Igbo Views On Marriage

In the eyes of the Igbo community marriage is not a matter for the man and woman alone; it concerns the close kin of both sides. Marriage arrangements are negotiated between the families of the prospective bride and groom. In other words when you are entering a marriage with an Igbo person you are also marrying their family and vice versa. With regard to the paternity of the wife’s children, they belong to the lineage of the husband. When a woman has children out of wedlock, however, they belong to her natal lineage, and not to that of the children’s father. This fact is very important to know when it comes to future marriages of offspring and who has rights to give them away.


A significant part of a young Igbo girl’s or a young Igbo man’s childhood training is geared toward their future roles in the family and as useful and responsible citizens. Women are fully involved in matchmaking and usually participate directly or indirectly in the actual negotiations of marital arrangements for their sons or their daughters, in cooperation with the male members of the families concerned. Women have powerful and active behind-the-scene roles in seeking out the girls they would like their sons to marry. The approval of the mother is vital because the young bride is generally expected to live with her mother-in-law and to serve her for the first few months of marriage, until the new couple can set up an independent household and farmland. Mothers always want the absolute best for their children so that is why it is always encouraged to develop a strong relationship with your in-laws.

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