While there are no formal statistics on this topic, nothing stops us from speculating, ba? So, speculate we shall!
After making a case for the greater likelihood of inter-tribal/inter-ethnic marriages being contracted in the diaspora, it makes sense to talk about success. But first of all, how do you define success in marriage? I think this question is subjective, but I can safely define success in a marriage to mean that both parties (man and woman) understand each other's needs, are very supportive of each other and have learnt to handle challenges together as a team. That also means minimizing third party interference in marital affairs, and by third parties, I am referring to relatives, friends, etc.
With an inter-tribal marriage, the network of family and friends becomes even more important because of cultural differences. That network can either support the marriage to make things smoother or put unnecessary pressure on the couple, creating conflict within the marriage. It is important to note that the same thing happens even when two people come from the same tribe. However, with an inter-tribal marriage, it is more obvious.
This brings us to today's topic. I think that inter-tribal marriages enjoy a greater degree of success in the diaspora than in Nigeria, and here is the main reason:
No in-law wahala: I think I should have re-phrased this as "Reduced" in-law wahala. One of the chief complaints of brides (and sometimes grooms) in any marriage, is the wahala (trouble) they face from their in-laws (mostly mothers-in-law). I won't go into details, but I am sure you have a fair idea of what I mean, especially since it has to do with the usual suspects: child-bearing, child-rearing, submissiveness (give me a break!), finances, and everything else under the sun.
Well, if the couple have been experiencing this harassment from in-laws and relatives, when they relocate to another country, this harassment is severely reduced, because the in-laws can only (okay, mostly) communicate with the couple by phone, e-mail. There is no opportunity for any uninvited relative to come and visit unannounced and over-stay his or her welcome, when the couple is several plane rides away. Easy access and close proximity alone account for these disruptive visits, and eliminating that alone will relieve a good deal of stress in a marriage.
Of course, on the other hand, if your in-laws were very supportive of your marriage, moving outside the country means that you lose (temporarily) that support system.
However, there are opportunities to build new networks within your local community with people who most often, don't know or don't care about inter-ethnic differences, and see you and your family as just another African family.
Your turn: What other factors can make or break an inter-tribal marriage? And do you think inter-tribal marriages are more successful in Nigeria than in the diaspora? (yes, I just repeated the title!)