Love And Culture: A Story Of The Challenges Of Intertribal Marriage

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The definitive concept of love cuts across all cultural, tribal and ethnic divides and, this is because love isn’t restricted to a particular sphere. In regards to culture, lots of parents tend to stand in the way of their children or dependent from getting along with and/or marrying their choice spouse and, this has led to lots of mishaps in most marriages today. Some parents will tell you straight up not to have anything to do with a particular person; not because he/she is a bad person or isn’t good enough but because of the tribe the person hails from.

You hear things like “that girl you want to marry is a Calabar girl and, the ladies from her side are very promiscuous” or “this Hausa guy you want to marry, I don’t approve of him. Hausa men are terrorists in disguise and, they can’t stay with one wife”. These mentions are part of the huge misconceptions that have graced our world today and, if we don’t act fast to curb this menace, it’ll sink deep and wreck more havoc than good.

A story was told sometime ago about a USA-trained doctor who just got back into the country and wanted to marry as soon as possible because age was no longer on his side. He already had a fiance he was dating back then in America and, his plan was to introduce her to his parents on his return so that marriage plans could commence immediately. On arriving his family house in Nigeria with his fianceè, he introduced her to his parents as the woman he wants to spend the rest of his life with. Not too long after the family meet and greet, his mother pulled him to a corner and asked him where his lady came from. The instant he mentioned she was Yoruba, his mum screamed “tufiakwa” in disapproval. “There’s no way your father and I will let you get married to an outsider. Onye aa bu ndi ofe mmanu (these people use red oil to cook their food) and, she’s not good enough for you”.

Photo of intertribal marriage

Unknown to them, the young man’s fianceè was listening to their conversation all the while and, it broke her to pieces. She couldn’t believe what she just heard. All she wanted was to get married to her man and they live happily; especially since she was three months pregnant for him. They truly did love each other but, tribal sentiments was just about to separate them. When the young man had finished his meeting with his mum, he quickly went to meet his lady to tell her what happened but, unfortunately, she already knew what was going on. That same evening, they had a meeting with the man’s parents and, they mentioned that since the lady is Yoruba from Lagos state and the guy, an Igbo breed from Anambra state, they can’t let them get married cos, to them, Anambra men don’t marry outsiders.

Confusion set in. Panic and tension rent the air. It felt like their world was crumbling right before them and, they just had to find a way out. While they got set to sleep at night, the lady told her man that she was finally going to open up to his parents about the pregnancy cos, she can’t bear her child out of wedlock. They actually didn’t want to put either of their parents in the know about the pregnancy yet until they were done with all the traditional customary rites of marriage but, with the current situation at hand, they were left with no other choice than to spill the tea. The next morning, another meeting was held based on the marriage matter and, the lady finally opened up to her would-be parents in-law that she’s carrying their son’s seed.

It took a while for the parents to digest what she said but, after all was said and done, they had no choice than to step back from their previous stance of not allowing their son get married to an “outsider” (like they termed it). It was at this point that their son gave his parents the full lowdown of how much of a great person his fianceè was and still is to him, how she assisted with him getting his work permit and, how she’s stood in for him many times.

Having heard the touching story, his parents had a change of heart and they began to look their daughter inlaw from an entirely different perspective. They got to see her as a sweet soul who had nothing but love for their son and genuinely wanted to so end the rest of her life with him. Within the space of one month, the entire marriage rites – traditional, statutory and church wedding, was conducted and this was because, the groom’s family didn’t want their son’s wife’s pregnancy to shoot out too much so, everything had to be done fast. 2 months after the entire wedding, the couple jetted back to the USA and continued with their lives there.

Wherever a bride or a groom hails from shouldn’t be an issue as to why they shouldn’t be allowed to marry their choice spouse. Whether it’s a Yoruba guy marrying a Yoruba lady or, an Igbo girl marrying an Hausa guy, what should be considered is if the couple truly love each other, they are compatible and want to be with each other. Bridging the gap in terms of trans-cultural marriage should be based on these abovementioned factors and not the other way round. Love knows no race, tribe, ethnic group or colour.

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