My wife is having an incestuous relationship with her brother

Monday October 8 2012




Hi Philip,

My wife is secretive and reserved. We got married three years ago. We have no children but she has had three miscarriages. When we were in college, my wife’s older brother used to send her love messages almost every night and this caused a lot of conflict between us.

She said her brother only wanted to ruin our relationship. The trend continued until I reported the issue to their mother, other brothers, and sister, after which he changed to late night calls.

What is surprising is that four years ago, my wife had a child with the brother who used to send her romantic messages. She only told me about the child in March of this year, but claimed that the boy’s father had died shortly after he was born.

What should I do because her niece, who lives with us, has confirmed to me that the boy was fathered by my wife’s brother? The child is currently living with us and I am very stressed.


I really do not see how you went ahead and married this woman even after noticing unbecoming tendencies in her behaviour towards her brother. However, there must have been reasons why you chose her above all the other women.

Another area of concern to me is the fact that she got pregnant while you were dating — since you mentioned that while in college she was getting seductive messages from her brother and that she got pregnant after this.

I am assuming that it can be proved that her child was fathered by her brother. If so, I believe that your wife needs to be confronted with the information and the issues dealt with.

The way forward is to allow dialogue by involving your in-laws. They are the only ones who can shed light on the life of their daughter and particularly the pregnancy — at least they owe you that much.

All the best.

Hello Kitoto,

I am a 29-year-old mother of two girls and engaged. I recently dreamt that my brother’s funeral, which took place a while ago, was being held again. I have done some research on this and the interpretation I am getting relates to my dead relationship with my fiancé.

According to my findings, if you dream of a person who died a long time ago, it suggests that a current situation or relationship in your life resembles some qualities of the dead person. The dream may mean that you need to let the situation or relationship end.

I have no feelings for my fiancé (sexually). He keeps insulting me and sending me bad messages, then apologising. He even threatens to kill himself if I leave him. We live together but I keep suggesting that he should move out so that we can find ourselves.

He refuses and says that life without me and his children would devastate him, but I am not happy. I am at a loss on the way forward because I have children to think of, I have threats to think of... I do not want to be blamed if he kills himself or if the children fault me for one thing or the other.

Kindly help.


I am not sure where you did your research on dreams. Many people tend to dream about their dead relatives instructing them, or warning them, about certain issues. However, I do not understand the connection you have placed between your dead brother and the relationship you have with your boyfriend.

What I think you really need to do is consider whether your boyfriend is the right life partner for you. This will guide your evaluation of the issues you have raised. First, you need to ask yourself:

“What brings happiness in a relationship?” Is it sex? Is marriage more than sex? The answers you get will point you to the values and pillars that make a good relationship. Sometimes, due to age, illness, or other reasons, sex becomes impossible; but marriage has to soldier on.

The second question is: “What should you do if your man is acting suicidal?” Could this be a trick he is using to trap you? You are not the one who gives your fiancé life.

If he truly loves you, he should also respect your decisions. Living in fear will only aggravate your situation. In fact, there is no fear in love. What is happening is that he has trapped you, not only with fear but also through his abusive language.

I pray that you will be wise enough to seek urgent help from a counsellor together if this man really wants you for his wife. Or take some time to speak to him openly about your future. For this to happen, you need to overcome his threats of hurting himself.

Think of your future and the future of your children. Finally, prayer has a way of soothing wounds and removing fear. I believe that as you take time to pray, God will whisper into your ear just what you need to hear.


I am 47 years old and the mother to three grown up daughters. While attending a local private girls’ boarding school, I developed a habit that is tearing my marriage apart and causing havoc on my mental health; I became a lesbian.

I have lived a double life for 27 years without my husband knowing about it. His schedule keeps him away from home most of the year. At any given time, I have a partner recruited from the many chamas I belong to.

Every time I hug my daughters, I have a powerful urge to initiate them into the lifestyle. I have lost interest in being intimate with my husband and he is now threatening to marry another wife. Should I confess my other life to him to save my marriage?


It is clear that you see your habit as spoiling your marriage, a mental issue, and a threat to your daughters. It looks to me like you have all the reasons to stop the habit.

Confessing to your husband without the will and determination to change will not help. First, you must be in agreement on the negative consequences the habit has on the family. Second, you must be willing and ready to change your habit.

I am a believer in the idea that “when we confess our sins to one another, we are able to find healing and support”. Our desire to confess brings us the reality of walking in the real light. And with this reality comes the consequences of the exposed bad habits. Remember that your daughters will be as great as you.

Dear Philip,

I am 28 years old. I have been married for the past three years and have a two-year-old son. In my first year of marriage, my husband, who is 10 years older than me, had an affair with his ex-girlfriend.

When I confronted him, he denied everything despite overwhelming evidence. I recalled that just before we got married, I received an anonymous text message that said that my husband and his girlfriend were expecting a child. He denied the allegations. I was naive and I now know I should have dug deeper.

After we got married, my husband would get phone calls and text messages in the night but refuse to answer any questions about them. He would not give me money and sometimes I would go without lunch and walk a long distance to work despite the fact that I was pregnant with his child. During this time, he was emotionally distant and would not want to touch me.

In fact he would laugh at me when I asked if we could get intimate. After the birth of my son, things were bad. There was a time when my son was very sick but my husband refused to take him to hospital.

This year, things have normalised. Sometimes he is sweet, loving, and kind, but sometimes he withdraws and becomes distant emotionally. He has never hit me, though. He is always short of cash but is generous to his friends and relatives.

I work but my salary is not enough. I have an MBA but my husband once wanted me to leave work and live on his upcountry farm. Honestly, I have never felt so low and useless.

Our sex life is boring; it has always been. We only get intimate once in two or three weeks. I usually do not feel satisfied and I let him know, calmly and respectfully, but there is no improvement. I was a virgin when I got married because I believe in the sanctity of marriage.

I feel hurt, cheated, and ashamed of myself, and annoyed with God. I was a staunch Catholic but have lost my faith. I do not trust my husband at all and do not want to have more children with him, although he wants another child.

I feel that he will abandon me some day. I started drinking just to prove to myself that I can actually do it.

I want out of this marriage. What is the benefit of a marriage if you cannot trust the man in your life? I need to feel loved and appreciated. However, although I want to leave, I often second-guess myself.

I know that your organisation is pro-marriage and I highly respect that, but I feel stuck. I have suggested counselling but my husband has refused. I know time is the healer of everything, but I cannot seem to think of anything other than my failing marriage.

I even forget simple and important things and am worried this will affect my health in the near future.

Please help.


You definitely have been hurt by the way you were treated and taken advantage of. This is contrary to the expectations we have of those we love and who claim to love us.

But forgiveness is an action that places before us two choices. We can choose to let go of the pain and trust again regardless of past injustices, or we can choose revenge.

The pain, bitterness, and anger you are going through will have negative effects on you and your relationships. Although the anger and the pain we feel seem to work for us, there are many dangers of unforgiveness that such pains blind us to.

John Nieder and Thomas Thomson, in their book Forgive and Love Again, agree that forgiveness is God’s command to us. When we fail to forgive, many things can go wrong. For example:

Unforgiveness has a way of imprisoning you in your negative past and making you a captive of “what could have been”.

Unforgiveness breeds bitterness and regret that are attributed to the unjust treatment we have received.

As a God-fearing person, unforgiveness gives Satan an open door to torment you with past negative feelings concerning the person who hurt you.

Unforgiveness hinders fellowship and intimacy.

When you truly deal with such unforgiveness, it will be easier to rebuild intimacy. But remember, forgiveness is a choice, and we are dealing with people who are flesh and blood and could fail.

To walk this road, therefore, you have to deal with your fears and misgivings concerning whether or not you will be hurt again. The facts are that your husband cheated on you, took advantage of you, and emotionally abused you.

But the reverse can be true. Healing and a bright future can be a reality depending on how you deal with the past and its consequences. 

In moments of suspicion and bitterness, what we never think about is the blessedness of forgiving those who have hurt us deeply.

We have to remember that it feels better to blame than to forgive because forgiveness seems to give the offender a “clean bill of health” that he does not deserve.

In fact, the offender deserves punishment and pain. For many people, it feels more logical to deny forgiveness because this makes us feel like the offender is being paid back for what they did.

But when we prayerfully deal with the need to forgive and invite restoration, then fellowship will be given a chance to thrive.

Submission is vital in any marriage and a lot has been written on this subject. The foundational principle for submission is the need for man and woman to mutually submit to each other.

We must realise that spouses are individuals with needs, gifts, and talents that need to be inspired to fullness. A woman who feels she is being taken advantage of will find it difficult to submit. You have not submitted to your man if you are:


1THE CONTROLLING WIFE: In any relationship, submission is the basis for unity and the building of oneness. The lack of such submission by a wife will be seen in her approach to life.

She will be quarrelsome and start a fight on almost any issue. Husbands in this kind of relationship have to give explanations for almost everything they do, and decision-making is difficult.

Where the man is weak, such a wife becomes controlling.

Submission must be voluntary and from the heart. People who instal speed detectors in their cars are generally not truly submissive to speed limits, and the gadgets’ job is to remind them how fast they are going.

When a wife submits out of duress, such submission does not last.

Submission reminds us that we are called to servant-leadership; thus, submission is the surrendering of our independence. As a result, marriage calls for “living for the other”, not for self.

True submission will thrive best on principles and values that foster health, not on endless rules that soon cause decay.

2THE DEMANDING WIFE: If a wife does not win first place in her husband’s heart, he will lose her. A woman’s energy reaches an exponential high when she feels truly loved and protected. Such love is beyond words and simple actions; it is the sacrificial love God wants a man to show a woman.

This kind of a love lays down its ego and self-preservation and makes a choice to spur the woman to greatness. Every woman is wired for such love.

But there are women who get into marriage with the “men are all the same” mindset. Such an attitude says, “You must fight for your space in the marriage.”

Upbringing and socialisation could have contributed to such an attitude. In such a situation, each spouse wants his or her voice to be the loudest.

Another person’s idea, suggestion or proposal will always be treated with suspicion; there is no satisfaction. A man caught in such a web will always feel tired of the constant demands that border on nagging. He would rather be absent than hear all these demands.

3THE UNHAPPY WIFE: True submission is undermined by insincere, stereotype practices — submission defined by one’s rigid and well-orchestrated practices rather than a matter of the heart.

Happiness comes from a sincere heart that finds pleasure in blessing others, not a stingy and selfish one. A truly submissive wife seeks her husband’s best interest at her own expense.

Just like husbands are not called to only love a wife who is perfect, wives are not called to submit to perfect husbands. As a result, such submission could almost be seen as painful and causing unhappiness, particularly if the man is not appreciative.

Unhappy wives are always brooding or complaining over something. They never really feel satisfied with what their men do. Since a wife is key to the ambiance of the home, her attitude and mood is soon reflected in all that happens in the house.

Flattery, shallow talk, outbursts of anger, denials, and keeping a distance from each other can influence the mood, too.

However, we have to understand that true submission does not guarantee a life of no pain, no suffering, and total happiness, but is based on an attitude and outlook seeking to put the interests of our partner ahead of our own.

4THE FEARFUL WIFE: Men who are harsh, controlling, and unappreciative of their wives’ position in the relationship tend to cause fear. As a result, a wife will feel as if her life will be under the control button of the man if she submits, so she withdraws.

Perfect love casts out all fear because there is no fear where true love abounds. Men must, therefore, cultivate a climate that makes it easier for their wives to build trust in their leadership.

This makes a wife’s submission easier. Just like men thrive when they know that their wives trust them, admire them, and believe in them, wives blossom where they are not taken advantage of, feel valued, and are appreciated for who they are. Fear paralyses a wife and makes her hold back instead of giving her all.