INFLUENCE OF EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION ON STABILITY OF MARRIAGE AMONG COUPLES
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Certification page iii
Table of contents vi
Background of the Study 1
Statement of the problem 9
Purpose of the study 10
Research Questions 10
Research Hypotheses 11
Significance of the Study 11
Delimitation of the Study 13
Limitation of the Study 13
Definition of terms 13
REVIEW OF LITERATURE 16
Studies related to communication skills and Marital Satisfaction 17
Studies related to communication skills and Conflict resolution 27
Studies related with Sexual Satisfaction and Marital Satisfaction 32
Studies on age at time of marriage and marriage stability 43
Summary of Literature Review 44
Research Design 47
Area of the Study 47
Population of the Study 48
Sample and Sampling Techniques 48
Instrument for Data Collection 48
Validity of the instruments 49
Reliability of the Instrument 49
Method of Data Collection 49
Method of Data Analysis 50
Analysis and discussion of the research questions 51
Discussion of Results
SUMMARY, CONLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS
Suggestion for further Studies 62
The study examined the influence of effective communication on stability of marriage among couples in Ikere Local Government Area of Ekiti State. In this study, some relevant and extensive literatures were review under relevant sub-headings. The descriptive research survey design was used to assess the respondents’ opinions, using the questionnaire and the sampling technique. In this study, 200 (two hundred) respondents were selected and used as samples to represent the population of the study.Three (3) null hypotheses were formulated and tested in the study.The data collected from the respondents was analyzed using frequencies, table, and the figures were analyzed using Chi-square and the analyses of the null hypotheses is at 0.05 level of significance. Results revealed that there is significant relationship between communication and marital stability among couples, there is no significant effect of length of marriage on communication ability of couples and finally, the third hypothesis revealed that there is no significant effect of age at marriage on marital stability among couples. It was recommendedamong others that couples should open lines of communication in their marriage over all matters, including seemingly trivial ones.
Background of the study
Communication is like glue that holds the world, continents, countries, states, societies, communities and people together. Take the example of a group of tourists viewing a picturesque landscape. Although the entire group beholds the same scene, each person sees it differently. Why? Each individual has a different vantage point. No two persons are standing at the same location. Furthermore, not everyone focuses on the same portion of the scene. Each person finds a different aspect to be particularly intriguing. The same can be said of relationships, even when they exist among the very best of friends, no two people share precisely the same look on matters; siblings, friends, relations and so on. Not even husband and wife, the subject of this research study, have the same view on matters. The dissimilar perspectives can become a source of bitter contention. In fact, among factors cited to have contributed to divorce include personality incompatibility, lack of open communication and negotiation between married couples (Kabali, 2006). Even the Bible supports that view in 1Corinthians 7:28 that “Those who marry will have pain and grief” (The New English Bible1 Corinthians 7:28).
Marriage has been defined by Monroe (2003), as a religious duty and is consequently a moral safeguard as well as a social necessity. In fact when people make choices to marry, they want to live happily ever after. They want a loving, happy, successful marriage. After they have been married for a while, and the novelty has worn off, they tend to discover that marriage does not maintain itself.Marriage takes work from both spouses to stay. Marriage is the most difficult maze to ever get lost in (Angel, 2008) if marriage mates do not work their differences. Marriage can be like heaven on earth, just as it could be described as a living hell. It all depends on what one makes of it. A successful marriage is like food. It depends on many key ingredients to be successful. These ingredients include such attributes as trust, love, time, friendship, understanding, honesty, loyalty, sincerity and, above all, effective communication.
Marital stability can be defined as the endurance of a marriage due to the cooperation of both husband and wife. In fact, marital stability is viewed as a function of the comparison between one’s best available marital alternative and one’s marital outcome (Lenthal,2009). A marriage without effective communication is very likely to crumble.Communication is a life wire of marriage relationship or any other meaningful relationship (Esere, 2002, 2006). It is the elixir for ailing marital relationships (Olagunju&Eweniyi, 2002). With so many marriages ending tragically in divorce (Adegoke&Esere, 1998) observed that it is more important now to work on the communication between husband and wife. The way couples deal with their inevitable conflicts, as a result of cohabitation, seems to be a powerful predictor of couples’ adjustment and stability in their marital relationships (Lazarides, Belanger &Sabourin, 2010).
Marital instability has been linked with more negativity and less positivity usually as conflicts; negative reciprocity and difficulty getting out of the negative reciprocity cycle and more important for the purpose of this study, non-verbal communication and verbal communication have been observed as causes of unstable marriages. Unhappy couples display, among others, more criticism, dominance and withdrawal, and less support and problem-solving behaviour, and the demand-withdraw pattern of communication has been linked repeatedly to marital dissatisfaction and satisfaction (Lazarides, Belanger &Sabourin, 2010). These same set of people usually are unable to function well in their work places as they carry their marital problems to their work places, constituting a nuisance to their employers. These and many more problems escalate when there is no communication, and many problems are resolved when there is effective communication in a marriage. It is on this premise that it was thought important by, any successive researchers to investigate the relationship bet0ween communication and marital stability, as well as the influence of communication on marital stability.
Olson and DeFrain (2000), consider communication as the heart of intimate human relationship and the foundation on which all other relationships are built, they also assert that it is the key to a successful couple relationship. In fact, the ability and the willingness to communicate have been found to be among the most important factors in maintaining a satisfying relationship. Studies reveal that the
top five issues generating conflict in marriage are money, family, communication, household tasks and personal taste. The ability of a relationship to adjust, to take into account the changing needs of its members hinges on communication. Over the last twenty years, marital therapists, especially those working from the behavioral and cognitive behavioral model, have placed a strong emphasis on the relationship between communication, marital adjustment and stability.
Marital stability is viewed as a function of the comparison between ones best available marital alternative and ones marital outcome (Lenthal, 2009). It refers to the stability of the marital relationship, rather than to the condition of individual spouses. Stable marriages are those that there is no plan to divorce. In contrast, marital instability is defined as the propensity to divorce, which is determined by the presence of thoughts or actions which may lead to marital separation (suchas consulting a divorce attorney). Marital stability therefore refers to the relationship, not to the spouses as individuals.
Litvyak (2002) identified five communication styles as purported by Virginia Satir. The “blamer” or “aggressive” style reveals a dictator, a fault-finder and a boss. The “blamer” hides a feeling of alienation and loneliness behind the facade of tough and complacent person. The “placater” or “nonassertive” person tries to avoid any kind of confrontation, apologizes for his/her very existence; talks in an ingratiating way; seeks to please people and never disagrees no matter what. The “computing” or “intellectual” style communicator tends to be emotionally detached in any encounter. He/She appears very aloof and correct, careful to show little emotion, uses super-reasonable communication and entails being very correct and logical with no semblance of showing any feeling (Gray, 1990; Litvyak, 2002).
The fourth communication style is the “distracting” or “manipulative”. Instead of taking positive actions, people with “distracting” style of communication uses a whole range of emotions from anger to guilt to manipulate others’ feelings and to avoid unpleasant encounters. It is extremely difficult for these persons to stay focused. Such persons ignore questions and flirt from one thing to the next. The fifth and final communication style is called “leveling” or “assertive”. Levelers’ response in words, body posture, tone of voice and facial expression are all congruent, all convey the same message. Levelers shares feelings rather than trying to conceal them. They are comfortable with vague situations; they are ready to talk honestly about their feelings and to stand for their rights and not to discriminate others. Gray (1990); Satir (1991); Smith &Apelleci (1982) and Litvyak (2002) all assert that leveling is the ideal communication approach and is a good step toward dynamic couple communication. Awareness of these styles as they occur in families can improve communication among family members.
Several studies have found that overall marital satisfaction is higher among couples who rated their communication as good. Flowers (2010); Gottman&Krokoff (2009) all suggest that effective communication amongst other factors contribute to happy, satisfying and stable marriage. Tanner (1990) in Santrock (2002) observed that lack of communication was high on women’s reasons for divorce whereas for men it was insignificant. Developmentalists have conducted less research on the quality of communication within families than on some of the other dimensions of communication, so they are a long way from understanding all the ramifications of communication styles (Bee and Boyd, 2007). Concerns about communication ability are becoming wide spread as more marital failures are being blamed on the inability of couples to communicate effectively (Orthner, 1981). What these and other studies seem to be saying is that good communication does not just involve periodic problem solving, it is a condition of the relationship that is continuously reinforced. In view of the current increase in the cases/rate of divorce and marital instability globally and in Ikere local government area of Ekiti State, occasioned with the relevance of communication in marital relationship, the researchers sought to determine the influence of effective communication on the stability of marriage among couples in Ikere local government area of Ekiti State.
Some elements are responsible for instability of marriage among couples, the element responsible could be improper communication (Eniba, 2009). Some couples lack the way with which to express themselves through communication, leading to misunderstandings between each other.Lack of communication in marriages is a cause for serious concern on the part of the couple(s) involved other members of the family, the immediate society and the world in general. This is because, the home is the nucleus of the society and marriage is the major avenue whereby the society is populated by the number of children that are born in such marriages, thus marital instability, due to lack of communication, produces negative multiplier effect on the society (Esere, Yusuf &Omotosho, 2010).
A lot of individuals consider divorce to be the solution to such marital problems so they opt for divorce. As such, there are a lot of divorced individuals in society (Kabali, 2006). It comes as no surprise, then, that Rutter (1998) called the last three decades a transition period into the “the divorce revolution”. Marital distress, conflict, family uncertainty among couples could threaten societal values, an embarrassment to themselves, children and their society at large (Undiyaundeye, 2006).
Marital instability affects the society, going by the rate of divorce and the direct impact on the children, who, in most cases, grow to be social misfits and a nuisance. The tragedy of the matter is that this situation this occurs on a nationwide scale (Agim, 1997; Obe, 1997; Carew, 1995). Marital instability contributes to the spread of single-parent families, which in turn leads to social problems such as poverty, crime, substance abuse (by both parents and children and declining academic standards) (Blankenhorn, 1995; Glenn, 1996; Popenpoe, 1996; Amato, 2000). Psychological effects of marital instability include decline in happiness and more conflict. In fact, they seem to experience sadness, be upset (Harkonen, 2013). Marital instability and divorce can have important economic consequences, especially for women. In the case of divorce, economic dependency in the former marriage tends to lead to larger economic losses during and after divorce, whereas, the sole provider may even gain more economically (Diprete and McManus &DiPrete, 2001; Uunk, 2004; Harkonen, 2013).
The end result of any case of marital instability is a breakdown of the union or divorce, home desertion, juvenile delinquency, truancy, school drop outs, lukewarm attitude to study, indiscipline, etc. (Igbo, 2007, Nwobi 2007; Igbo, 2000)
Statement of the Problem
Many homes are not intact, as some couples live like cat and rat in some homes. Research studies over the years found out that unsatisfactory condition in some homes can be linked to lack or poor effective communication among couples. In recent times it seems of people having troubles in making friends and even entering into family bonds. This is because we live in a world where family members come home only to sleep and eat, and then dash out. Seldom do they actually sit around a table to enjoy a meal together. The sense of family, belonging is missing. There is a gross lack of communication as a result of no significant conversation. It often gets worse between husbands and wives.
As a result of societal, economic and governmental changes, problems in marriage have surfaced on a grander scale. There has been notable increase in the divorce, separation of couples, remarriages of divorce parents and children living in stepfamilies as a divorce. Lack of proper communication if not handled succinctly and cooperatively by couples may degenerate to crisis levels, resulting in emotional distance between the couple, low self-esteem, poor nutrition, children’s lack of respect for authority, loss of discipline or parental control, low standard of living, withholding of sex from spouse, remarriage, divorce, spouse battering, sexual abuse, incest, rape power tussle and many more. A cursory look at the society shows quite a number of aforementioned problems.
Thus, the need for a study of this kind to come up with valuable ways that effective communication in marriage can be encouraged and emphasized.
Purpose of the study
This study investigated the influence of communication on stability of marriage among couples in Ikere local government area of Ekiti State. It also examined the following causes of marital instability and to what extent communication affects marital stability. The study further established whether duration of marriage can affect marital stability.
The following questions will guide this study:
- Does communication have any significant influence on marital stability of couples?
- Does the length of marriage have any significant influence on communication ability of couples?
- Is there any significant effect of ageat marriage on marital stability among couples?
The following hypotheses will be tested in this research study:
- a) There isno significant relationship between communication and marital stability among couples in Ikere Local Government
- b) There is no significant relationship between the length of marriage and communication ability of couples in Ikere Local Government Area
- c) There is no significant relationship between age at marriage and marital stability among couples in Ikere Local Government
Significance of the study
The study will provide insight on trouble-prone areas of marital conflict in homes of members of the community and help them identify the right counselling tool with which to address their problems.
The findings of the work would also be of great assistance to both marriage counsellors in conflict resolution and management and marital health and stability. It is also hoped that the findings would be used as tools by marriage and family counselors in assisting married spouses in their area of weakness and strength. It is therefore envisaged that counsellors will find the outcome of this work essential, for a healthy family is a prelude to a healthy and peaceful nation.
Educational administrators can also benefit from this study by the insight they will gain on the attitudes, signs and ways of addressing marital conflicts. Information obtained can impact on curriculum development and upgrade teaching and learning, especially since the subjects in this study are literate persons. As such, educational administrators in post-primary schools and other institutions of higher learning will be awakened to their responsibility based on the revelations likely to be made by the study.
Married persons and those intending to marry would find the findings useful, as they can mirror their marriages and intentions from the findings of this study, and most definitely reduce marital instability for those who have serious marital problems.
One other potential beneficiary is the researcher in the discipline who, hopefully, will be motivated and challenged to develop further interest in the study of marital and family therapy. This research study may be of help to the researcher who needs material on marital therapy.
Delimitation of the study
The study limits itself to the influence of communication on marital stability among couples in Ikere local government area of Ekiti State. Analysis will be on couples in the Ikere local government area of Ekiti State.
Limitation of the study
This study attempts to investigate the influence of communication on marital stability among couples in Ikere local government area of Ekiti State. A limitation of this study is that participants are sampled from only Ikere local government area of Ekiti State. Therefore the findings cannot be generalized to married couples all over Nigeria. The researcher chose the Ikere local government area of Ekiti State because of familiarity, size, diversity of couples and cost effectiveness.
Definition of terms
Emotional Distance: this refers to behaviour that is “cool, aloof, unresponsive, uncommunicative, and unwilling to be vulnerable” that occurs between people that are supposed to be emotionally intimate, in this case, a married couple.
Marital Breakdown: This refers to the common process whereby a marriage interpersonal relationship between man and woman erodes, such that they cannot ordinarily restore their relationship.
Spouse Battering: is a kind of domestic violence in which physical or psychological harm is inflicted with the effect of establishing control by one individual over the other. It covers incidents of physical attack, slapping, pushing, pinching, spitting, kicking, hitting, punching, choking, burning, clubbing, stabbing, throwing boiling water or acid and setting on fire as well as spouse being forced to be involved in sex or undesirable sexual acts. It also includes psychological abuse, which can consist of repeated verbal abuse, harassment, confinement and deprivation of physical, financial, personal resources and social activities, etc.
Sexual abuse: This is the forcing of undesired sexual behaviour by one person upon another. It could also be defined as unwanted sexual activity forced by a person on another person, either by coercion or threats.
Parental Control: This refers to the ability of a parent to exercise authoritative or dominating influence over; direct the affairs of his or her child(ren).
Incest: Incest is sexual intercourse between family members and close relatives. The term may apply to sexual intercourse between people in a blood relationship. Incest could also refer to people who are related by adoption, stepfamilies.
Power Tussle: This refers to a tough struggle between married partners to show who has the most power or effect over the other. It could be in form of fierce competition between the couple to show that one cannot do without the stronger one, to show power.
Economic dependence: This refers to the ability of someone, a group or an organisation to be self-sufficient, rely only on oneself economically. In this case, it refers to the ability of one mate to be self-sufficient, not relying on the other for economic gain or protection.
Substance Abuse: Substance abuse can simply be defined as a pattern of harmful use of any substance for mood-altering purposes. Medline’s medical encyclopaedia defines drug abuse as “the use of illicit drugs or the abuse of prescription or over-the-counter drugs for purposes other than those for which they are indicated or in a manner or in quantities other than directed (by a physician).
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