Advantages and Disadvantages Of Intra Ethnic Marriage: Marriage is a union of two or more people of which the union creates a family tie that is embedded in itself, legal, social and or religious rights and responsibilities. Asides the classification of marriage into monogamy, polygamy and polyandry, marriage is further classified into intermarriage and intra marriage.
Intermarriage is a marriage between people belonging to different groups, such as different racial, ethnic, or religious groups. It is also referred to as exogamy. It is also commonly called mixed marriage.
On the other hand, intra marriage is the one between people belonging to the same group, such as racial, ethnic or religious group. This is also known as endogamy.
Narrowing it down to our topic of discourse, what then is an intra ethnic marriage? Ethnic group are group of people who indentify with one another especially on the basis of ancestral, national, cultural, historical or religious grounds.
When something is said to be “intra”, it is a prefix which suggests that it is such which operates within or inside of a given area. Marriage is therefore said to be intra ethnic if it exists between individuals who are of the same ethnic group. Intra ethnic marriage therefore is a union of two or more people of which the union creates a family tie that is embedded in itself, legal, social and or religious rights and responsibilities, where that two or more people are of the same ancestral, national, cultural, historical or religious heritage or origin. What then are the advantages and disadvantages of intra ethnic marriage?
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Advantages of Intra Ethnic Marriage
1. Proximity to Family House: This may qualify as an advantage for some people and maybe otherwise to some others. This is an advantage especially for the party to the marriage who by custom or practice, is required to leave the father’s home to join the other party in their matrimonial home (usually the female spouse).
The effect which qualifies this as an advantage is that the distance away from the person’s nurture or father’s home would not be too far, since ethnic groups are usually inhabited in the same region or geographical area. This is the opposite in the case of inter ethnic marriage where one may have to leave one region for another on a voyage of marriage.
2. Strength of Existing Family Relationship: intra ethnic marriage by the very factor of its reasonable proximity sustains and strengthens an existing family relationship has amongst family members even after marriage has taken place. This is because, the party leaving her home for another’s home as necessitated by the incidence of marriage, can always pay visits to her nurture or father’s home as the case may be.
The gap between her and the father’s family is not unnecessarily widened or bridged by the factor of marriage as a result of distance. The family can as well visit or drop by her marital home without being frustrated by distance. This helps to sustain and strengthen the existing family relationship.
3. No Conflicting Traditions: cultural differences which are incidental to inter ethnic marriage may pose as a problem in marriages. When parties to a marriage are from different ethnic groups, the party leaving for the other’s house may be faced with customs which are alien to her. Some of these customs could be unacceptable in her tribe or ethnie. Some tribes are yet to attain the level of modern day exposure, therefore, there are bound to be customs and traditions which are barbaric and unfavourable to a person whom it is alien to.
This cultural factor is a problem akin to inter ethnic marriage. But for an intra ethnic marriage, the issue of cultural conflicts does not surface. This is because; there are usually no two conflicting traditions of any party to the marriage against that of the other. The spouses are grown and made of the same ethnic group by which they subscribe to similar cultural practices, values and standards which are not fundamentally different eve when they are from different areas.
4. No Language Barrier: language is the means which communication is effected. In an intra ethnic marriage practice, the language of the spouses are usually not diverse, although there could be a tonal deviation in dialect, but the substance of the language is still maintained. Language as a means of communication promotes peace and unity and limits conflicts.
Where the parties to a marriage are known to the same language, trust would exist, there would be less miscommunication and there would be room for peaceful co-existence in the union. In intra ethnic marriage, the problem of language being a barrier is totally not anticipated.
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5. Sustenance and Promotion of Cultural Values: value is the degree of importance given to something. Intra ethnic marriage practice helps in promotion of customs and traditions of an ethnic group. When people of the same ethnic group marry each other, they create a new family where their ethnic cultural heritage is continued.
There would be no question of cultural indifference or conflict amongst the spouses. The children of the marriage also inherit those cultural values from their parents, and the custom continues to expand and be sustained.
6. Promotion of the Ethnic Language: intra ethnic marriage practice contributes to the promotion of the ethnic language. It is clear how this works. When parents grow their children in the language known and common to them, usually their ethnic language, they grow with that language and this continue when those children intra-marry. By this practice, the ethnic language is propagated and promoted.
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Disadvantages of Intra Ethnic Marriage
1. Proximity to Family Home: For some people, this may pose as a disadvantage. In an intra ethnic marriage, there may be unnecessary family interference because there is reasonable proximity in distance.
2. Limited Exposure to other Customs: Intra ethnic marriage does not afford an opportunity for one to be exposed to other ethnic customs and practices, as one would have been exposed to in inter ethnic marriage. Inter ethnic marriage involves union of people from different ethnic groups most likely having diverse cultural values and traditions.
This could afford an opportunity for parties to a marriage to be fully exposed to another distinct language not being his or her own of origin. But intra ethnic marriage practice defeats this possibility, although not totally but significantly.
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3. Genetic Factor: inter ethnic marriage is a marriage between people of different ethnic group having different ancestral origin or history. In the case of an intra ethnic marriage, there could have an ancestral history. Therefore, inter ethnic marriage has a tendency to breed more intelligent and healthy offspring owning to the genetic factor of distance in family history.
In an intra ethnic marriage however, there could be genetic risk of family history since they are people of the same ancestral origin or history. The proximity in inter ethnic marriage is far enough.
4. Multi-language Limitation: Intra ethnic marriage may not afford the golden opportunity for one to learn another language aside his original tongue.
5. Cultural Diversity Factor not totally extinguished: under intra ethnic marriage practice, the issue of cultural diversity is not totally extinguished.
People could marry from the same ethnic group from but from different regions of the ethnic group whose customs and traditions are still different, and this can still lead to conflicts of customs and traditions.
Intra ethnic marriage is a generally accepted and commonly practiced marriage system. People are more at an opportunity to marry from their ethnic group than otherwise. Statistics shows that the number of inter ethnic marriages in existence is not even noticeable to be compared to the existing intra marriages. Notwithstanding the disadvantages discussed, there has not been any noted conscious harm caused by the intra ethnic marriage practice.
Edeh Samuel Chukwuemeka, ACMC, is a lawyer and a certified mediator/conciliator in Nigeria. He is also a developer with knowledge in various programming languages. Samuel is determined to leverage his skills in technology, SEO, and legal practice to revolutionize the legal profession worldwide by creating web and mobile applications that simplify legal research. Sam is also passionate about educating and providing valuable information to people.