My mother-in-law is pressuring us for a church wedding

Thursday September 23 2021
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By Evelyn C Kharono Lufafa

Dear Counsellor, the mother of my four children and I have been living together for eight years now. The first time we slept together, she conceived. This prompted her to move in for fear of family repercussions. We then had the traditional kwanjula ceremony after the first child was born. Now, however, her mother keeps calling and asking her when she will get married in church. Honestly, I believe what we have is already good enough and there is no need for her to wear a white gown after four children. What should I do? 

Anonymous

Dear anonymous,

Marriage is a decision between two consenting adults. However by the mere fact that marriage affects even the families that we hail from it is common for parents, elders, and leaders of faith to wish their children a safe union.

Usually, it is not in bad faith but it could be the way the message is delivered and also perceived that makes it appear negative.

The Ugandan law recognises customary (kwanjula) marriage and in fact, encourages people to register and start right from the district level.

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At the same time, a customary marriage can be converted into a civil, church, or Moslem wedding depending on the faith of the couple.

That aside the choice of type of marriage has a lot to do with what you perceive to be binding.  According to you, having children and being married customarily is good enough and you are right to think like so.

Have you found out if your wife is as contented as you are?

If she is contented with this then she might not be affected by the demands of your mother-in-law. However, if she feels it is better to convert your marriage to a church marriage, then sit and discuss with her what you think and how best you can adjust to each other’s needs.

Most people would prefer to have both a customary and church or civil marriage since these are regulated and have structure.

A Christian who is married in the church will also find it comfortable to see their child doing the same.

So it is important to understand that even when the union is between the two of you, parents might have a particular wish for the type of marriage which they consider secure.

Take time to notice how you feel about the fact that your mother-in-law has a particular wish for your marriage.

Does this bother you?

If it does, why? If you feel bothered then it could be the interpretation you hold about being advised otherwise.

Most importantly, discuss with your wife and find out what she thinks about the type of marriage you have chosen and what you agree as a couple will enable her to know how to deal with her mother’s wish.

Together with your wife, you can consult a lawyer to help you find out when a certain type of marriage is valid or void.

This will help you to make an informed decision on the next steps than act on impulse.

Help

Instinct.

Parents in a blended most people would prefer to have both a customary and church or civil marriage since these are regulated and have structure. A Christian who is married in the church will also find it comfortable to see their child doing the same. So it is important to understand that even when the union is between the two of you, parents might have a particular wish for the type of marriage which they consider secure.

Reader advice

Celebrate the children - Kenneth Rukundo

Give your lovely wife what your mother-in-law is asking for her. Celebrate those four lovely children with a ‘church marriage’. Do not worry about the gown (they come in different shapes and sizes) she will look good in it, start shopping for a suit and rings already.

Style up sir! - Esther Norah Kwagala

What is wrong with a wedding in church? I believe she deserves it and as much as parents blessed your marriage, you need God to bless it too. Please note that one of the many reasons it is good to first marry someone’s daughter before they start giving birth for these sons of Adam. So after four children you feel she is not worthy of a church wedding? Style up sir!

Get married in church -Tina Woods

So in your case you do not desire to get married in church like other men?  Your in-laws are not the problem. It is you that needs some checking. It is not even about money but desire. So how come you don’t wish to have a Holy matrimony somewhere in your life? Tell us the real problem

What is your problem? - Maria Akugizibwe

So your issue here is she already has four children and does not deserve a wedding, really? I thought those very lovely children would be reason to marry her in church. May be you are surrounded by people that are not married, or may be even yo own parents did not get married so you do not see any beauty in a church marriage. Are you a Christian? Would you want the same for your sisters or daughters? 

Listen to her - Patience Natie Nampa

Before you think what you have is enough for her, talk and listen to her. I am sure most women would like to be walked down the aisle by their parents and get wedded. Listen to what she needs and try to fulfil it. If she has been a good wife to you and a great mother to your babies, she deserves it.

Let it be about her - Michael Mukasa

Having four Kids does not stop you from attaining Holy Matrimony. Your wife must be anxiously waiting. So it shouldn’t be about your mother in law.....let it be about your wife and what she wants.

Engage local clergymen - Morgan Mafwila

Sad that we have Africans who still believe the white man’s ritual is what makes a couple married. Kindly make arrangements for your marriage blessing on your anniversary with your local clergyman.

Total waste of money - Martin Ssebyala

I think the point here is being missed. Marriage and wedding should be understood. There are many recognised types of marriage and church wedding is one of them. In this case, the couple is already married traditional and having a church wedding amounts to having got married twice to the same man. It’s just a waste of money and we need to get out of this trend otherwise it’s promoting a lot of cohabitation due to fear of costly wedding and kwanjula yet they all amount to same thing, marriage

Jones Jonath

I cannot even imagine a person against church marriage and then you call yourself someone’s husband with such kind of a backward reasoning.

Evelyn C. Kharono

Counseling Psychologist

Sermotherapy Counseling Foundation

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