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DENOMINATIONAL INFLUENCES ON THE CHOICE OF LIFE PARTNERS IN OWERRI, IMO STATE

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Abstract

This research work sets out to examine the denominational influences on the choice of life partners in Owerri, Imo State. As a result of the proliferation of churches in Nigeria today with particular reference to Owerri municipality in Imo State, young men and women have not found it easy in their choice of marriage because of the influence of various religious denominations. There seem to be religious bias and antagonism among some denominations and these have affected them adversely. A historical method has been adopted by the researcher to get at the substance of this research work. The researcher made use of both primary and secondary sources of information. Most of the works reviewed in the literature observed that denominational influence or religion is a very big determinant necessary in the choice of partners. It is found out that there are factors that leads people to enter into mixed marriages such as Education, Job, Low – economic status, Social mobility, Trade, Proximity, Religion, etc. It is also found out that there are some factors that cause problems in denominational marriages in Imo State such as Adultery, Childlessness/Impotence, Difference in temperament, chronic sickness, Language, Age, Failure to provide etc. Religion and culture play a very important role in mixed marriage. Culture is seen as an important issue in mixed marriage; for it is found out that what is abhorred in one’s culture may be accepted and approved by another culture. The study recommends that denominational influences on the choice of life partners generally is so worrisome that many intending couples go about marrying whom they do not want to marry in the name stiff-necked doctrines. With regard to the major churches - as institutions - it would help a great deal if they were to be proactive in ensuring that current agreed policies and procedures for conducting mixed marriages are well-known and easily available, preferably in printed form. This would include not just references to and descriptions of procedures and steps to be taken. But also the availability of forms of counselling, ideally agreed among churches. This would relate not just to the two people wishing to be married, but also to their families: and not just to the events before and during the marriage, but also to the many recognised and trying events and decisions following the marriage. Religion should play the role of ecumenism among other denominations as Christians believe in one Lord Jesus Christ. It should be seen as a source of unity not discriminations. “Thus religiously, denominational marriages were relatively stigmatized by the institutional church”. Denominational marriages should not be encouraged in our society since it brings disunity, intolerance and also discourages harmony and co-operation among people of different cultural and religious groups.