Why is it even necessary for your special someone to meet your parents? Why can’t they meet after you guys have done a private or fancy proposal, putting a ring on it? Does it really then mean you’re engaged after that fancy private proposal without the consent or knowledge of the parents?
In contemporary Yoruba tradition, when a woman or man finds someone to whom they would like to be married, the first recognized step is introduction between the two families. This is the first marriage rite where the parents of the groom-to-be meet the parents of the bride-to-be. The meeting place is usually the in the partner house of the bride (bride’s father’s or kinsmen’ house). Introduction is informal as the groom’s family members come with bottles of wine, palm wine and few tubers of yam. On the other hand, the bride’s family serves their guests with foods and drinks. After the parents’ agreement, a date will be chosen for the engagement and the wedding ceremonies. In most cases, the date selection is done by the bride’s family members but in some situations, the couple chooses the date convenient for them. This is usually meant to be a quiet sitting room ceremony but because of the elaborate nature of Yoruba people, it might turn out to be a mini carnival if you know what I mean – owanbe tinz. At this ceremony, a later date is then decided for the marriage. In between the dates, some sort of background information is carried out on the other’s family and omen. If no danger or harm seem to be lurking somewhere in the future, then the marriage will take place otherwise, either side of the family is at liberty to call off the wedding on any such grounds. This is usually the traditional way of bringing the one you want to marry to your parents’ knowledge in Yoruba culture. However, this is often far from practice now.
If you are persistent to take your new girlfriend or boyfriend home to see your parents, you might just be sending out a wrong signal especially if the other person isn’t looking to settle as desperately as you. On the flip side, the other person might also be too willing to meet the parents but are you sure you know your new boyfriend or girlfriend well enough to take that decision? I know of an impressionable lady who met this guy when she wasn’t looking out for one. It seemed ordinary when he asked to meet her parents but she wasn’t ready for that especially because it was just a few weeks into discussions. He insisted and she obliged him. Few months later, he turns out to be the devil incarnate. How do you go back over and over admitting the last person really wasn’t “the one” and this new person is now the one?
If after a few years of dating you are sure you want to spend the rest of your life with this one special person and then you decide to take him or her to your parents only to find out there’s some sort of incompatibility issue after investigations, like in the case of the traditional Yoruba culture, would you be willing to let go?
Or are your parents liberal enough to trust your judgement to marry the person of your choice and accept them too no matter what? Take for instance a student who studied and lived abroad. After graduation and years of working, you meet this fantastic person and you tell your parents about him/her. They speak on the phone a few times, you send them a picture and they just trust your judgement to go ahead to marry him/her without their presence or interference. Few years after the wedding, certain issues you thought love could conquer begin to threaten your marriage and then you begin to look to your parents for help. Don’t get me wrong, you should be mature enough to take your decisions and stand by then no matter what but the role of meeting the parents in every relationship cannot be eliminated.
So if this is the case, at what point is it safe to meet the parents?