From the Media Capital, to the Global Ethiopian Community
Sunday November 19th 2017

Does Marriage only consist of the Groom and the Bride?

When a bride says “I Do” to her groom, she is not only accepting him but everything he comes with-his family!  So it got me thinking, how do we Habeshas feel about interracial or inter-cultural union between a man and a woman?  This question brings up another can of worms in its own such as “Are Ethiopians racist?”, “Do we consider ourselves black or African American?” However, for the purpose of this article, I will focus on the topics as they relate to marriage.  In our culture, the families of the groom and the bride (or the in-laws) are very tightly bonded.  Perhaps not so much in the Diaspora but back home, the approval of the parents’ often plays a major role on whether a couple will make their companionship official through marriage or not.  So, considering all of this, how do we and our parents feel about marrying outside of the Ethiopian community?

I actually asked my grandmother this very question during her visit to the states. At first she said “never mind the color, as long as he is right for you”.  I asked the same question right before she departed to go back and the answer changed to “Minim bihon yageresh lij yishalishal”…(its better to choose your own type).  So I am back to square one-curious about the same question and what people of all ages think about it.  At this point, the logical way of thinking about the issue seems to be to temporarily separate the couple’s lives from their families.  In doing so, it can be concluded that as long as the two of them find in each other what they consider are positive traits of a mate then that’s all that counts.  But when we get to their families, the cultural and language barriers become more evident and almost compromise the solidarity the couple has established based on just the two of them.  I imagine it would take a lot less effort to be part of family events and cultural happenings when the couple is both Ethiopian natives as opposed to cultural differences and discomfort that may take place if one of them were from elsewhere. But then again, is it fair to disqualify a possible husband or wife based on the difficulties we think that person may have with the family? Is it just for one person to find his/her “soul mate” and lead a content life or compromise their choice based on the family? How about the child’s identity? The quest continues…

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