Sociological Analysis Of Marriage And Divorce

Project and Seminar Material for Sociology

Sociological Analysis Of Marriage And Divorce


The study revealed that there are a lot of issues that cause divorce or marital dissolution. These are: education and employment among women or wives, different education levels among couples, employment among couples, infidelity among spouses, young immature individuals getting married, interference from in-laws and other dependent family members, misunderstanding or conflicting opinions, financial instability or poverty, cultural issues, domestic violence, marital rape or sexual abuse, infertility, barrenness and drug abuse among others. The study further revealed that the consequences of divorce mostly as poverty and psychological problems like stress.

The possible solutions to divorce are majorly communication, guidance and counseling, incorporating religion into marriage, worrying about the welfare of the children, sharing of events such as celebrating each other’s events as birthdays, promotions and having a weekend getaway together.

The study recommends that couples should come up with their own ways of managing issues or solving problems and not emulate what others do as marriages and people are different. Couples should save for sustainability of the family. Couples should respect and love each other, this way conflicts tend to be minimal. Couples need to communicate with each other whenever they have a problem and try to transform the conflict for the better instead of carrying over grudges that ultimately causes buildup of issues that eventually lead to conflict just to name but a few.

Chapter One

1.0 Introduction

1.1 Background Study

Divorce is the dissolution of marital relations; in this process marriage is completely broken down either in social or legal context. The Black Dictionary of law has defined divorce as “the legal separation of husband and wife affected by the judgment of decree of a court and either totally dissolving the married relations or suspending its effect so far as concern the combination of the practices (1994). Divorcees are free to remarry after divorce whereas separation may not allow it.

Divorce is nothing and in common senses it is taken easily somewhere in which a couple ends their marital relations and starts to remarry, but it may create some vital problems in the family, like adjusting to new life.

Many divorced people remarry in Nigeria, as well as other parts of the world, and about half those who do are already parents. The result is the creation of “blended families”, also called “stepfamilies”. For instance, in 1992, over 11 percent of all American children were living with one biological parent and one stepparent. Estimates are that a fourth of American children will live with a stepparent before reaching the age of sixteen. By the year 2000, it has been estimated that, stepparent is expected to outnumber traditional nuclear families (Cherlin and Furstanberg

2000). It can be argued that, perhaps the most important factor in the increase in divorce throughout the twentieth century has been the greater social acceptance of divorce. In particular, this increased tolerance has resulted from relaxation of negative attitudes toward divorce among various religious denominations. Although, divorce is still seen as unfortunate, it is no longer treated as sin by most religious leaders (Gerstel 1987).

Marriage is a social and cultural phenomenon and approved social pattern where by two or more persons establish a family. Sexual intercourse between the marital partners and subsumes reciprocal right and obligation between the spouses and their children. Marriage is a key means that enables to make a union between a man and woman, which may situate in different socioeconomic background. However, the forms of marriage are responsible to disruption of marital status and lead to divorce. In the present research 63.0 percent of divorce cases were under the arranged marriage, which may challenge to western divorce trend where, maximum cases of marriage are under love marriage which breakdown easily. Similarly, 37.0 percent of divorce cases are found with in love marriage.

Some of the studies (Choudhary 1988, Pothan 1986, Metha 1975) on divorce based on Indian society have found the causes of divorce leads by exogamy marriage but in this study 8.40 percent of divorce cases have found under endogamy marriage system. Basically, low age at marriage of wife, marriage with wrong information or forced marriage. 7.40 percent of educated women were married with illiterate men without any concerned to her; they were actually unknown about it. In this study as a case, Mr. S.A and miss P.R were married with wrong information. Basically that was based on their family interests. She was matrix pass where as her husband was just literate but relatively well in economic condition. After two years of their marriage, marital relation between them was continuously became loose and occurred divorce.

Similarly, unequal educational and economic statuses of the spouses were major cause of the divorce under arranged marriage, which has more or less endogamy nature. Similarly, 33.0 percent of male were generally disagreed on the process of their marriage. 7.40 percent married were exogamy, which failed to gain family support. Those marital circumstances have created the situation that supports to breakdown their marital relation. 33.0 percent of husbands and 60.0 percent of wives were at the age of 20 when they get married. This situation of age factor indicates that the divorcee had immaturity to their family life. Similarly, the high age difference in husband and wife and unequal educational status creates differ expectations from the marriage which strongly support to occur divorce this study focuses on the sociological analysis of marriage and divorce, using Alimosho local government of Lagos State as a case study.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

The rate of divorce among couples in Nigeria and the world at large is really disturbing and alarming. Current trends suggest that close to two thirds of new marriage will end in divorce. For instance, nearly 32 percent of couples who divorce will do so before their fifth anniversary and about 63 percent before their tenth (Martin and Bumpass 1989 and National Centre for Health Statistics 1993). But, since the nineteenth century the proportion of marriages ended by death of a spouse has declined, while the proportion end by divorce has increased, more or less steadily.

Divorce rates climbed in the 1960s and 1970s reached a peak in the early 1980s, and have dropped slightly since then. Still the U.S. divorce rate remains high when compared with the rate in earlier eras and in other societies (Whites 1990). In the same vein, in recent years, Nigeria has witnessed the high rate of divorce as a result of urbanization and industrialization. The periods triggered to a monetary industrial economy. Thus, the extended family that used to resolve conflicts or misunderstandings arise between couples were no longer functioning effectively like in the past. The extended family structure eventually broke up in the process; and there was a shift towards the nuclear family system characterized by less involvement of members in the resolution of marital conflicts.

It has been observed over the years that children are always at the receiving of marital instability. The wellbeing of children is no longer a priority during marital instability, most children are often affected psychological due to lack to the fact they no longer enjoy and receive affections from their parents. Study has shown that the academic performance of students are mostly affected due to marital instability, most students who are victims of a broken home often lack the privilege of a good education. It has been observed that most children who are involved in crime are often from broken homes. Due to like of proper tutelage and parental guidance, most children are found involved in theft, murder, rape, burglary, robbery, etc. these problems necessitates the need to carry out a study on the sociological analysis of marriage and divorce.

1.3 Objectives of the Study

The general objective of this study is to carry out a sociological analysis of marriage and divorce, using Alimosho local government area as a case study.

The specific objects are:

  1. To ascertain the rate divorce among married couples in Alimosho Local government area.
  2. To find out the causes of divorce among married couples in Alimosho Local government area.
  3. To investigate the consequences of divorce on the wellbeing of the children.
  4. To examine the influence of childlessness on the rate of divorce among couples in Alimosho local government area.
  5. To know the effects of socio-economics factors on the rate divorce among couples in Alimosho Local government area.

1.4 Research Questions

The relevant research questions related to this study are:

  1. What is the rate divorce among married couples in Alimosho Local government area?
  2. What are the causes of divorce among married couples in Alimosho Local government area?
  3. What are the consequences of divorce on the wellbeing of the children?
  4. What is the influence of childlessness on the rate of divorce among couples in Alimosho local government area?
  5. What are the effects of socio-economics factors on the rate divorce among couples in Alimosho Local government area?

1.5 Significance of the Study

This study is significant to parents because it elucidates the factors responsible for divorce and how the reduce the rate of divorce among married couples. The study is also relevant to the government, the study shows the implication of joblessness on the rate of divorce among newly married couples.

This study will enhance the existing body of literature by contemplating the areas of the literature that have not yet been examined or considered and incorporating these factors into the current study. The study will thus form the basis for further studies in the field.

1.6 Scope of the Study

The scope of this study is restricted to the sociological analysis of marriage and divorce, using Alimosho Local government area of lagos State as a case study.

1.7 Limitation of the Study

Some of the major constraints the researchers encountered in putting up this research include lack of time, lack of willingness to give information by respondent and also limited resources.

1.8 Definition of Terms


Is the legally or formally recognized union of two people as partners in a personal relationship.


Is the termination of a marriage or marital union, the canceling or reorganizing of the legal duties and responsibilities of marriage.

Chapter Five

Summary, Conclusions and Recommendations

5.0 Introduction

The section presents the summary of findings, conclusions and recommendations based on the results of the study.

5.1 Summary of the Findings

Divorce was mainly an outcome of issues associated with education, employment, extra marital affairs, young immature individuals getting married, external interference, conflicting opinions, financial instability, cultural issues, domestic violence, sexual abuse, infertility and barrenness, and irresponsibility associated with alcoholism. Couples with varied academic qualifications were likely to divorce due to coherent misunderstanding and as a result of feeling undermined in the marriage. Education and employment among women was associated with their independence and highly contributed to lack of submission to their husbands; and created insecurity among the husbands which resulted in divorce.

Highly demanding jobs reduced family time, created distrust and exposed couples to extra marital affairs that contributed to divorce. Extra marital affairs, reduced and poor communication led to the growth of distrust and mistrust that eventually contributed to divorce. Young immature individuals getting married, as a result of cultural demands, unexpected pregnancy and peer pressure brought together persons who were likely to poorly manage marital issues and eventually divorce. Divorce was also caused by misunderstanding and pursuit of available opportunities including education.

Biased and continued interference from in-laws and existence of family members that depend on one of the couples often resulted in divorce. Varied and conflicting opinions often worsened the relationship between couples and led to irreconcilable differences. Financial instability that affected the provision of basic needs and worsened lifestyle led to quarrels that eventually led to divorce. Culture that supported polygamy, early childhood marriages, male chauvinism and domestic violence highly contributed to the breakdown in marriages in most cases. Sexual abuse and rape led to disagreements that were associated with divorce. This results from the assumptions that men have exclusive rights over their wives’ sexuality and there is no room for negotiation or consenting all the times.

Barrenness, infertility and inability to bear male children led to divorce even in situations where women were blamed without medical evidence. Further, alcoholism and drug abuse resulted in neglected responsibilities. This also brought with it some degree of selfish interests to share and control the available family resources at the expense of the family welfare.

The major consequences of divorce included poverty and psychological problems. Divorce led to sharing of available family resources, expenses including changing school for children and employing care takers, and hard working conditions to sustain the family. As an outcome of divorce, children and especially the women were exposed to extra work, disconnect with family members, loneliness, stress and poverty that led to psychological suffering.

Timely communication and the mediation by spiritual leaders, friends or family members would help solve disagreements that could result in divorce. Counseling before marriage and in the event of misunderstanding would be a possible solution to divorce. Religion was considered to play a central role in solving marital issues that were likely to develop into divorce. Raising concerns on the well-being of children after divorce was key to slow down the chances of divorce. Bonding events created opportunities for couples to discuss out sources of conflict and mitigate the risk of divorce.

5.2 Conclusions

Marriage and subsequent divorce has become commonplace in Africa. Traditionally, Africa was known as the continent of the family and marriages were mostly based on go-betweens who arranged for a couple to meet and to know each other before marriage. With the advent of education and urbanization, young people today get married based on what they call ‘romantic love’ without getting to know each other deeply. This means that two people who have completely limited idea of each other get to discover their incompatibility while already in marriage. In addition, today men are challenged and most of them are unable to cope with a woman who is educated, has her own resources and is able to make independent decisions. Today’s woman is not confined to the private and domestic sphere but is also a player in the public sphere. This has led to some level of ‘challenged masculinity’ in which some men are unable to cope.

Society has led the campaign to empower the girl child but has not enabled the boy child to live in harmony with the empowered girl. This in essence creates pressure in most young marriages.
Solutions to the current misunderstanding lie at the heart of renewed socialization in which the boy child also becomes a major player. He must be taught on how to deal with his challenged masculine identity and be able to understand and appreciate the changing circumstances. Unless certain drastic measures are taken, the marriage institution and by extension the family as we know it today is threatened.

5.3 Recommendations

Through the study findings, it was affirmed that divorce is caused by a number of reasons. However, this can only be reduced if a number of factors are considered. These are:

  1. At times whether or not a marriage is facing its ups and downs, it is advisable to see a counselor this will help you to adjust what you might have overlooked at one point and know each other better. Through this, one can be able to learn their partner’s strength and build on it; and their weaknesses to help them become better in those areas. Attending marriage seminars and workshops once in a while can provide solutions to the marriages as people come from different walks of life with different ideas and get to share with each other. Consulting people who have been in marriage for a long time or the elders can be of help as they are more experienced than the young couples. They should also device their own ways of solving theirconflict.
  2. Honesty is of essence in a marriage, be honest with your partner on how you truly feel about each other and consider your happiness. Couples should be open minded when discussing issues with their partners because this brings trust and respect among them.
  3. Learn to forgive and forget your partner’s shortcomings when they wrong you as marriage is first built on the foundation of love.
  4. Resocialization of the boy child to be able to understand and appreciate the changing circumstances in life. They should be educated to cope with educated and ambitious woman as times are changing and women are being empowered by the day.
  5. Whenever you make promises to your partner keep them, if you are unable to keep them then explain to them and make them understand why you were unable to keep your promises. Marriage is about commitment and sacrifice to God, partner and children, and keep communication channels open as this helps to solve a lot of issues in a relationship. Faithfulness and trust are a requirement for a lasting marriage.
  6. Marriage is not a bed of roses, so it is not always a smooth road as tough times are to be encountered along the way. The most important question to ask yourself is whether you are up to the task to cross the river when the time comes. Couples should try as much as possible to strive and stabilize their economic resources for sustainability by saving up, however little it is they should put some effort. Supporting each other in a marriage brings growth to the family. This should be in all aspects of life academically, socially, economically and physically. Spend your leisure time together, and remember the important dates in your partner’s lives.

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