I’d like to marry my girlfriend, but her ex-boyfriend is a hindrance

Keeping your marriage happy is a lifelong challenge. Photo| Fotosearch

What you need to know:

  • Legal process has to be followed for you to have any legal right over the child.

Hi, Pastor,

I'm a man in my mid-twenties. I'm in a relationship with a single mom and plan to settle down with her. The problem is that the father of her child constantly demands to have the child since he thinks his mother is the best person to bring up the child, yet they broke up before the child was born.

I fear that once we begin to live together, and the three of us bond as a family, one day this man will come and forcibly take the child and I wouldn't be able to withstand my girlfriend go through that kind of pain. I can't also fathom the idea of co-parenting since I feel it will never work out, especially. I need advice on what to do.

I love my girlfriend and her child, but how to raise the child scares me. The constant calls he makes to my girlfriend also really irritate me. How can I make things right before I commit to marriage?

Thank you. Warm regards,

Hi there,

The battle you are facing now should be fought by both of you. For starters, your girlfriend needs to fully disclose what transpired between her and the father of her child, what led to the break up before the child was born.

For instance, did she inform him of the pregnancy only for him to reject her and walk away? If the man knew about the pregnancy and refused to offer emotional support during the pregnancy and birth of the baby, why is he interested in the child now?

Having this conversation will shed the light needed to help you make the right decision. That said, since there is no dispute about who the biological father of the child is, it is important to know that he has some limited rights to the child that should not be denied him unless a court of law says so.

It is therefore important to discuss and agree on what these rights are, though this is a discussion between your girlfriend and the father of her child. If there is anything in the past that disqualifies him from these rights, she must make that clear and back it up.

If you get married, two factors must be clear: First, she needs to sort out her past carefully. Second, legal process has to be followed for you to have any legal right over the child. This is the only way you will have peace of mind.

Dear Pastor Kitoto.

My wife and I have been married for 11 years and have two children – 10 and seven years. We have had a good marriage albeit with the normal challenges every couple goes through. We have also had what I consider a great sex life and respect each other. However, since the beginning of this year, our sex life has been deteriorating quickly, to the point that it is almost non-existent. Over all these years we have been married, I am the one who initiates sex.

I have reached a point where I feel as if I bother my wife, and therefore stopped asking. My wife consistently comes to bed fully dressed, which I take to mean that she wants nothing to do with me, and therefore let her be. Our communication has also become poor, and we are defensive in almost all our conversations. She has also developed a habit of talking to me while on her phone. Please help me before this situation gets out of hand. I love my wife, but her actions are turning me off.

My wife and I had such a good marriage, why has she suddenly become cold towards me?

Hi there,

Your marriage is a replica of many other marriages today, therefore you are not alone in this dilemma. You talked about two phases of your marriage that stand out quite clearly. First was what I call the exciting stage of marriage, what is generally referred to as the honeymoon stage. Keeping your marriage happy is a lifelong challenge. This first stage is characterised by trust, respect and emotional intimacy that supported their relationship in infancy stage.

This stage is followed soon after by the discovery phase where a more real life experience begins. This could be where the two of you are, you are discovering that both of you are huma and desire love and support.

The disappointment and these conflict you face are evidence of this difficult yet unavoidable period of any marriage. How you handle this period is key to the survival and endurance of your relationship.

I suggest that you ask yourself certain questions that will help you get your marriage back on track.

What were we doing right then that we are not doing now?

Evaluate your relationship and come up with little things you did individually or collectively that contributed to the harmony in your relationship. Maybe the two of you made little trips together, helped each other do household chores and communicated regularly. The Bible says, “Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards, our vineyards that are in bloom.” It is the duty of every couple to find and remove those things that spoil the relationship.

What are you doing that you should stop doing?

There could be things you are doing that are hurting your relationship, what is comforting is that if you are intentional and deliberate in your choices and actions, you can change the trajectory of your relationship.

Second, consider the errors of your lips. The tongue can be unruly and undisciplined. Are you critical of your wife? Do you promise and fail to deliver? Are you abusive? Third, consider your behaviour – has it changed over time?

During a difficult stage such as yours, you may find yourself using harsh, demeaning or accusing words that make the situation worse. With time, words lead to uncaring actions. This is a downhill momentum that is at times hard to reverse. Your words and actions are what will either return you to a path of intimacy or make things between the two of you deteriorate. Pay attention to what she is feeling and be empathetic, your love and concern will open a door for dialogue that could lead to healing.

Take the time and seek the truth behind your wife’s feelings and actions, and while considering the questions I raised, determine where the gaps are and aim to fill them.

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