You tell me, does God really consider this woman my wife?

The issue of cohabitation has been a sticky one for some time. Men in particular use it to conveniently get rid of a relationship that everyone else considered a marriage. PHOTO | FILE

What you need to know:

  • This woman was pregnant when we separated. Since there was no ceremony to formalise our relationship, was ours a legal union bearing in mind that I never even met her parents?

  • My dilemma is that my pastor tells me that I should take her back because she is my wife no matter what happened between us. Does God consider her my wife?

Dear Pastor Kitoto,

I cohabited with a certain woman for some time, but we later parted ways because she was mistreating my daughter, who I had from a previous marriage. This woman was pregnant when we separated. Since there was no ceremony to formalise our relationship, was ours a legal union bearing in mind that I never even met her parents?

I am also sceptical that the child she is carrying is mine since there were infidelity issues as well. My dilemma is that my pastor tells me that I should take her back because she is my wife no matter what happened between us. Does God consider her my wife?

Why can’t I marry someone else?

 

For the legal aspect, I suggest that you acquaint yourself with the current Marriage Act, which will answer the question that you seek.

The issue of cohabitation has been a sticky one for some time. Men in particular use it to conveniently get rid of a relationship that everyone else considered a marriage, since the two had lived together for years, and behaved like husband and wife. From the little you have shared, it is difficult to know much of what your relationship was like before the separation.  Having never met her parents, paid dowry or performed a ceremony of some kind should not be an excuse to state that the two of you were not married. Is there something you are not telling us?

I do not know how long the two of you lived together, but there must be a commitment you gave each other when you decided to live together. Agreement is key in every relationship. It helps seal the relationship and establish a common starting point. Remember that two cannot walk together unless they are in agreement. For you to deny her, is to say that the two of you had no understanding or agreement that united you.

I see that the two of you had other issues that made living together difficult.

First is the issue of how she treated the child you have from your previous relationship. From your email, it is not clear how you handled this. Second is infidelity.

CLOUDED JUDGMENT

You say you doubt that the pregnancy she is carrying is yours. Infidelity is difficult and painful to deal with. I am not sure though, whether your accusation is a proven fact or simply a suspicion. I really hope that you shared these two issues with someone who helped you make sense out of them.

Generally, unresolved issues have a way of leading to self-destruction. What I sense is a relationship that was characterised with accusations and counter accusation. If you decide to get back together with her, you will have to determine where these accusations stem from.

Sometimes, problems have a way of clouding our judgment, such that all we see are impossibilities instead of the positive elements that exist in our relationship. My thought is that, when I ask a woman to live with me, I must have counted the cost and accepted the responsibility that comes with such a decision. Did you go through this process? What attracted you to her at the beginning? There must be something substantial about her that drew you to her. Your current confusion could just deny you the opportunity to be a responsible father, so think this through before you make a major decision. If you do decide that a relationship with her cannot work, do not abandon a child that could be yours.

I will ask you a couple of questions regarding this matter, since your email did not expound much: How did you discover that she was unfaithful? Was it through other people, did you catch her in the act or did she volunteer the information? How did she react to being ‘caught’, if indeed you caught her? How did you handle this knowledge?

If you do not know for sure that she was unfaithful to you, then you might have been too hasty in ending the relationship. It is important to learn from past experiences, from past mistakes. If you did not handle this break-up appropriately, or if you were unfair, chances are that should you encounter similar issues in another relationship, you will handle them in the same way, and this relationship too will crumble.

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