Question:

Hi,

I just read a reply you made to someone about marrying without parental consent. I happen to be in a similar situation right now. I hail from a village in Nigeria where marriage within the same clan is considered a taboo irrespective of how distant the relationship is. I and my fiance are both from the same clan and and started dating when we were teenagers. This year makes it our fifteenth year of dating. Although we parted at some point due to distance but we got back dating the last two years. Since then we had been struggling with getting our parents' consent, especially my dad, but to no avail even when they know that we are not closely related but we share the same ancestral lineage. In fact, both my dad and hers said over their dead bodies for us to be married. Though it's my dad who started the whole swearing and stuff, he said such a thing won't start in his family. Even if the whole village agrees to start marrying from the same clan, he still would not consent to the marriage.

Several attempts to convince my dad that the Bible doesn't condemn same clan marriage proved abortive, even when some respectable friends of his talked to him about it. Right now, her father seems to be relaxed about the whole issue, but my dad is still adamant about it. I began thinking if her father would agree to give me her hand in marriage even with my dad's disapproval. Because my dad has made his position clear to me that if I go ahead and marry her, my children would not be part of his family. But I don't mind.

So please I need your advice on what to do because I feel a deep conviction within me that she is going to be my wife. And I do love her so.


Answer:

In your country there are three types of marriage laws: Statutory, Ceremonial, and Islamic. Islamic is for Muslims. Ceremonial is for tribal customs, allowing for polygamy. Statutory comes from the British laws and only allows for monogamous marriages. From a Christian's point of view only your Statutory laws comes the closest to the teachings of the Bible. You could marry under the ceremonial laws and just ignore the polygamy aspects of it.

Under the statutory law, you don't need your parents' consent if both of you are over the age of 21, which I believe is true since you have been dating for 15 years. There are rules about how closely related you can be and still marry, but you are certain that you are not that close. This is checked when you apply for the marriage license.

A ceremonial marriage requires both parents' consent. Since your father refuses to give his consent, you will not be able to have a ceremonial marriage. This may have impact in how you are viewed in your village, but it is possible that your father might relent after you marry your girlfriend under the statutory law. After all, it will be known that you were willing to do a ceremonial marriage, only your father refused. By the way, the ceremonial laws don't have rules about marrying in the same clan.

But if you are willing to be estranged from your father in order to marry your girlfriend, there is no biblical reason you cannot proceed with the marriage.

Hi,

Thank you so much for your response. I really appreciate it. I would like you to remember us in your prayers that the will of our God be done for us in this situation.

Thank you.