Very early in the morning, I was greeted by a stranger who looked straight into my eyes and said: “It is not really my fault, but I must confess that my husband does not deserve the disgrace I have just put him to”. Her name was Ella – the wife of Joel (Not their real names). Ella was famous for running a public house (brothel) before she got married to Joel. The death of her parents might be responsible for her ungodly behaviours.
Ella lost her parents to the cold hands of death during their community’s annual festival, Kenke. This left her without the usual parental care which she had enjoyed right from the time of her birth. The emptiness that was created in Ella’s life needed to be filled. According to the words of the ancient philosopher Aristotle, “Nature abhors a vacuum.” By his words, nature requires every space to be filled with something, even if that something is colourless, odourless air. This idea is in line with Jesus’ words in Luke 11:24-26.
One day as Ella was reviewing the activities of her past, she quickly stumbled into a certain event that made her question the existence of the Almighty God, that is, allowing death to snatch away her parents from her, thereby subjecting her to untold hardships. It was at this period of her life that she ran into a childhood friend who introduced her into prostitution. In the course of discharging her duties, one thing led to the other and she got pregnant. At the early stage of her pregnancy, she met with Joel and they hurriedly got married. She was delivered of her baby few months after her marriage with Joel. Her unsuspecting husband accepted the baby and was so grateful to God for His mercies.
After the arrival of the baby, Ella had an encounter with the Lord Jesus Christ and became born again. She was very happy to let me into her secret past when she walked into my office to receive counsel. It was actually a joyful period with her, but her parting words kept me thinking. Till this moment, I have not arrived at a workable idea to the issue. It has always remained a period of sober reflection for me ever since Ella thundered at me on discovering that the husband will be appearing at the next counsel session: “Don’t tell my husband that my only son has a strange paternity!” To me, it seemed as my counsel found no place in Ella’s heart. My heart has not stopped racing up and down in trying to decipher the reason behind her sudden decision, after all said and done.
However, I was able to remember an article that I read about a woman in Dallas who gave birth to twin boys that do not have the same father. Trust today’s scientists, this incident is quickly proved to be possible and they even went further to give it a medical term, heteropaternal superfecundation. Don’t bother about that jaw-breaking nomenclature, it’s probably not worth memorizing, but what we are concerned with in this place is a case of a mother who was actually pregnant before living together with her husband.
The main issue here lies in the woman’s fear of losing her child to someone outside her home thereby jeopardizing her marriage. It is no longer news that there are places today where the laws permit that children with strange paternity or children born during a marriage belong to the husband. This is to say that a married woman can have extramarital affairs or get pregnant from another man but as long as she is not divorced from her present husband, the child belongs to the husband. This woman in question is of the opinion that as long as the secret remains with her, and not disclosed to her husband or the child’s biological father, then the child belongs to her present husband.
In Africa where the birth of a son in any home serves as a guarantee for family unity, the fear is that if at last the marriage did not produce any male child, the one available will serve as a security as long as the secret is not made known. I now understand. This woman in question was not actually threatening my life, but was trying to do what an average African woman would do in her situation. When the woman in Dallas had an affair during marriage which resulted into pregnancy that produced twins, she and her husband, after noticing that the twins had different facial features, they went to a lab to get a paternity test. Whatever their reason, it was later stated that the woman had no intention of telling the other father about his son.
In that part of the world, quite like in Africa, the law seems to view twins with different paternity as no different from a married mother who just gave birth to a single son out of an affair. This, according to experts, is nothing more than “forcing” a child to a strange father (non-biological father) for the sake of family unity and the fear of leaving the child without a father. Thinking further on the matter also led me into so many conclusions, part of which is that no matter how good-intentioned this woman could be, any home that is not built on truth will eventually collapse. Therefore, I am of the opinion that the woman should make this “secret” known to her husband, because if he hears it from someone else (I am not sure if I am the only person that knows about this “secret”), the result could be fatal.
Friends, if you were in my shoes, what will you do or say? What other advice will you give to Ella? I need your support because I believe you may have some good ideas towards the solution of this problem. Again, some of you who have had the opportunity of hearing me preach, reading my books and articles, and meeting with me in person, with all you know about me, I believe we can rub minds together over this matter. You can be sure that when I say “I need your help”, I surely must be in need of your help. So, it’s up to you to sow into my life. Words are seeds, and by God’s grace, your word-seeds in form of suggestions, advice and personal opinions over this matter, will surely germinate and bear good fruits. Let me hear from you!