“Hello, I saw your article on marriage in Igboland and decided to send you an email. I am unsure if you will respond but I would really appreciate it if you would.
Currently I am dating a Nigerian man who is Igbo. He told me a few months back that he could not marry outside of village because of his heritage. He said that when he was smaller the elders prophesied to his parents that he and his siblings would marry inside their village and that if they married outside their village, he and his family would experience hardships (curses) such as death, struggle, financial burdens etc.
Is this true or is this a way so that he could avoid marrying me?”
“Igbos are indeed very traditional, we have lots of superstitious beliefs and so it would not be out of place for your fiancé to think the way he does at the moment. There have been those who have defied such tradition and married outside their village, there are no empirical evidence to suggest that such people have met with any extraordinary hardships as a result of their straying from their village and taking wives from elsewhere”.
“Unfortunately, he is not my fiancé’ but my boyfriend.He does not want to marry nor have children with me NOT because he does not love me but because he said it would be against what was prophesied and his life would be cursed as well as his family’s life.
We have hit so many walls regarding this that I am at my rope’s end. I do not know what to do. I love him, marriage and children are important to me but he refuses to marry me.
Is there anything documented to suggest that he can still marry outside his village? Is there such a thing as elders that prophesy in the lives of Igbos? Can I speak with the elders about this? I really love this man and before I let go, I need to know that I did everything to see if we could get beyond it. Thank you for your help”.
“There are countless Igbo communities that it would be difficult to assume that one can easily contact the so-called elders and try to appease them. The tradition does not work like that, someone like you will require a kind of in-road or bridge to get across to the elders if at all, but still, that may not solve the problem.
Perhaps your boyfriend’s problems for not marrying you are more personal than it may seem, and may not have anything to do with the elders. Some Igbos still have inhibitions about marrying ‘white people’ due to the cultural differences that may rock the marriage in the future. During courtship these may not be so much a problem but in marriage they play a big role. Perhaps you should engage him in a discussion or try to come to terms with his wishes”.
“I am not white. I am African – American. I have considered that perhaps it’s more personal than anything, however, he has confessed to me that he has never loved a woman the way he loves me. I am the first African – American woman he has dated. Every time I tell him that I want to walk away he does not want me to but I am 31 years oldand I do not want to spend my life in a dead end situation when I know that marriage and kids are important to me. Perhaps I have exhausted all options and have no other choice but to leave this man alone and walk away. Thank you so much for your advice and open ear”.
“I assumed you were white from your name, but still you may only share skin colour affinity with your Igbo boyfriend, the cultural differences still remain and are evident. If he was to marry you and take you to his village to meet his people, would you be up to the task of waking up early in the mornings and sweeping the compound, and then going down the village stream to fetch water for his grand mother, on finishing that, will you still have enough strength left to cook for your in-laws?”
“Yes, I would. I am not like the average American woman. I was raised to cook and clean. I spent summers on a farm and started cooking when I was 12. I am a great cook, I know how to clean the house and I love to cater for people. So I am no stranger to hard work. As a matter of fact there are many days I work 8 hours, drive and an hour home, cook dinner for him and myself and do 2 hours of home work for college and then make love to him.
So it’s not an issue of being a real woman to him. But you said something I was already thinking. It could be more than the tradition. I can not come to terms and accept that I will never marry or have kids if I stay with him and obviously there is no way around it. For months I have researched this issue with him and for months I have come up empty handed. I guess I should just move on when my heart allows it”.
By the way, if you know of any single African men who do not have any traditional hang-ups tell them about me. I am a good woman just in a bad situation. Thanks for all your information”
“Ok, I will”.
To be continued.