My children’s ‘cousin’ is really their sibling

August 19, 2021

Dear Pastor

I am a 31-year-old woman who is married and has three children with my husband. We have had a good relationship over the years.

I come from a large family, so I have tried to help my siblings. My father has children all over the place. He didn't always sleep at home, but my mother never stopped loving him. She used to tell people that he had the best woman at home in Jamaica. We never missed school, and my mother did everything to help us as a family. We didn't go to bed hungry. Although my father was 'wild', he supported us and tried to give us whatever we asked for. When I was 18, I met the man I eventually married. We became friends and then lovers. He went to see my parents one Sunday afternoon and told them that he loved me and that he would take care of me. He was 22 at the time. My father told him that he was too young to take on a woman, but he would have to hear from me. So he turned to me and asked if I loved the young man and I told him yes. He reminded me that I wanted to be a nurse, so he said I should go to nursing school and that my boyfriend and I could do whatever we want after I graduate. So he gave us his blessing. I went to nursing school and then we got married. I became pregnant soon after and one of my cousins came to help me. She was only with me for a few weeks. I did not know that she had her eyes on my husband and vice versa. She went back to the country, and later on I heard that she was in America. Then I heard that she had a child. I called her and she spoke to me very well. When she was getting married, she told me about it. She told me she had found a good man. I never knew that her child was for my husband. The boy is now a teenager and it was only recently that my husband confessed that he had a one-night stand with my cousin. I asked him why he never told me and he said he was afraid that that would cause us to break up. But he told his mother, so that is why my cousin went away. How can I trust my husband? I spoke to his mother and she told me that I was wrong to have my cousin staying at the house with us at the time. I became very upset with her for blaming me for what happened. She is a good mother-in-law, but I didn't liked what she said. I have forgiven my husband, but I have not forgiven my cousin. I don't know when I will be able to forgive her. My children are anxious to meet the brother they do not know. I would like to hear your comments.

K.J.

Dear K.J.,

You said you and your mother-in-law got along very well. When her son told her that he impregnated your cousin, she kept it a secret to protect your marriage.

I don't think you should hold it against her. However, your mother-in-law is wrong for blaming you for what happened between your cousin and your husband. You are not to be blamed. You trusted your husband and your cousin, and you did not even think that they would sleep together. But I ask you to forgive your mother-in-law for blaming you. I am glad that you have forgiven your husband, because although many years have rolled by, it wouldn't make much sense for you to walk away from your marriage. But please try and forgive your cousin, also. Remember, she was young and she was ashamed to tell you that she slept with your husband. I can understand how excited and anxious your children are to meet their sibling. Perhaps your husband's mother could invite the young man to Jamaica and let him stay with her so that your children can meet him. You seem to have a good husband. He made a big mistake, but you are wise enough not to walk away from him at this stage of your marriage.

Pastor

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