How to Live Well with The Third Party in Marriage

January 9, 2013 by Uzoma  
Published in Marriage

Marriage is not just joining of the man and the woman but joining of lives, of families, and communities”. He further stated “that provision is hereby made for the newly married to be joined to the husbands family by the act of giving her to the parents of the husband or their representatives” according to Rt. Rev Henry Ndukauba.

How to Live Well with the Third Party in Marriage

Marriage as instituted by God says it should consist of one man and woman, who outside the control of others will start up their own family. Genesis 2: 24 clearly says, “Therefore a man should leave his father and mother and be joined to the wife, and they shall become one flesh (New King James Version)”.  In the institution of marriage, the intent and mind of God is that they should be alone void of intervention from any third party.

However, in the African context, this is not so. Africans strongly uphold the idea, concept and culture of extended family life. Anyone who is married still holds allegiance to his or her family. In the Aniocha area of Delta State of Nigeria where I come from, the oldest man among the kindred owns the first son and daughter of all other men within the kindred. They owe that elder some allegiance. For example when I married my wife, the traditional marriage was not done in my father in-law’s house but in the house of his senior brother who then owns my father in-law, his first son and daughter.

The fact about the influence of the extended family life is well known to us in Africa that the church even recognizes that. In the liturgy of Church of Nigeria Anglican Communion for celebration of wedding, we have a section called Acclamation. In this section the prospective mother in-law of the bride or her representative will be called out and the priest will hand over the bride to her asking if she will on behalf of her family accept the bride as a member of her family which she will promise to do.

All Anglican Clergy Conference report 2008:143 has the lecture of Rt. Rev. Henry Ndukuba stating that, “Marriage is not just joining of the man and the woman but joining of lives, of families, and communities”. He further stated “that provision is hereby made for the newly married to be joined to the husbands family by the act of giving her to the parents of the husband or their representatives”.

From the above, it is imperative to state that in African context marriage is not just between the couple that stand before the altar in front of the priest but also other members of their families. It brings both families’ members together. It automatically means that parents, brothers and sisters cannot be ruled out of the affairs of the couple.

However, there is an extent to which they can have say in the affairs of the couple. The couple should not just allow the ideas and decisions of their people to dominate their affairs or they will end up not having any say in their home. If couples desire to have a home of happiness and not misery, a home that is heaven of `living their lives in love’ perpetually and not hell of disharmony and perpetual friction, then they should set a limit to which they can accept counsel, advice, instructions or command from a third party. If this interference is allowed to continue unabated, it will culminate into the couple being puppets. They will no longer take their own decisions on matters that affect them. To avoid this, the couple should understand how to cope with this third party in their marriage.

(Continues in part two)

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