Saturday, 9 May 2015

What to Do When Your Girl's Bride Price is Costly

bride price 
There are different wedding traditions which are observed by prospective couples across the world, while some are pretty simple, straight forward and cost nothing, others can be complex, expensive and deeply involving too. In Nigeria and most African countries, the most important tradition of all is “the bride price” a wedding tradition observed according to the customs and norms of the bride’s family. Every culture has different process of paying the bride price but every tradition serves the common interest of the bride and her family.

The significance of a bride price
A bride price is a traditional practice to receive from the groom’s family in form of goods, livestock and money given to the family of the bride in appreciation of her nurturing from infant to maturity during the traditional marriage rites. It demonstrates the ability of the man to continue to take care of their daughter as they set out on life’s journey together. It is often based on the bride’s family’s set rules and requirements and can also be measured according to her family’s wealth and social status. Where the bride attains a good level of education, the bride price tends to be much higher.
The implication
The importance of the bride price cannot be overlooked so much that women whose bride prices are not paid before marriage often feel cheated and unsettled in their marriage. A marriage is incomplete when the bride price is still outstanding and until the man does the right thing, the woman’s family will not accept him as an in-law.
As significant as the tradition is, the practice appears to have become so commercialised that it has lost the flavour of the old school and the traditional values are gradually fading away too. Commercialisation of bride price or high bride wealth is a common practice in some parts of Nigeria.
A young man recently called to seek my advice on his bride price dilemma; he was given a list of items by his prospective in-laws which included a cow and several other expensive goods. Just as he was finalising the list, he received a call to attend a meeting with the head of the family.
At the meeting, he was told that the first list he was given was not conclusive. In a nutshell, he was asked to buy another cow but unfortunately, he had spent all his savings buying all the items on the list. They continued to demand for the extra cow which left him sad and confused.
Today, many men fall into this trap and others choose to delay their wedding proposal since the bride price is gradually shifting towards buying a wife too.
  • With due respect to our elders and families who truly believe in the traditions of bride price, I hold this issue in high esteem with so much emotional attachment too.
  • Yes, I obviously sympathise with many young men and their families who have to pay the price but in my opinion, it truly sets the men apart from the boys and men who have respect for such traditions are more likely to meet their financial obligations within the marriage too.
On a lighter note, negotiations can also be made where necessary but strong traditions such as these should not be undervalued and misunderstood.
Let us give Caesar what belongs to Caesar.



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