Dear Jil, he’s from a tribe different from yours and your family is in opposition to the idea of marriage. He’s from the East, you’re from the West. Your tribe find people from the East loathsome. (The love is reciprocated). The whole thing goes back to the civil war. The issue then is an atomised insalubrious continuation of internecine rivalry.
This is one man who gets you, you say. He’s loving, generous, hardworking, respectful and kind. No man you’ve dated in the past comes close. And you’re in your 30s- though earlier part. What do you do? Does tribe matter in a relationship, you ask. Should it matter rather seems to be the question. Now I know the answer you want me to give. You want me to say tribe doesn’t matter. But the answer is, tribe shouldn’t matter! Life is not a cookie cutter yes or no answer. There are too many variables. Even your computer has 256 shades of grey. And what we call grey are tonal grades of black. When we say grey therefore we’re talking about complexions of black. I’m personally opposed to bigotry as you well know- be it tribal, ethnic or racial.
If the ONLY reason your family is opposed to this gentleman is because he’s from another tribe you’re dealing with bigotry. Bigotry is dogmatic narrow mindedness. It is defiant to logic or reason. It’s irrational prejudice. In its scaled up atrocious form bigotry takes us to Nazi Germany and the Luciferian doctrine of racial superiority. Even if the generations of this man were guilty, those generations are mostly gone, dead! We’re talking of an event that took place 50 years ago! Fifty years ago! The guy had not even been born! And so the civil war continues, as civil war. The prejudice is transmitted from generation to generation like a genetic stain.
It doesn’t matter what the personal qualities of your suitor is. He’s guilty of a generational offence without definition. He’s from THAT tribe! That’s his offence. And that’s the world we’ve inherited. Black can’t marry White, Zulu can’t marry Boer. And now Nigerian can’t marry Nigerian! Sometimes our logic of life leads us to segregational absurdity, so much so we become ridiculous. If he’s from your tribe but lacks matrimonial qualities, of what value is his tribal identity to you? If he’s from your tribe but takes you for granted, won’t estimate you or show you affection, what is that?! Love and sorrow are very personal. They’re not tribal.
The first consideration in marriage is the personal qualities of your suitor. Nobody dates a tribe. If those qualities are strong then you have a basis for ignoring the hurdles of tribal quarantine. But if his sole matrimonial qualification is that he’s from your tribe you’re going to have regrets down the line. There are as many successful inter-tribal marriages as there are failed intra-tribal marriages. If the gentleman is ill-suited to you no tribal identity or certification can save your marriage, or give you happiness. Unless you just want to marry to acquire a marital prefix- Mrs. A public relations sham marriage. But if he’s wonderful for you and you stay in agreement no tribal prejudice can destroy your marriage. That’s because the equation of the power of agreement has spiritual potency. Jesus said “if two of you on earth agree i.e harmonize together, make a symphony together about whatever, anything and everything you may ask, it will come to pass and be done for you by God in heaven.”
Now here’s the catch: If you do decide to butt the primordial sentiments of your family you will have headache. Going against the grain of prejudice carries a price. That’s why you need to be convinced about your decision. The more culturally dug in your family is the more grace you need to overcome their tribal prejudice. Now, don’t get me wrong: your family may not be utterly pointless. That’s another angle we must consider. It’s possible their reservation has to do with aggregated tendencies of a particular tribe. Because tribes are colonised by patterns of reasoning each tribe has behavioural traits. Every tribe has a behavioural pattern, a cultural marker. It is these behavioural markers that connect individuals to the tribal mass. It’s the cultural identity card. Some individuals will of course buck the trend. They won’t behave atypically. These are the exceptions.
I’m just saying you need to come to terms with certain nuances if you seek inter-tribal marriage. You must respect the culture of the people in so far as it does not violate your conscience or relationship with God. You must give honour to whom honour is due. When you do these things you silence the skeptics, critics and avengers. And you vindicate your fiancé.
If your fiancé is very much into his tribal reasoning pattern you’ve got to ask yourself if it’s something you can live with. And if the wave of prejudice is strong against your inter-tribal union you must ask yourself if your husband will protect you. And will he protect you even after he’s dead! That may sound strange but some families swoop on a man’s assets at death. They leave his children nothing, send out the wife penniless and naked. They rely on invented aberrant and abhorrent cultural practices as justification for the unjustifiable. It’s almost like they’ve been waiting for the man to die. Intestacy gives them enormous strength.
If these practices are prevalent in his culture then he MUST protect you and your children in every way he can. He’s must circumscribe his assets through legal means, and make his intentions well known to his family. You can’t fight the horrifying aspects of marital tribal “culture” without your husband’s support. It’s going to be hard.
So, can you marry from another tribe or race? My answer is yes! If he’s going to make you a wonderful husband do, but…He must be strong for you and the children, protect you if there’s prejudicial bias. His love for you must not be in doubt. And you must be ready for prejudice. Take it all in stride! If your love is strong…then every tongue that rises against you in judgment will stand condemned. There are of course tribes and families that are welcoming. And loving. I pray this gentleman is from one of such.
Your mentor, LA.
© Leke Alder 2014