As a Christian, is it wrong for me to marry my step-father’s cousin? We are in the same age group and are deeply in love.
Let me give a broader answer that will capture a few key statements about great marriages that bring fulfilment to those involved. Generally, marriage is a public display of love between a husband and wife to a watching world. The way we treat each other testifies to the quality of our marriage. Life together is defined by many factors: First, marriage is about shared values. These may be both Christin and non-Christian values such as love, faithfulness and patience among others. We demonstrate love when we are kind, not proud, rude, and not easily angered. When we easily see faults in others and criticise them, we end up delighting in pointing a finger instead of protecting and persevering. So, at the very core of marriage is a determination to accept the other person for who they are and not what they are or have.
True love will take us on the road where we demonstrate true fidelity, honesty and a lifestyle of total commitment to one another regardless of the circumstances of life. The valid question to ask in marriage then, will not just be “Do I value my spouse?”
Spouses who fail to value themselves will find it a burden to value others. When we fail in this, we devalue and erode the foundation upon which a relationship driven by love is built.
Second, marriage is about a shared dream. This creates a joint sense of purpose. When we dream together this communicates a sense of security to either partner. Beyond the feelings we have for each other, we must think about the kind of marriage we would like to see in the nearby future, the kind of connections we would want to have, and where would we want to see each other. Since we value relationships, our dreams might end up focusing on building harmonious connections with our parents and relatives. For example, the feelings your step father will have towards you when you choose to marry his cousin is key. Also, it is important to put into perspective the feelings of your mother on the issue. This is about cultivating within your dream the value of respect and honour. From your perspective, the relationship between you and your boyfriend may seem okay, but it may be perceived as inappropriate as far as your mother and step father are concerned. Their feelings are valid. Remember, within the community you live, your step father’s cousin could be considered as an uncle. I read somewhere that, a win-win situation could be more beneficial to a relationship than compromise or a one-sided sacrifice.
Third, marriage is a choice you make. You may have heard it said that choices have consequences. Indeed, it is true also for marriage. A well-thought through decision may be of greater benefit than one that is hurried. There are many issues around marriage that require careful thought. For example, how will my decision impact this person or this group of people? Consequently, how will their reaction to my decision to marry this man impact my relationship with my parents? Does it display to them a selfish and non-caring attitude from my side? No one can control the choices we individually make—and rightly so, we cannot control their behaviour or response towards us in view of the choices we made. In the end, our marriage becomes the sum total of our decisions and choices. Consult with you parents openly and sincerely. Dr Nikki, a Clinical Psychologist is of the view that, “It’s essential to be intentional about our decision-making process and to choose wisely because each choice has the potential to impact our lives in significant ways.”
Lastly, marriage is about building not tearing each other up. Your aim should be to set the stage for a stronger marriage. When you allow your foundation to be weakened by poor decision making, it will impact your marriage negatively. Marriage can be very sensitive and emotive for those involved. I read an online article in Betterhelp that “A good marriage may be defined not by lack of difficulties, but rather how the parties manage to handle problems.” Sometimes spouses are good at creating a divisive marital environment from the very beginning.
My opinion is that you choose to make the right decision from the onset as one way of setting a good foundation for your relationship. Through reflection on the principles above, I am confident you will make the right decision that will honour God and your parents.
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