Marriage is a fundamental ritual in Nigeria. In some cultures even nowadays divorces are forbidden, so to marry – means to choose your life companion. Two lovers must accept the marriage, parents must take it, and even society must support it. But there have always been some troubles with the marriage. We are speaking, of course, about problems of inter-ethnic marriage in Nigeria. So what are they and how can you overcome them.
Problems of inter-tribal marriage in Nigeria
First of all, it is necessary to say that people of diverse cultures do not create all issues of inter-ethnic marriage. Ethnic groups in multicultural Nigeria get on well together, but sometimes relations between cultures in Nigeria are somewhat challenging.
Since the rest of the conflicts happen on the field of power, it can also be observed that conflict is stronger at the top than at the bottom of the social system. Inter-ethnic violence would not have been so widespread if the leaders had worked hard to stop it.
The other challenges of inter-tribal marriage can be easily overcome if couples love to each other.
- Differences in Сulture may appear in the situations concerning taboos and norms, etiquette, naming, talking, burial and attitude to life. The problems may arise not only between spouses but also between their families.
- Differences in languages may lead to simple misunderstanding. But in Nigeria, almost everybody speaks English, so this is not a significant problem.
- Differences in food may provoke conflict in inter-ethnic marriage in Nigeria as well. A man may accuse his new wife of preparing tasty food. He may also compare her dishes with his mother`s or sister`s. Such order of things may offend any woman.
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- Differences in beliefs and customs. For instance Igbo more nature-oriented beliefs may differ from philosophic Bini beliefs. Maybe this is not such a crucial problem, but for particular personalities, it may be essential.
- Different festivals and anniversaries may also be a problematic moment. For example festivals of the Igbo do not coincide with celebrations of the Bini. And even their worshiping, so to say, notions, differ. So family may fail to celebrate together.
- Differences in religion may cause conflicts in the family where at least parents of one of the spouses are religious. It also excludes the possibility of the religious wedding in the church for the groom and bride.
- Old inter-tribal hatred. It is quite a rare situation in the 21st century, but it still can exist. In ancient times, many tribes fought against each other, each tribe wanted to rule over others, to get territory or just prove to be the best among others. Such hatred also caused personal and family conflicts that theoretically may remain today.
- Differences in mode of dressing. The question of modesty, colours, and even tissues is crucial here. A woman involved in the inter-tribal marriage may expect from her husband or future husband a request to dress the way that is accepted in his culture. For example, a man from the Efik-Ibibio may ask a woman from the Hausa-Fulani to dress in a less expressive way, or to choose a wedding dress typical for his region.
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10 ways we can promote inter-ethnic marriage in Nigeria
The reason why inter-ethnic marriages are beneficial for the country is the idea of Nigerian national unity. The more inter-ethnic marriages in Nigeria, the less parted the state is. So here are ten ways to promote and stimulate inter-ethnic marriages:
- Cultural integration. The Nigerian ethnic groups have a common trait – English language. There is a need to organize more intercultural festivals in the capital or other big cities, to introduce universal symbolic, and common etiquette. In other words, to find more common traits for all cultures.
- Stimulation of inter-ethnic marriage on the governmental level. To give some prize for such kind of marriage or a reward.
- Media announcements. There must be more news, articles, and reports about the best and happy intercultural marriages to create a normal and accepted image of such kind of union for people .
- Internet propaganda has excellent power in the questions connected with the trends. All you need to do – is to be active in your positive feedbacks about intercultural unions and also active in your judgments of racism and intercultural hatred.
- Take part in manifestations. Manifestations are needed to pay attention to the problem, to make people notice it and think about it. Write slogans and make flyers with the inscriptions like: “I am not Igbo/Yoruba/Edo…, I AM NIGERIAN.” Manifest against the leaders who promotes intercultural hatred, and boycott the media that do the same destructive things.
- Nobody forbids you to date or marry a woman/man from your culture. But try to get acquainted or date a person from another ethnic group, just to widen your worldview. This way you may contribute to the inter-ethnic marriage on your own.
- Cultural exchange Travel more, meet new people! Besides, if you already have a family with children, tell them stories of other cultures and form their normal attitude to the co-existence with other ethnic groups.
- Educate yourself. Read more about different Nigerian cultures, watch videos or even learn the language of another ethnic group. The more you are educated, the more positive things you see around you, the broader your worldview is!
- Promote your culture among other cultures. Become a volunteer in schools, in public organizations. Show that there are no boundaries between the cultures as long as you all are the Nigerians. Tell the stories of happy marriages, tell about the ways to overcome intercultural gaps.
- Ruin strong ethnic stereotypes. Make videos and simply financially support the films promoting the idea of intercultural and even interracial love. Show these films to your friends, parents, and grandparents. Do your best to ruin old fashioned discriminating thoughts!
So, despite all intercultural differences, see the beauty of Nigeria’s diversity. Try to accept this diversity regarding culinary, festivals, etiquette, beliefs, values, religion, and attitudes. Think of a possibility to share your life with a partner from a culture different from yours. Regard the marriage with a person from a different ethnic group as a beautiful thing.
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