The Impact Of Differing Work-Life Balances On Marriage Stability Among Married Couples

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The Impact Of Differing Work-Life Balances On Marriage Stability Among Married Couples


This study investigated the impact of differing work-life balances on marriage stability among married couples in Eti-Osa Local Government Area of Lagos state. The population for this study comprise all the married men and women in Eti-Osa Local government of Lagos State. The study adopted descriptive survey research design. A sample of 200married men and women were randomly selected from five Local Community Development Area in Eti-Osa Local government in Lagos State. 200 married men and women formed the sample while simple random sampling technique was used to select married men and women from five Local Community Development Area (Ikoyi-Obalende LCDA, Eti-Osa East LCDA, Eti-Osa West LCDA and Iru – Victoria Island LCDA) in Eti-Osa Local government in Lagos State from its five Local development Area.

A self-developed questionnaire of 40 items was used to collect information from respondents after its validity and reliability (r=0.741) were determined. Six hypotheses were tested in the study while Chi-square and Independent t-test statistical tools were used for hypotheses testing at 0.05 levels of significance. The study revealed the following results: there is significant impact of differing work -life balances on marriage stability, children welfare, career growth and personal health. Also, there is no significant gender difference in the differing work life balances and marriage stability among married couples. In the light of the study`s results, the researchers presented a number of recommendations and proposals the most important of which are: there is the need for reorientation of couples on the essence of family values. Work may leave you but your spouse and family remain.

When work frustrates, spouse and family are the succor. Married people should work in employments that have flexible work schedules and predictable working hours. Employers (Organizations) should have a policy on work life balance and pursue work life balance initiatives that leave flexibility to achieve evenness. Government should mandate the employers to have a policy on work life balance to enable employees live a balanced life. The uncertain economic environment has placed tremendous personal and workplace pressure on employees. The rate of job loss and reduction in disposable income due to outrageous inflation is not helping matter either. Employers should provide a right mix of benefits that are highly valued by the workforce while in engagement and while on exit.

Chapter One


1.1 Background to the study

Marriage is a basic institution in every society. In every complete society governed by law, marriage exists as a public legal and not merely a private romantic declaration or religious rite. Hilliard (2007) submits that marriage is a social union or legal contract between people that creates kinship. It is the recognized social institution, not only for establishing and maintaining the family, but also for creating and sustaining the ties of kinship.As life-long agreement between the couples, marriage is supposed to be a sacred and permanent contract which is assumed to outlive the couples. However, there are diverse issues of conflict that are impacting on marriages in this modern time. Example of such issues isdiffering work-life balances.Differing work life balances amongst married couples have resulted in the neglect of children welfare, separation or even divorce.

The term “work-life balance” could be defined as a state of equilibrium in which the demands of a person’s job and personal/marital/family life are equal (Clark, 2000). It isthe relationship between the amount of time and effort that someonegives to work and the amount that they give to other aspects of life, such as their family.A balance between work and life is supposed to exist when there is a proper functioning at work and at home with a minimum of role conflict (Guest &Sturges, 2004). Therefore, the incompatibility between the demands from the work and non-work domain gives rise to conflict and consequently, people experience a lack of work-life balance.Differing work life balance is also a situation where husband and wife have different work-life schedules; as such, throwing the married and family life into disequilibrium.

Work-life balance initiatives are a global phenomenon. Alvesson (2002) states that women who work carry a double load as employees and housewives. They are super moms playing varied roles and reconciling between tradition and modernity while men who work have a burden of raising a fulfilled family and having a good report card for professional responsibilities and advancement. Also rigidity in the working hours, especially, leads to all kinds of problems (Hill, 2005). Working long hours can lead to stress or mental ill health (Fritschi, Morrison, Payne, Wall & Whaley, 2005). Findings have shown that this is more aggravated where the worker has other responsibilities beyond work (Malgorzata, 2013).

Responsibilities beyond work naturally include such non work commitments as child care, elder care and, in certain respect, social commitments requiringtime and energy of the individual.

In Nigeria, for instance, the strict adherence to work schedule has been identified as the cause of secondary manifestations of work-life conflict such as increasing medical problems -diabetes, hypertension, aches and pains; increasing psychological or attitudinal problems; absenteeism; lateness; interpersonal problems; comportment – language and dress (Laoye, 2014). All these negative manifestations of work-life conflict have direct impact on the performance and productivity of the individual. Reducing these negative effects should therefore be of paramount importance to any organization.

Individuals play multiple roles in their lives. An employee can be a father, husband, brother, uncle, nephew, son and in-law at home, while he could also be a boss, employee, subordinate, professional peer and employer at work. Within his immediate society, he is a neighbor, community leader and/or a leader or member of a social club among others. All these roles have significant influence on the personality of the employee and whether collectively or individually, they all have serious implications for his health, temperament at home and work and ultimately on his overall performance in both spheres. These divergent role demands however could be broadly categorized into two: work roles and personal-life roles. Eventually, the two categories of roles exert pressure on the individual as each role imposes demands that require time, energy and commitment to fulfill. Where the cumulative demands of these work and non-work roles become incompatible, that is, when participation in one role is made more difficult by participating in the other role, work-life conflict sets in.

A differing work-life balance is a frequently observed phenomenon around the world. It is often a function of couple’s financial and career goals, the amount of gratification experienced at work, the energy levels, willingness to forego a high level of involvement in some aspects of marital life etc. Married couples strivefor more monetary security and tend to increase the amount of work by working overtime orhaving two or more jobs. Nonetheless, they wish to spend a sufficient amount of time withtheir families, as well as dedicate time to various interests and hobbies. However this seems to be gradually problematic. With this respect, differing work life balance between married couples, where it is not well managed has negatively affected many marriages.

Other areas where work life balance affectsis Personal Health. i.e. the general condition of a person in all aspects. It is also a level of functional and/or metabolic efficiency of an individual.The United Nations’ World Health Organization defines health as “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” Health is the general condition of the body or mind with reference to soundness and vigor, while, Wellness is the quality or state of being healthy in body and mind, especially as the result of deliberate effort. And mental health is a term used to describe either a level of cognitive or emotional wellbeing or an absence of a mental disorder. Health Education Services believes that optimal overall wellness in all aspects of life- emotional, intellectual, social, spiritual, and physical- is key to success in college and beyond.

Sultana& Watts (2013) describe career as a general work description that often includes vocation, professions and even occupation. It is a sequence of occupations, jobs, and positions occupied throughout a person’s working life. (Martin,2006). One cannot divorce career growth from career development. There is a major distinction between the two. In fact, career growth depends on career development. Growth is an organization’s ladder or, career lattice. While a ladder displays only vertical movement between jobs, a career lattice, by contrast, contains both vertical and lateral movement between jobs and may reflect more closely the career paths of the individual in the modern work environment. Career development, on the other hand, includes things employees do to enhance or develop their career; building successful working relationships with their managers and developing a well-mapped career path, including short-term objectives that serve as milestones. For those who have been employed in their professional field for some time, the organization needs to keep them from getting stuck in a rut. Sponsoring formal training tuition that advances them in their field of expertise and such things as conferences, webinars and online lectures, and opportunities for professional networking that can be part of their career development and enhancement.

As suggested by Martin, (2006),employees can improve their perceived career success by balancing long and short –term goals, improving their competence, and communicating openly with their managers. There are four factors as revealed by Sultana &Watts (2013) which have predictive potential on managers’ career success. These are: individual – related factors, organizational- related factors, managerial competencies- related factors, and the person-environment fit factor. (Marshall & Scott-Ladd, 2004) emphasise that participative decision making contributes to performance effectiveness and leads to greater gains in the workplace whereas, as reflected by researcher (Ballout, 2008), the individual- specific variables will be more likely to predict family – to – work conflict and perceived career success, while work-specific variables will be more likely to predict work- to – family conflict and career success. The employees and employers have to identify appropriate strategies for balancing work and non-work domains in such a way that employees strive to perform work and family roles successfully, and employers ensure that employees have the necessary infrastructure and tailored-made family supportive programs to encourage them to achieve dual- success: success in family relationships and success in careers. Today‘s working men seek the dual objective of maintaining a successful career while being involved in their children‘s lives (Ballout, 2008). However in contradiction (Barnett &Hyde, 2001) found that women who had multiple life roles were less depressed and had higher self-esteem than women who had fewer life roles.

Work-life balance is not gender-specific. According to the Center for American Progress, 90 percent of working mothers and 95 percent of working fathers report work-family conflict (Heather & Joan, 2010). However, because of the social normssurrounding each gender role, and how the organization views its ideal worker, men and women handle the work-life balance differently. Organisations play a large part in how their employees deal with work-life balance. Some companies have taken proactive measures in providing programs and initiatives to help their employees cope with work-life balance. At the top of the organizational hierarchy, the majority of individuals are males, and assumptions can be made regarding their lack of personal experience with the direct and indirect effects of work-family balance(Heather & Joan, 2010); for one, they may be unmarried and have no thought as to what “normal” family responsibilities entail. On the other hand, the high-level manager may be married, but his wife, due to the demands of the husband’s position, has remained at home, tending solely to the house and children. Ironically, these are the individuals creating and reforming workplace policies (Heather& Joan, 2010).

1.2 Statement of the problem

Increasing rate of divorce, resulting in cases of single parenthood impacts on marriage stability in modern African society. Marriage instability has made us to currently witness the invasion of many areas of human activity by a radical individualism; economic life, excessive competition etc. This has resulted in marriages characterized by individualism and excessive competition between spouses. This individualism certainly does not encourage generous, faithful and permanent self-giving. It also cuts across every race, economic status, educational or social status, even religious status. The endemic nature of the factors that impede marriage stability made it alarming especially in Africa where marriage is religiously adored (Ojo, 2014).Over the last decade differing work life balance has become a significant issue for married couples.

Work and personal life are mutually dependent and play an integral part in an individual’s life as well as in marriage. Work-life balance has been a major cause of marital instability while causes range from health-work conflict, family-work conflict and personal development-work conflict to mention but a few. In a national study on work life conflicts in Nigeria in 2002, one in four Nigerians reported that their work responsibilities interfered with the ability to fulfill their responsibilities at home(Ojo, 2014). Family care commitment and work intensification are the two major sources of work life conflicts (Alvesson, 2002). Those who are young and single tend to have less work life conflict issues compared with those who are married and have family responsibilities (Alvesson, 2002). Marriage stability is without doubt the desire of all in the society. No one gets married only to experience instability in the marriage.

Marital instability erodes the mental and physical well-being of workers; affects the quality of their personal relationship outside of work, and increases costs to businesses. This has been a source of concern to families, government, non-governmental organizations and society at large.This study therefore, investigates the impact of differing work-life balances and marriage stability among married couples in Eti-Osa Local Government of Lagos State.

1.3 Purpose of the study:

The purpose of this study is to investigate the impact of differing work-life balance on marriage stability among couples in Eti-Osa Local Government Area, Lagos State.

The specific objectives hence are:

  1. To determine the impact of differing work life balances on marriage stability.
  2. To examine the impact of differing work life balances on children welfare.
  3. To ascertain the influence of differing work life balances on career growth.
  4. To determine the impact of differing work life balances on individual’s health
  5. To determine the gender difference in differing work life balances among married couples.

1.4 Research Questions

This research is designed to answer the following questions:

  1. What is the impact of differing work life balances on marriage stability?
  2. What is the impact of differingwork-life balances on children welfare?
  3. What is the influence of differing work life balances on career growth?
  4. What is the impact of differing work life balances on personal health?
  5. What is the gender difference in differing work life balances among married couples?

1.5 Research Hypotheses

The following research hypotheses will serve as a guide to the study:

  1. There is no significant impact of differing work -life balances on marriage stability among married couples.
  2. There is no significant impactof differing work life balances on children welfare.
  3. There is no significant influence of differing work life balances on career growth.
  4. There is no significant impact of differing work life balanceson personalhealth.
  5. There is no significant gender difference in the differing work life balances among married couples.

1.6 Significance of the Study

The study will help the couples to understand the impact of differing work- life balances on stability of their marriages. Marriage counselors, Lagos State Government Citizens’ Mediation Centre alsowill benefit in that they will improve their methods of dealing with troubled married couples. The study will also benefit academics in providing literature for further study on the contemporary topic of work life balances.

Judges will gain better insight to aid in the administration of justice to affected couples, and for the judiciary for the promulgation of marital and family laws. Also employers of labour will see the need in introducing flexible working hours. The government will see the need to pass flexible labour laws. Marriage registries can also benefit for the purpose of counseling would be couples.

Finally, for the priest in worship centers, they will benefit in using it to counsel new couples and troubled couples also.

1.7 Scope of the study

The study will cover the impact of differing work life balances on marriage stability among married couples in Eti-Osa Local Government Area of LagosState. A group of couples randomly selected across gender, number of years in marriage, religions and locations will be used in this research.

1.8 Operational Definition of Terms


Is considered to represent a lifelong commitment by two people to each other and it is signified by a contract sanctioned by the state (and for many people, by God).


Is defined as the carrying out of tasks, which involves the expenditure of mental and physical effort and its objective, is the production of goods and services that cater to human needs.

Work Life Balance:

Work-life balance has been defined as “a satisfying, healthy, and productive life that includes work, play, and love.

Work-Life Conflict:

This means the competing demands of work and personal life outside work on the individual.

Work-Family Conflict:

(WFC) is defined as discord that arises when the time devoted to or time spent fulfilling professional responsibilities interferes with or limits the amount of time available to perform family-related responsibilities

Work / family:

Competing demands between work and family specific roles


The state of being stable. Steadfastness; constancy, as of character or purpose

Marriage Stability:

The state or quality of a marriage being stable, balance or healthy.

Child Welfare:

Is a term that is often used to refer to the child welfare system. Specifically, it is most often used to describe the government response to child maltreatment.

Marital Satisfaction:

Is the degree to which an individual’s needs, expectations, and desires are being satisfied in their marriage.

Personal Health:

Is the general condition of a person in all aspects. It is also a level of functional and/or metabolic efficiency of an individual.

Career Growth:

The ability to learn new skills and put them to work.

The Impact Of Differing Work-Life Balances On Marriage Stability Among Married Couples

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The Impact Of Differing Work-Life Balances On Marriage Stability Among Married Couples


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