By: Pastor Taiwo Odubiyi
Can marriage between a Nigerian and a Chinese, Brazillian, an American etc work? Is such a marriage good or bad?
Before these questions are answered, let’s first consider God’s will or opinion concerning such a relationship. Knowing God’s will and being in the center of it is very crucial because if God is not in it, it’s not going to work. Without Him we are nothing and without Him we can do nothing.
I dealt with the issue of interracial marriage, God’s will and how to make it work in one of my novels, ‘This Time Around’.
In this novel, I answered some of the many questions people ask me about this unique relationship: Is it good or bad? What does the bible say about it? What should be done if the parents disapprove? Etc. People who are considering going into an interracial marriage should try to read the novel ‘This Time Around’.
In the novel, Misan, a Nigerian lady, told her aunt about her relationship with a Spanish-American man, Antonio. She had heard some negative comments about interracial marriage from some people including her mother, and now feeling a little confused, she had doubts about her relationship with Antonio. She’d heard that an interracial marriage was not God’s will, and because of the different backgrounds, they could not be compatible. Now, she needed to hear from her aunt who had been married to an American man for about twenty three years.
Her aunt allowed her to bare her mind, then she told Misan, “I can tell you without mincing words that I’m happily married. There’s nothing wrong with inter-racial marriage. God is not against it. The only thing against it is people’s biased opinion. What the Bible states is that the two people involved must be of the same faith and understand each other.”
She went on. “Of course, like every marriage, it’s not without its own challenges … oh yeah. We’ve been through a lot but that’s okay. Concerning you and Antonio, you’ll only need to work on your areas of conflict as one. Also, because of its nature, inter-racial marriages have some peculiarities and again, as I’ve already said, all you need to do is to work on those areas as one.”
This woman went on to point out something very important to Misan. She said, “In your mother’s case, her intertribal marriage to your father did not work because she was doing a lot of things that were wrong. Your father found out she had been diabolical, taking his names to spiritualists. There was another time he discovered a pot containing cowry shells, ram horns, native chalk and other stuff with his name on a paper inside the pot. That was what ended their marriage. Your mother caused the problems.”
Misan nodded again.
The woman continued. “The important considerations for any marriage are – one, is he born again? Two, what are your motives for this relationship? If the motives are pure, without sin and unselfish, the marriage stands a go-o-o-o-d chance of survival. You understand what I’m saying?”
Misan nodded again. “Yes.”
The woman assured Misan, “You don’t need to worry especially with what you have told me about this Antonio. Where there is love, there is nothing like belonging to different worlds or having different lifestyles. True love transcends all that. Just put your trust in God.”
An interracial or tribal marriage is not wrong, but some things must be considered. Here are some of the important factors to consider.
1)Be sure the person being considered for marriage knows God and has a good heart. In the novel, while praying, Misan considered Antonio’s character. She was sure that he was a good man, a good Christian, and would make a good husband and father.
2)People should not judge, refuse to marry, or forbid marriage to someone based on skin colour or race. The Bible makes us know that we have all being created in God’s image.
So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28 Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it. (Genesis 1:27-28 NKJV)
God is not against this unique relationship and it can work, if the couple know God and follows His instructions. In the novel, when Misan was talking about skin colour and race, Antonio told her, “Misan, I don’t believe in colour. What matters to me is the heart … your heart.” He added, “We are different only if we believe we are different. The difference you’re talking about is just an attitude. Colour is an attitude. There is a way we can merge our outlook to life and such stuff. Do you realize that if we are both Americans or Nigerians, all those differences would still be there? They are basic.”
The Bible also reveals that God looks at the heart which is more important. “The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1Samuel 16:7
3)As I pointed out in the novel, anyone who is considering going into an interracial or intertribal marriage will need to carefully think and be sure it’s what he or she wants. The bible encourages us to count the cost in Luke 14, and people going into this marriage would do well to adhere and count the cost by considering all the areas that could bring challenges later on in life, e.g, is he/she born again? Good character? Does he/she love me? etc.
28 For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it— 29 lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, 30 saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish’? (Luke 14:28-30 NKJV)
4) To make this unique relationship work, the couples involved should learn to please each other, show love and respect. The differences may be there but if they go out of their way to please each other, love and respect, they will get by.
As Antonio told Misan in the novel, if a marriage will work, the couple must be ready to tolerate each other, love, respect each other’s opinion and compromise opinions when necessary as long as it is not sinful. Couples usually have problems because they try to change their partners after marriage. That’s not going to work. When it comes to things like food, it will be good if one learns to eat some of the foods of the other person. And the foods they don’t like should be ignored without allowing it to cause a problem.