So I have heard pretty interesting arguments about why people should marry from within their tribe. Some have even backed it up with the bible, while some have used the success of certain marriages as an example of why they hold so strongly to this belief. Others have spoken about the need to hold on to their heritage and culture...My response? No wonder why we have such a high rate of marriages falling apart... a good number within the first year!!! Scary stuff! So where do I start??? hmmm!
You ask a number of men and women what they are looking for in a partner. For most people, they'll start with "I want a born again/God fearing ......" and just before that settles in, as if in the same breath, they go "He/she has to be ........ (fill in your choice Yoruba, Hausa, Igbo etc). For a number of years, I've tried to understand the thinking behind this...the excuses I have listed above are some of the common ones I've gotten.
People remind me how much has changed in the world and the thinking that it is easier to marry and relate with someone who speaks the same language as you and understands your culture. Some go as far as claiming it worked well for our parents and it's understandable why the same is expected of them....my response? Cockroach poopoo! Firstly, In the days of our parents, the reason why most people preferred their sons and daughters marry within their tribe was because it was easier to carry out a thorough check on the person and his/her family. These days with the ease of getting information, it is easy to find out about any family. Furthermore, I argue that the marriages of our parents were "successful" (if success is based on length of time together and willingness to see it through) because they knew how to persevere. Women were willing to endure so much, sadly some were physically and verbally abused, cheated on but they remained because they figured divorce was a taboo. Secondly, these days a lot of people speak more than language...I am not from one of the major tribes but speak and understand two of the three major languages. So my point is those reasons are shallow at best.
Now to the group that tend to use the bible to defend their decision. They tend to use the story of Isaac and Rebekah (Genesis 24: 1-66). A very interesting read about how Abraham sent his trusted messenger to his hometown to seek a wife for Isaac. It is funny how people read this passage and immediately jump to the conclusion that this supports their claim. Abraham sent his messenger to his hometown because he didn't want Isaac marrying a pagan. God had sent him to the land he was in (Canaan) to possess it. His reason for seeking a wife from his people wasn't because he wanted Isaac to marry from his village. So this doesn't support your thinking.
The second passage is the one commonly thrown around about not"being unequally/unevenly yoked" that's where they stop but forget it says "do not be unevenly/unequally yoked with UNBELIEVERS" it has nothing to do with your tribe rather has more to do with your belief. In other words, Paul wasn't too thrilled about inter-belief marriages. Sadly, even a majority of believers that know this word, still insist on marrying people from their tribe. They act shocked when things fall apart...So what we find is even the Christian marriages that are suppose to be an example to the world are actually no different from the other marriages that we see fall apart.
How can you say you desire God's best for you when you insist on telling God who you want to marry? I am sorry but it doesn't work that way! I sincerely believe that one of the major reasons we are currently experiencing a spike in divorce amongst young couples is because of their failure to prioritize correctly. Away from the craze of decisions based on material possessions, some actually desire someone from their tribe over the need to marry a god fearing person. A couple of years ago, I attended a singles fellowship in one of the renowned churches in Lagos. At some point during the meeting, the men were separated from the women. So as the men gathered to talk, a good looking chap raised his hands to share with the group. He mentioned how his father was a prominent member of the church, how he had found the girl he wanted to share the rest of his life with but how his father had kicked against it, demanding he marry a girl from his tribe...so sad! I don't know what the guy decided but if he followed his dad's advice, I can only believe there is someone out there married to his second choice and not the person he truly desires. Second instance, a boy I've been mentoring in church finally opened up to me about his "love life"...he shared with me how a couple (both leaders in the church) were against him dating/marrying their daughter because he was of a different tribe...at first I thought it was a joke until another guy in the church made the same complaint about the same issue with the same couple but over a different daughter.
I am not an advocate of disobeying parents but marriage isn't an institution to enter into lightly or based on the preferences of your parents....Yes if there is a tangible reason why they are against your marrying someone from a different tribe, I advice you listen but if the only reason lies in the fact he is from a different tribe, kindly inform them that it wasn't his/her choice...he/she was born into that family...had absolutely nothing to do with his preference.
Listen to the cries of people who entered into a marriage based on tribe...the stories I hear are scary... Love isn't easy...so when you find someone that is madly in love with you, pray, get the confirmation from God...worry about what names your children will answer later...trust me it won't matter to them if they are in a broken or violent home...if all else fails, be like my parents and give the child an English name.
Till I write again, may love find you when you least expect and in the place you least expect...May the color of love be that color God has designed for you and may the language be that language God has purposed for you.... In Jesus Name. Amen!!!