Relationships, Marriage, & Family Life in Samoa
Most dating in Samoa is done by the man visiting a girl in
the presence of her family. During these interactions gifts and presents are presented
to the girl's family and communication is either done in the presence of her
family or through a soa, which is a communicator; one for each of the two
"dating." After some time the family of the girl may agree to let them
marry, but today marriage usually also needs the permission of the girl as well
as the groom's family. If a young man tries to spend time alone with a girl,
her male relatives will often take matters into their own hands so dating without
a chaperone is very uncommon.
The first marriage ceremony in Samoa is generally a civil
ceremony, which makes the marriage legal, then about a week later a church ceremony
is often undertaken. In some areas couples will live together and even have children
prior to these marriages; something that was once very common (so long as they had
their families' approval), but today is becoming rarer.