The Effects Of Pre-Marital Counselling On Marriage Sustainability
The main aim of the study was to establish the effects of pre-marital counselling on marriage sustainability with specific reference to; investigating the relationship between Emotionally focused counseling and Marriage sustainability of couples; finding out the relationship between cognitive behavioral counseling and Marriage sustainability of couples and; establishing the relationship between Relationship counseling based on Gottman model and Marriage sustainability of couples.
This study used a cross sectional research design where both quantitative and qualitative approaches were adopted to investigate the role of premarital counseling in Marriage sustainability of couples from Catholic churches in Abuja. Purposive sampling technique was used to select Counselors and religious leaders while simple random sampling was used to select the couples. Quantitative data was analyzed using SPSS V.16.0 that was used in categorizing responses into frequency counts, percentages and mean. Relational statistics like Pearson’s correlations was also used to establish whether there is a linear relationship between the independent and dependent variable. Further, multiple regression model was also used to establish the effect of premarital counseling on Marriage sustainability in the study area.
The study results indicated that that 71 % of all the changes in perceptions about Marriage sustainability are explained by the changes in perceptions about Gottman’s Relationship counseling (Pearson’s coefficient = 0.549, p= 0.000); changes in perceptions about emotionally focused counseling (Pearson’s coefficient = 0.731, p= 0.000) and changes in perceptions about Cognitive Behavioral Couple Counseling (Pearson’s coefficient = 0.728, p= 0.000) as applied to couples in the study area. Of the three, emotionally focused counseling had a more significant effect on Marriage sustainability amongst couples in the study area. On the whole, premarital counseling significantly and positively affected Marriage sustainability in the study area.
Table of Content
- 1.1 Background of the Study
- 1.2 Statement of the Problem
- 1.3 Objective of the Study
- 1.4 Research Questions
- 1.5 Research Hypothesis
- 1.6 Significance of the Study
- 1.7 Scope of the Study
- 1.8 Limitation of the Study
- 1.9 Definition of Terms
- 1.10 Organization of the Study
Review of Literature
- 2.1 Conceptual Framework
- 2.2 Theoretical Framework
- 2.3 Empirical Review
- 3.1 Research Design
- 3.2 Population of the Study
- 3.3 Sample Size Determination
- 3.4 Sample Size Selection Technique and Procedure
- 3.5 Research Instrument and Administration
- 3.6 Method of Data Collection
- 3.7 Method of Data Analysis
- 3.8 Validity of the Study
- 3.9 Reliability of the Study
- 3.10 Ethical Consideration
Data Presentation and Analysis
- 4.1 Data Presentation
- 4.2 Analysis of Data
- 4.3 Answering Research Questions
- 4.4 Test of Hypotheses
Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation
- 5.1 Summary
- 5.2 Conclusion
- 5.3 Recommendation
1.1 Background to the Study
Marital sustainability or stability as the case maybe is one of the most important aspects of family life, and the quality of one’s marriage is a critical component of life satisfaction (Waite, 1995). marital sustainability can affect not only the physical and mental health of spouses but also their children’s development, well-being, biological function, academic performance, social skills, and relationships (Cummings & Davies, 2010).
Globally, premarital counseling and marriage preparation arose around 80A.D. when Apostle Paul wrote instructions about marriage to Christians in Corinth and Ephesus and it is probable that these words have been shared with premarital couples ever since (I Corinthians and Ephesians in the New Testament). Stahmann and Hiebert (1987) report that as early as 1164 marriage was an established sacrament in the church and clergy had a special role to play in the lives of premarital couples. Clergy spoke of the significance of marriage as a sacred union of a man and a woman, initiating a new relationship with God as well as each other. It is interesting to note that clergy were counseling couples numerous years before psychology and family counseling were established as professional disciplines. Stahmann and Hiebert (1987) further state that in the early 1900’s premarital counseling by the clergy consisted of teachings about the Christian nature of marriage, the place of religion in the home, and rehearsal of the wedding rite. Before the 1950’s psychologists could not meet with those who had suffered difficulties about the nature of their interpersonal relationship. They could not meet each person individually because problems were viewed as stemming from neurotic or psychotic individuals in the relationship. The first mention of premarital counseling as something of value in emotional and physical health was in an article in The Journal of Obstetristics and Gynecology in 1928. From that time to the mid 1950’s, literature in premarital counseling addressed physicians and made suggestions about what to include in the premarital physical exam (Stahmann and Hiebert, 1987).
In Africa initially, African Traditional Societies systematically initiated boys and girls. They often took the young initiates out of the community, and away from the concerns of everyday life, to teach them all the ways of adulthood: including the rules and taboos of the society; moral instruction and social responsibility; and further clarification of his/her mission or calling in life, marriage being one of the callings (Howe, 2011). Children were taught the necessary skills for adulthood including among other things; problem solving, rules and taboos of the society, social responsibility, what is considered appropriate behavior for women and men and would receive further clarification of their purpose or life mission. Oftentimes, successful completion of the rite of adulthood was publically celebrated with a “coming out ceremony” or reintroduction to society (Kalkan, 2010).
One of the responsibilities and prerogatives associated with the completion of initiation was marriage (Ansah-Hughes et al., 2015). Initiation, in fact, prepared the young adults for marriage.
Indeed, in most African societies, one could only get married only after having been initiated. This was often the time that young people received information and instruction regarding marriage, sex, family life, and procreation. Initiation rites varied from community to community. However, they followed a general pattern.
The first step was the separation of a group of adolescent novices from their usual surroundings to be secluded in an isolated place away from the community. There, they would be tested and taught by elders (Halford & Bodenmann, 2013). The testing usually involved demonstrating physical endurance, mental strength, and intelligence, all of which are very necessary skills that can be used in marriage. It is often the time when males were circumcised and females excised. They had to undergo the whole operation without showing any sign of fear and without expressing any discomfort.
In Uganda, Premarital counseling was also being given by the Aunts also known locally as “Senga” (sister to the father of the bride) in central uganda. She was and in a way still is always expected to talk to her niece about what to expect in her marriage, how to be a good wife, how to be a good mother when the children come. The “Senga” was also supposed to talk to her niece about sex and how to please her husband. This was a good way of instilling knowledge to the bride to be, except that the groom to be was never talked to and so the counseling was one sided.
The groom was always left unattended with the assumption that he would automatically be able to make a stable marriage or be the perfect husband with no help at all (Senyonyi, Ochieng & Sells, 2012). This study therefore endeavored to find out whether such efforts of spear heading premarital counseling for both the man and the woman have influenced marital sustainability in Nigeria while using couples from Catholic churches in Abuja.
According to Lopang & Bakadzimoeti (2018), premarital counseling for Christians is designed to lay out a biblical foundation of marriage while preparing couples for the exciting and humbling responsibility of being husband and wife. Secondly, premarital Counseling provides a safe environment for working through any current or past relational issues. Third, church based premarital counseling lets couples define and work through their expectations of marriage.
Tambling & Glebova (2013) point out that 1 Peter 2:5 and 9 teach that all Christians belong to the universal priesthood of believers and are called to minister one another to achieve the ultimate goal of maturity in Christ (Eph.4). Sauerheber & Bitter (2013) emphasize the call to lay counseling as a specific ministry as well. In Galatians 6:2 Paul gives a directive to all Christians to get involved in a burden-bearing or “restoring” ministry to fellow believers (Egbo, 2012). Other Biblical passages such as Romans 15:14, Colossians 3:16 and 1 Thessalonians 5:14 also direct all believers to be involved in admonishing, encouraging or helping one another. Basing on the above assertions and a large number of verses in support of it, Christian churches globally have made premarital counseling a must for intending individuals. In light of Prov 24: 3-4; 2Tim 3: 16-17; Isiah 55:11; Mat 14: 15-21 and so many other verses about marital counseling, Catholic churches have made premarital counseling mandatory for intending couples.
Despite the existence of sufficient evidence of marital instability at global, continental, regional and national levels, area specific statistics of the same are not sufficient. Nonetheless, there have been several reported cases of violence and divorce amongst couples in this area. Still, several of the cases are never reported which implies that a lot needs to be done to increase the knowledge base.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Over the years, Nigeria has experienced rising cases of domestic violence and divorce (as the outcomes of marital instability). The Police Force’s annual crime report (2016), domestic violence cases that were reported and investigated increased by 4% (from 38,651 to 40,258 cases) between 2015 and 2016. Statistics NGO (2017) showed that 7% of Nigerian have gone through divorce or separation in the four years preceding 2016. Informed by the Behavioral theory on premarital counseling, Catholic churches have put up a series of strategies and made premarital counseling compulsory. With this, one would expect the cases of domestic violence and incidence of divorce to reduce significantly.
Despite the fact that Catholic churches put lots of emphasis on premarital counseling as a key strategy for reducing marital instabilities, the status quo has worsened. The statistics from the Nigeria Police (2020) shows that Domestic violence increased by over 20% in the period January to April whereas 7.6% of married couples have divorce or are intending to divorce (Kasirye, 2020).
In a bid to broaden the knowledge base on the effect of premarital counseling on marital sustainability and establish the statistical significance of the relationship between the two variables, the current study sought to investigate the effects of pre-marital counselling on marriage sustainability using a reference of married couples from Catholic churches in Abuja.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The general objective of the study was to investigate the effects of pre-marital counselling on marriage sustainability using a case study of couples in Catholic churches in Abuja. Specific Objectives are;
- To investigate the relationship between Emotionally Focused Counseling and marital sustainability of couples in Catholic churches in Abuja.
- To find out the relationship between Cognitive behavioral Couples Counseling and marital sustainability of couples in Catholic Churches in Abuja.
- To establish the relationship between Gottman’s relationship counseling and marital sustainability of couples in Catholic churches in Abuja.
1.4 Research Question
The study provided answers to the following research questions
- What is the relationship between Emotionally Focused Counseling and marital sustainability of couples in Catholic churches in Abuja.
- What is the relationship between Cognitive behavioral Couples Counseling and marital sustainability of couples in Catholic Churches in Abuja.
- What is the relationship between Gottman’s relationship counseling and marital sustainability of couples in Catholic churches in Abuja.
1.5 Research hypothesis
The study was guided by the following alternative hypotheses;
Ha1: There is no significant relationship between Emotionally Focused Counseling (EFT) and marital sustainability of couples in Catholic churches in Abuja.
Ha2: There is no significant relationship between Cognitive behavioral Couples Counseling and marital sustainability of couples in Catholic churches in Abuja.
Ha3: There is no significant relationship between Gottman’s relationship counseling and marital sustainability of couples in Catholic churches in Abuja.
1.6 Significance of the Study
The study will equip clergy with skills to prepare couples better. Additionally, the study could benefit the couples and their families in improving their marital sustainability. So, through these findings the church may likely improve their premarital counseling approaches. The study will be of importance in examining how attitudes and preparation before marriage in regards to premarital counseling have enhanced marital sustainability. The study will explore how the church can take a responsibility to prepare couples to build strong marriages from the very beginning until death. Premarital counseling has not been identified as a regular part of the clinical practice of most of today’s marriage and family therapists and this will help Ministry of Gender, Labor and Social Development (MOGLS) to plan on how best the church can be involved in increasing stability in marriages. The study will examine the attitudes and beliefs of clergy concerning premarital counseling. The clergy’s thoughts about the necessity, importance, and value of premarital counseling for the members of their local congregations and denominations will be surveyed.
1.7 Scope of the Study
The study will analyze The Effects Of Pre-Marital Counselling On Marriage Sustainability in Catholic churches in Abuja. The study is limited to some selected couples in the area. Hence, the respondents for this study will be obtained from and among married couples in the study area.
1.8 Limitation of the Study
In the course of carrying out this study, the researcher experienced some constraints, which included time constraints, financial constraints, language barriers, and the attitude of the respondents. However, the researcher were able to manage these just to ensure the success of this study.
1.9 Definition of Key Terms
This referred to a specific type of systemic counseling aimed at assisting couples that are considering marriage or are interventions which include understanding and improving the premarital individual and couple interactional factors that can influence both the quality and stability of the marital relationship.
This was regarded as a mental state that reflects the perceived benefits and costs of marriage to a person in terms of intimacy, commitment and passion.
1.10 Organization of the Study
This research work is organized in five chapters, for easy understanding, as follows.
- Chapter one is concern with the introduction, which consist of the (overview, of the study), historical background, statement of problem, objectives of the study, research hypotheses, significance of the study, scope and limitation of the study, definition of terms and historical background of the study.
- Chapter two highlights the theoretical framework on which the study is based, thus the review of related literature.
- Chapter three deals on the research design and methodology adopted in the study.
- Chapter four concentrate on the data collection and analysis and presentation of finding.
- Chapter five gives summary, conclusion, and recommendations made of the study.
Summary of Findings, Conclusions and Recommendations
This chapter presents a summary of the findings, the conclusions that could be drawn as well as the recommendations for the study. The chapter also presents the recommended areas for further study.
5.2 Summary of Findings
Pre-marital counseling is a viable and critical tool in improving the stability of marriages. This section is divided in line with the study objectives.
5.2.1 The Relationship between relationship counseling and Marriage sustainability
A Pearson Correlation of 0.549* and sig.(2-tailed) of 0.000 in the table above show that at 5% significance level, there was a medium, positive and significant positive relationship between relationship counseling and Marriage sustainability in the study area.
5.2.2 The Relationship between emotionally focused counseling and Marriage sustainability
The correlation results yielded a Pearson Correlation of 0.731** and sig.(2-tailed) of 0.000 implying that at 1% significance level, there was a high, positive and significant positive relationship between emotionally focused counseling and Marriage sustainability in the study area.
5.2.3 The Relationship between cognitive behavioral couple counseling and Marriage sustainability
A Pearson Correlation of 0.728** and sig.(2-tailed) of 0.000 in the table above show that at 1% significance level, there was a high, positive and significant positive relationship between cognitive behavioral couples’ counseling and Marriage sustainability in the study area.
This study investigated the effect of premarital counseling on Marriage sustainability. It was intended to investigate the relationship between premarital counseling and Marriage sustainability using a case study of couples in Bukoto, Nakawa division. This was in relation to the fact that there is evidence from FIDA and Ministry of Gender that even though couples legalize the marriages they get into, they still do not get the Marriage sustainability that they had anticipated hence there is a need to investigate the effectiveness of premarital counseling programs on Marriage sustainability.
Pre-marital counseling in this study was sectioned into three including relationship counseling, emotionally focused counseling and cognitive behavioral couple counseling. Of the three, emotionally focused counseling had a more significant effect on Marriage sustainability amongst couples in the study area. On the whole, premarital counseling significantly and positively affected Marriage sustainability in the study area.
The following recommendations are made basing on the discussion and conclusions of the study: First and foremost, the study recommends that couples should be encouraged to partake emotionally focused couple counseling as it had a more significant effect on Marriage sustainability. When couples engage in such assessment there will be openness in the marriage. Also emphasis should be put on ensuring that couples disclose deep secrets to avoid shocks.
Secondly, the study recommends that couples should attend thorough cognitive behavioral couple counseling sessions to gain problem solving skills for successful marital contentment.
Third, the study recommends that premarital therapists should intensify their engagements with couples to ensure that there is more reduction in misunderstandings in couples. The premarital counseling should focus a lot more on going much deeper into problems of the couple, poor communication skills, feeling stuck or disconnected, finding out the individuals unmet needs, frozen childhood needs and the deep seated roots of the problems that the couple is facing. It is only after finding this out and showing the individual ways of say, re-parenting oneself if necessary or dealing with these deep rooted problems by attending say anger management classes, maybe going for addiction counseling, to mention but a few, that the character or behavior of the client may improve. The partner will also be in a position to be more understanding of his or her partner and so better able to be patient with the partner who is facing these challenges. This will then improve on the stability of the marriage because the couple will have undergone some counseling on how to deal with their personal problems.
Further, the study recommends that the churches should continue sensitizing the public on the benefits of premarital counseling as the Church remains the biggest institution that provides this service to couples.
Finally, the study urges the government should put down policies and guidelines to be followed by the churches that are taking couples through premarital counseling. It should become law that for all those going to get married, they should undergo premarital counseling given by the places of worship where the couple is going to be married so that the chances of Marriage sustainability is increased thus reduce on aspects like domestic violence and eventually the divorce rate.
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