Dear Jack, inter-tribal marriage shouldn’t be an issue. There are many thriving and successful inter-tribal marriages. You can’t focus on someone’s tribal identity and totally ignore the person’s qualities. She has no control over her tribal identity. And you can’t hold someone responsible for what someone from her tribe did to your uncle thirty years ago. How does that make sense! If we go by that standard who’ll ever qualify to marry anyone in the cultural and historical cauldron your country is. It’s almost like setting up an excuse to permanently bar inter-tribal marriage. That’s not saying tribes don’t have psychological and cultural traits. It’s why they’re called tribe. It’s a cultural and psychological subset. But every tribe has a grouse against the other tribe in your country. Even INTRA-tribally there are issues. Humans just haven’t learnt to live and let live, to get on with each other as subsets. It’s why there’s ennui for inter-tribal marriage.
Clearly the problem is not your girlfriend. By your own account she’s a wonderful person, someone any sensible man would want. You’re going to lose her because of her tribal identity? What exactly do you want her to do about her tribe? It’s what it is! If we scale things up a little would you like someone to condemn you for your racial identity despite your sterling qualities? How can you rave against racial discrimination but enforce tribal discrimination? The problem with inter-tribal liaison is many times not the parties themselves but the prejudice of third parties. If you do find something terrible in this lady I can understand. But to lose what’s good for you to someone’s prejudice? And you’re working totally from anecdotes. You don’t have factual data on the issues in question. Even if you do it’s narrow data. How many marriages in your tribe succeeded solely based on tribal identity? Give statistics.
The advantage of intra-tribal marriage of course is common cultural philosophy and psychological profile. Beyond that there’s no other advantage. And that advantage is wiped off if the other party is disagreeable. If you marry someone from your tribe who gives you no peace what benefit common cultural origin? If someone from another tribe makes you happy but the lady from your tribe makes you unhappy what advantage tribal unison? When it comes to picking a spouse, we’re individuals first before our tribal identity. If you’re a terrible individual, that’s who you are even if you’re from a “wonderful” tribe. You’re still who you are! And who marries tribe? You marry an individual. If the individual is terrible you have a terrible spouse, tribal or no tribal identity. We are who we are. As individuals we have been conditioned by sociological, economic, psychological, cultural and political factors.
This prejudice against your lady’s tribe has nothing to do with her. It’s so obvious. It’s a prejudice carried by someone in your family based on another person’s experience, someone you hardly even know. And you don’t know the full story. All you have is somebody’s colouration, which at best is hearsay. What makes for successful inter-tribal marriage is first of all the qualities of the individuals not the tribal identity. The desire and ability of the couple to mesh and forge a union goes a long way in determining their marital success. I’m sure you know there are terrible marriages in your tribe, just as there are good ones. Prejudice defies scientific rigour. What’s amazing is how someone can formulate a philosophy about an entire tribe based on interaction with just one individual. Those with working inter-tribal unions are very accommodative of the other person’s cultural conditioning, or they buy into it. Many times however those inter-tribal marriages succeed because they agree to be regulated by neutral or higher code. For some that code is the Bible (or some other religious tome). And yet for others secular humanism. If you lose this wonderful lady to the prejudicial disposition of your family, you’ll have regrets. You’ll always be thinking back to what could have been. If you ditch her I hope you find her equivalence. It may be hard. Why can’t you for once stand up for what you believe and help to educate these people with the success of your marriage? You forget most of these prejudices were bred in the cauldron of internecine conflict that consumed your nation even before you were born!
If you insist on judging her by the cultural rules of yesteryears, have the nobility to be consistent. Allow the same rules to govern your life. You should throw away your mobile phone and log around a rotary phone for instance. You have to live in the 1960s. What if her parents also reject you on the basis of your tribe, would you consider that fair? You better concentrate on the most important things in marriage – peace and joy! A young man can’t easily appreciate those spiritual quantities until he’s married the wrong person and for all the wrong reasons. Tribal identity CANNOT be the basis of your union. It has to be your individual qualities. Now, if you’re from the same tribe all well and good. But if you’re going to go ahead with her despite these prejudices, you’ll have to be strong. You have to protect her. Something as basic as deliberate late conception will be attributed to witchcraft from her tribal enclave. If your mum dreams she’s being chased by a rat it will be attributed to her tribal identity. Even if she chased a rat during the day! Such is the power of prejudice. And we’re not yet talking about naming the child that is even yet to be conceived! Your peace and happiness should be paramount concern when choosing a spouse. You won’t do well without marital peace as a man. Men don’t do well without peace. Your health will suffer.
You need to sit down with your parents and explain to them this lady makes you happy, gives you peace in your heart and mind. Many times in these circumstances there’s another lady being put up for consideration by the family. In other words, your mum’s happiness is the issue, not yours. And she may want to forge a marital union with her friend’s family. You can’t be rude during this discussion with your parents. You honour your father and mother despite divergence of opinion. Given the facts, your parents at the end of the day want your happiness, at least their version of it. It’s why their own prescription. But you don’t abdicate responsibility for your marital choice to prejudices and biases. You’re the one who’ll suffer from bad choice. We’ve spoken about this tribal issue before. Go to http://jacknjillive.com/2014/07/inter-tribal-marriage/
I do wish you backbone.
Your mentor, LA
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