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In the olden days, the choice of future partner is mainly done by the parents and family members. Some even betrothed their children right from their childhood. During this era, the young man that is attracted to lady will not go through her directly but instead go through his friend or her friend. This person is called “alarina” in the Yoruba culture. He or she will serve as intermediary between the man and the woman. They deliver messages, love and marriage intents. The reason why the intending couples were not always seen together was to prevent pre-marital sexual relationship. Virginity was held high and any woman who turned out not to be a virgin will be publicly disgraced and sent to her parent’s house. If the young woman accepts the proposal, the intermediary will step aside and the intending couple will inform their families.
The families then will take their parts by making investigations on the intending in-laws. They do this to see if there are histories of generational illness, diseases, mental illness, chains of occurrences, albinos, barreness, and dwarfism. Other reasons why the family member do this is to avoid and curb incest and to see if the two family has had any form of conflict, clashes or wars in the past. If they found out that any of these factors are present, they will kick against their children’s decision. On the other hand, the marriage decision will be accepted and marriage rites will commence if the family history is clean.
This way of mate selection is no more so in the modern days. There are no more intermediaries, young men now approach the women of their choice without seeking the consent of anyone and without going through friends or family members. There are different ways people choose or select who they want to have romantic relationship or marriage with, they include
1. Choice of Parents
Although there has been a great reduction in how parents choose partners for their children but this act is still much around in the present society. Just like in the olden days, parents decide who they want their wards to date or marry for various reasons. Some do that so as to preserve the friendship or business bonds thereby hooking up their children with their friend’s children. Some parents, especially the rich, royal and those from the high social class choose life partners for their children in order to maintain wealth, class or to keep the royal blood flowing.
2. Ideal Theory
Many young ones have the mind of choosing the partner that fits into their ideal types which is based mostly on physical appearances. Some ladies will want a tall, handsome, dark-complexioned man while others may desire to be with a short, robust or light-complexioned men. This also is the same in the men’s world. Some desires a tall, slim ladies while others prefer the plum and short ones. Young ones choose the partner that fits in best into their ideal characteristics.
3. Exchange Theory
Some people choose on the basis of exchange in order to complement their weaknesses. This is very common in the society. The ones that are not too handsome or beautiful love to marry those that are physically attractive. The broke ones will want to go for someone that is financially okay so as to complement their needs. Those that are hot-tempered or domineering will desire to be with the meek and humble spouse.
4. Parent-Image Theory
Children set their ideal man or woman on the basis of who their parents are. Some men will keep on looking for women that are like their mothers- caring, loving, beautiful and hard-working while others will not wish to end with ladies like their women. This also is the same for ladies. Some will prefer the men that act exactly like their fathers while others will prefer to remain single just to avoid hooking up with men like their fathers. Parents serve as image upon which they choose their partners.
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