Courtship and Marriage

Some forms of courtship have already been mentioned above. An important principle is that the person (usually the man) actively seeking erotic-sexual contact with a possible partner should not lose face by straightforward rejection, hence the importance of indirect strategies, nowadays including the writing of love letters. Parents of two families belonging to different clans sometimes try to arrange the marriage of their children; cross-cousin marriages may be culturally preferred but actually occur only rarely. Most marriages are based on mutual love, usually after a sexual liaison; women have a strong position in this decision and will not be forced into a union they do not want, not even when they are courted by a powerful chief. The actual act of announcing one's new status as married couple (vavegila) is to be seen, early in the morning and presumably after a passionate night, sitting side by side on the platform of a house, often the hut (bukumatula) of the young bachelor where he will have received his girl friend(s) before. After this informal act of marriage the two families engage in reciprocal gift giving, consolidating the newly formed bond between them. Divorce (vepaka), usually triggered by extramarital affairs by both spouses, is not uncommon. Bell-Krannhals (1990) documented nine divorces in a total of 34 marriages. A typical way of reacting to an unfaithful partner is the public destruction of his or her personal belongings. Women whose husband has a lover commonly take their (smaller) children and move back to their parents' house. Men often try to repair the bond by offering special reconciliatory gifts (lula) to the parents of the woman. Interestingly, there is no Kilivila term for "ex-husband" and "ex-wife."

Pregnancy And Childbirth

Pregnancy And Childbirth

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