During an argument, my wife said I am not man enough

What you need to know:

A year ago, we started having some issues and have been seeing a counsellor to help us save our marriage. However, the other day while having a heated argument, she told me I am not man enough and our two-year-old daughter is not mine

My wife and I have been married for four years. A year ago, we started having some issues and have been seeing a counsellor to help us save our marriage. However, the other day while having a heated argument, she told me I am not man enough and our two-year-old daughter is not mine. We still live in the same house but every day I feel like doing something to hurt her the way she has hurt me. I even fear taking my daughter for a DNA test because I do not want to lose her. How do we get out of this impasse?


Dear Anonymous,

I can imagine how you felt after hearing such words from your wife. Marriage is supposedly the best thing that can happen to anyone; a fountain of joy. However, if not handled well by the couple, marriage can lead to frustration and even poor health.

Marriage goes through phases. At the beginning, which is the first phase, the couple is usually at their happiest point in the relationship. Many reasons can account for this, including not knowing each other’s hidden flaws. As the relationship grows into the second phase, for most couples, this is when turmoil begins.

This could be due to unmet expectations and failure to adjust to reality, especially when the euphoria has worn off. Failure to understand individual differences and at times spending energy on trying to change one another.

Love is tested when two consenting adults male and female are be able to accept their differences and respect one another.

The issues that you and your wife are facing may not be the worst or exclusive to you. The difference now is how you are both able to solve the rising conflicts. Remember it is normal to have these differences of opinion in a relationship since you each understand situations differently.

Communication is the key to having a happy or stressful relationship. Most individuals already have underlying, unresolved, childhood issues or even trauma and their response when in a heated debate only brings up the past issues. On some occasions, it is what one witnessed while growing up, especially how the adults in their lives responded to stressful situations. You can fill in the gaps and guess where you and your wife fall. Understanding this will enable you to de-escalate and instead talk about what is hurting the relationship.

From your story, it looks like your coping strategy has been stretched, especially when it involves your paternal right. You said you have been seeing a counsellor and I suggest you still seek individual therapy to help you process the new information about the child then make an informed decision.

Take good care of your emotions at this moment. Hurting your wife will not solve anything, especially if your wife relates to some of the issues mentioned above. The child is innocent in this case and like I said, being able to resolve conflict requires emotional maturity.

Even when you decide to take the child for a DNA test, first seek support from a professional counsellor. Whichever decision you make, seek help first so that you do not end up acting based on emotions. Ask for a break when you feel you are not ready to talk about the issues with your wife.

She too, could be struggling with her own issues that she has failed to resolve. Deciding to listen to how you feel will enable you to first sooth yourself and feel better before bringing up the pertinent issues.

Reader advice

Go for DNA test

Kenneth Poseidon Oneka. The moment a man lets a woman start defining who he really is when he becomes nothing. You are a man regardless of how someone wants to define you. Face your fears and take the child for a DNA test.

Stand your ground

Georgina Nabagereka. Stand your ground and tell her that you are the man in this relationship and if she does not respect you as such, then she should leave and perharps marry someone else. When you do this and your wife still does not change, then seek other means of making her see the right thing to do.

She did not mean it

Donavan Alecs Nyakojo. I have seen a number of women tell a man he is not the father of their children or child whenever they are threatened. For now, ignore her threats and keep quiet whenever she wants to start a fight with you. When she realises that you are calm even after her strong and disheartening words, she will change her ways. If she does not, maybe it is time to let her go.

Tell her to take the child

Samson Tayebwa. If she wants to play games, tell her you are not ready to raise another man’s child and she should take the child to its rightful father. This, I think, will bring her back to her right senses and maybe even force her to tell you the whole truth.

DNA test is the way to go

Elva Kaf Mbabazi. It is good that nowadays, you can find out once and for all whether that is your child or not. Take the child for a DNA test. I know it will be scary but at the end of it all, you will know the truth and this will be the first step towards total healing.

Avoid toxic energy

Krishna RK. You do not have to fight a toxic person. You leave them to suffer with their own energy and when they have no one to put down, they turn the guns on themselves.

Talk to your wife

Istimellah M Ndyijuka. It is unfortunate that sometimes, when couples have disagreements, they, out of anger, say things that are hurtful. She might have said this out of anger and knowing that you love your child, this was the worst she could do to you. Sit down with your wife and talk about this and together, forge a way forward.

Separate for a while

Sarah K Frankie. Please remove yourself from that house before you do something that you will regret. Take some time away, a brief separation (a month or two) to think and make a decision.

Words can hurt

Sophy Winfred Mukimba. When we were still teenagers, our mother would tell us that as adults, there were some words we should never say to our partner however heated the argument got. Words can sometimes leave lifetime scars. I guess she just wanted to hurt you but the child is yours. Talk to your wife.

Evelyn Kharono Lufafa is a counselling psychologist with Sermotherapy Counselling Foundation