Issues with the mandatory family visits before the marriage Ceremonies

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As a part of culture and tradition, many Nigerian tribes require that an intending groom pays familiarization visits to important members of the bride-to-be’s family.  While it is the tradition of the people, it is known too that the number of family members to be visited depends on the lady’s parents. Some parents may only request that  the husband-to-be  visits a family member each from  their families and they are satisfied, but  for some others it is a different matter.

You can imagine that some weddings have been threatened   because of the request to go and see so many family members that are scattered across Nigeria. Some people have been required to go and visit some family member in faraway distances from where the parents of the bride-to-be live.

Arguments have been that the parents are not the only ones who own the daughter who would be given out in marriage, and that it is a mark of respect  to those who have been listed  to be visited.  Many people have also seen differently; some say that you cannot for example, be introducing the groom to uncles and aunties on the day of the wedding. It is expected that  everyone who is considered a close family member ought to have met the groom before the traditional marriage day.

For a number of tribes among the Delta State people, it is considered as respect not only to the people to be visited by the groom, but also for the parents of the lady.  It is also looked at that after such a time, the man may not make the chance to go visiting these people. But then, the issue of consideration arises. How do you rationalise a request for the husband-to-be to go visiting an uncle or aunt in Uyo or Warri from Lagos, when the parents of the lady are in Lagos? While some people say it is in line with tradition, others think that the distance is too far such visit when all resources to be spent are considered.

I once heard about an occasion when a lady had to come with her fiancé to Lagos, to fulfil the mandatory visit to her brother. Though her parents were in Warri and all plans had been completed for the wedding to take place in Warri, the parents insisted that the brother in Lagos must see the fiancé before the traditional marriage. Unfortunately, their trip back to Warri turned sour when the vehicle they were travelling in got involved in an accident, causing both of them to remain in hospital for over three months.  The lady’s family lamented and traded blames because some of them had argued earlier that the trip to Lagos was not necessary since the family was in Warri and the brother would be coming at least a day before the ceremonies.  

In another pathetic situation, a father insisted that the husband-to-be must go and visit his own sister who was in the village, while the mother of the lady stood her ground saying ‘No’.  The husband-to-be was torn between a family crisis. The mother insisted that the said sister-in-law did not have regards for her, so she did not see any reason why she would accord her the honour of an earlier visit before the traditional marriage and wedding.  The husband-to-be’s family had to put a hold on the preparations because according to them, their son would not begin marital life on such confused note.
Today so much has changed concerning this tradition, as many parents don’t worry about sending their son-in-law to-be, going round family members to accord them honour before the marriage ceremony proper.  Many families now consider distance and resources to be spent on such trips. However, some others are of the opinion that if the tradition is allowed to die some of the practises that beautify and dignify our culture would completely be lost.
What things do you think should be considered in the practice of this tradition? Please share your views.