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 discriptive 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  questionnaire   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.




Background of the Study

The word “marriage‟ derives from middle English mariage which first appeared in 1250-1300 CE. This in turn is derived from old French Marier (to Mary) and ultimately Latin Mari tare meaning to provide with a husband or wife and Maritari meaning to get married. The adjective marit-us-a,-um meaning matrimonial or nuptial could also be used in the masculine form as a noun for “husband” and in the feminine form for “wife”. The related word “Matrimony” derives from the old French word matremoine which appeared around 1300 CE and ultimately derives from Latin matrimonium which combines the two concepts mater meaning “mother” and the suffix –monium signifying “action, state or condition”. Marriage, therefore, is the union of a man with a woman so that they will live together and bear children. Individuals may marry for several reasons, including legal, social, libidinal, emotional, financial, spiritual and religious purposes. Whom they marry may be influenced by socially determined rules of incest, prescriptive marriage rules, parental choice and individual desire. In some areas of the world, arranged marriage, child marriage, polygamy and sometimes forced marriage may be practiced as a cultural tradition (Wikipedia, 2015). Culture in this sense is the totality of peoples‟ way of life.

In most cultures in today‟s Nigeria, many still frown at inter-cultural marriages. They are sometimes prohibited, regarded as a forbidden endeavour if a family is to retain its high societal standing. What is often at stake is cultural pride and the need to chase purity. There have been more resistance when women cross those cultural lines than  when it is done by men for obvious reasons. It is evident in Igbo land, in Yoruba land, in Hausa land, and as well across the country. Every ethnic group in Nigeria most certainly has its hang-ups about another. It is seemingly pervasive across the land, most parents would simply prefer that their children marry from the same ethnic groups from families they are already familiar with and can vouch for. But we should note that in these times, marrying from the same ethnic group does not in any way guarantee success of such a union.

Different ethnic groups recognize patterns and types of marriages according to their culture. When two parties of different cultural extractions get attracted to each other to a level of marital possibilities, such a union is referred to as cultural marriage. At times, cultural interaction, produces cultural conflicts, which generate in many folds suspicion, tension, disagreement, ethnic pride and identity, that lead to reconciliation processes in the forms of dialogue and mutual negotiation. Some inter ethnic marriages break shortly after wedding leaving the man and the women to regret






1.2 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; 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. 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 2017).


Yet a substantial focus of research has reinforced cultural differences as a source of instability, conflict, or dissatisfaction for couples (Cottrell, 2010; Hsu, 2001) rather than an opportunity for transformation (Crippen & Brew, 2007). Many conclude that intercultural couples face higher levels of marital challenges (Crohn, 2008; Ho, 2010); are more prone to failure (Gurung & Duong, 2009); 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 2017).

 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.  Make recommendations that will help solve the problems of inter-cultural marriages.

Research questions

i.       What are the nature of inter-cultural marriage in Nigeria?


ii.     What are the problems of inter-cultural marriage in Akure south local government area?


iii.  What are the effects of inter-cultural marriage in Akure south local government area?


iv.  What are the 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.

 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.

Definition of Terms


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 (2012: 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, 2017).


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, 2017: 568).







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