Marriage. Although a small number of Dinka have "converted" to Catholicism, polygamy is the cultural ideal of Dinka men, owing primarily to economic and productive factors. Many men contract only a single marriage in their lifetime, but a significant proportion of domestic unions involve the marriage of one man to a number of women. In some chiefly families, men have anywhere from 50 to 100 wives. Due to their classification relationship terminology and also to clan exogamy, Dinka marriage customs tend to create affinal links across wide political and geographic spaces. Marriage is legally defined through the exchange of bride-wealth in the form of cattle. The ideal number of cattle with which to pay bride-wealth varies in different regions of Dinka country, but a number between thirty and forty cattle is common. In addition to the marriage of a woman to a man, the Dinka also practice some of the other forms of marriage that have been reported from other Nilotic communities, such as ghost marriage and levirate. Nearly every adult Dinka woman or man is married at least once in a lifetime.
Domestic Unit. Commensality is one of the primary bases of Dinka domesticity. Co-wives often share the responsibilities of preparing meals on a rotating basis, although a woman always sees to the needs of her own children first. Because they never learn to cook in their youth, the men are dependent upon women to prepare food for them throughout their lives. This factor of dependency is manifest in other aspects of Dinka life as well.
Socialization. A child matures in the loving and attentive company of the family's other children and step-children and a wide circle of kin. Following their initiations, young girls and boys begin to travel quite separate roads, as each interacts more intensely with members of the same sex. Boys begin to master the difficult onus of stock rearing, and girls learn the equally demanding tasks of the women's world.