Can I Marry My Uncle?

Q. My mother passed away November 2006. Her sister (my aunt) passed away March 2007. In our grief my uncle (my aunt’s husband) and I became close. He wants to marry me. I can only do this if it is acceptable to God. What is God’s word on this issue? I am 51 years old and I don’t know what to do.

A. Your uncle is neither your mother’s or father’s brother so there’s no legal problem, since the two of you are not biologically related.

According to Lev. 18:12-14 sexual relations with a parent’s sibling or that sibling’s spouse were prohibited in Israel. But these laws were given in the context of unlawful sexual relations, not marriage. When your aunt died, your uncle’s covenant of marriage with her was dissolved and he’s now free to marry again.

Abraham married his half sister. His son Isaac married Abraham’s niece. Jacob married two sisters. Joseph and Mary were cousins, although far removed. These unions were blessed by God. It might be considered unusual for you to marry your aunt’s former husband, but it’s not illegal and as I see it, it’s not contrary to God’s law.

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