By: MAURICE MATHEKA
I accompanied my boyfriend of four years on a visit to his parents two weekends ago. At one point when I was alone with his mother, she asked me what tribe I come from and told me people from their community (Luhyas) don’t marry outside their tribe.
She told me none of her five sons have married outside the tribe and said that she knows that her lastborn son, my boyfriend, will also do the right thing and marry a girl from their tribe.
I stood there speechless, not knowing what to say. I have supported my boyfriend financially on some projects he was undertaking and I was under the impression that we would get married soon because he had already met my parents and told them that he would go back to see them soon to initiate the traditional marriage process.
After hearing what my future mother-in-law had to say, I cut my visit short and did not stay the whole weekend as was the plan. I haven’t talked with my boyfriend about this, but knowing that he is a mama’s boy, I wonder what I should make of his mother’s message.
Was she relaying my boyfriend’s thoughts on marrying me? Should I marry my boyfriend in spite of what his mother said or should I call it quits?
I feel very hurt and knowing that I am big on family, I’m anxious about marrying into a family where the in-laws haven’t accepted me.
Please advise me.
Talk to your boyfriend about what happened and gauge where he stands about marrying outside his tribe. When I was about to get married, I faced the same situation.
My father rejected the girl I loved and she was sad just like you. But I fought tooth and nail for her to be my wife, and today we are all happy, including my dad. Don’t give up. If your boyfriend really loves you, he can change everything. I wish you well. Michael Maliamumgu
Firstly, you should have raised this issue with your boyfriend immediately it happened. If he is the man you want to spend the rest of your life with, you should not hide such information from him.
Secondly, you are not marrying his mother or anyone else in his family. Marriage is a union of two people. Your future mother-in-law’s thoughts on marrying outside the tribe shouldn’t disturb you. Be open with your boyfriend and together do what is right for you. Juma Felix
I get your concerns: You are not sure if your boyfriend has the heart to defy archaic traditions for your sake or whether he will be easily influenced by his mother against you. Whatever the case, engage him candidly to find out his position on this matter. Prepare your heart for anything. Good luck! John Victor
Why did you rush to invest in a stranger’s projects? Secondly, a mama’s boy cannot go against his mother’s wishes, so reality will hit you later. Lastly, getting married without blessings from parents on both sides is tantamount to inviting curses, so forget what you have invested in him and move on. D. Kamau
Open up to your boyfriend in an amicable way and let him tell you his truth because it appears as if your mother-in-law has her own motives. Otherwise, why didn’t she tell you this in her son’s presence? Talk to your man – that’s the only way to find out his views. And fight for your love! All the best! Ndiko Kinyanjui
Maurice Matheka, a relationship counsellor answers:
Your boyfriend being a mama’s boy and societal norms and outdated traditions notwithstanding, your bond and marriage will only survive storms if you stick together unconditionally.
Remember that not everyone will like you and you will not gain acceptance or respect by default, but that shouldn’t make you jump ship. Instead, focus on your unwavering conviction and unity with your man.
If all it takes to derail your relationship is an unwelcoming mother-in-law with her strange beliefs, then your union will not likely stand the test of time.
You need to learn to deal with other people’s differing perspectives on life and not let their views affect your thoughts. Before you quit, first ask your man whether he agrees with his mother’s school of thought, without mentioning the conversation you had with her.
Fight for your relationship because even if you marry into a different family, you will still face challenges there. Challenges are a part of life and relationships. For any relationship to survive, the people in it must mutually desire to see it last. Unless your husband-to-be has confirmed that he will marry from his tribe, you may be brewing up an unnecessary storm without the requisite facts in hand.
NEXT WEEK’S DILEMMA
I’m 27. I have been jobless since last year, but my fiancé provides for my needs. I recently got a job in Dubai. When I told my fiancé, he sulked and said that if I go, he will not sit around waiting for me. I’m thinking maybe I shouldn’t throw away a promising three-year relationship for a job, after all I have no dependents. On the other hand, I am excited about earning my own money. Either way it seems like I will regret whichever decision I make. What should I do?
SOURCE: DAILY NATION