The Marriage Broker: Managing Partner Selection and Union Formation in a Ghanaian Charismatic Church

Nicolette Manglos, University of Texas at Austin

Marriage remains universal in Ghana, but the risk surrounding marriage in light of high rates of divorce and remarriage is an understudied topic. Evidence suggests that changing livelihoods, urbanization, HIV/AIDS, and international migration all put pressure on one’s choice of marital partner, especially for women. Ghana is also home to a rapidly growing Charismatic movement, which primarily attracts young adults, and has both practical and theological motivations for promoting stable unions. To understand how perceptions of the risks surrounding marriage are discussed and managed within the church, and what the church does to support stable marriages, the study analyses two types of qualitative data: field observations and interviews within a Charismatic church in Accra and content analysis of three books on the topic by the church’s founding pastor. Preliminary results suggest heavy regulation of marriage within the church, along with the promotion of early marriage and marrying within the congregation.

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Presented in Session 171: Couple Dynamics and Fertility in Africa