Are Inter-Tribal Marriages More Successful in Nigeria than in the Diaspora?

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!)

The funny thing about HoneyDame's comment is that for the most part, all the Naija people here that i know that are married, are either married to someone from the same ethnic group/tribe or from a different country altogether. Most of the people i know in inter-tribal relationships and marriages are all based in Nigeria.

Anywho, i think inter-tribal relationships are the same as any other. Communication and understanding are key. As well as knowing what you are and aren't willing to sacrifice/put up with.

Lady Ngo

The success of Inter-tribal marriage is not dependent on Location. I agree with Lady Ngo that Communication and understanding is key but let me add that the couple have to be open-minded and learn from each other otherwise ethnicity becomes a challenge to them

Honey Dame: Thanks for the extra reason you provided. It makes a lot of sense. In a foreign country, those tribal sentiments seem to be less important and I think "nationality" is what supersedes. But, I have discovered that where there are more Nigerians in a place, those tribal tendencies come to play again. I think it's a question of quantity.

Myne: True: the individuals within an inter-tribal marriage must first be understanding and respectful of each other's cultures, before they can expect outsiders to do the same. That's the starting point. Good point.

Lady Ngo: So that's the case where you live? That's interesting. I have no idea where you live, but I suspect that the reason why you're seeing more intra-tribal marriages there is because there are more people from the same ethnic group present there. That's just my theory.

You're right. Like Myne pointed out, communication and understanding are important. That's the starting point.

Awazie Ikechi: I think that anyone going into an inter-tribal marriage in the first place is already open-minded. The question is the degree of open-mindedness. So, they would have to be very open-minded (in a good way) and willing to compromise for things to work well.


I would love to hear your thoughts. Please Share.

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