Factors Affecting Effective Communication In Marriages In Nigeria

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Factors Affecting Effective Communication In Marriages In Nigeria


This study investigated the factors affecting effective communication in marriage. The high rate of separation and misunderstanding among married adults in Ilorin metropolis due to lack of communication necessitated this study. A good number of men and women either go to court to ask for separation legally or on their agreement with each other to ask for separate living due to ineffective communication. This researcher employed the descriptive survey method for the study. The population consisted of married adults. The sample consisted of 200 married adults randomly selected across Ifelodun local government of Kwara State. Data were collected using a researcher designed instrument questionnaire named “Factors Affecting Effective Communication in Marriage Questionnaire (FAECMQ)”.

Chapter One


1.1 Background of the Study

Marriage is an important event in the life of an individual. It has a number of dimensions and functions. Most religions consider marriage as sacrament and not a social construct. In the society (as in Nigeria), marriage is not only a matter concerning two individuals but is looked upon as an event involving families and communities at large. The question of individual choice of a mate or a partner is limited (Rao, 1981). Marriage is seen in this study as an institutionalized social relationship of crucial significance. It is almost, always more than a legalized sexual union between a man and woman. It is a union between a man and a woman such that the children born are recognized as legitimate offspring’s of both parents. Marriage is beneficial to the society because it is the foundation of a family and the building block of a society. Marriage between a man and a woman is vital to the stability and preservation of the society in which a father and mother raise and nurture children. Marriage is not just the coming together of the two individuals. There is much more to it. To sustain a marriage, it is important that there is effort from both sides; a successful marriage is like a good recipe whose main ingredients are love, good communication, commitment, understanding, concern, care and togetherness. Most marriage partners marry in love with intention to honour the vow while many issues develop over time such as ineffective communication, extramarital affairs, jealousy, relationship abuse and sexual issues which lead to divorce. In Nigeria, fifty percent of marriages end up in divorce despite available marital counseling and the promise to stay together till death does them part (Akinade 1997, Adegoke & Esere, 1998). The family (usually initiated by husband and wife) is a social arrangement based on marriage which involves the coming together of two different individuals whose personality traits and background are different. The implication is that they need understanding to live together for a time long enough to say that their marriage is stable. In the opinion of Akinade (1997) post-marital counseling is provided to married couples to address marital issues/problems likely to be faced or is being faced during the wedding ceremony and later in their relationship as husband and wife. In essence, post-marital counseling is provided to married couples to enable them acquire information capable of bringing about marital adjustment and stability (Esere, 2002; Oniye, 2004). Marital stability is said to exist when a couple is able to live together in their marriage for such a long time in peace, harmony and conjugal bliss for the realization of the goals of marriage. A stable marriage is not one in which there are no conflicts or misunderstanding, rather it is one which the couple has the ability to reduce the frequency of conflict as well as managing the few ones from degenerating into crisis. Thus, marital stability is the existence of relative peace and harmony over a long period of time among married couples (Esere, 2006). Marital stability connotes a marriage held together by such things as being good listeners, respecting one another, having a good sense of humor, knowing how to have fun, being willing to adapt, accepting that one cannot change his/her partner, and thinking rationally (Sheri & Stritof, 2005). A most important factor for marital stability is the role of effective communication Esere (2001). Agbana and Odewumi (2001), Ayodele (2001), Esere (2002) Oniye (2004), Sherif and Stritof (2005), Esere (2006) all noted that effective communication is a prerequisite for marital stability. Specifically, Ayodele (2001) opined that for marriage stability, couples must not communicate through their children either written or oral. Instead, they should endeavour to always sit together and talk over their differences. Mental and emotional health and consequent happiness, is a result of relationship (Esere, 2008). A relationship is a complex and mysterious phenomenon that exist between two. Two people create a relationship and the relationship in turn creates them. Each one is a world unto himself with long past and future possibilities (Esere, 2006, 2008). When the two worlds converge, there is intimacy and the feeling that life is worth living (Omotosho, 1994). A large part of human behaviours is concerned with sending, transmitting or receiving messages. This is referred to as communication (Idowu & Esere, 2007) but virtually everywhere (especially in the home). Ipaye (1995) noted that ‘’there is discernible evidence of communication gaps, misconstructed intentions, misinterpreted and misunderstood messages, inappropriately transmitted and poorly received messages’’ (p.61). Sincere communication, open and sympathetic, conveying ones’ feelings and needs served as solutions to marital relationship problems (Esere, 2008). Because of the layers of meaning, the messages sent in communication are not always the message received. To pick up the right meaning, one’s spouse has to vibrate with him/her on a feeling level (Esere, 2000). Gable, Reis, Impett and Asher (2010) found that married people feel tensed, worried, neglected and frustrated if their partner expects more than they are using to give back. According to Esere and Idowu (2000), good marriage does not just happen; it is deliberately built. Effective communication is one of the elements that foster a healthy marital interaction. Spouses achieve marital happiness and satisfaction when they are sufficiently open to each other and work together to resolve issues and problems that emanate between them. Working or reaching a consensus together builds intimacy which unpleasant circumstances and unexpected crises cannot easily destroy

1.2 Statement of the Problem

Communication in marriages is very important. Over the years, poor and ineffective communication in marriages has affected the growth and development of many homes. Ability to communicate effectively is regarded as central to the establishment of good marital relationship (Esere, 2001). Without good communication, the establishment of facilitative relationship which changes can take place in values, attitude, feelings, knowledge, beliefs and ultimately habits and practices is impossible (Esere, 2006). This could be so because communication is part of the development, maintenance, deterioration or termination of relationships especially, the marriage relationship (Ojiah, 2004). Communication is however a major source of marital success. Without communication, it is impossible to resolve misunderstanding or conflicts, without communication there is no growth among married partners. Ineffective communication can lead to numerous family breakdowns. Communication is the missing link in an unhappy marriage; it is an essential tool in stabilizing a marriage. Researchers have been carried out on the effect of communication in marriage. Filani (1985) worked on experimental study of the effects of communication skills training on marital adjustment and styles of communication of educated couples in Ogbomoso. The study found that poor communication leads to breakdown in marriages and if people can be humble enough to be trained on how to be good communicator, and then there will be a good marital relationship. Salifu (2009) studied styles of communication and marital adjustment of educated couples. The study found that couples who established good and sound communication styles are likely to have pleasant relationships

1.3 Objective of the Study

The objectives of the study are;

  1. To ascertain the factors affecting communication in marriage
  2. To ascertain the obstacles to effective communication in marriage
  3. To ascertain the impact of communication in marriage

1.4 Research Hypotheses

The following have been put forward for testing

  1. H0: there are no factors affecting communication in marriage
    H1: there are factors affecting communication in marriage.
  2. H0: there is no impact of communication in marriage
    H1: there is impact of communication in marriage

1.5 Significance of the Study

The study will be very significant to students, couples and the general public. The study will give clear insight on the factors affecting effective communication in marriages in Nigeria. The study will serve as reference to other researcher that will embark on this topic

1.6 Scope and Limitation of the Study

The scope of the study covers factors affecting communication in marriages in Nigeria. The researcher encounters some constrain which limited the scope of the study;

a) Availability of Research Material:

The research material available to the researcher is insufficient, thereby limiting the study

b) Time:

The time frame allocated to the study does not enhance wider coverage as the researcher has to combine other academic activities and examinations with the study.

1.7 Definition of Terms


Communication is the act of conveying meanings from one entity or group to another through the use of mutually understood signs, symbols, and semiotic rules. The main steps inherent to all communication are: The formation of communicative motivation or reason. Message composition. Message encoding


Marriage, also called matrimony or wedlock, is a socially or ritually recognised union between spouses that establishes rights and obligations between those spouses, as well as between them and any resulting biological or adopted children and affinity.

1.8 Organization of the Study

This research work is organized in five chapters, for easy understanding, as follows

  1. 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.
  2. Chapter two highlights the theoretical framework on which the study is based, thus the review of related literature.
  3. Chapter three deals on the research design and methodology adopted in the study.
  4. Chapter four concentrate on the data collection and analysis and presentation of finding.
  5. Chapter five gives summary, conclusion, and recommendations made of the study

Chapter Five

Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation

5.1 Introduction

It is important to ascertain that the objective of this study was to ascertain factors affecting effective communication in marriages in Nigeria. In the preceding chapter, the relevant data collected for this study were presented, critically analyzed and appropriate interpretation given. In this chapter, certain recommendations made which in the opinion of the researcher will be of benefits in addressing the challenges of the factors affecting effective communication in marriages in Nigeria

5.2 Summary

This study was on factors affecting effective communication in marriages in Nigeria. Three objectives were raised which included: To ascertain the factors affecting communication in marriage, to ascertain the obstacles to effective communication in marriage, to ascertain the impact of communication in marriage. In line with these objectives, two research hypotheses were formulated and two null hypotheses were posited. The total population for the study is 200 residents in Ifelodun local government of Kwara state. The researcher used questionnaires as the instrument for the data collection. Descriptive Survey research design was adopted for this study. A total of 133 respondents married men, married women, civil servants couple and uneducated couple were used for the study. The data collected were presented in tables and analyzed using simple percentages and frequencies

5.3 Conclusion

From the findings of the study, gender is one significant factor that affects communication among couples. The differences in women and men attitude are a determinant of their communication pattern, as women compared to men, express a greater range of emotions, such as sadness, fear, love, happiness and anger. Women are also more inclined than men to disclose personal information, such as their personal opinion or details of their personal history. Also the financial status (satisfied/dissatisfied) of couples contributes to their pattern of communication

5.4 Recommendation

It was therefore recommended that couples should endeavour to express their thoughts and feelings fully and encourage each other to do the same. Furthermore, couples are to resolve misunderstandings by asking questions and seeking clarifications rather than by getting angry. Finally, couples are to express themselves to their partners, talk about the problems in their life, share their deepest fears and secrets with each other and cherish the best moments of life together, this is to say that appropriate communication patterns agreeable by the couples be adopted.

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