Cultures in conflict

Neolocal post-marital residence

 Neo-local post-marital residence is the one whereby the married couple moves out of their respective homes and start a new home independently. The couple gets to learn how to live with each other, make their plans independently, and learn how to solve their personal issues on their own. A neolocal residence also makes both partners responsible for their home and their family (Ember & Ember). In the event where one family may have treated one partner unfairly, having a neolocal residence will sort out the issue as well. The neolocal post-marital residence is important for the couple because they can pursue their dreams and ambitions without the inhibitions of the family members.  

It is the best form of residence in recent years because it ensures that the couple can plan their lives, as they want without relying on the guidance of outside parties. However, in case of any challenges in settling into their new lives, the couple may suffer for a long time without help coming their way. The other disadvantage the couple would face that may have adverse effects on the family unit is the feeling and state of being disintegrated from the rest of the family (Schwimmer, 1995). This form of residence is largely in western culture where independence is encouraged. It works well in ensuring that families of the couple do not get too familiar with each other to the point where disagreements can ensue. However, there are cultures that allow or demand that the newly wedded couple lives with the family of the bride or groom.

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Patrilocal and Matrilocal Post-Marital Residence

This form of marital residence is where the newly wedded couple lives in the groom’s natal home. The woman leaves her family and home to create an extension of the groom’s family. The patrilocal form of residence is the most common in the world according to anthropologists. The basis of the patrilocal postmarital residence goes beyond the proximity in terms of establishing their independent home. It also incorporates the way the couple spends their livelihood. In a patrilocal residence, the couple’s source of income is closely tied to the family business of the groom’s family. The couple also takes part actively in generating family income as well (Ember, 1974). It is a cultural obligation that the couple has to fulfill in order to continue being part of the family. Therefore, the family residence and business also determines the career path of the couple. For instance, they are not free to take jobs that would force them to move away from home permanently.

The patrilocal post-marital residence is a limiting factor for the newly wedded couple because they cannot be flexible to move as they wish. The lack of mobility is the biggest limitation of this form of residence. When looking at the relations, they can be affected by the close relationships that are inevitable, given the proximity within which the newly wedded couple live to the groom’s family. There are reports that come up every other time purporting that, even though the patrilocal post-marital residence is the most common, they turn out being unfair for the women. The women do not have the ability to fight against being mistreated because society will want them to persevere and make their marriage work (Gruijters, 2019). The advantage of this kind of residence is that the couple cannot lack basic needs as long as they keep working in the family business. Their children are also well cared for by the whole family as opposed to when they are independent and have to achieve everything by themselves. A couple living under this kind of residence is expected to always stick to the family and cultural tradition for acceptance and continuity for the family line. The sons of the family are expected to care for their parents in their old age. This will ensure that the family lineage and legacy is maintained and carried on through generations. 

The matrilocal post-marital residence is like the patrilocal residence but the couple moves to the residence of the bride’s family. In this culture, it is expected that girls will take care of the family and ensure its continuity. This kind of residence gets its inspiration from the bridal service kind of marriages (Divale, 1974). The man lives with the bride’s family for a time until the bride’s family lets them go. It is a test of commitment and potential for making the legacy of the family better (Jordan, Gray, Greenhill, & Mace, 2009). The advantages and disadvantages are similar to the patrilocal postmarital residence.  The matrilocal families are not as common as the patrilocal mode of marriages. Society has majorly been patriarchal making it common for the women to always leave their families and move in with the groom’s families. Therefore, the culture of society is supposed to be carried on and the most important way to do it is by ensuring that the family unit is sound. 


Divale, W. (1974). The causes of matrilocal residence: A cross-ethnohistorical survey. Buffalo: State University of New York. 

Ember, C. R. (1974). Patrilocal residence or patrilocality. Hunter College of the City University of New York, 135-149.

Ember, M., & Ember, R. C. (n.d.). Neolocal Residence. Transactions of the New York Academy of Sciences 30: 291-302, 1983.

Gruijters, R. J. (2019). Patrilocal, Matrilocal or Neolocal? Forthcoming in the Journal of marriage and family.

Jordan, F. M., Gray, R. D., Greenhill, S. J., & Mace, R. (2009). Matrilocal residence is ancestral in Austronesian societies. NCBI, 1957-1964.

Schwimmer, B. (1995). Neolocal Residence. Department of Anthropology.

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