Relationship and marriage in African society
DateAfrikan -Family Love: Any serious relationship with an African requires family approval especially if the relationship is leading to marriage. Family is an integral part of marriage in the African culture.The African culture and tradition requires the presence of Family in almost every major decision that concerns love, serious relationship and marriage. Seeking family approval is the first step for marriage, both families must agree before anything serious can take place. The influence of family on love, relationship and marriage in the African society has great positive and negative impacts. Here is a simple breakdown
Family approval is key in any serious relationship. If one of the families disagree with the decision, nothing can go on. Have you ever wondered why? The answer is very simple. A serious relationship is one that is heading towards something tangible like marriage. However, marriage in the African culture and tradition requires the presence of both families. A man must first introduce the girls to his own family for his family’s approval after which him and his family will travel to the woman’s family to seek for her hand in marriage. Both the man’s family and the woman’s family must agree on this decision before anything else can take place. Both families take into consideration the following before approving their children to continue with the marriage
- Family background. Both families must embark on a family background research before approval. They ask questions like where is our in-laws from? Their tribe, clan, religion and sometimes the entire history of the family. They will trace to know recurring family behaviors and traits. Both families dig into past, present and future political, economical, traditional, and geographical statues before making a final decision. This decision in some cases is not based on the love between the man and the woman but the family’s perception
Family Interest Family interest is one of the major factor to consider while discussing the effects of Family on African love, relationships and marriages. The family comes first before anything else. The two lovers are supposed to consider their interest and the interest of their respective families.In some circumstances, family interest overrides the interest of the two lovers intending to get married. The two lovers must take into consideration the following before taking the next step
- Family’s position. The two lovers intending to get married must consider their family’s take on the relationship.What is your family’s take on the relationship? Are they in support of the relationship or they are against it? At this point the two lovers are not looking at their love for each other but their family’s position. If the family is against the marriage at this stage, it will be difficult for the relationship to continue. If for instance one family is in support and one is against, it is the duty of the family in support to convince the other.
- Family choice. Some families go as far as choosing a partner for their children. For different reasons, some families choose life partners for their children. Forced Marriage is one of the things that affects Love, relationship and marriage in the African society. There are several cases of parents forcing their children into marriages for their selfish benefits or reasons
Family Support. Family support is very key in every serious African love relationship and marriage. The African traditional marriage cannot take place without the support of both the man’s family and the woman’s family. Traditional marriages are big occasions that must follow a due cultural process requiring both families to participate. The African traditional marriage rites involves the man’s family openly declaring their interest to the woman’s family and presenting the necessary requirements to the bride’s family who in return handover their daughter to the groom’s family. An African traditional marriage cannot take place without the involvement of both families. This explains the crowd at Traditional African marriages where Parents, siblings, extended family members, traditional rulers, family heads,family friends, friends of extended families, well wishers, gossipers, passerby and members of the entire community are present to witness the occasion. The main discussion on the wedding day is between the groom’s family and the bride’s family. In some rare cases, especially in the past, the presence or the groom is not necessarily required.
Major Decisions. Major decisions revolves around family in African marriages. First, family must approve, support, participate in the process of marriage.Lastly, the future of the marriage can also be decided by the family. The man and woman must consult their respective families before marriage and to an extend the man and his wife must consult their respective families before making decisions after marriage. The entire process of marriage in the African tradition requires active family participation from the start to the end. Some of the decision that requires family involvement after marriage include;
- Divorce. Divorce in African marriages is complicated especially if the woman is the one seeking for a divorce. It is easier for the man to get divorce but difficult for a woman especially if her husband is not willing to give her the divorce. Traditional marriages are respected but not legally accepted by the state laws until registered with the court in form of Court marriage. For this reason, dissolving a traditional marriage is a decision taken by the man and his family with the woman’s family. In some cases the woman’s family is required to return the bride price and sometimes with other things that was given during the wedding ceremony to the man before he can free the her. The man on the other hand can simply return the woman to her parents if he can no longer continue with the marriage. In a case where a man returns the woman to her parents, he may no longer be entitled to the bride price.
- Child Naming. Child Naming is not just a decision taken but the man and his wife. The both families must be actively involved or consulted. However, the man and his family has the final decision. Almost every African Child has more than one name, a name or names from grandparents (If they are alive), a name from the father, a name from the mother and sometimes other names from family heads. The child’s last name or surname must come from his/her father’s family. In most cases the child’s last name or surname is taken from his/her grandparents.
Conclusively, Love, Relationship and marriage in the African society depends heavily on family which can cause negative or positive effects. The family you come from, the tribe, religion or geo-political zone you come from can affect and influence your love life, relationship and marriage in the African society.