Nigerian in-law relationships and How it affects Marriage


Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife; and they shall be one flesh - Genesis 2:50

This is the biblical basis of marriage. A man shall leave his father and his mother to become joined with his wife in marriage and so does the woman. But are they supposed to 'leave' their fathers and mothers completely? That brings us to the main discourse of this article.

Marriage is a very tricky situation especially in Nigeria with its diverse in-law relationships. Let's start with at the relationship stage when the whole relationship thingy is all fun and rosy. Then comes the proposal and the 'meeting the family' informally that precede it. This meeting the family can either make and mar the proposed marriage as the lady and guy must get some reasonable level of acceptance from the guy's family and the lady's family respectively.

Getting this acceptance might become difficult as the family tends to judge you with their own criteria. usually in line with their way of living which might be quite different from yours. Maybe You are coming from a home  have where the siblings are very mouthy and playful and your spouse is from the house where everybody is “Brother”/”Sister”. Exhibiting the playful and mouthy attitude which is completely normal in your house might be seen as "rudeness".

Let's assume we get past this introduction stage and you are finally married to this guy/lady, What happens to her family? i've heard people say things like “My husband and I have agreed that we don’t want family members living in our house, because  they’re trouble makers.” Can this really work in the Nigerian Society? like in Igboland where i am from where every member of the immediate and extended family regards a woman married to any member of the family as a wife. And disrespecting them can constitute a serious offence.

Disrespect them? Maybe you will  never do that intentionally but it is bound to happen. Let's assume your mother in-law visits. And she attends one of these churches with some kind of fetish and weird practices like water sprinkled at table, burning one candle before you go to bed and stuffs like that. Maybe you were not so pleased but there is nothing you could do about it as you are really trying to get along and not cause any problem. But then, you refused to eat on the same table with her as you know she will sprinkle her water and that might be against your own beliefs. She might interpret that as disrespect.

The list goes on and on. Or maybe when the lady's mum comes for the traditional "omugwuo" after the birth of a child. And starts complaining how your husband isn't finishing his food or how he comes back late from work. Things that were not strange to you. Isn’t that a trouble maker?

Given, we can never "leave" or fathers and mothers completely as stated in the bible but then, a level of tolerance is need ed in our dealings with them.

so what are your in-laws tolerance level?


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