Marriage is the union of a man and a woman as husband and wife. Marriage is a legally or formally recognized union of a man and a woman as partners in a relationship. Marriage is the legally or formally recognized union of a man and a woman as partners in a relationship. Marriage, also called matrimony or wedlock, is a socially or ritually recognized union or legal contract between spouses that establishes rights and obligations between them, between them and their children, and between them and their in-laws, as well as society in general.

Marriage is an intimate and complementing union between a man and a woman in which the two become one physically, in the whole of life. The purpose of marriage is to reflect the relationship of the Godhead and to serve him. Although the fall has marred the divine purpose and function of marriage, this definition reflects the God-ordained ideal for marriage from the beginning.

As creator of the marriage relationship, God becomes the essential supporting party to a marriage, giving wisdom, discretion, understanding, and love to protect the union and to enable it to honor God; continued reliance upon God is imperative for spouses to have a successful marriage.


Nigeria is made up of different ethnic group. Each ethnic group often has its own marriage system

Traditional or Customary Marriage: This is a marriage entered into according to native law and customs. It differs from one area to another in Nigeria. Thus, there are traditional marriage customs for the Igbos, Hausas, Yorubas, Edos, Effiks e.t.c. Traditional marriage can be either monogamy or polygamy. It is common practice for people to perform the traditional marriage rites first before the other forms such as the church marriage or court marriage.

Marriage under Ordinance or Court marriage: It is contracted in the court before a court registrar.

Features of Court Marriage

It does not allow either of the couples to enter into a second marriage, unless at the death or official divorce of the other partner

It is provided by the government

It is a monogamous form of marriage

A marriage ordinance certificate is given to the couple who marry this way

  1. Church marriage: It is conducted in a church according to the holy bible by a Pastor. Christians perform church marriage. It is a monogamous form of marriage, where a man marries only one wife. Many community recognize this type of marriage as wedding.
  1. Muslim or Islamic marriage: This type of marriage takes place in a mosque or the house of the parents of the woman. It is carried out according to the instructions in the Holy quran and Hadith. In this form of marriage, the man is allowed to marriage many wives. It is polygamous, however, he should not live with more than four wives at a time and the woman are to be treated equally. This marriage is conducted by an Imam.
  1. Other forms of marriage

Gift marriage: A girl may be given out for marriage by her parents as a sort of gift even without her consent. In this case, there will be no courtship or bride price.

Widow Inheritance marriage: This is a marriage where a male kinsman such as the son of a dead man of very close relatives marries his dead father’s or brother’s wife. He becomes the legal husband and the children belongs to him.

Ghost marriage: This is a system of marriage where the younger brother of a dead husband to be is expected to marry and have children in the dead man’s name. Both the wife and children belong to the dead man.


For companionship

Desire to overcome loneliness

Desire to have children

To satisfy parents wish for their children to get married

Desire to become economically secure

Fear of remaining single

Opportunity to gain social stakes

Desire for freedom from parents

For protection


What is marriage?

List and explain the factors to consider when choosing a marriage partner.

Discuss the various marriage systems that we have in Nigeria.

List and explain the features of a court marriage.

Why do people marry?

List and explain the functions of marriage.

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