By: Peris Wambugu


Couples need to agree on how to live with relatives, the boundaries that must be kept and we must do it in one voice. I know especially for some communities immediately they hear you have a two bedroom house, they come flocking in, others are genuine they are coming to look for jobs, where you live is close to their college –THE PROBLEMS OF HOSTING RELATIVES 

  1. Do not send away your house help and turn your visitor into one and that was not your agreement. I have seen relatives doing all the household chores before leaving for college, they then come to cook, supper wash dishes and then do their school assignments and read for exam late into the night. You are taking advantage and The Most High can see it.

  2. Do not displace your children from their beds for the relatives, your home belongs to your children first, let the visitor do with what is available e.g mattress on the floor. Unless the visitor is elderly or sickly. This is how you kill your children’s esteem if any time you have visitor’s they give up their beds.

  3. Do not encourage laziness and irresponsibility from your visitors.

a) Your wife or house help should not be overloaded doing laundry for grown up visitors. some relatives think this is my brother’s house, so they sit and watch TV all day as your wife cooks and cleans for them, she is your wife not theirs. Your helper is employed to look after you and your children not lazy relatives asking “if Jane cleaned my shoes? this is not acceptable.

b) they come with a host of friends take refreshments and leave the house in a mess for your help or wife to do the cleaning, again not acceptable.

c) They sleep up to 10a.m on mattress in sitting room, wife or helper wonders how to go on their normal duties. This is not to be encouraged.

d) Some come back home drunk and call for your sleeping wife or house help to open the door, then they vomit all over the place for your wife or help to clean the mess. Definitely not acceptable.

  1. As a host, do not encourage a relative you are living with to badmouth your spouse, he/she will never replace your wife or husband. Some may even mock you saying; “It seems your wife does not respect you, you are even changing diapers my brother! You should have married Abscondita the village beauty, your modern wife is too lazy.”

  2. Another habit that must not be encourage, is using your spouse or house help as personal cook. Imagine your relative buys two eggs and then instructs your wife or help to cook and then they go ahead to eat it alone. Tell them if they think that if they need meat or whatever, they should buy for all, if not, don’t buy at all.

  3. The worst has to do with finances, and it is done in secret. They call you aside ask for an extra N5,000 for an emergency, and because you are their sister or brother, you give it to them, without your spouses knowledge. Some have given their children school fees or money budgeted for food to relatives at the detriment of their children. This builds mistrust and leads to unneccessary fights among spouses.

  4. Another problem is when especially female relatives, want to look good in front of your husband, with an intention. It’s like they are in competition with the wife, they go ahead to be uncomfortably close to your spouse, you sensed there is something wrong, but you brush it away, because they are relatives…nothing can happen. I have heard cases where the girl even uses the man’s towel (she even removes his shoes in the evening when back from work. Later you will hear your sister or cousin is pregnant for your husband. Be alert!

  5. Some relatives are beasts, they touch the children inappropriately, introduce them to sex and homosexuality, especially if they share beds. They then threaten the kids, and if ever the kids have courage to report, you would say; aunt cannot do this! The kids esteem goes down and they stop reporting and the abuse continues. Watch out!

  6. Over staying is another issue. A relative has gotten a job three months down the line, you are still playing host. He can afford beer and entertain his friends, but cannot even buy beverage or sugar for the households. Folks! It does not matter if you are a millionaires, but show some sense of responsibility and reprove them. As hosts we need to encourage our hosts to start buying their households goods gradually, get a house and move out. That is how people progress.

There are many more behaviours that a host must never encourage. Men, you are most vulnerable, mostly because you do not want your name to spoil; you allow your wife, yourself, your finances, your children, your peace to be trampled upon.

when your wife or child complains to you, all you say is ‘that is my sister or brother, we cannot send them away. Husbands please stand up for your spouses in these matters and if they are wrong tell them in private. The people we host must be corrected by both spouses to show unity and if they prove difficult please release them without feeling guilty.

If you are being hosted and you exhibit the behaviours listed above, now you know the right thing to do. Change and if you are too high headed because it is your brother’s house now he knows he can kick you out. Some of you finish all the apples, drink all the juice that was meant to last a month…with no apologies. At times, it may be his wife who even earns more but your proud you (the relative) think that the humble woman was rescued from somewhere and she does not deserve your respect. Shame on you! You do not deserve to be hosted by them, even if she is a housewife, respect her.