Exorbitant Expectations of Marital Rights in Igbo land- Nigeria

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On the issue of late marriage and marital rights in some parts of Nigera

Lilian Ohanedozi

Let’s be honest here:


One should marry when they are ready for it. Having said that, let me also add that


It’s good to marry early and have children you can take care of. There’s no joy in delegating that responsibility to your parents unless they are thrilled to do it. If you are not ready for marriage then hold on.


Still we would not fail to address the issue of late marriage due to the heavy weight and expectations laid on the shoulders of groom especially in Igbo land. I’m Igbo and I can tell you candidly that while some make it early and marry early, a lot of others marry late. I have an uncle who married when he was just one foot away from 50. He doesn’t even have the energy to chase the children around.


No need to attack this post, times have changed and it’s time for the Igbos to take a more pragmatic look at things especially marital rights. Let’s not take pride in something that is choking us. The outrageous list and money involved in these weddings are ridiculous, some even have ‘elders’ and ‘umuada’ list. The prices of these items in most cases are up to a million naira. Talking about buying from 50-100 tubers of yam. Let’s calm down please. It’s marriage not a death sentence. This is why some see marriage as “buying a wife”. Stop reducing women to mere commodities, this is the fulcrum of domestic violence, seeing women as mere properties. Jeez, the standard of living in this economy cannot sustain this greed cloaked in the garment of culture. The result is the high rate of late marriages amongst us.


The unhealthy expectations of building a house first, having a car first, impressing your village people. What job are you doing to earn comfort early? Or what next after exhausting your savings for a wedding? No one is asking these questions. Some who can afford it go broke after the marriage and frustration sets in. Not to mention the numerous weddings we engage in, talk of traditional wedding, white wedding, court wedding and the groom is expected to shoulder all of this. Can’t it just be one? can’t we be okay with one?


Everyone doesn’t have a slot in Shell or Chevron so we need to take a rain check, learn from other cultures and do away with the baggage that is preventing young men from marrying early. We are not encouraging laziness but civility. If you have what you’re doing and your wife to be has what she is doing, you guys will be okay. God is the one to bless your marriage.


You may not know but sin delays and denies you your blessings.  We need to advocate for change.


Culture doesn’t make people, people make culture. Any unhealthy culture or one that has lost it’s relevance should be changed.


Afterall human sacrifice and killing of twins, sending people on exile and throwing babies and adults to the evil forests were part of our barbaric cultural practices in the past. But today they are no more. We can do more better today. Let’s stop screaming culture as if they’re set in stone rules. Cultures are made, therefore they are bendable, amendable and subject to change.


P.S. Civil wedding is cheap and legalizes the union between a man and a woman.




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