Understanding Shifts in Marital Dynamics and Relationship Quality by Comparing Early With Later Marriages in Urban Ibadan, Nigeria

Neetu John, International Center for Research on Women
Iman Barre , International Center for Research on Women
Meroji Sebani, International Center for Research on Women
Funmilola OlaOlorun, University of Ibadan

Our study explored whether marriages in urban Ibadan, Nigeria were moving from more patriarchal or traditional to companionate or more egalitarian forms by comparing the relationships of women who married as children (n=8 couples) with those who married as adults (n=12 couples) through in-depth interviews with female and male partners separately. Our study found that while child brides were more likely to be in a more traditional marriage, the non-child brides were more likely to be in a companionate marriage. Unlike non-child bride couples, the child brides and their husbands were more likely to adhere to traditional gender roles. Moreover, while child brides had limited agency and felt constrained in expressing their voice, the non-child brides actively bargained and negotiated to achieve their goals. Our study expands knowledge of an understudied area in a new context and demonstrates how cross-cultural comparisons can help us understand the consequences of global processes on local institutions.


 Presented in Session 9. Marriage, Family, Households, & Unions; Gender, Race, & Ethnicity