Influence Of Mate Selection And Self-Disclosure On Marital Stability Among Couples

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Influence Of Mate Selection And Self-Disclosure On Marital Stability Among Couples


Abstract


This study attempted to examine the influence of mate selection and self-disclosure on marital stability among couples in Lagos State.

The descriptive research design was used in the study. The questionnaire was used to assess the opinions of the selected respondents with the collection of relevant data from them, while the sampling technique was used to select the sample size of the study.

A total of 120 (One hundred and twenty) respondents were selected by the application of the stratified sampling technique. Also, a total of four (4) null hypotheses were stated and tested with the application of independent t-test statistical tool at 0.05 level of significance.

At the end of the tests, it was found that a significant relationship between mate selection and couples marital stability exist; and that a significant relationship exists between self-disclosure and marital stability among couples. Furthermore, the findings showed that no significant gender difference exists in self-disclosure among couples, and it was finally found that there is no significant difference in marital stability between couples who disclosed themselves and those who did not. All the hypotheses were tested at 0.05 level of significance. Two null hypotheses were accepted and two were rejected.


Chapter One


1.0 Introduction

1.1 Background to the Study

The choice of a mate is a problem that human beings share with most other animals, because successful reproduction is central to natural selection. Peahens choose among most attractive peacocks, female elephant seals and even promiscuous chimpanzees exercise choice about their chimps with which they will be promiscuous (Broude, 1994). In every human society in the world, methods have been evolved for people to pair up and eventually get married in order to establish their own families. For most of the societies, this process was largely controlled by parents and kins in early days. Parents usually had direct control through strong community and kinship networks that exerted pressure on youths to conform to traditional norms. Only few societies, if there is any, allow young people to choose partners without the approval of parents and/or other relatives. It is when people remain in their communities or places of birth, that the bond of strong kin, networks is crucial in mate selection (Ekiran, 1996). Although mate selection process was once controlled by parents, it has now become much a matter of personal choice by the young lovers.

Blossfed (1994), identified some methods of mate selection among individuals which include:

  1. Arranged method of mate selection.
  2. Self-selection method.
  3. Mate selection by friends.
  4. Mate selection through others.

According to Blossfed, parents choose spouses. Bankole (1991) observed that the general practice is for a father to look for a girl for his son to marry. the preliminary steps usually begin around puberty. According to Fadipe (1990) the usual age for girl’s betrothal start from ten years. Sometimes girls are said to have been marked out from childhood as intended wife for a particular young man with or without her knowledge. This however, may begin as a kind of joke between the two families involved, but with time the intention becomes more serious and often times, results to marriage. According to Fadipe (1990), this method of mate selection is true of the Yoruba people of the South-West Nigeria, and other ethnic groups in the nation during the early days.

As Adesomoju (2000) puts it, when an individual chooses his or her marital partner, this could be regarded as the self-selection method. This method was very uncommon in the early days, although it seldomly happened. Self-choice is the most prevailing method today. This is because since young people in search of higher education and better employment opportunities leave the rural areas for the urban centres, they are largely out of the control of their parents and as such, they choose marital partners by themselves. The factors at work can be summed up as: a change in economy, the decline of rural areas, the rapid growth of some occupations and the decline of others, the lure of the cities, the new opportunities far from home, the importance of education, and the relative emancipation of women, all of which led young men and women to seek more independence from their parents. Self-selection method is more pronounced among remarried couples than first marriage couples.

In his study, Adeleke (2001) observed that friends can select spouses for their friends which usually leads to marriage. According to him, this method of mate selection is common either now or in the early days. This method of mate selection is a feature of urban life, and it is carried out by a friend who wants to matchmake his/her friend with another individual or friend. It is carried out through introduction of man to a woman or vice-versa by a friend. This is common among colleagues at the work places or business associates. This is particularly true of people who have gone through the bitter experience and stress of disappointment. Mates can be selected through others such as the pastors, marriage counsellors and or seminar leaders or family.

As Sidney (1991) puts it, self—disclosure as a phenomenon was first investigated by Jourard (1971). The process was originally defined as telling others about the self. Since then, an extensive amount of information about disclosure has been produced, leading to significant shifts in the way we think about the phenomenon – self-disclosure. One change has been to consider disclosure as a process of revealing and concealing private information. Making this change, raises many questions about how people decide to disclose or remain private and helps us better understand the process within romantic relationships, marriage, and families (Burgron, 1982, Holtgraves, 1990; Petronio, 1991, 2000).

According to Cutrona (1996), many people disclose themselves to their mates before marriage, this disclosure has in some instances caused them their marriage. For example, when a mate either man or woman discloses that he/she has a terminal disease like HIV/AIDS, the attitude of the other partner in any case changes, in most cases, negatively. People do not want their mates to be infested with such illness as HIV/AIDS. Also, a case where a mate has married before and had children before the current marriage, if the previous marital activity was disclosed, there would be attitudinal change or reaction which may not augur well with the relationship.


1.2 Statement of the Problem

There are many problems surrounding mate selection and self-disclosure among couples in the contemporary societies. Marriages have hit the rock these days due to wrong mate selections. For instance, couples have divorced because their spouses lack compatibility with them among other factors which they discovered in the lives of their partners. This is because human attitude is unpredictable and people, especially spouses have been disappointed due to negative attitude of their partners. And this has led to separation or divorce.

Couples have course to divorce due to sudden knowledge of their spouses’ ugly past. For instance, marriages have been broken due to knowledge of one’s spouse’s terminal sickness or history of family illness and other bad incidences that run in a particular family of one’s spouse.

For the above reasons, the researcher attempted to investigate the influence of mate selection and self-disclosure on marital stability among couples.


1.3 Purpose of the Study

The main purpose of the study is to investigate the influence of mate selection and self-disclosure on marital stability among couples.

The specific objectives of the study include:

  1. To examine whether mate selection has relationship with marital stability among couples.
  2. To investigate whether self-disclosure affects marital stability among couples.
  3. To assess the marital stability of couples who disclosed their secrets and those who did not.
  4. To evaluate the marital stability of couples as a result of mate selection process.
  5. To find out whether there is gender difference in self-disclosure among couples.

1.4 Research Questions

The following research questions were raised in this study.

  1. To what extent will mate selection influence marital stability among couples?
  2. Will self-disclosure affect marital stability among couples?
  3. Will the marital stability of couples be affected by their self-disclosure?
  4. Will there be gender difference in self-disclosure among couples?

1.5 Research Hypotheses

The following research hypotheses were formulated to guide the conduct of the study.

  1. There will be no significant relationship between mate selection and couples marital stability.
  2. There will be no significant relationship between self-disclosure and marital stability among couples.
  3. There will be no significant gender difference in self-disclosure among couples.
  4. There will be no significant difference in marital stability between couples who disclosed themselves to their partners and those who did not.

1.6 Significance of the Study

This study will be beneficial to the following individuals:

  1. Couples would benefit from the findings and recommendations of this study. This study will enable couples to understand more facts concerning how to select their mates and the importance of disclosing themselves to their partners before or after marriage.
  2. It will also enable couples to know that self disclosure is one of the important and necessary factors in mate selection and marital stability among couples.
  3. This study will assist couples to select their mates based on factors such as love, attractions, or compatibility etc.
  4. This study will also be beneficial to the society at large in that, it will enable people, especially men and women in marriageable ages to identify whom to select in their marriage and to disclose themselves truthfully to their partners.
  5. The study will also help new researchers and students to make references with this study.

1.7 Scope of the Study

The study covers couples in Mainland Local Government Area of Lagos State.


Chapter Five


Discussion and Conclusion

This study has attempted to demonstrate that marital stability varies according to mode of mate selection. This difference is mainly caused by variations in the demographic and socioeconomic characteristics that are associated with each mode of mate selection.

Contrary to an earlier finding in urban locations (Feyisetan and Bankole, 1991), the fertility of women in individual choice marriage was found to be higher than that of women in family choice marriage. The involvement of family in the choice of partner is declining and people’s attitudes, with respect to mate selection are also changing. One can rightly point out here that despite the declining involvement of the family in the choice of marriage partners and the changing attitudes of the people, the level of marital fertility is still high. Though there is an increasing tendency towards individual choice of partner by virtue of the enlightenment brought about by civilization, yet the people’s preconceived cultural notion about the value of children remains unchanged.

On the basis of existing evidence, it is possible to discern that there is a general increase in freedom from control by family authority. This indicates that a rural community is no longer an isolated, almost self-contained world, within which each member is dependent on the goodwill of the rest and must secure it by conformity with accepted rules. A major consequence of this situation is that marriage has become increasingly a matter of personal choice rather than an arrangement between groups in which the elders have a dominant say. It is now rather clear that the authority of parents and guardians is decreasing and often amounts to nothing more than a formal consent.

The level of fertility of women is still high with respect to increasing tendency towards individual choice of partner. This may have an effect on the total fertility level of the country, as the people in rural areas make up about 70 percent of the population of Nigeria (NDHS, 1999). To achieve a lower fertility in rural communities, one would have to re-orientate the views of women (and men alike) toward the importance of reduced number of children.

This can, however, be achieved through

  1. Giving incentives (such as free medical treatment and education to children) to families with lower number of children
  2. Educating people in the rural areas about the importance of reduced number of children via public enlightenment programmes
  3. Extension of comprehensive family planning programmes to the rural areas taking into consideration the cultural views and norms of the people.

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