Husband Wife Relationship

The degree to which marriage relationships are characterized by love, affection, and/or companionship is highly variable, though, generally, younger couples are much more likely to emphasize these aspects of the conjugal relationship than their elders. In more traditional marriages, affection and companionship are often quite important and can become very deep over time. However, for older Igbos, the idea that a marriage relationship should be the primary locus of intimacy is much less common than among younger couples. Even in more modern marriages men and women spend a significant amount of time and find a large part of their social satisfaction in same-sex peer relationships and in interactions with a wide range of kin.

Traditionally, Igbo husbands and wives did not eat together, they had separate sleeping rooms, and most social activities were sex segregated. While this is changing in the context of more conjugal marriages (many monogamous couples, e.g, now share the same bedroom), even in relatively modern marriages, a man is more likely to eat separately from his wife and children than with them. In addition, gender roles in the household remain quite polarized, with women almost exclusively responsible for food preparation and childcare.

Bridewealth in Igboland is perhaps the highest of any ethnic group in Nigeria, and once a couple has children, there are few socially acceptable reasons to divorce. If a couple does divorce, the children of the union are generally considered to belong to the husband and his lineage. A man may legitimately seek to dissolve a marriage if his wife has been sexually unfaithful, but a woman will be on much firmer ground seeking divorce if she can show that her husband has failed to provide for her and the children. She will receive relatively little social support if she cites problems in their personal relationship or the man's infidelity. Though divorce is heavily frowned on, in urban areas it is more common now than in any recent time.

Pregnancy And Childbirth

Pregnancy And Childbirth

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