a) Traditional or Customary Marriage

In this first case, it involves the meeting of two families to approve the union of two individuals brought together and consists for the groom to respect the rites related to customary union, most often by the payment of a dowry which varies according to countries, regions, and traditions, that is to say, customs and traditions. It is also at this stage that the bride is entrusted to her in-laws. Two views emerge from this types of marriage: first, for some families, it is considered a formal marriage, and they therefore expect the couple to live together after doing so. Secondly, other families see it as a simple commitment.

However, what we want to emphasize here is that, from our point of view, customary marriage is only the beginning of the union, or I would say its formalization, and therefore cannot be a complete formal marriage. Furthermore, although practiced everywhere nowadays, it is not legally codified in a number of countries.

c) Civil Marriage

This types of marriage that corresponds to the civil law in force in a country and consists for the fiancés to give legal value to their union. It is also perceived as a legal act producing effects applicable to both parties. At this level, parental consent is desirable, encouraged, and highly sought after, but not absolutely necessary if the couple has reached the age of majority (i.e., eighteen years old), and an official register must be signed by at least two witnesses to validate the civil union. Following this, a family record booklet is given to the couple to definitively attest to their union.

The marriage code, varying from country to country, will allow the future spouses to choose the form of marriage they wish to enter into. In other words, they will opt either for monogamy or polygamy. It should be noted, however, that over the past ten years, polygamy has decreased but remains common in West Africa. For example, 33% of women in Nigeria have stated that their husbands have more than one wife.

In some countries where it is practiced, polygamy is recognized and regulated by civil law, which allows a man to marry up to four wives under certain conditions, including the ability to financially support their needs and those of their families. In practice, a polygamous union is limited in most cases to two women per couple. There are also six West African countries whose civil codes prohibit, officially forbid polygamy, namely Benin, Cape Verde, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Guinea, and Nigeria, but legal restrictions are not really enforced. However, other countries such as Burkina Faso, Togo, Mali, Senegal, and Chad allow the couple or the man to choose, according to modern civil law, to be monogamous or polygamous.

c) Spiritual or Religious Marriage.

Marriage is neither a religious institution nor a Christian or social institution but rather a divine institution that must, therefore, comply with the rules of the divine creator.

This text is an excerpt from the book “MYDUMAR: The Mystery of Marriage” written by Rév. BLAISE KANGA.

We invite you to read the following article “How to find a wife?“.

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