Thursday, 9 October 2014

Conversations with One: Must Love My Family - Yay or Nay?

Hi and welcome to this week's edition of Conversations with One! *cue music*

A little introduction for first-timers:

Conversations with One is a chat-series on the blog.

Each week, the 1 + TheOne panel (made up of beloved and very wise friends with a variety of personalities) and I bring you snippets of our 'round-table' discussions from a male/female perspective.. We talk about any and every thing!!

First, let's take a selfie! source
Ladies! Have you ever wanted to get into the mind of a guy? (I know I do! lol), and for guys, I bet once in a while you wish you could just read her mind! Well hopefully week after week, we get to bridge that gap!

You can have a look at the last conversation where had a very lively discussion on the importance and role of money in relationships/marriages. You can read it and other previous episodes HERE.

Ok, so today's discussion is from a question/dilemma:

"My fiancé is absolutely amazing and I thank God for him. The only thing that concerns me about our relationship is that he doesn't quite get along with my family members. They talk quite alright but he doesn't really go out of his way to get to know them or bond with them. I'm really close to my family and I wonder, should I be worried??"

So ladies and gentlemen, here we have it - 

How important is it for your Partner or SO to get along with your family? Can it be a deal breaker for you?

As always, candid and very brief responses will be wonderful! Please give personal/real-life examples where possible.

Let's talk!


NubianPrincess: It's a pretty sensitive one to be honest... I'm insanely close to my family and so I would like my SO to have some sort of a close relationship with them, same as I would strive to have with his family BUT within plenty reason.

I once dated this dude, guy told me one day, that I was too close to my family, especially my sis and I shouldn't share so much with them... For some reason it rang alarm bells in my head. Needless to say, the relationship didn't work out.

Mr NumeroUno: Please who/what is SO?

One: Lol, Numero Uno! SO is your Significant Other = Fiance/Serious Relationship person as first introduced used here by NubianPrincess...

Ms PumpkinUnited: SO is a 'koro' term for Significant Other, as in your 'boo of life' as in your 'chocomilo', as in your 'kuchykuchy'...

Mr NumeroUno: Lol. I love Chocomilo

I love you like Chocomilo!
One: Lol.. MsPumpkinUnited, that's where we will see you in action!

NubianPrincess: Lol..
You see, I'm not unreasonable, I don't expect all the details of my married life or relationship to be shared with family but there can be some danger in isolation, and when a man tries to 'isolate' a woman from her family or create some enmity there, one should shine eye ooh!

One: It's true, bells should start ringing loudly if a man or woman is trying to isolate you from your family!

NubianPrincess: A friend dated this guy who used to abuse her - physically and emotionally. Step one was to isolate her from her family and friends. Then he started bending her to his will slowly, 'lovingly' and forcefully. Then abuse started. She became a shadow of herself in a very short time.

While I'm a firm believer in hubby dearest being numero uno in my life after God, I also think that women especially need a firm support system in place for after they're married and this can be in the form of biological family, church family or trusted friends.

A strong support system = Very important!
Mr Agbalagbaski: I agree with Nubian, not alarm bells only, but war bells should be ringing! One of my tests (I hope you agree with me that tests are allowed right?! if you agree let me hear you say 'Whoooop Whooooop!!!') is that before things get serious I do a siblings test. if there's no connection then it's a warning sign for me.

                                                           Apply with supporting documents please

One: Whoop Whoop!!! I agree with you on tests lol.. That's a definite one for me.... I have to definitely watch the way the person relates with my family.. If it's not there, that is F9..
I am sorry, I do expect the 'going out of your way to be good to them' and cultivating their friendship. If you knew me, you would know that that's hugely important to me! So if the interest in them is tepid like the question suggests, I would feel very uncomfortable being in that relationship.

Mr Agbalagbaski: We are taught in pre-marriage class that what you get in courtship will be overflowing in marriage. What's at stake here in marriage - A) He'll tolerate your family. B) Don't expect him to change suddenly.
In response to the question, I would strongly prescribe the following:

  1. Heart to heart discussion to find out the root cause of the actions (not 'naggingly' but with wisdom).
  2. Find out if there are things that you are doing that's making him/her uncomfortable/threatened.
  3. Pay close attention to him/her when you're at your family (study his/her body language) you will generally know some tell-tale signs.
  4. Make sure that he/she is inclusive in conversations.
  5. If you are not from the same tribe, take extra time/care to interpret/ reduce the language he doesn't understand.

The only person that can change is you. the answers to the question aren't straight-forward but there are things for both parties to consider if the relationship is truly worthwhile. having done all to make peace and he/she still doesn't budge, then re-consider the relationship because you are heading for a lonely relationship.

No one should be in this position
One: Nice one Counsellor Agbalagbaski! I am taking notes myself as some of the things you listed above are things I could take for granted... Thanks!

Ms PumpkinUnited: Quite an interesting topic.. Permit me to indulge in a bit of holistic plagiarism, NubianP actually spoke my mind.. I also believe that there's a reasonable extent to which SOs should get along with each others family, it must not be that kuchykuchy kinda bonding in all long as they relate well, they don't have to be besties cause it is not something to be forced, some people are good at that going the extra mile thingy to bond and do 'parakpo' things and others are not, it doesn't mean that they disregard family.. The bonding will happen if it will.. as long as my SO is not trying to isolate me from my family or does not appreciate nor show respect to my family, we are cool.. but note that if he treats your family like trash, he will treat you worse than trash..

One: Haaa the extra-mile thingy is a BIG criteria for me ohh! Very big.. Infact, you need to get to them to get to me.. Plus it helps that my family are absolutely amazing (:-D) so if you don't get along with them, I suspect you lol

Go the extra-mile, even if it means wearing something 'special'
Ms PumpkinUnited: I would really love for them to all get along really well and bond really well like one big happy family, you know, eat poundo and okro soup together from one plate ..but hey, it's enough for them to get along, all the other going the extra mile is cool and of course desirable but then its not a criteria for me, or yardstick..some people just bond from the word GO while others bond little by little overtime..

Mr Motivation: For me, I feel that how one's SO regards your family mainly depends on the perception they have about how you relate to your family i.e. if the bond between you and your family members are tight, it is expected that the SO should endeavour to establish a sound relationship with them as well. So I recommend that people should avoid slagging off their family members before their SO just because of a moment of disagreement with a given family member. The impression you create of a family member can be lasting.... However, I totally trail down the lines of thought of Ms Hope, in the sense that if you indeed truly love your SO, the love should be in whole and not in parts given that he/she comes from a family.

If you don't have anything good to say, say nothing
One: Preach!  I love that angle! I think the way you portray your family matters so much! Even if they are not 'all that' at the moment, still try to 'big' them up.. In the long run, it pays a lot.

Ms Hope: It's important for my sweetheart to be in sync with the family I'm coming from. Some people might be indifferent about this but for people like me who grew up in a closely knitted family, it means a lot. I should embrace his family while he embraces mine.

The guy/girl who truly cares will go out of his/her way to develop a relationship with the other's family/siblings because he/she should be aware of how important it is to his/her sweetheart.

One: Yes Madam Sweetheart :-D

Mr Motivation: Having said that, some families may tend to be more difficult than others due to reasons best known to them eg tribe, religion, past history, exposure, or other personal biases or shortcomings etc but it doesn't eliminate the role of the SO attempting to keep a good relationship with the family. I know of a couple that despite several attempts of the lady to get along with some members of the hubby's family, it seems to be be futile but she still endeavours to reach out and I believe with time she will break through. Love conquers all things.

One: Amen oh! Sometimes, some families are very difficult! However, I believe that love for your partner would inspire you to try as much as possible to get along with them + God says so - "As long as it lies with you, be at peace with all men" Romans 12:18 (Even the 'ayamatangas!' < Sorry no known English translation for this one :-D)

Left < Example of an Ayamatanga family member lol - You have to love them still though :-)
And that's it from us.. I would be interested to see if there's anyone who has seen or experienced situations where getting along with one's partner's family members was particularly difficult.. Also, in addition to Mr Agbalagbaski's very helpful tips, what other things do you think could help to build relationships between families?
Plus, is it even important to bother at all?


  1. I once read a really good book by Joshua Harris called "Boy Meets Girl". Here are a few lessons I learnt from it concerning family/community:

    1. Community reminds us of reality. In a family, you usually behave the "real way", no masks, no pretending. If a SO treats his siblings or parents disrespectfully but treats you like a princess, it is only a matter of time until he (or she) will change behaving towards you like he or she behaves towards his family / friends now. Esp. family provides a real life context where you can see how he or she behaves with kids, parents, other people. Since dating is sometimes very different from "real life", it is important to create these kind of scenarios.
    Also: if you are totally in love, you can sometimes be blind to obvious facts. Family members and friends can help you point out some things you might ignore.

    2. God designed community. We need one another - God never intended a "let's shut everyone one and care about no one"-partnership. We need accountability, encouragement, advice etc. - How do you expect these things to flourish if you only have "face 2 face" dates.

    3. Community provides protection: NubianPrincess already said it - if a girl is isolated from her family and friends, the boy can do anyhow.

    4. Community can multiply joy: I believe it is beautiful when not only a couple can celebrate their marriage, but also the families and community involved. You can share lots of moments together once you invite families and friends to be part of your life.

    For me, this area might be even more important than the last one we discussed (money). Since people are so important to me, I want my SO to get along with them and enjoy them as well, instead of ONLY focussing on me. Let's say we go to a party and my SO only stands by me and makes no effort whatsoever to connect with others, then I'd feel rather restricted. Of course I want to try the same for her, but some things flow quite naturally for me so I don't worry about it too much. Maybe it is also a matter of personality, we should not forget that factor and don't expect too much at times.

    Alright, good night everyone :D

    1. I have heard so much about that book yet never had the opportunity to read it! (It's in my 'to-read' list though) Thanks for sharing those very useful points from it.
      Point 1 - Spot on... I don't buy into I love you, it's them that have a problem.. In my mind I am thinking, if we ended up together, one day I will also be your family! So the importance you attach to family is important to me.. What you can do or cannot do to them is probably going to be my fate in the near future..

      I am so with you on this comment! No isolation at all.. Even beyond family, being able to relate with my friends is also an important quality.. When I was younger I was not as wise lol.. I was a proper boyfriend 'attache' but as I have grown older, I have come to realise and deeply appreciate the different but significant roles SO, family members and good friends play in one's life.

  2. First things first i'm always curious to know how the SO gets along with his own family. then also how he interacts with my family depends on the impression i give both parties abt each other. i have been in a relationship where my family did not like the bf and it really did affect the relationship. he on his own part kept avoiding my family as well. of cos we all know how that ended. everybody hit the free way.

    1. Very true.. It is important to observe how he/she relates or treats his/her own family.. It would tell a lot as to how they would possibly treat yours.

  3. that a big deal to me, because i am all about my family so if i sense that in him it just wont work

  4. I can understand where you are coming from because I feel that way too..

  5. I love my family so much and I wouldn't trade them for anything. No matter how difficult anyone's family can be, any SO should just try and accommodate them no matter what. It may not be a well bonded relationship but at least, the lines of communication should be open.
    If you have ever watched "Diary of a mad black woman", you would have seen that the abusive husband made sure his wife's communication with her family was barred. It's enough suspicion for me if an SO will try to be a disruption between him and my family.
    Well, this is African and there have always been family issues and in law palava but as the Bible notes Live peaceably with all men.
    At the end of the day, Love conquers all.
    Never throw your family away because of any SO...Beware of such SOs that will not try to broker peace with your own family.

    1. Amen to that!!
      Thanks for reminding us about Diary of a Mad Black Woman... Isolation as it as been mentioned previously gives abundant room for abuse.. It may not happen in all cases but it means that if it does occur, there's no one to stand up for you or even make you see sense (if you are blinded by love)..

  6. Ha, family is important o. If the don't like you, it is a red flag, especially if the guy is one that cannot cover his wife well. If the guy is trying to isolate you, you are in deep soup if you stick with him. I'm a really private person, so you won't see me jumping from family member to family member, but it is really important o.

    Besides Ayo, I have a question for you sef. *winks*

    1. Exactly... The man that does not cover his girl is to be feared!

      Please warris the question, I am all ears :-D


You know you want to say something :-)