How important is Race/Nationality/Tribe in Marriage?

No one wants to go through this
No one wants to go through this

Marriage is hard no doubt, and there is not magic trick to having a perfect everlasting married life. I can’t say too much about marriage since I myself am not married. However, I’ve seen enough from the outside looking in to know that it’s not an easy road. A lot of times some of us try to weed out potential complications in our marriage by sticking to our cultural, religious, financial or social circles when looking for a life partner. My dad would tell me  “why go and give yourself extra wahala by marrying a muslim from Borno when you’re a christian from Anambra? Which religion will your kids follow? How will you cope with her family and your cultural differences?” It’s a very understandable argument, but my reply most times refers to married couples that we both know, from the same village that ended up not working out due to some issue or another.

These days talking to friends and associates, it seems to come up quite often. “Yoruba people do this”, “Igbos are this”, “Ghanians are that”, and all that stuff, but do we really believe those things, or are these stereotypes that have been fed into our brains from childhood by parents, relatives and others in our community? Regardless of the answer, it is an interesting and important factor that governs most people’s decisions on a life partner, esp we africans, due to our close knit community, and family oriented lifestyle.

With all that being said, I ask the question – How important is Race/Nationality/Tribe in Marriage? Is your decision not to marry from a particular cultural background (or outside your background) influenced by your parents, or your community? Or is this solely a personal decision? Is cultural background insignificant in your decision? I’ve love to hear your thoughts, and concerns.


  1. In my opinion, I think it all comes down to what an individual deems important to his/her future. If for instance a person was brought up in a household where choosing the future significant other is solely based on religion, and that individual takes all precaution to follow such principles then that’s what the person sees as important. I personally used to use tribe as compass when dating and getting into relationships, because of my exposure to the culture of my liking and also the worn-out stereotypes of other cultures I used as a restriction. However as I got older and wiser…..I came to find out that compatibility is one of the most important things among others that I look for in a partner. Tribe doesn’t play some much as a role, but Nationality is still an “Iffy” matter, because I somehow am not compatible with individuals outside of my race

  2. It wont have been such a difficult decision if i didnt come to such a diversed, open minded and permissive country like the USA (wish i stayed in naija sometimes 4 this reason 2 make the decision easier)…eh, but taink God that I stuck fery fery well to my core y`o`r`u`b`a values…well, 'cough/ clear throat', she unfailingly must be from west Africa, nigeria, yoruba to be specific and from ijebu(ogere-remo) to be even more specific 🙂 thank you…nah..just kiddin, compatibility, sharing common view points, similar level of EDUCATION is key 2 me..there will b family drama regardless of race/ ethnicity of your significant other, it is how you resolve things and re-unite that matters…the main thing is having peace with him/her cuz in peace, wisdom can be sown and your opportunity to be successful (in whatever) also follows…etc and yes o, she must be of same religion (staunch believer)…

  3. Obviously, it does matter…but only to a certain degree . At the end of the day it boils down to personal decision. When it comes to race and/or nationality, i dont discriminate, it all depends on who im more attracted too..(for instance, im more attracted to white guys, than african americans, asians,etc)…but that doesnt mean i would marry only caucasians.

    As for tribe, im more of a "who gives a fork on what fourking village your ancestors lived in" as long as you come from a good and respected family, christain, and all the la di das that come with being a "good" man (compatibility, etc), then im str8.

    Finally, on another note…and becos im ur friend…I dont exempt myself from saying…. "Yoruba people do this”, “Igbos are this”, “Ghanians are that”and much more….in all honesty, i do say so (and im sure evryone has, so no casting of stones here)…sterotypes, yes..but then again..everybody judges a book by its cover based on triats of related/similar books. So whether the statments are good or bad, sociologist have proven it a necessary and inescapable mental trait embeded in our subconscious.

  4. Some people will rather not deal with cultural obstacles. I think these are the people that didn't grow up having a lot of interactions with other tribes/nationalities. They have very close-knit families and are probably well aware of family biases; therefore they steer clear of dating other tribes. (I think alot of Hausa's fall into this category)

    Some are fighters aka the "Strong-Heads"…lol..who stand up to their parents when they say "I don't want an omo-yibo/ ngbati-ngbati o!"(you know how discriminatory our parents can be). Not saying they don't come from close-knit families too but i think either they realize that marriage itself is a new family or that their family will eventually come around. Plus I think these are mostly people who have interacted a lot with different cultures.

    Some others is just personal preference. They would just rather have someone that speaks their language, likes the same food etc etc. In fact they are not even attracted to other tribes/nationalities.

    Overall though; like someone already mentioned – Compatibility is key. For me personally; tribe is way down on my priority list. But honestly, I have to admit that the compatibility between me and said person has to be quite high. High enough for me to be motivated to deal with some of the backlash from my family, as well as high enough to make me want to work to overcome language barriers and such.

  5. When searching for a life partner,COMPATIBILITY is the keyword.You may come from different or similar backgrounds,it doesn't matter as long as the two of u are COMPATIBLE.This may help "Like poles repel unlike poles attract".Also,"Birds of the same feather flock together".What do u think.


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