My fiancé and I have been together for three years. He is now living in the States and I recently discovered that he was married before we met and got a divorce about a year ago. He said he did it for his citizenship, not love, and I believe him. We are both now baptised and plan on getting married after I finish college. The issue that I am now having is that I am not sure if I can still trust him after he kept such a secret from me. I need your guidance.
There have been numerous cases of business marriages for the purpose you have indicated. Two concerns are observed here: one is dishonesty and the other is distrust.
This kind of arranged marriage as you know is illegal and it makes you wonder what else he would do to secure personal benefit. According to your report, it appears he was in a relationship with you while he was married. Concealing such critical information from you for the better part of three years does speak to trust or the lack thereof.
It is commendable that he has decided to make a change in his life and was baptised; however, it would be advisable that in the premarital sessions those issues are raised. Please don’t make the mistake of entering this very important institution without the preparation phase of premarital counselling. It is out of these sessions that your fears of settling down with him in a committed relationship are addressed.
The fact is, as he has mentioned, he never married for love and so may not understand and appreciate the emotional commitment that is involved in a real marriage.
The citizenship card will always be a constant reminder to you of his illicit behaviour. How can you be sure, he being in the US, that there is closure on the former relationship? What reassurance has he given you that he is not still involved with his ex-wife? This is where trust and honesty will have to be exercised but your doubts may well prevent you from exercising same. This is not to scare you but to open your eyes to the possibilities.
If during or after the premarital sessions you decide to go ahead with the wedding then you would have reached the place where you have weighed the pros and cons and the pros far outweigh the cons. You have to be sufficiently satisfied that the implications of his past actions will not create any marital issues down the road. And so he has the burden of convincing you that the marriage to you is genuine and based on love.
You also have to allow him time and space to make the change. Being overly sensitive and watchful of his every move is not recommended as this will create unnecessary strife that will lead to problems in the first few months of the marriage.
You all need to decide if you are going to have a long distance relationship which has its own set of challenges. Here again the matter of trust will play a vital role.
So as you contemplate making this very important life-changing decision don’t be afraid to express your concerns and please don’t ignore the red flags.
Wayne Powell is a relationship counsellor. Write to firstname.lastname@example.org.