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EFFECTIVENESS OF MARITAL CONFLICT RESOLUTION SKILLS ON MARITAL CONFLICT AMONG MARRIED COUPLES IN NIGERIA
1.1 Background to the Study
Conflict among humans is unavoidable, marriage and other intimate relationships are no exception. The diverse and frequent interactions among groups and individuals provide a limitless platform for conflict. The term connotes an expressed struggle between at least two interdependent parties who perceive incompatible goals, scarce rewards, or interference from the other party in achieving their goals (Hocker & Wilmot, 1995). One of the major reasons that draw the attention of researchers and social organizations to conflict in recent times is its adverse consequences on health, family life, and the stability of communities. An important area of conflict in human settings is marriage. Marriage is a stage of transition in one‘s life, it is usually perceived that marriage in a healthy way may promote satisfaction and couples in this regard are into an institution with a thought to start affection (Dildar, Sitwat & Yasin, 2013).
The philosophy of marriage varies according to different people and culture, but it is principally an institution in which interpersonal relationships, usually intimate and sexual, are acknowledged. In this context, Nwoye (1991) opined that marriage is something deeper than the mere union of a man and a woman under the same roof. But he perceives marriage as a sacred and a permanent contract which is assumed to be enacted when two people decide on their own accord and in the presence of at least two witnesses, to exchange the formal consent to live a life of vocation of love and sharing for the purpose of promoting their mutual growth and welfare as persons in their journey together through life.
However, people marry for different reasons including legal, social, libidinal, emotional, financial, spiritual, and religious. It is known to involve male and female (different sex) but since 2000, some countries like Brazil, Denmark, Argentina, and Canada have legalized
same-sex marriage within their jurisdictions.
Marriage is a process by which man and woman who initially love each other make their relationship public, official and permanent. It begins with a ceremony known as wedding during which the couple are formally united. It is the joining of the two people in bond that putatively last till death for both religious and socio-cultural belief, but in practice is increasingly cut short by divorce and separation. In essence, lack of the initial affection among couples result in marital conflict, although no marriage is free of conflict. According to Anaya (2003), minor conflict is a normal and even healthy part of a relationship; since relationship conflict are inevitable learning to deal with them in a respectful and positive way provides opportunity for growth and ultimately strengthens the bond between the couples if they are ready to work for it. This invites for marital conflict resolution skills training among the couples.
All healthy marriage experience change and transition, changes in terms of personalities, body‘s age and romantic love waxes and wanes. When adults are in love, the focus is on the positive, noticing and emphasizing the assets, good qualities and talents of the object ours has, while minimizing the short comings -areas. This moment when all elements are fit in perfectly with each other, it is only temporary, not sustainable for a long period of time. Something can interferes with this process, lovers may hurt and insensitive to feelings, or show an aspect of their personality that jars and conflict with the earlier view , then the sense of unity and deep connection that existed before get threatened.
According to Harras and Demarin (2007), marriage is divided according to the chronological time frame of newly married (0-5years); Middle years (6-25years), this usually coincides with the active parenting stage; Late years 26+ years, also known as the ―empty nest‖ years. Not all marriages fit neatly into these categories. Those in second stage in marriage may find
times shortened due to the certain changes which were not handle properly.
Marriage experienced transition, according to Harras and Demanes (2007), transition in marriage is through cycles of growth, most relationships move through cycles that include romance, disillusionment and mature love. However, marital conflict among the couples has been a devastating issue in the marital homes which various religious group give pre-marital counselling inform of preaching and still the situation of separation and divorce is on the increase. Mba (1993) observed that marriage in many part of the world is so fraught with pain, disruption, heart break and anxieties that the family or families‘ life appears to be on the blink of total collapse. So, marital conflict has deleterious effects on mental, physical and family health.Stability in marriage according to Nwobi (1991) signifies that husband and wife are in agreement on the major issues concerning marriage such as family income and dealing with extended family. As two people are engaged into a relationship they are two different personalities which create conflict of interest.
Unstable marriage is featured with lack of love, dishonesty, lack of positive communication, lack of care and management. There are a lot of chaos, pride and irrational things. This has been sources of emotional problem especially for the wives who are seen to be fault despite their innocence. To compound the issue of men; which faith permits multiple marriages, use it as a license to cajole, intimidate and threatened their wives. Those whose faith does not permit polygamy keep mistresses outside their matrimonial homes. Marriage is a relationship where trust is build overtime and where committed couple set aside their own interest for the good of their partners and develop skills for keeping the relationship positive and open. Atodo (1988) sees marriage, not as a private contract but as an alliance between two extended families that become bridge during trouble period.
Egbule (2002) observed that the conceptual development of guidance and counselling
evolved as a result of the need to provide solutions to the multifarious personal social problems which result from personality maladjustment and may manifest inform of anger, anxiety, loneliness, sadness, psychosis, neurosis, and inferiority complex. There is therefore the need for marital conflict resolution skills training for married couples. The matrimonial home as sacred, hence, ultimate satisfaction is expected to be found in marriage.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Marriage is the closest form of relationships among humans is the focal point around which other components revolve. If marriages are functioning well and harmonious, then the rest of the system are also likely to be in good condition. On the other hand, if there is disruption or discord in the marriage (marital conflicts), there will be complete dysfunctional. And, this could affect family stability, children and the entire social climate of the communities. A solid marriage should be developed based on mutual agreement, love, care, commitment, responsibility and concern which in turn provide a stable foundation for a stable society.
A visit to shari‘a courts Fada,Tudun wada and GRA Zariahas reveal that almost all the cases are marital issues after which the judges did not succeed in treating them out of court. In all cases related to marital disputes/conflicts the judges use Alternatives Dispute Resolution (ADR) which give the married couples room to resolve their cases out of court but very few of such succeeded. That is what is happening in maternities and vocational centres most of the conversations between colleagues and patients are of marriage concern which at the end they learned nothing at the centre. Some of the causes of the marital conflicts includes: entering marriage with cosy expectations, strains in marriage, absence of romantic love, sexual maladjustment and so on.
As soon as marriages are contracted, they head to divorce and separation due to lack of proper management of marital conflict. In Nigeria, the issue is not how effective marriage
counselling is; but its total absence even in official quarters. Hence, this prompted a research questions of how effective marital conflict resolution training skills is in reducing marital conflict among marital couples.
Although there are studies on marriage and marital conflict in Nigeria, but very few focused on the effectiveness of the marital conflict resolution skills training on marital conflict. This study is therefore an attempt to find out the effectiveness of marital conflict resolution skills in reducing marital conflict in Zaria Metropolis.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The objectives of the study were:
- To find the effectiveness of Marital Conflicts ResolutionSkills (MCRS) on Marital Conflicts among married couples in Zaria Metropolis.
- To examine differentialeffect of Marital Conflicts Resolution Skills (MCRS) on Marital Conflicts between male and female married couples in Zaria Metropolis.
- To assess the effectiveness of Marital Conflicts Resolution Skills (MCRS) on Marital Conflicts among married couples with different educational qualifications in Zaria Metropolis.
- To find out the effectiveness of Marital Conflicts Resolution Skills (MCRS) onmarital conflict among married couples on the basis of length of marriage in Zaria Metropolis.
1.4 Research Questions
In line with the research problem and objectives, the following research questions were raised:
- What are the effectiveness of Marital Conflicts Resolution Skills (MCRS) on Marital Conflicts among married couples in Zaria Metropolis?
- What are thedifferential effects of Marital Conflicts Resolution Skills (MCRS) on Marital Conflicts between male and female married couples in Zaria Metropolis?
- What are the effectiveness of Marital Conflicts Resolution Skills (MCRS) on Marital Conflicts among married couples with different educational qualification Zaria Metropolis?
- What are the effectivenessof MaritalConflicts ResolutionSkills (MCRS) on marital conflicts among married couples on the basis oflength of marriage in Zaria Metropolis?
1.5 Research Hypotheses
The following hypotheses guided the study:
H01: There isno significant effect of marital conflict resolution skills on marital conflicts among married couples in Zaria Metropolis.
H02 There is no significant differentialeffect ofMarital Conflict Resolution Skillson Marital Conflicts between male and female married couples in Zaria Metropolis.
H03: There is no significant effect of Marital Conflicts Resolution skills on Marital Conflicts among married couples with different educational qualifications in Zaria Metropolis.
H04: There is no significant effect of Marital Conflict Resolution Skills on marital conflict among married couples on the basis of length of marriage in Zaria Metropolis.
1.6 Basic Assumptions
This study is based on following assumptions:
- Marital conflict resolution skills may have effect on marital conflict among
married couples in Zaria metropolis.
- Marital conflict resolution skills may have differential effect on marital conflict between male and female married couples.
- Marital conflict resolution skills may have effect on marital conflict among married couples with different educational qualification.
- Marital conflict resolution skills may have effect on marital conflict among married couples on the basis of their length of marriage.
1.7 Significance of the Study
The significance of the study is reflected in the fact that marital conflicts are the most common problem among married couples in recent times in Nigerian communities. It is hope that the findings of the study will help in the proper management of marital conflicts so as to promote positive exploration of mutually satisfying alternatives and decision-making based on negotiations.
It is hoped thatthestudy will be of immense significance to married couples, male and female, old and young, as it would equip them to see themselves as responsible individuals who could live together amicably and satisfactorily in their marriages. Specifically, the findings of the study could be beneficial to the married couples, in that it could enable them handle their marital conflict in order to live in peace and harmony in their matrimonial homes, to be in a better psychological well-being and life satisfaction, and those who are happier tend to be healthier. Moreover, achieving marital satisfaction could improve life expectancy in the country, as husband and wife will now live a more purposeful and meaningful life, because
peace is an ingredient for longevity. In essence, the lingering issue of divorce and separation in our communities will be minimized.
The findings of the study could also be of great importance to children who usually suffer the atrocities of marital conflicts. In this regard, children could receive proper upbringing, love and affection from their parent because children who grow up in a married, two-parent family are less likely to experience emotion behavioural problems like drug addiction, prostitution, arm robbery, unwanted pregnancy and trafficking women and children. This implies that parents must try to manage their marital conflict as well as leaving together with the children in order to be their role models.
It is also hoped that findings of the study will be useful to schools in the sense that Headmasters and principals could have peaceful learning atmosphere in their environment, which will contribute meaningful to the development of the right atmosphere for impacting knowledge. There will be few drop outs in the system as pupils and students are product of stable homes.
It is further hope that the findings will assist Counsellors to improve on pre-marital and marital counselling in the country because if more counsellors are to specialize in this field a lot of married couples will be saved from the psychological trauma individuals are subjected. Moreover, the society at large will benefit by producing a well behaved individuals that will contribute positively in its development. Criminal acts like stealing, raping, will be reduced in the society.
The findings of the study could also benefit Government and non-governmental organisations like National Council of Women Societies, Ministry of Women Affairs and Federation of Women Lawyers will benefit in minimizing cases related to marriage and is one of the national objectives to promote civic, political, social and economic participation of women
Moreover, findings of this study would also increase the number of therapies that can be used by counselling psychologists in enhancing marital satisfaction. It would also form basis for the development of a more effective theory and technique which will be useful for guiding and counselling married couples in Nigeria with a view to enhancing marital satisfaction. It is also believed that an enhancement of marital satisfaction of the target population may increase readiness of married couples thereby making counselling enterprise uncomplicated and establish the success of counsellor at work.
1.8 Scope and Delimitation of the Study
The study focuses mainly on the effectiveness of marital conflict resolution skills training on marital conflict in Zaria Metropolis. However, the study is restricted to the following marital conflict resolution skillscompromising and accommodating. The study on the other hand, is limited to the accessible literate distresses couples ofZaria Metropolis, which their situation is expected after acquiring marital conflict resolution skills training to challenge the marital conflict. Literate person in the context of this study connotes the one who can read and write in Hausa and English language. The study is based on the domain of guidance and counselling because counselling strategies like attending skills, listening skills, and self-disclosure skills were applied.
1.9 Operational Definition of Terms
The following terms are defined based on the way they are used in this study.
Conflict resolution is the process of solving disagreements in marriages through effective communication since most marriage conflicts result from poor listening skills, lack of affirmation, or clumsy expression of feelings.
Conflict resolutionSkills is the learned ability to resolve disagreements on issues
Marital conflict refers to a series of events that have been poorly handled (due to stubbornness, pride, anger, hurt, and bitterness) so as to deeply damage the marriage relationship.
Marriage Duration refers to the length of marriage, in terms of years, that the couples have
been in marriage.
Married couples refer to the husband (the male) and the wife (the female).
Zaria Metropolis refers to Zaria and environs covering Zaria Local Government Area and some part of Sabon Gari Local Government Area of Kaduna State.