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Chapter One of Problems Of Divorce In Ibibio Culture
Marriage and divorce may well be one of the major problems facing the Ibibio society today. Ordinarily, an ideal marriage will remain united, undivided, and unbroken. This is the plan written by the mind of the Creator when He gave Eve to Adam as his permanent partner in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2:24). Also, St. Paul expressed the same view, when he recalled Christ’s prohibition of divorce:
To those, now married, however, I give this command (though it is not mine, it is the Lord’s): a wife must not separate from a husband, if she does separate, she must either remain single or become reconciled to him again. Similarly, a husband must not divorce his wife. 1 Cor. 7:10 11.
This passage demonstrates that divorce is undesirable, and should not be permitted in the Christian community. However, the husband should not lord his headship over his wife, but must love and provide for the family. The husband should be prepared to give his entire life for his wife and children. He should work for them. However, this type of self sacrifice can only be possible where conjugal love exist and prevails. All efforts must be made to encourage couples to stay together or get back together, even when they have separated. However, the intention of this study is not to provide a solution to the social problem caused by marriage and divorce. Rather, the purpose of this study is to place the problem of marriage and divorce in a proper context with respect to the Ibibio society. In marriage, true partners become one flesh, a concept that is predicated by love. The couples ought to love each other in Christ -like love. This love is boundless; it was for the love Christ had for the world that He was able to die for the sins of the world. God hates divorce, His attitudes towards divorce is stated more clearly in (Malachi 2:14-16) it shows that divorce is treachery (deceitful unfaithfulness) against one’s companion. Divorce is described as violent, coming from a wrong spirit. It impairs the nurture of the children born to the marriage that the parents are obligated to rear as believers in a godly home. The subject of the protection of the rights of women is the hottest in this human and development matrix. Not only because women constitute the greater number of human being, but because millennia of oppression, suppression and exploitation by men aided by cultural, philosophical, religious, historical, economic and other alibis have repressed the latent creative abilities of women all over the world. Sadly, many of the enslaving taboos are only discovered in the middle of life or sometimes when marriage has ended for them but the situation leaves a large gap of inequality between husbands and wives in man’s society like the Ibibio tribe of Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria.
Statement of the problem
The main problem to be appraised concerns marriage and divorce in the light of biblical revelation as it relates to Ibibio society. Aspects of Ibibio society need to be better integrated into the Christian faith. After converting to Christianity, Ibibio society still carry along with them many of their traditional ideas, customs, and cultural values, particularly with respect to marriage and divorce. The researcher believes that problems with respect to marriage and divorce among Ibibio society deserve proper examination.
The principles expressed in Matthew 19:1-12 should guide an examination of Ibibio Christian marriages. In this text, Jesus reminds the Church that marriage is called into being by God and given great purpose and meaning (Martin 2004:9). Jesus quotes Genesis to inform us that marriage is a divine institution and has a permanent status. Therefore, due to the divine nature of marriage, divorce represents an offense against God. Divorce clearly contradicts the teachings of the Bible. Jesus emphatically holds that God created them male and female, and that a man shall leave his father and mother and be attached to his wife, and the two shall be one flesh (Genesis 1:27). Using the attributive theory and the New Testament of Matthew 19:3-10 where Jesus addressed the problem of divorce as the basis to examine the problem of divorce in Ibibio society. It has therefore become imperative to conduct a study to evaluate how divorce has affected marriages, families and the people of Ibibio in general.
Objective of the Study
The main objectives of this work shall include the following:
- Identify and analyze the problem of divorce in Ibibio culture;
- Highlight the cause of divorce in Ibibio culture;
- Examine the consequences of divorce in Ibibio culture;
- Apply the theological implication of Matthew 19:3-10 to Ibibio culture in relation t the problem of divorce;
- Suggest ways of addressing the problem of divorce in Ibibio culture.
Significance of the Study
This study is significant in many ways. It will evaluate the extent to which Christian involvement in family affairs could bring about progress in the attainment of peace in the homes. The study will serve as means to discourage divorce in Ibibio culture and the world. Again, it will add up the body of literature on divorce in Nigeria, and will motivate more researchers to carry out more investigations on this social ill. Also, it will help people to know the kind of factors that influence divorce and will assist them to maintain good relationships in marriages. It will give guidance to family life and also help to know how to handle marriage failures.
Moreover, this study will be useful to the singles, married and even the church because it will serve as a reference material on issues of unstable marriages. Christians will be challenged to practically live in accordance with the prescription of Matthew 19:3-10 for peaceful marital relationships.
Scope of the study
The problem being research on is not peculiar to one place, but Ibibio society of Akwa Ibom State has been chosen as the study area. However, to enhance proper focus an effective management of limited time and resources, the scope has been narrowed down to Afaha Oku, Iba Oku, Ikot Ebido, Ikot Ntuen Oku, Ikot Udoro, Nung Uyo Idoro, Ikot Ayan, Aka Offot, Effiat Offot, Atan Offot, Anua Offot and Iboko.
In this research work, the method of gathering information are both field and library based, the procedure for collecting data will involve consulting books, journals and other sources of educational materials such as internet sources. The researcher also carried out personal interview especially with the women that had been divorce to established facts on the implications of women’s right.
Again the use of oral interview and a researcher-structured questionnaire will be used. The use of these two approaches for data collection will help the researcher to gather data for analysis on divorce practices in Ibibio culture.
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