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We live in a world that is blessed with diverse races, tongues and people. In Nigeria for example, we are blessed with over 250 ethnic groups and each of them have a unique way of life. Bearing this in mind, you will agree with me that it is almost impossible not to have inter tribal relationships and marriages. Today we are going to be looking at basic things to note and how we can cope with the inevitable reality of an inter tribal relationship despite all the differences in these tribes.
I speak as one in an inter tribal relationship. I am from Edo State and my partner is from Kogi State and dear I tell you, it gets difficult sometimes. I remember early in the relationship, we would have some clashes about some issues. I would end up saying things like “in my place” we do it like this and he would say, well, it isn’t that way where I come from.
One of such issues we had was kneeling down when you want to greet your in-laws even if they are younger. You just had to do it as a sign of respect for “your husband people”. This made me a little nervous when he mentioned meeting his family. Not because I was too proud to get on my knees, but I was brought in a home where bending your knees was enough. We didn’t have to go all the way down and here I was being told I would have to go all the way down not just for the elderly but for everyone from hubby’s family because it was their culture.
He had to do a great deal of convincing before I could summon up the courage to eventually meet them. Oh and when I did they turned out to be very amazing people with beautiful hearts who didn’t care about all of those things.
YOUR RELATIONSHIP CAN WORK
Now, before you go into that inter tribal relationship or if you are in one already, you need to understand first that the world is filled with examples of people from different backgrounds that got married and raised families together successfully. So yes, your inter-tribal relationship can work.
LIMIT YOUR EXPECTATIONS
You should know that this person though in love with you is not you, he or she has had a different upbringing from you, has been exposed to different a culture and practices too. With this in mind you would not and should not expect to behave in a certain manner that you have carved for them in your mind.
BE WILLING TO COMPROMISE
You should also note that relationships generally come with their own unique challenges even more for an inter tribal relationship. Hence the need for individuals involved to comprise on culture and values that they might not have had if they got together with someone of a similar ethnic background.
Questions need to be asked. It isn’t ever too early. Questions like how dowry and bride price are paid? Which tradition will we follow as we name our children? Whose language would be the dominant language in our home? Yes honey, you’ve gotta know. Don’t leave these questions for “when you get to that bridge”
MANAGE YOUR PARENTS WELL
You see that line “it’s my business who I marry not theirs,” please scrap that. Your parents have reasons to be concerned with whom you are getting married to. No parent wants their children to be unhappy after marriage. It gets even tougher if your parents are from the same tribe and you bring a partner from another tribe, this will definitely lift their horns of concern most times, with good reason.
I would suggest that you ask them to tell you exactly what their fears are if they oppose your choice of partner based on ethnicity. Are they worried their grand children will not speak their language or that their daughter/son-in-law would not adapt to their culture? Listen to them and figure out if their concerns are valid and genuine. Speak to your partner about these concerns and decide on how to deal with them.
There’s plenty more to talk about as regards this topic but I will halt here. You can send me a mail as we take a deeper journey into how we deal with issues that come with inter-tribal relationships. I would love to hear from you.
I remain Cee-Y…Scribbling for GLOWVILLE