Help! Green Card is scuttling our wedding plans

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By Nyambura Maina and Common Counsel

My partner and I have been living together for five years now and we have one child. We have been planning to wed this year and make our union official. My wife-to-be just found out that she won the US visa lottery and she is seriously considering getting the green card. I have never been drawn to living outside of Kenya. I have a good business and have invested in property as well. I am able to provide adequately for my family. My plans for the future are not set in stone, but I am sure I will not be able to come to a compromise if she decides to relocate. How can I convince her to stay?

Victor, Gilgil

Begin by weighing the pros and cons of leaving or staying. This is an important decision that will determine the direction you and your family will take. Winning the lottery presents an opportunity to start a new life and supposedly ‘live the American dream’. This is probably why your partner is excited about it. However, you prefer to lay down your roots firmly in Kenya and have already invested heavily.

Find out what it is that your partner is really drawn to in regards to winning the lottery. Is the promise of a new start coming at a time when she is unfulfilled and insecure in her relationships and her work? Having a child together increases the significance of making up your minds. A well-informed decision is preferable so try and get as much information from the relevant authorities and others who have been through similar situations. Being rigid in discussing the matter of relocation will only put up walls between you and your wife-to-be. Opening up to compromise will see to it that both parties are clearly heard and a comfortable decision arrived at. After all, if you are planning on wedding soon, then it is never too early to get started on the art of compromise.

You can read more about the green card at, and among others.

Common counsel

No need to panic

Take it easy. You don’t have to decide right away. I took over a year to travel and visit the USA before making up my mind whether to live there or not. I would advise that you find out how the living conditions are in America by going there for a visit. Getting that ‘coveted’ green card does not mean that you have to cut all links with Kenya. Many people believe that it is the best thing that can happen, but I chose not to stay there even if I won the lottery.

Carol, 37

Read between the lines

Your partner is playing the classic manipulation game. Since you have taken a while to commit to her, she sees this as a chance to get you worked up over her relocation. Why else would she be considering leaving the country and yet you provide her with everything? Women always want men to show them how much they are loved. If you go ahead and stick to your guns she will threaten to leave you. But if you plead with her to stay and marry you, that will be enough proof to her that you love her. She will make you her king after that.

Willie, 45

Don’t be swayed by others

My friend won the lottery and relocated to the States with his wife and two children. They sold all their property and moved there. In the beginning they enjoyed the experience, but now they regret letting go of all that they had here in Kenya. It is easy to get swayed by people’s opinion about the “land of milk and honey”, but a sober approach is better. Maybe when Obama wins you will enjoy it more if you decide to move.

John, 50

Stand by your woman

You should not stand in her way. Getting a green card is no joke. I myself have been trying for years now. To insist that your partner let go of such a dream is selfish on your part. Women are always giving up things for their men. A real man will support and stand by his woman in whatever she does.

Flo, 29

Set her free, keep the child

Let her go but keep the child. Women outnumber men in this population so it will be easy to get a replacement. Children, however, are yours for life. If she wants a new life that means she is bored with what she has here and that includes you. Start planning your own new life and then sit back and watch who will do the regretting.

Emmanuel, 26

Love does not seek it’s own!

Victor, it seems you have been together for a long time and, as God has blessed you with a child, you need to go on with your planned wedding. Since you would have married and still be in love, it will be easier to make a firm decision as a family. Having married you become one and together you can do wonders. Victor you are blessed to have somebody who can think big for the good of your family. Please support each other’s ideas and you will enjoy your life as a couple, for two are better than one.

Rev Mwita, Tana-River

Let her choose happiness

Victor, you providing for her is not the issue. More important is whether you will allow her to empower herself economically. After all, as you seek this advice, she is not your legal wife. She can decide to walk out on you Green card or not. Your relationship has entered a very critical moment where hard choices have to be made and her happiness is paramount. Ask her whether she would be happier with the green card or with you. Whatever she picks, that is where her happiness is. Good luck.

Ibrahim Musa

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