Home LIFESTYLE If you can, don’t bring family into your marital home

If you can, don’t bring family into your marital home

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My wife’s junior brother lives with us. He had been living with us from the beginning of our marriage. He failed his WASSCE and was brought to the city so he could attend remedial classes and write the exams again.

He had attempted it thrice and thrice he had failed. My wife had given up on him. I overheard her telling him one afternoon: “I won’t waste my money on you again. We pay for classes and for exams, give you lorry fare and even give you pocket money when going for classes. You go and you come back with only failed papers. I’m tired of wasting money. Find something else to do.”

He went to a computer school and stopped midway. Another wasted money. When asked why he stopped, he said: “It’s too difficult plus I’m not interested in learning computers.” My wife asked: “So why didn’t you tell us from the beginning? You waited for us to pay that much so you can stop midway?” Through it all, I’d maintained silence. Family issues are dicey. One day you’ll say something without malice but it would be misinterpreted to mean something else. I don’t complain. I don’t nag about his stupidity. I only watch him around the house living like a king.

One evening, my wife suggested we should put money together and get him a small car for Uber. I told her: “I’m not going to be involved in any of that and there’s no way in hell that I would spend any amount on him. I’m tired of wasting money. I also have siblings.” She wasn’t happy about what I said but I didn’t care. It was the truth and I didn’t care how she took it. This guy lives with us, he doesn’t do anything that seeks to better his own life and the sad thing is, he doesn’t care.

He was with us when our first child was born. Now she’s six years old. He was with us when our second child was also born. He’s now four years old. He was with us when my wife got pregnant five months ago. He came to live with us when he was only 19 years old. He’s 26 going to 27. He still doesn’t care about his own life. One day I told my wife, “You’re not doing this boy any good by keeping him here. He’s not learning and he’s not growing. Send him back to the village so he would experience the life there and learn to make better choices.” My wife responded: “Is it not the village he came from? If there was something to learn, he would have learned it long ago.”

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I dropped the conversation on him and decided never to get involved with anything that has to do with him. Because of that, my wife also doesn’t tell me when she’s doing something for him. She only tells me when that thing fails. That’s their own issue.

For some time, anytime I returned from work, my kids would run to me complaining about their uncle beating them. The girl especially. She will give me a lot of details about how her uncle had treated her. You know kids and the way they exaggerate the little things so I usually brushed those complaints aside. The boy is very rowdy. Sometimes you need extra effort to control him. Even that, I’ve never laid a finger on them. One Saturday morning I was in the room reading when I heard Bam! The sound of a slap. The next thing that followed was a loud cry from the girl. I stepped out to see what was going on. She was holding her cheek, crying and pointing to her uncle saying, “Uncle has slapped me.”

I asked him: “So that sound I heard was coming from a slap? What did she do that you slapped her like that?” He said: “She was playing with the remote. I was telling her to stop but she was not minding me until she threw the remote off to the wall. She nearly broke it.” I was very angry but I maintained calm. I told him: ”This should be the last time you’ll beat any of the kids in this house. If they ever complained to me that you had beaten them, you won’t have it easy with me that day.” My wife shouted from the kitchen, ”Then tell them to behave. They are too stubborn.” 

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When I was alone with my wife I told her: “It was silly of you to think it was right for your brother to beat the kids. How many times has he written exams and failed? Did anyone beat him for failing? We paid good money for him to go to school, he dropped out. Who beat him for doing something that stupid? If anyone will train a child, it’s not him so tell him not to ever get close to my kids, or else he’ll have me to contend with.” She talked plenty that evening. I wasn’t listening. “Kids have to be trained well. If you allow kids to have their way, they’ll rot and become bad adults. The Bible says spare the rod and spoil the kids. What’s wrong if their uncle corrects them?”

One Saturday afternoon, I was in the bedroom trying to catch some sleep when again I heard bam! Followed by a loud cry from the boy. I got up and started walking to the hall. I met the boy running towards the bedroom holding his cheeks again. I started rushing towards the hall just to go and beat the hell out of him. My wife met me at the doorway, blocking me with her bulgy belly. She saw the angst in my eyes and started pleading with me to have patience. I shouted and told him: “You better start packing your things. You’re leaving this house today, else this house can’t contain the two of us.” He was there talking nonsense about what the kid did before he slapped him. 

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I rushed back to his room and started throwing his things outside. When I throw them out, my wife would bring them inside. I throw a bag out, a bag will come back inside. I warned her to stand aside but she started fighting me. “You’re throwing out his things where should he go?” I said, “He can go to hell where he can’t touch my kids I don’t care.” My wife said, “He has nowhere to go.” I said, “Great.”

They were there when I brought a carpenter in to change the locks of the house. They thought I was joking. My wife tried to stop the carpenter. I stood next to him while he kept changing all the locks in the house. The next thing I saw, she was talking to her brother on the side. The next moment I saw him packing his things. My wife said: “You don’t worry, he’ll leave tomorrow.” I said, “I’m locking my rooms today, I don’t care when he’ll leave.”

It was around 5:00 pm when I saw him carrying his things out of the room one after the other. Soon the room was empty. I locked it and kept my keys. My wife doesn’t talk to me, I don’t care.

She can’t keep silent on me forever. Whenever she’s ready to talk, I will be ready to respond. I know her parents are also angry because I overheard them over the phone with my wife discussing what happened. I don’t care what they think too. I wake up, help the kids get ready for school. In the evening, I bring them back. When the time is right, we can bring in someone else to help take care of the kids when we are away. He can’t come and kill my kids for me.

–Jonathan

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