My sister's visit is now a threat to my marriage
Dear Aunty Ngozy,
Please, I need your help in resolving this issue before it boomerangs on me. My brother-in-law moved into our house sometime last year. He had a major disagreement with his wife and had to move out of the house. Efforts to get the wife to say something met with cold silence. His children too didn’t want to say anything on the matter. One thing was very apparent; the children supported their mother and my brother-in-law has called them bastards for doing that.
Until that moment, everyone in the family thought he owned the property, the money and was very responsible. It was when he moved out that it dawned on everyone that his wife was really the one providing for the family.
I wasn’t informed when the brothers and their mother decided he was coming to stay with us. I came back from work one day and found him at home. Though I wasn’t comfortable but I didn’t have much of a choice in the matter. To be honest, all along I had been among those in the family condemning his wife and calling her all sorts of names. She is one woman who didn’t mix with other members of the family and appeared snobbish when she had the time to attend any family function. I didn’t like her much because she always kept to herself. I assumed this was because her husband was the wealthiest in the family.
Besides, looking at them from afar, one would naturally assume she is the difficult type and my brother-in-law the easygoing type.
How wrong human beings can be. His coming to my house actually opened my eyes to his behaviour. He is the kind of man who is loud, insensitive, dirty and acutely irresponsible.
Within a week of his coming to stay with us, he started dating a single mother of two, three houses away from ours. I got to know about this through my daughter who told me that the lady comes to visit them once we leave in the morning.
I didn’t know what to make of this until she told me that ‘big daddy’ always takes her to his room until evening.
After making sure I had all the facts, I came back home one afternoon to meet the two of them locked in an intimate embrace right in the living room. One would have expected him to be shocked by my appearance but he simply ignored me and continued with the lady.
I was furious but didn’t say anything. I phoned my husband who told me it was not my business; that being his elder brother, I should shut up.
That incident passed. I refused to say anything on the matter after the way my husband spoke to me.
I later got to know that he dumped her for another single lady who works in a bank. I was forced to report the matter to my mother-in-law when I learnt the two ladies fought over him right on the street. If I expected my mother-in-law to be offended by his behaviour, I was disappointed. She told me to mind my business and stop listening to gossips; that at 48, her son was too young to be without a woman in his life.
I didn’t like what was happening but my husband and his mother weren’t ready to help. I didn’t know who to turn to in the family so I decided to keep to myself as much as possible. I wasn’t happy anymore in my home until my sister called to say she was coming to stay a few weeks, I was happy.
She was waiting to gain admission into the university and has always been the good girl in the family.
You can’t imagine my pains when my brother-in-law forced himself on her, deflowering the innocent girl right under my roof. When I came back from work to find my sister’s pride taken away, it was too much for me. I went berserk and slapped my brother-in-law. This is now my albatross.
Instead of my in-laws to discuss the issue of my sister’s defilement by their son, their focus is now my assault of their eldest son and child. Painfully, my husband who should be embarrassed by what his brother did to his sister-in-law says I should pack out of the house pending the time the issue will be resolved. His mother is also toeing the same line.
My mother is very angry and threatening to sue if my in-laws insist on their line of action.
There is so much confusion in my home and family and I am at the centre of it all. I recently found out that the problem between my brother-in-law and his wife had to do with him sleeping with her best friend and her younger sister. If I had known, I wouldn’t have made the mistake of bringing my sister to my house. The most painful aspect is that my husband knew all about this and kept it from me.
Please, I don’t know what to do. Much as I don’t want a broken home, I just cannot turn my back on my sister. What do I do? Leave my home as my husband and his family are insisting I do or stay back and apologise to the man who should be pleading for forgiveness from me and my sister?
This is tough as you are between the devil and the deep blue sea. This is the best time to seek the face of God. There is no way you can achieve much on your own without the help of God.
Anger won’t help you at all. Any attempt to hold on to your anger would prevent you from thinking rationally. If you are not careful, you will make a mistake, one you would later regret.
One thing you should prevent is the break up of your home. Obviously your husband lacks the will to resist whatever foundational challenge is enveloping his family.
He would need you to liberate him from the claws of this invisible force. I am sure until this moment, your husband hasn’t done anything to offend you or given you a reason to regret marrying him. For these kinds of things to be happening, you need to be careful and reflect deeply on the developments in your husband’s family. If you leave, your marriage would be the second one to collapse within two years. It is not a nice record for your children because it is their family name that is involved.
The wisdom of this is to apologise for slapping him. Even though he deserves to be slapped, the fact that he is your brother-in-law, your husband’s elder brother, this is the reason the family is taking a stand against you. Had you handed the issue over to your husband when you found out what his brother did to your sister, he may have behaved differently. Slapping his elder brother, irrespective of what he has done in the opinion of your husband means he is incapable of handling the matter.
Frankly, this could be the reason he is refusing to fight on your side since you have through your actions denied him a say in the matter.
To neutralise the hold of the family over him, you have to seek him out in the middle of the night, after you must have prayed to God to grant you grace. Start by reminding him of your love and respect for him and his family. Follow this with an apology to him for taking laws into your hands by not first informing him of what his brother had done to your sister. Let him know you did it on impulse because the sight of your sister’s condition infuriated you.
The essence of this is to ensure, you get him back on your side. Once you are able to win him back, the matter would be easier to resolve. Your husband’s fight is one of ego and not one of insensitivity to what his brother has done to your sister. He is simply hurt that you didn’t consult him before slapping his elder brother.
The moment you settle with your husband, you have secured back your home from his family. The resistance against you would be watered down completely by the lack of support from your husband.
Frankly, you left the issue of your brother-in-law too late. From the moment he started misbehaving, you should have gone on your knees to pray him out of your home. You must learn how to pray your home out of slimy waters like this one. Your strength as a woman and mother are on bent praying knees. You shouldn’t have brought your sister to stay under the same roof with a man who has no decorum when it comes to women.
As for your sister, take her to see a doctor immediately as well as enroll her for counselling to be able live normally again. If your mother makes good her threat to report the matter to the Police, it would only complicate things for everybody. Because of the delicate nature of her assailant, this is one case all of you must resolve to bury. Though your sister is the greatest loser here but it would save you from greater problems at the end of the day