Marriage is the strongest relationship in terms of controlling human behaviour. There are various reasons why men and women want to be tied through marriage, such as religious, economic, social and cultural factors, and even politics. Cultural factors have special characteristics because they are the product of creativity, human feelings and intentions brought from birth that are passed down from generation to generation. This paper aims to describe the cultural values that affect the lives of the Minangkabau ethnic women who marry other ethnic men. This study is based on interviews with 37 women in 7 districts in West Sumatra where the Minangkabau tribe reside. The women live in either urban or rural areas such as Padang, Pariaman, Agam, Tanah Datar, 50 Kota, Payakumbuh and Solok. The women come from various educational backgrounds, from senior high school through to university with more than 5 years marriage between them. This research asked 4 main questions: What are the conditions that must be met by a man in order to be able to marry a Minangkabau woman? Where do the couple meet? What culture must be applied when running the household? How do they direct the future of their children? The results showed that a man from a different ethnic background than Minangkabau must follow the malakok tradition as a requirement if he wants to marry a Minangkabau woman. Malakok results in the men being traditionally accepted by the Minangkabau community. This tradition is still practiced in Minangkabau modern society, especially by those who live in Nagari (village) and who have a strong Kerapatan Adat Nagari (Village Culture Institution). The majority of women meet with their partners in the overseas area. They then bring their partners back to live with their extended family. The culture of the household is Minangkabau, including when educating any children. This study found that the Minangkabau culture places women as the educators of children, in addition to their roles as household regulators and role models for the community. These cultural values have proven to be successful in creating harmonious households, as well as becoming characteristic of Minangkabau women.

Note on the Author

Susi Fitria Dewi, Maria Montessori, Fatmariza and Rika Febriani are lecturers in the Social Politics Department of Padang State University. This theme corresponds to a gender perspective and Customary Law course where the author is part of the teaching team. This paper is one of the research studies conducted together with two graduate students, Sintia Farsalena and Randi Ade Saputra. Febri Yulika is a lecturer at the Padangpanjang Indonesian Art Institute who contributed to the data analysis and writing the article.

Febri Yulika is with Cultural Antropology Department, Institut Seni Indonesia Padangpanjang.