How Does African Marriage Compare to the Western World
Being married in the western world and being married in an African marriage are two very different things altogether.
On one side of the fence a marriage is very much your own personal business. In-laws pretty much keep out of the way and mind their own business. On the other side a marriage is a meeting of 2 families where all matters are discussed out in the open and the man is predominately the leader in the relationship.
Western culture teaches us that once you are married a partnership has formed between you and your partner and you work through the up’s the downs and the left and the right’s together. You build upon each other through discussion, understanding, patience and compromise.
This is not strictly true in African culture. A marriage is formed between 2 individuals, yes but that is not the end. The families must meet and relationships must be formed. If serious issues arise in the relationship it is for the whole family to discuss and resolve together.
I’ve lost count of the times in Ghana where I have heard of someones wife being referred to as “my wife” by an individual who is NOT the husband. Meaning that she belongs to the whole family and they are all one unit. Essentially what hurts one will hurt the family as a whole.
There is a real sense of welcoming and belonging in this as your family has immediately enlarged to incorporate more people.
There are pros and cons to both types of marriage.
Do I want my business discussed by the whole family?
Will we ever be able to have an argument without every man and his passing dog knowing about it?
Don’t even get me started on the “when will you have children?” situation!
A family marriage means you have very strong support network and if there are problems that do arise you can be sure to get the input of others to perhaps bring a bit more understanding and clarity to the situation.
A western marriage doesn’t mean that you necessarily go it alone so to speak but it can mean lots of discussing of issues where there are biases based on discussing with ones friends who want to support you and perhaps not so much your partner.
Which is better? I’ve no idea! There is beauty in both.