted by different cultural beliefs and the devil continues to use families to foster the lies. Instead of God being at the centre there is always a mother in law, sister in law or whole family. The rest of the community just watches as the couple is broken into pieces and torn apart… all in the name of culture.

      Who said women should be door mats in marriages; who said women should please the man at all costs? I am a Christian woman, saved and mature in the things of God, but I see the church, especially in Africa, watching couples being torn apart and God’s name being held in contempt all because of disobedience. Instead of marriage being about two people leaving and cleaving it becomes centred on the poor woman appeasing hearts that need God to meet their needs, hearts that need to learn to yield to God and give Him full control.

      It’s so sad how the universal church has stood by and watched God’s name being shamed thru the things that happen in marriage. Counsel those parents as well, counsel the in laws as well, protect your children by praying for them and teaching them the truth about marriage as God meant it to be… A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS MOTHER AND FATHER, AND CLEAVE TO HIS WIFE AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE. God expects nothing more or less… that is what marriage is all about, and our cultures have defied that. Marriage in the wake of culture will never be good especially for the woman who does not cleave with a man that has encountered God in a deep way. The church must teach people to bring God to the centre of marriage. Right from the start… build all proceedings and plans and actions on Jesus Christ… not parents, not community. CHRIST, and everything else will follow.