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Partner Choice

In traditional Ghanaian society, different ethnic and lineage groups built alliances through the institution of marriage. Marriage contracts were supposed to serve the needs of the larger extended family members as well. As a result, the choice of a marriage partner was not left to the bride and groom alone. In some cases, the marriage was arranged to satisfy the needs of the extended family. Arranged marriages in this context could take any form, including betrothals or marrying someone considered the preferred type. For example, among the matrilineal Akans, who tend to inherit property from the maternal line, marriage between cross-cousins (one's father's sister's child or mother's brother's child) was preferred because it reduced the conflict and tensions that often arose over the distribution of family property. The family's involvement in the marriage negotiations and decision making was also aimed at establishing a series of networks that were viewed as essential to the stability of the relationship. It was assumed that if the partners were compatible, they were less likely to divorce. The evidence on marital trends showed, though, that an increasing number of marriages were being dissolved (Takyi 2001; see Table 1). Similarly, in the urban areas and among the educated elite, parental involvement in mate selection is waning (Takyi et al. 2000; Aryee 1985).

Additional topics

Marriage and Family EncyclopediaMarriage: Cultural AspectsGhana - Family Structure, Family Formation, And Family Life, Marriage, Family Formation, And Childbearing