My parents vowed to curse me for not marrying a woman from my tribe

I am traumatised by my family's behaviour and it has started affecting my health.

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Hello pastor,

I have been married for the last 12 years. Ours is a mixed tribe marriage; I’m from the lake and she is from Mount Kenya.

We met in Thika back in 2007 and after dating for about six months, she fell pregnant. I loved her and welcomed the news with enthusiasm. The following year, I got a job in Nairobi and she moved in with me.

My parents were opposed to my choice of a wife because of the tribe she hailed from. They did their best to keep us apart but it didn’t work.

In 2010, by this time we had two children, a fire broke out in our house. Sadly, our children perished in the accident. We lost everything in the house and were left with only the clothes on our backs.

Sometimes tragedies push families closer together and they bury hatchets. Unfortunately, that was not the case for us. The rift with my parents was so deep that they refused to let us bury our children at home. We buried them at Lang’ata Cemetery.

From what I gathered at the time, the accident was perceived as witchcraft by our relatives. Some thought I had married my wife because she got pregnant and they felt I was now ‘free’ to end the marriage.

Instead of the marriage ending, it grew even stronger. They continued to attempt turning us against each other but we didn’t fall for that. I tried to help my parents see my wife in a better light, but my efforts proved futile. I even took my last three siblings through secondary school hoping this could win my family over but it didn’t work. To my utmost shock, once my siblings completed Form Four they told me that I had to chase my wife and marry a woman from the lakeside!

During the pandemic, I took my wife home hoping they would like her once they interacted with her. I was wrong. The made up stories faulting her, all in a bid to make me leave her.

We now have three more children. They don’t visit my family upcountry because it was made clear that they are not welcomed.

My parents vowed to curse me if I don’t marry a woman from my tribe. They always use this threat when they want assistance from me. They have threatened to chase my wife or even kill her if I ever refuse to help them. One time when I was jobless and couldn’t assist them, they threatened to disown me.

Unfortunately, my wife was recently diagnosed with cancer and somehow my family caught wind of the news. They are very happy that she will die soon, no one is helping me take care of her. I am traumatised by all this and it has started affecting my health. Please advise me on what to do.


As I look at your dilemma, I see several issues. First, I am of the view that one’s tribe should not be a hindrance in marriage. My assumption is that you don’t share their perspective. I must commend you for the decision you took to stand by your wife. Vulnerability is tough but necessary particularly when talking about tough issues that concern your marriage. Every generation is different in the way they handle the issue of ethnicity. I come from a generation of those who were of the opinion that marrying from a different tribe was unacceptable. Their belief centred on the notion that marrying from another tribe weakened the family tree or line. The truth is that, such a belief is not only faulty but is skewed and demeans others who are not like us.

As for you, since the parents were the originators of the concerns, failing to deal with it conclusively opens a door for unnecessary fears which eventually find their way into the relationship.

As much as I commend you for the stand you took, my view is that you are the one with the last word on whether or not you allow their interpretation of the events that followed to impact your marriage negatively.

I don’t think your parents have mystical control over your marriage. What you allow yourself to believe will impact your thought life. What is important is for you to ask yourself, “What is true?”

In the end, if we allowed suspicions to rule over everything that happens to us in relationships, we would be overwhelmed. Marriage must remain a choice that two people make to spend life together. The questions I would ask are: Why do you think their concerns were justified?

Second, do your parents have the ability to cast a spell on your marriage? Of course not! Therefore, do not allow yourself to be intimidated or scared into inaction or succumb to a direction that will compromise your future. Unhealthy fear on your side can give room for bad thoughts to control your marriage.

I empathise with you concerning the loss of your children through a fire incident. This was a tragic accident that really should not be blamed on a curse from anyone.

Sadly, it is very easy for people to see such a tragedy in the wrong way. For them to claim that what happened was a result of witchcraft is absurdity to say the least.

Every culture seems to have some level of superstitious beliefs. The belief here is that anything bad that happens must be caused by someone else or is the payment for wrong done. The question often asked is, “What caused this calamity to happen?” The underlying assumption is that bad things will always happen to people for the wrong they do. Of course, this is wrong theology.

I must commend you for the courage of having to stand against such hostile family members. Your commitment to them is clear while at the same time the dilemma you face is also big. They have tried their best to make you choose between them and your wife. My opinion is that: First, God has blessed you with a great wife that has endured a lot with you. She has been mistreated but still made the choice to stick by you. She has chosen to believe in you and the stand you have taken. This in itself is a blessing. Secondly, I must commend you for choosing to treat other tribes the same way you would expect to be treated. There is no lesser human being than another. Third, you are of age and God has blessed you with a great wife and children. Love and care for them. Your first responsibility is to them not your parents. When you make the mistake to love them through the eyes of your parents, you will be missing the point of a true marriage. Finally, as you mature your family, I believe your parents will someday see sense and turn around. If not, you still have a family to care for.

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