You’re engaged, wedding plans have kicked off and the fights have kicked off…..
For the benefit of non-Nigerians let me explain how most Christian marriages work in Nigeria. As a good Nigerian Christian girl (I am a Christian so I will explain how it works for me and my family). Now usually, you are given two weddings by your family. A traditional wedding ceremony and a white/church wedding ceremony. The traditional wedding ceremony is basically the tribal marriage. I am Idoma from Benue state, the middle-belt part of Nigeria and so we (my tribe/people) have a tradition and pattern with which their daughters are given off/out in marriage.My husband is Ibo from Anambra state, the eastern part of Nigeria this means they (his people) have a different way or pattern of receiving wives (you get the idea). For many families marrying from a different tribe is a problem.
Many families expect that somehow out of the 923,768 Km2, over 180 million people, over 371 tribes and thousands of little villages in Nigeria, living in different places, all mixed together in various ratios, Nigerian kids are somehow expected to locate a second person from the same village, tribe, religion etc… as you and this person is supposed to come from a family your family doesn’t have biff with and lastly he supposed to magically be a great guy who will love you as you have always dreamed. Lies they tell!!!…
A minute fraction of the different Nigerian tribes
This does not happen 90% of the time because most times you don’t even make friends with people from your tribe as such, you just meet people you like and become friends with them after a while and you may or mayn’t date them depending on how the friendship goes Unfortunately some families expect that you would only marry who they prescribe for you so yeah this leads me to my issues with Planning Nigerian weddings.
- The TRIBAL WARS
This plays out in many different ways depending on the family the person, the environment etc… every existing tribal bias comes out to play even the down right ridiculous ones. claims of madness and slavery and witchcraft associated with certain tribes come into the conversation . The list is endless but from the benefit of my experience I’ll just talk about what I know.
- Many families begin to fight with their kids the moment they bring a different tribe home. Because in their minds its a taboo and according to some (the person speaks a different language) ridiculous to me but heey…. I know engagements that ended at this stage.
- Some families fight about the kind of traditional wedding to have (i.e. the brides tribe or to grooms tribe and who to fund it because different traditions have different ways these things are done).
- Some couples fight over whose tribe they think is inferior (trust me I saw this play out) it was ridiculous.
- Bride price in fact i think this deserves a whole paragraph by itself however I don’t feel like going into the ugly sides of it.
- RELIGION CHAOS
This one is the most dramatic one I have encountered. Note that this also goes for people in the same religion but different denominations. (e.g. Catholic and Pentecostal, Sunni and Shia etc). Personally I feel you should marry someone who has the same values as you because it plays out in the future. That being said, the families most times do not care who has what value they believe they know your value on your behalf and will not even let you land without almost setting something ablaze. Sadly people have been disowned and cut off because of this.
- The families’ belief that the other religion is devilish and therefore you both are destined for hell!
- The families insist they will not enter another place of worship and therefore the wedding will not hold as far as they are concerned.
- The religious bodies try to dictate so much in the wedding process that both families are unable to come to a compromise.
- Spiritual blackmail. This is when the parents resort to telling you “The Lord said”…… or “the man of God said”….. or “I dreamt”……
- The families boycotting the wedding
- The sermon about what will the children be (this argument is actually valid because many times the question of what the children are to be poses a real problem.
Now there are other type of fights that come out in the planning process and they are so funny sometimes bother line paranoia.
- SIBLING QUIBBLING
We all have that sibling that thinks they know whats best for everybody, however nothing prepared me for planning a wedding parallel to my sister imagining a Cinderella moment she would have liked. Basically we spent the 3 times we tried to plan together fighting over whose wedding it was anyway…. If you can just do your thing please do and get a wedding planner. It helps.
- Fights with friends and family.
This is one of the saddest fight that happens. Many times a bride expects her friends to drop everything they’re doing and stop existing because she is getting married. It is most times the most unfair fight because for reasons I cannot explain once a girl is getting married everyone just sorta puts her on some sort of random pedestal like she can do no wrong …. This usually means when she accuses a friend of being jealous or being un-supportive everybody around her jumps on the bandwagon and judges that friend.
- The jealous (innocent) single friend. This is 99% of the not even true. She is not jealous. Many a single girl has been accused of being jealous where as she just her own life to live and isn’t waiting on you hand and foot. She is happy for you but is just going through her own shit.
- The busy married friend.The busy momma
- She is not being selfish or unhelpful she really and truly just has too much on her plate. In Nigeria the average married woman is super woman i.e. she works full time, runs her house full time and is a mommy full time. I do not know how we do it we just do. And truly she wants to be there as much as you were for her but its just not possible the happenings of life have caught up with her and so she is happy for you just not in the way you would prefer.
- The jealous cousins and wicked unmarried aunties.Aunty Busybody
- These are one of the most accused and victimized people. They are always accused of sabotaging or not participating in events or not being happy for the bride. This is also not always the case because in fairness to these people maybe yes it can be hard for them to see their little cousin or niece get married and wonder why their own life isn’t all sorted out or going as planned. It can also be hard attending a younger relative’s function knowing full well that the rest family may be looking and judging and maybe even snickering behind your back. It is many times necessary to put up a hard or brave front and it can come off as aggressive.
- The parents
Typical African parents.
You will most likely discover in this time that despite everything you thought you knew about your parents, you will not be prepared for how many times they may mention the words. “Customs and Tradition” It is delightfully surprising NOT.
The Guy is going crazy!!!
This is a period in your relationship where you will realise that as similar as you both are, the difference in upbringing is definitely there. You will also know at this point ( if you didn’t know before) that paying bills can drive a man crazy. You will fight because 9 times out of 10 he doesn’t understand why u need 3 pairs of shoes, or why the hair cost so much or why the hell u need make-up to him u look better without it. He will not get a lot of things don’t fight him just do it anyway he’ll get it later.
Ok, I am tired of typing there’s a lot more to say but I am getting bored. to be completed later in the future…………………..in the mean time, attempt to enjoy the process.