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Tue, 08, 19

I am a 33-year-old unmarried school teacher. I have two brothers and three sisters....

Dear Nadine,

I am a 33-year-old unmarried school teacher. I have two brothers and three sisters. All of them are married. I can’t stay with my sisters because they live with their in-laws. My brothers live in my father’s house. My sisters-in-law don’t like me, but are fine with me spending money on groceries and utilities. I don’t mind that because I don’t feel dependent to them.

A few months back, at a parent-teacher meeting, a father of a girl, Z, came to me and asked me to give his daughter extra attention. I agreed immediately as I like the Z and the extra cash offered was decent. Z improved and did well in assessments. Her father, Mr G, thanked me profusely. Then he asked me to meet him after school to discuss something important. I assumed it was about Z, but instead he proposed to me. He said his wife died when Z was only six, and because of her he had not re-married up till now. Z is now 13 and according to Mr G, she needs a mother to see her through this adolescence phase. He was very honest with me. He told me he had developed great respect and regard for me, and since Z is very attached to me, he thinks it will be very good for her if I agree to marry him. He told me he has another wife in his village who is 16 years older than him, and to see to her needs, he goes to visit her at least four to five times a year. Mr G is 44 years old and Z is his only daughter. He married Z’s mother because his first wife was unable to conceive despite treatment. Mr G also told me that his first wife wants him to marry again for the sake of Z, so that’s not a problem either.

He has offered to give me a house as security, along with a good amount of haq mehr. He has promised to be good to me but has said that although he likes me a lot, he does not love me but will try to be a very good husband.

I don’t think I will get another proposal and I want to get married. I am okay with the fact that he has a wife and a daughter. In fact, I am quite fond of Z and because I know I can’t have a baby due to some medical problems. Sadly, my brothers have said that if I marry him they will cut off all ties with me. I am confused; I want my own home, security and love also, and am sick of being shunted from one brother’s house to another. But I am afraid my brothers will do what they have threatened and not see me again. My sisters have told me to go ahead and marry Mr G. My eldest brother-in-law did some investigation about Mr G, and is satisfied that G is a good person. What should I do?

Girl in Quandary

Dear Girl in Quandary,

Your brothers are being very unreasonable about this proposal, especially since you seem not at all averse to it. You are a mature young woman and have the right to decide what you want. Have your brothers given you any valid reason for refusing this proposal? Talk to them and ask them what they have against G’s proposal. If they say that he has a wife and a daughter, tell them you don’t mind it. If they still remain adamant, ask your sisters to intercede. I hope they can convince your brothers but if they can’t, you don’t have to go by their wishes. You are an adult and by law you are free to marry whoever you want. It would be very good to have the blessings of your family but if that is not possible you will just have to make the best decision for your future and your happiness.

If marrying Mr G means estrangement from your brothers, so be it. Your sisters will support you and it is possible that in time your brothers will come around as well. You don’t owe anything to your brothers, so look out for your own interests, and do what’s best for you. Best of luck!