What you need to know:
- Violence should be condemned and not tolerated as a way of sorting out family grievances.
- Your patience, though commendable, could have led to serious bodily harm.
What I would caution you on is allowing the status quo of violence and fear continue.
I am a mother of two boys, aged five and four. I have been living with my husband for the last seven years, (though not yet married traditionally nor legally).
For these seven years, I have experienced a lot from this man; from beating to insulting me in the presence of our children. Indeed, time spent with him has been the worst in my entire life. He is violent and does not listen to anyone. To him, it is his way or no way.
The last violence happened last year, and although my parents and his came to intervene, my decision is final. I want out. I do not love nor need him anymore. My parents support me on this decision.
All I want is to go and start my new life with my children; because I believe what my children are seeing is not healthy and can destroy their lives in future.
Now, my worry is: if I go, he will immediately bring another woman to a house I contributed a lot to make it a home. Kindly help. Anonymous
Let me from the very beginning empathise with what you have been through. No woman or man deserves that kind of treatment.
Violence should be condemned and not tolerated as a way of sorting out family grievances. Your patience, though commendable, could have led to serious bodily harm. I believe the intervention of your parents, though late, is necessary if it is going to contribute positively to how the two of you relate.
Where you are, you are confronted with three key issues. First, you need to face this abuse firmly. This man has no right, even where he could have felt wronged, to use violence on you. Physical abuse is punishable by law. You have to overcome your fears and let him know that he has no right to treat you this way. I really do not know whether the two of you used any legal channels available or otherwise, to stop the abuse.
Second, you have to overcome this fear of another woman coming to take your place in your house if you leave. Would you rather be maimed or even exterminated? I don’t think so. I suggest that you look at your conflict resolution mechanisms and see if that was an area that was lacking. If it were well used, would this help bring sanity? Without conflict management in place, staying put without a clear plan would lead to serious harm.
Third, there is need for you to deal with the pain and frustration you carry. My fear is that allowing this pain of fear could lead you to make a decision you will later regret. God wants the best for you. A sober heart will lead you to a well thought through solution.
To stay, you must be convinced of the plan you have in place. Only a sober mind will help you discover the kind of help you and your man need.
Finally, your definition of marriage should be revisited. You already have two children with this violent man. In fact, he has abused you in front of them. If both your children are his, as I seem to get from the mail, he needs to take responsibility.
As far as you are concerned, depending on the years you have been living together and the agreement you have about your relationship, your lawyer can advise what you need to do in case you make a decision to leave. What I would caution you on is allowing the status quo of violence and fear continue.
How do I get my son’s deadbeat father to acknowledge him?
I got pregnant almost 10 years ago, and the father of my son refused to take responsibility from the beginning. He always says that I was pregnant before we met, but that is not true. The child is truly his.
As my son grows older, he has started asking about his father, but I really don't know what to tell him.
I’ve been talking to his father about the issue, but he is still rejecting his son. I told him that if he believes he’s not the biological father, we can take do a paternity test. I’m even ready to pay for it, but he remains adamant, saying, he can’t offer his specimen for such an exercise. Please advise me on how to go about this. I’m not yet married, but he is. I sincerely feel my son needs to know his father.
First, I suggest that you interrogate how many men you could have been with at the time of conception. If he was the only man you were intimate with, then be bold and stick to your word.
Being the father of your child, he deserves to know his son and his son deserves to know him. It may be that he feels like this disclosure may hurt his marriage. However, the reason for disclosure should guide your deliberations.
Another angle you need to consider is whether by knowing his father, this will, in any way, help your son. Suppose he gets to know him but he gets rejected by him? What harm would this do to him, especially emotionally?
I would suggest that you revisit this issue with care. Maybe after he has grown up, he might be able to handle such rejection.
In the meantime, at age 10, he is pretty young and his disappointment of not knowing his dad can be managed. I have seen many women manage this well and help their children not live with feelings of rejection. Being a single parent, although it offers an incomplete picture of family to him, may be the best picture he needs for now.
Do also remember that this man has never related to your son, and does not even want the boy to meet him.
Why we turn away from the people we vowed to have
It looks like the moral standing of many marriages and relationships is on the radar now more than ever before.
After saying ‘I do’, many marriages have breached the rules of engagement they had set for themselves. Pointing the fingers for the failures has led many to enter a phase of unsatisfactory performance of the relationship as a result.
However, who has the ability to judge our actions and intentions other than ourselves?
As much as no one is immune to failure, many have become experts at crafting their devious actions. Selfishness and self-centredness has led many to slowly but surely walk away from remaining accountable.
It is what we do with the failures, inadequacies and vulnerabilities that count. Because of seasonal fun, enjoyment or adventure, many have lived to regret who they have ended up becoming.
Several key issues that play in this mix then are: first, relationships are about two imperfect people seeking to have a perfect relationship. How possible is that?
That is only possible when the two agree that they will become better, as each person makes the effort to change themselves while giving the other some grace.
Second, married and committed spouses are expected by society to keep to their vows and lead a morally upright life.
However, we now live a generation that dislikes accountability and responsibility, and yet expects and hopes for the same from their partners.
Thirdly, society lacks coaches who can lead by example. With the changes that are taking place today, society has become so toxic and has failed in exposing risks that relationships face.
As a result, we find ourselves turning away from those we claimed to love, leaving behind disillusioned and wounded lives.
Like a race, the reasons why we begin the journey contribute to the way we do the race, endure and commit to run to the finish line.
Of course we will face challenges — after all we are only human. However, when we do, what should be our reaction?
God never created super-humans for spouses. Neither does he expect anyone to become one.
Acknowledgment of failure is the right place to start, in addition to taking responsibility for the consequences that result from the failure, and commitment to work on reconciliation as a part of getting your relationship on a growing path.