Can I marry my brother’s ex-girlfriend?


Dear Sir,

I appreciate your website and how deep and rich your answers to pertinent questions have helped to shape people's lives.

I have been dating a lady who was once dating my younger brother. They were both in the same church, and they dated as believers with the consciousness to keep the relationship holy. They actually dated for three years, but it wasn't official in the church where they were fellowshipping. They were just considered friends. She was always going to our family's house with him. My parents knew they were both dating and would eventually marry. But there was no engagement. He didn't go to see her parents to officially engage her.

Eventually, he traveled abroad to further his studies. Six months later he wrote to her and said "It wasn't the will of God for him to marry her and that he was officially ending the relationship." This lady was devastated. She contacted me to help her talk to my younger brother. I spoke with him on several occasions, but he said "he can't go back to her." He eventually met another lady and married her.

Thus for a period of two years, I kept chatting with this lady. I realized she was a genuine born again believer who love the Lord and was very committed to her local church. I started developing a love for her and I told her. She too had been feeling the same toward me. We both decided to take some time to pray and think about it. We then agreed to start dating -- a distanced relationship.

We then decided to inform my younger brother. She first wrote to him, but he didn't reply. I then called him and spoke with him on the phone. He got angry and said he can't give us his consent and his blessings. He called my parents and told them we shall be enemies for life if I proceed to date this lady and eventually marry her. My family says they can only approve of the relationship if my younger brother gives his consent because they don't want any situation that will tear us apart.

I actually love my younger brother, and I never thought he was going to be resentful and bitter. I actually love this lady too, and I don't want to hurt her by dropping the relationship. I traveled home, and I have met her on several occasions.

How would you advise me to bring my younger brother to a place of peace and rest so that he can accept this relationship not as a threat but as a blessing? How can I make him see himself as a channel to my happiness? Both of them never had sexual intercourse. No oral sex was involved. They never saw their nakedness. But the lady told me they occasionally kissed and caressed themselves.

Thanks for your advice, sir.


It seems everyone is trying to control everyone else's life.

Your brother doesn't want you to date the girl he rejected. He sees it as a statement that he made a mistake in turning her down. Thus, he says he will not consent or bless your marriage. Oddly, neither his consent nor blessing is required for you to marry the woman of your choice. Your brother doesn't have that control over your life, so why act as if he does? Sure, it would be nice if he wished you joy in your marriage, but the only blessing required in a marriage is the blessing of God.

You want to make your brother accept your decision. I don't know why they broke up, though it sounds like it mostly was due to your brother finding someone he liked better who was close to where he currently lives. Regardless, you can't force an unreasonable person to be reasonable. You can be polite, kind, and gentle to him, but you can't make him behave that way in return.

Your parents want peace between their sons. They also state they won't consent to your marriage as a way to force you and your brother to settle your disagreement. It won't work since the problem is on your brother's side and they have no leverage over him. But like your brother, they don't have control over who you choose to marry. They can advise, but I take it that there is nothing wrong with your choice. She is a perfectly acceptable woman. The only problem is your brother's rejection, which isn't proper to hold against you or her.

The Scriptures teach, "a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh" (Genesis 2:24). To have a successful marriage, you have to disconnect from the authority of your parents so you can establish your own family. Who you marry is solely a reflection of your choice in a partner. I am assuming you are of age, and an adult man doesn't need his parents' approval to marry a woman. It is nice to have, but it isn't required.

If you are certain that this is the woman you wish to marry and live with for the rest of your lives, then you two set the wedding day, invite your family, and then it is up to them to decide whether they wish to be a part of your lives and your new family. In other words, you make the best choice that you can, get advice to consider, but ultimately this is your decision. Your parents and your brother each have their own decisions to make about whether they wish to be in your life or not. Regardless of their decisions, good or bad, life goes on.


Thank you, sir, for your timely reply. I am really encouraged by your response, and I will prayerfully reflect on your wise counsel.

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