The research examines the place of inter-cultural marriage in the context of marriage been a universally acknowledged and very important institution in human society, as it is the foundation of group life and a requirement for human survival. The historical research methodology was adopted and the research utilized both primary and secondary sources of data collection. While the primary source of data collection was derived through oral interview from sensible individuals, on the subject matter. The secondary sources focused on journals and textbooks relevant to the research topic. Then it was discovered that despite the wide acknowledgement and ideas about the nature of intercultural marriage; its process, its purpose and other involvements such as its scope, vary. Also, it was observed that the practice of intercultural marriage in Nigeria, albeit a welcome development, has opened up a plethora of issues which demand serious attention such as language barrier, culture shock and family acceptance. With these problems, inter-cultural marriages suffer from divorce, unbalanced cultural development in children and intra- family crises. Finally, it contends that only through social, cultural and religious prospects can inter-cultural marriages -in the light of the current socio-cultural trends in Nigeria -survive in contemporary times.


Title page i

Requirement page ii
Approval page iii
Certification iv
Declaration v
Dedication vi
Acknowledgment vii
Abstract viii
Table of Contents ix
Chapter One – Introduction 1
Background of the Study 1
Statement of the Problem 2
Purpose of the Study 4
Significance of the Study 4
The Scope of the Study 5
Research Methodology 6
Definition of Terms 6
Chapter Two: Literature Review 9
Theory of Marriage 9
Comparative Marriage Systems 13
Choice of Spouses 18
Marriage in Nigeria 22
Chapter Three: Problems of Inter-cultural Marriage in Nigeria. 25
Language Barrier 25
Culture Shock 27
Family Acceptance 34
Chapter Four: Effects of Inter-cultural Marriage in Nigeria 38
Divorce 38
Unbalanced cultural development in children 39
Intra-family crisis 41
Chapter Five: Prospects of Inter-cultural Marriage in Nigeria 43
Social Prospects 43
Acceptance of Inter-cultural Marriage 43
Resiliency in Inter-cultural Marriage 45
Cultural Prospects 47
Cultural Belonging 48
Cultural Literacy and Adaptability 49
Cultural Empathy 50
5.3 Religious Prospects 51
Chapter Six: Summary and Conclusion 53
Summary of the Findings 53
Contribution to Knowledge 54
Recommendations 55
Suggestions for Further Research 57
Bibliography 59

Background of the Study

Apart from being recognized globally as a matrimonial relationship or union of person(s) who most often are usually of the opposite sex, marriage is an institution which represents all the behaviours, norms, roles, expectations, and values that are associated with legal union of a man and woman (Gove 1986). It is one of the principal life events that mark the passage into mature adulthood, and represents a lifelong commitment by two people to each other (Borgatta and Edgor, 2000; Asana, 1990).
As a system, marriage is consummated, following a series of monumental procedures as practiced and understood by cultures of the parties involved. Different communities recognize patterns and types of marriages according to their cultural/social worldview (Doki, 2011).
Nigeria, as a part of the wider African society, has been generally characterized with arranged marriages, polygynous marriages and others. The old tribal traditions are disappearing and more Nigerians are adopting Western concepts of marriage.(Aiyetan and Kolapo, 2005). This trend has led to an unprecedented increase in intercultural marriages in Nigeria.

Boateng, cited in Ardayfio-Schandorf, (1990) observed that family background and ethnic origin which were of considerable importance in traditional marriage practice have been replaced by love and affection between partners.
The practice of intercultural marriage in Nigeria, albeit a welcome development, has opened up a plethora of issues which demand serious attention.

Statement of the Problem

The dynamics of culture and human relationships have made researchers to observe many influences, manifestations, and occurrences in marriage within the Nigerian society (Bohanna, 1973; Filani, 1984; Otite and Olayinka, 1987; Ezenkwu, 1998; Umoh and Adeyemi, 2000). These manifestations and occurrences have had significant impact on the stability of marriage in the modern Nigerian society.

A recent observation of people’s attitude to marriages in the country revealed the alarming negative effect of these occurrences (Animasahun and Fatile 2011). Factors that militate against the quality of marriage in 21st century Nigerian society have been a discussion among Nigerian social psychologists, religious authorities, behavioral scientists, sociologists, and

anthropologists (Ibokete, 2000; Aiyetan and Kolapo, 2005; Animasahun and Fatile 2011).

Yet a substantial focus of research has reinforced cultural differences as a source of instability, conflict, or dissatisfaction for couples (Cottrell, 1990; Hsu, 2001) rather than an opportunity for transformation (Crippen & Brew, 2007). Many conclude that intercultural couples face higher levels of marital challenges (Crohn, 1998; Ho, 1990); are more prone to failure (Gurung & Duong, 1999); and are embedded with conflicts related to dormant allegiances of worldview, family structures, and communication patterns (Perel, 2000).
This work explores the dynamics that foster problems in intercultural marriages in Nigeria with a view to ascertaining the prospects of such marriages in the 21st century. It also makes the case that intercultural marriages provide opportunities for a positive transformation of the negative trend in marriages rather than the prevalent views portraying them as inherently problematic (Animasahun and Fatile 2011).

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of the present study was to examine the nature and impact of problems in inter-cultural marriages among Nigerians. The specific objectives of this study are:
i. To examine the nature of inter-cultural marriage in Nigeria.

ii. To investigate and identify the problems of inter-cultural marriage in Nigeria.
iii. Examine the effects of inter-cultural marriage.

iv. Explore the prospects of inter-cultural marriage in Nigeria with a view to ascertaining the continuity or discontinuity of the present trend.
v. Make recommendations that will help solve the problems of inter- cultural marriages.

Significance of the Study

i. The contribution of this study to the Nigerian society cannot be overemphasized. This investigation hopes to address the gap in the existing literature on inter-cultural marriages in Nigeria. Most literature on the subject do not provide sufficient theoretical framework for considering inter- cultural marriage.

ii. The study will also provide information to prospective spouses, families and adults who need to learn about the effects of culture conflict in their marriage.
iii. The study will be useful to future researchers on the subject.

iv. It will be an addition to the numerous literature on the subject in the Library.
vi. The work will be useful to posterity

vii. Ethnic families may want to learn strategies for dealing with any threat of culture conflict in their marriages and life.

The Scope of the study

The study will cover the entire Nigeria. Inter-cultural marriage, throughout the study, is seen from the perspective of Yoruba marrying Igbo, Efik or Hausa, etc or vice versa. This work not only examines the concept of marriage but goes a step forward to identify the problems that affect inter- cultural marriage in Nigeria. It also highlight the effects these problems as well as traces the future of inter-cultural marriage in Nigeria.

Research Methodology

The methodology used in this study is the historical research method. It utilized both primary and secondary sources of data collections. Since marriage is universally acknowledged as foundation of group life and a requirement for human survival, the primary sources of data collection would be derived through oral interview from respondents, as a reliable medium for understanding individual perception of the subject matter. That the problems and prospects in intercultural marriage in Nigeria, has attracted the attention of considerable body of literature. This study would, examine relatively recent publications in books, journals articles and unpublished thesis relevant to the study data would be collected, organised and analysed critically.

1.6 Definition of Terms Culture

The term has been variously defined by different people. Taylor defines culture as “that complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, law, morals, customs and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of society (Popenoe, 1977: 75). Popenoe prefers to see culture as the system of values and meanings in material objects.

On their part Nwosu and Kalu (1982: 3) believe culture to be the totality of people’s way of life. For them, culture is a distinctive and transmissible network of symbols which characterizes a designated aggregate of people.

The term “marriage” like culture does not lend itself to a universal definition. Agha (2003: 97) defined marriage as a close partnership of two different people of opposite sex who have concerted to live and work together as one entity.
Marriage, according to Amponsah (1977: 74) is a union between two people, a man and a woman such that the children born to the woman are the recognized legitimate off-springs of both parents.
Neolocal Residence

Neolocal residence is a type of marital residence in which a couple establishes an independent domestic unit after marriage. In this type of residence, the couple does not live with their parents; rather they live with each other (Godelier, 2011: 568).

Matrifocal Family

Marital family is a family is that is centred on a woman and her children. In this case the father(s) of these children are intermittently present in the life of the family and occupy a secondary place. The children’s mother is not necessarily the wife of one of the children’s fathers (Herlihy, 1996:14-26).
Matrilocal Residence

Matrilocal residence refers to domicile in a group whose core includes the bride’s mother. In this type of marital residence, the couple lives with the bride’s mother (Herlihy, 1996:14-26).
Patrilocal Residence

Patrilocal residence is a type of marital residence in which the core revolves around the groom’s father. A patrifocal family is a family that is centered around the man and his father’s family (Godelier, 2011: 568).