Ask Akamo: Sister with Troubled Marriage

Dear Akamo,

My sister is married to a man she met through church. He is the kind of guy who when you meet him everybody likes him, until you find out more about him. Basically, he’s a loser. Nice guy, but he has lied to her about having a warrant (he didn’t tell her, and then one day a few months into the marriage, he was arrested on a traffic stop), he has lost his job and hasn’t been able to find a job due to the bad record, and she is pulling her hair out trying to get bills paid. He has no income. But in his defense, I will say that he is good to her children (ages 8, 13, 17, and 22) and gives them the father figure they never had, goes to church, and appears to be faithful. I don’t want to be responsible for telling her to divorce him (which I think she should), because she obviously loves him. My sister has a Master’s degree and is capable of doing well, but she doesn’t need another mouth to feed. But what good can he do if he isn’t providing for her and the children?


Dear TC:

First, DON’T tell your sister to leave him. Good lord! It’s their marriage, and not yours. If he isn’t hurting her or cheating on her (which I believe would hurt her)–then stay out of it, barring words of advice and encouragement!

Second, you say that he isn’t providing for her and the children, but didn’t you say that he is “good” to her children and gives  them the father they’ve never had? That–my friend–sounds like “providing” to me! Okay, so the brother doesn’t make money. But he did have a job before getting arrested, right? If you know he can’t find a job because of his record then I’m assuming that he’s looking. So it’s not like he isn’t working because he just doesn’t want to. It appears he was working in the beginning and is willing to do it. Let me ask you a question:  How important do you believe having a father in a child’s life is? Even if that “child” is 22, do you agree that a father is priceless? How much money does he need to make in order to be qualified… No. Let me reword that. How much money would your sister pay (or should she pay) in order to have a good father in her children’s lives? I know people that would have paid millions to give their children a father. Just some food for thought.

Third, so he lied. He didn’t tell her that he was in trouble? Was he a child molester? Did he kill someone? I think that is pretty important, it does raise an eyebrow. HOWEVER, they are married. People mess up. Your sister loves him. The children love him. He loves all of them. There is a church-going man in the household. WHAT’S THE PROBLEM? He can’t be forgiven? Malcolm X was a thief, a pimp, even kidnapped people. Should black people have forgiven him or write him off? Good people mess up, and it doesn’t mean they should forever be exiled from our lives or our love. Have you ever had a friend who had once been dishonest? Maybe cheated on a loved one? Are they still your friend? If anyone should be capable of forgiveness, surely it would be one’s sworn mate for life–for better or worse. So right now, they are in “worse”. But it’s not “worst”–I can think of many things far worse than hiding a fact that may prevent him from marrying the woman he loves. I would have done far worse to get any of my ex wives to marry me.

Face it. They are married, and in it. She loves him and will be miserable without him–and I’m sure the kids wouldn’t want to see him go either. The 22 year old I’m assuming lives at home and need guidance. The little one sounds like he’s never known a father in the home. The teens are at the stage that they need to see a nuclear family if they are to grow up to have one themselves. You said your sister is a college grad, so maybe she ought to be the breadwinner. His record probably needs some time to fix itself, and maybe the time off will allow him to bond with the children and heal from whatever psychological damage done from years of having no father. Is there a rule that says a woman who is capable of making more money shouldn’t make more money? If they both work, who will take care of home? Her, after work? Maybe your sister is dying to get into the workforce and get a break from dealing with kids all day, since she’s had a few years of doing it alone?

I say:  Let them work it out. Print this article and give it to them. When they married I’m sure they vowed to work though whatever comes their way. Whether that “thing” is joblessness, a lie, whatever. (Barring infidelity and abuse) I think she should focus on getting a job with that Master’s that will give them at least a decent standard of living, and then his job would be to make sure kids are taken back and forth, homework is done, house is clean (you didn’t say if homeboy can cook, but now is a good time to learn), and to teach the older kids that a MAN handles business–regardless of what obstacles are thrown his way–as well as the “bulletproofness” that marriage is supposed to be. It is as precious as a diamond, as indestructible as a mountain, as permanent as a memory, as stainless as steel, and as weathered as the earth itself–and let no man or his foolishness or situation separate them. He is human; we all are. She is his wife, and if she loves him truly–she can forgive whatever mistakes he made. Those kids need a father, and if she found a man who was willing to take her on and love her and her children, well she just found a needle in a haystack.

Because no one promised the knight in shining armor would be infallible. He may not be perfect, but two people who love each other and willing to get through anything are always perfect.

Thanks for visiting my blog.

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