by Angel Avilès 4/2/09
In a previous article, I sought to dismantle the dearly held myths surrounding cousin couples. My findings were the result of my own love story with a long adored
first cousin with whom I am at last--blissfully and gratefully--in a relationship.
As expected, the pathway to our blessed union was wrought with moments of inward turmoil. Conditioned to believe that such relationships were incestuous, we never acted upon the blossoming feelings that had beset us since early childhood. When we rediscovered one another following a 14 year separation, however, that love was undeniably--and frighteningly--intact. Still shackled by old and unchallenged falsehoods, all of my previous, internal struggles resurfaced. Nevertheless, my adulthood afforded me a luxury that had eluded me as an impressionable child: I was capable of reaching my own conclusions through objective investigation and thoughtful consideration.
Thirty-two years following our official introduction, I was finally forced to confront what
I was feeling toward my cousin.
As I gradually informed myself of the religious, legal, and genetic ramifications of cousin romances, all of my self-imposed barriers were razed. As a Christian desiring to abide by the law and live responsibly, I was relieved to discover that my apprehensions were unfounded. Armed with this newfound knowledge, I was infused with an unwavering religious conviction and a clear conscience that prepared me to joyously receive my cousin's profession of love.
I was likewise prepared to boldly confront family members with the truth about our relationship. After reading tales of woe in which cousins spent years hiding their relationships and dwelling in fear of being discovered, I was adamant not to follow suit. I would not be swayed by voices of dissent.
For those among you in a similar situation, you must settle within your own mind that your relationship is not inherently sinful. Any painful vacillations will severely compromise your ability to stand firm against opposition, thus crippling your relationship. If your conscience is not clear, please do not invite unnecessary heartache by embarking on a romantic relationship with your cousin.
When you approach your relatives about your relationship, do so with a gentle, caring,
and respectful attitude. Demonstrate your love for them as you calmly but firmly state
your case. Present them with specific facts instead of mere general knowledge. In this way, you are proving that your decision has been thoughtfully weighed and has not been arrived at in a haphazard fashion. If they vehemently
disagree with you, strive to listen to and comprehend their viewpoints, but do not
allow yourself to be coerced into forfeiting a relationship you know to be genuine,
caring, and free of wrongdoing.
Although some unsupportive family members may resort
to threats and other scare tactics, make it clear that you have made your decision and that it is your hope they will someday
accept it. There have been cases in which family members are initially against the
relationship but eventually embrace it (or at least tolerate it) because they witness
the couples' refusal to back down.
When speaking with friends or acquaintances, do so at your own discretion. You may decide
to let everyone know that your spouse is your cousin, yet it is not necessary that everyone be privy to such information. This is not
a question of shame or concealment, but of discernment.
If you are in love with your cousin but have not yet revealed your feelings, please
take the time to carefully consider the potential consequences of such a revelation.
Has your cousin given you any indication of feeling similarly? Are you certain your
sentiments are founded in love and not an ephemeral infatuation? Do you believe that
you possess the maturity to withstand the possible onslaught of negativity that may
come your way? If your family disapproves, are you in a place of independence so that
they cannot somehow hinder your relationship? Are you willing to risk the loss of
any bond you may currently enjoy with your cousin if he or she does not react positively
to your confession? Are you willing to risk the possibility that your cousin may not
only reject your love, but discuss what you have disclosed to other family members?
Depending upon your own inventory of these questions, you can either remain silent
or approach your cousin in one of two ways: directly, or in a manner that for some
has proved to be a safer, less intimidating prospect. For example, you may say something
to the effect of, "If you weren't my cousin, we would be perfect for one another."
Some have used this or similar statements in order to "test the waters." My own dear
cousin bravely gauged my response by lovingly saying, "Please do not be angry, but
if you were not my cousin, I would have married you by now." If it had been possible
at the moment, I would have passionately kissed him then and there for his courage!
Yet the feeling had always been intensely mutual.