In Nigeria, families are cherished. This has a profound influence on relationships and marriages. The influence of family is deeply rooted in culture and tradition. Successful relationships understand these family dynamics and how they affect their romantic life.
In this article, we will explore how family can influence relationships.
What is the Influence of Family in Nigerian Relationships?
Before marriage, individuals may not be so concerned about introducing love partners to their families. It only becomes necessary when it’s full-blown to become a lifelong partnership as a marriage. Parents and loved ones want the best for their family members yet their best may not appeal to the choice of their children. Singles and married individuals experience all sorts of influences from home and extended family. The influence family has in Nigerian relationships reflects the country’s rich cultural heritage but as time progresses, people are beginning to balance tradition with modern changes.
How Does Family Influence Relationships in Nigeria?
1. Partner Selection
In some Nigerian communities, families still play a significant role in choosing partners for their children. They consider factors like family reputation, social status, and compatibility. This may not be as common as in recent times, but family opinion on partner selection remains important. It is a widely known saying “It is one thing to be received by your partner, it is another thing to be accepted in the family”
2. Parental Approval
Before entering a serious relationship or marriage, many Nigerians seek their parents’ approval and blessings. Parents’ thoughts and concerns about their partner matter a lot. This shows respect for parental wisdom. Children very close to their parents will annul a relationship where the parents wouldn’t give their blessings.
3. The Extended Family System
Nigerians value extended families a lot. Parents often involve extended families in important life decisions of their children, like marriage. Extended families have a say in these decisions which can affect relationships. While their advice and support may be valuable, they can make relationships more complex.
4. Dowry and Bride Price
Family influence is also prevalent in matters of dowry and bride price. Since the groom and family present money and gifts to the bride’s family, some families would inflate the price, to the point of exploitation. The immediate family may agree to a decent dowry and bride price but the influence of extended family will change their decision. Negotiating dowry and bride price can involve a lot of family inputs.
Abuse of Family Influence on Nigerian Relationships?
The abuse of family influence in Nigerian relationships can have detrimental consequences for individuals and the overall well-being of the relationship. Here are some common ways in which family influence can be abused:
1. Interference in Personal Choices
Excessive interference from family members is one way relationship partners suffer the abuse of family influence. In-laws trying to decide in personal decisions, such as career choices or parenting can stifle individual aspirations and lead to dissatisfaction. This, if not well handled can cause conflict between partners.
2. Financial Control
Every marriage is unique so what works for A family may not work for B family. This is understandable in matters of finances too where couples need to strategize bill payments and other responsibilities. However, the influence of family may exert control over a couple’s finances, leading to financial dependency and limiting the couple’s ability to make decisions about their own money.
3. Gender Roles and Expectations
Traditional gender roles and expectations imposed by family members can limit personal growth and lead to inequality within the relationship. In situations where the family’s influence negates modern changes and civilization, enforcing rigid gender roles can result in an unequal division of household labor, where women are expected to bear the brunt of domestic responsibilities. Although cultural norms have evolved over time, many families still adhere to traditional stereotypes that can perpetuate harmful imbalances and restrict personal growth in relationships.
4. Lack of Privacy
Lack of privacy within a family context can be another form of abuse or manipulation of family influence. Privacy is a fundamental human right that allows individuals to maintain their personal boundaries, autonomy, and emotional well-being. When privacy is violated within a family, it causes emotional distress and slows family growth and progress.
5. Conflict Resolution
In some cases, family members may intervene in conflicts between partners, which can undermine the couple’s ability to communicate and resolve issues on their own. It is possible family intervention is to dissolve the relationship without the knowledge of the partners.
Navigating how couples can thrive with the influence of their families is a crucial matter. Sometimes, it can be a source of strength, love, and support, while at other times, it may challenge us. Finding the right balance between family’s wisdom and our own growth is a journey that requires understanding and communication.