Marriage is a wonderful institution designed by God. It is really a mystery how two people from different parents come together as one. When two people fall in love, no amount of pressure can stop them and if eventually they are stopped, it is always very disastrous.

I happen to come from the Eastern part of the country where there is so much being done wrongly in marriage. I can confidently say that only a few marriages in the East are based on love. This is because as a girl is growing, there is someone, probably a family friend she is reserved for. Her opinion does not matter as she is told that she will get to love the man as they begin to live together. What a pity!

Even the matured ones don’t get married because they are in love. They get married because that man can take care of the family or because age is not on their side. I have seen very beautiful girls from my village age in their parents’ house. This is not because they were not what the society would have them be, but because they fell in love with total strangers and their parents were against the relationship.

It is really sad seeing parents in this generation still pushing their daughters into wrong marriages. This is one reason why the rate of divorce is very high. Two people who have nothing in common and are raised with totally different outlook are forced to become husband and wife.

As an Igbo girl from Anambra State, I can categorically say it without mincing words that this practice is prevalent in my state. It’s either your parents don’t want you to get married to a man from another Igbo state or they don’t want the man because he is not rich enough to buy Christmas cow for the family.

They do this, not only to non-Igbo, but also to Igbo from different states. Even the educated, exposed parents are guilty of this. This is why you see a lot of beautiful, mature girls from my state that are still unmarried.

I remember years back when I introduced a very nice guy to a girl from my place. This girl is so pretty that the guy wanted her by all means. In this case, the guy is very comfortable and they loved each other. They dated for so many years with the girl’s family enjoying his money. But when it was time for marriage, they rejected the same guy whose largesse they had enjoyed on the flimsy excuse that he is not from Anambra State. Today; the guy is married while the girl is in her late thirties and still single.

I recently summoned the courage to ask a friend why he is still single at the age of forty. He is not from the Igbo tribe. He told me how he dated a female lawyer for about six years and their relationship even produced a child. When he got ready for marriage, the girl’s parents refused to give their daughter to him.

A girl I know very well went through years fighting her parents (I salute her courage). It got to a point that she left the house because her parents went the extent of calling her man an osu just to make her change her mind. She stood firm and it was really surprising how they later gave out their daughter to that same osu.

I have seen people from different races co-exist happily. Why then should we be having problems with inter-tribal marriages? The problem is that a typical Nigerian man or woman does not love with everything in him/her. When a Yoruba girl decides to be married to an Igbo man, she ceases to be a Yoruba girl from that moment. Likewise an Igbo girl when she decides to get hooked to a Yoruba guy.

But the case is always different with Nigerian marriages. I see ladies not wanting to be identified with their husband’s tribe. If you say you love a man, you should love everything about him, his culture inclusive. The first thing I expect women to do once they make the choice of a life partner is to study him and his culture. In studying his culture, you must know everything about his people, their way of life, their traditions, what they wear, his language and even the way they greet.

Most importantly, you must learn to prepare his local dishes. I hear some girls say they are not ready to start learning how to prepare their husbands local dishes because the man knew they are not from their tribe before coming for them. I have a friend, an American lady who is married to an Igbo guy. This lady, a white American, came to my house to learn how to prepare her husband’s local dishes. Now in the USA, she cooks and eats them. This is what I call love and oneness.

Girl, don’t go on feeling on top of the world. Yes, he met you in Lagos and got married to you in Lagos. But he would appreciate you more if you can be humble enough to ask any of his sisters or your friends from his tribe to teach you how to prepare their dishes. Remember, no matter the number of stewards and cooks in your house, there is nothing a man appreciates like his wife getting into the kitchen, preparing and serving his meal herself. This makes him feel like a king in his house.

Coming to the issue of language, I want you to always remember that English is not our language. Both of you should learn your different languages. One problem with inter-tribal marriage is that the children most times are faced with the problem of not being able to understand any Nigerian language. This is because the parents fail to accept the language of one another. If you fail to understand the language, you will begin to have issues with your in-laws as you are bound to become suspicious whenever they chat in their local dialect.

Another problem with inter-tribal marriage is that there is always some sort of rivalry among the parents. Something happened during this year’s cultural day in my child’s school. I heard a father whose child was dressed the Yoruba way, reminding her in the presence of the teachers that she is not Yoruba. The teachers were laughing about it, but looking at this man who is Igbo, I could see a man who has failed to come to terms with the fact that he is now one with someone from a different tribe.

This is the 21st century and inter-tribal marriage shouldn’t be an issue at all. Nigeria is one. I have always said it that whoever my children decides to marry is their choice. Tribal sentiments have caused more harm than good to us. Girls have remained unmarried because they lost their man. Even those that were pushed into same-tribe marriage by their parents are not happy in their homes. There are so many examples of women who are very happy in inter-tribal marriages. All you have to ask God for is a man who has a good conscience and fears God. Never allow anyone talk you out of your destiny because you may never be happy afterwards.