Is it wise to get married without parents’ blessings?

woman in dilemma

 When it comes to concerns about age in a relationship, it is the duty of either partner who is affected to be honest about it to their spouse.

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 Dear Pastor Kitoto,

My boyfriend and I have been dating for nine years. He is 33 years old, still lives at home and now wants my hand in marriage. On the other hand, I have a stable job that’s helped me be financially independent.

My boyfriend and I come from different tribes. Here lies my dilemma; my parents don’t like the tribe he comes from. I have been stalling the visit to our home because I don’t know how to face my dad. I brought up this issue with my boyfriend. I don’t see the relationship advancing to marriage because my parents won’t approve or give their blessing. Kindly advise me on what to do.


You have mentioned that you have been dating this man for nine years. This is a pretty long time in a relationship. With such a period, it is expected that the two of you should be sharing a rich history together and wide knowledge of each other. I am not sure who has not moved out from home—your man or yourself?

In looking at your dilemma, I see two issues that I would like to address. First, I am of the view that his age seems to be a hindrance. Otherwise, I am not quite sure why you mentioned this. Could this be a concern for you or your parents? If it is, I would suggest that you resolve this. When it comes to concerns about age in a relationship, it is the duty of either partner who is affected to be honest about it to their spouse.

Vulnerability is tough but necessary particularly where talking about tough issues is concerned. If in the end, age ends up being a major concern, then I suggest after your talk, you amicably seek an end to the relationship. It will not help for you to continue and later for the issue resurfaces to haunt your marriage.

Non-negotiable values

To the contrary, if the parents are the reason for the concerns or fears on the age issue, my view is that you are the one with the last word on whether you marry him or not. I don’t think it is the parents. What is important is for you to ask yourself, “What are my non-negotiable values and expectations?” In the end, a relationship is about the two people involved building a strong common base on which the relationship can thrive.

The second issue I see has to do with your parents’ objection to marrying from another ethnic group. First, as much as I commend you for the honour you are showing your parents, you need to evaluate their concerns wisely.

Are they justified in their fears? Is this a healthy position for them to take? My answer is, No. Second, is the need for you to know what your parents’ boundaries are. How much interference is healthy and necessary?

Do not allow yourself to be intimidated into succumbing to a direction that is ethically wrong. Unhealthy fear on your side can give them more control than they need to have. A healthy balance is key.

My concern for you is the reasons behind their rejection of persons from that tribe. I strongly advise that you help your parents to see people from other tribes as God’s children who are made in his own image.

Stereotypes they may carry about others makes them judge that people group unfairly. If your parents are not ready to allow you to marry someone just because of their tribe, you may need to revisit what your beliefs are on associating with others from a different tribe. Negative ethnicity is wrong.

Godly view

I pray that you don’t walk away from this man because you are buying into your parents’ faulty world view. Build your own healthy and Godly view on various issues about life. If you allow intimidation of this nature, you may just miss a man who may have been great for you.

Determine what matters to you and be open with your parents. This is how you gain a healthy balance between the concerns your parents may have and what matters to you.

In conclusion, marriage is about what you want and are willing to make sacrifices for. I suggest two ways you can use in making disclosures of your feelings to your father. One way is by having a direct respectable conversation with him—possibly in the presence of your mother. The other way is by sending an emissary like your mum or an uncle/auntie who your father respects and listens to. Do remember, nine years of dating is quite long and has involved a lot of investment.

If you are ending this relationship, I suggest you follow up on the following: first, if honouring your parents is more important to you, then ensure that the grounds of separation with your boyfriend is not a way of legitimising negative ethnicity. Second, if there are other core issues that are negatively affecting the relationship beyond the hesitation of the parents, then walking away from this relationship is okay.

Here are some benefits of cross-cultural marriages

Your marriage and family will get a wider exposure on life and in various cultures

The marriage develops an expanded level of tolerance and support for different sheds of views and opinions

It brings about a rich and varied view on issues that will in the end mature and leave behind a rich heritage.

Since the marriage partners come from different cultures, their new unit will have the freedom of creating a new culture and a new way of doing things devoid of any interference.

It enables either couple step out of their comfort zones

The couple gains a healthy and greater understanding and management of issues

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