EVALUATION OF THE EFFECT OF RELATIONSHIP EDUCATION EXERCISE ON MARITAL CONTENTMENT AMONG YOUNG DUAL-CAREER COUPLES IN AHMADU BELLO UNIVERSITY, ZARIA- NIGERIA
The study assessed the Effect of Relationship Education Training on Marital Satisfaction among Young Dual-career Couples in Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria-Nigeria. Six (6) objectives guided the study. Six (6) research questions are answered. Six (6) hypotheses are tested. The population of this study was three hundred and seventy (370) that is one hundred and eighty five (185) dual –career couples of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria.Seventy four (74) respondents(thirty seven (37) couples) with low marital satisfaction were purposively selected from the population. The Study adopted a Quasi-experimental design involving pre-test post-test design. All the Seventy four respondents were exposed to five weeks Relationship Education Training. ENRICH Marital Satisfaction Scale (EMS; Fowlers & Olson, 1993) was adapted and modified to suit the objectives of the study. The instrument was named Marital Satisfaction
Enrichment Questionnaire tagged ―MSEQ‖ which was used as an instrument for data collection. The instrument had reliability coefficients of 0.89 indicating high reliability. Mean and the standard deviation were used to answer all the six research questions. Paired sample t-test was used to test all null hypotheses 1-5 while Analysis of Covariance (ANCOVA) was used to test hypothesis 6 at 0.05 level of significance. The findings of the study revealed that communication skill training had significant effect on marital satisfaction [t (73, 0.05) = 4.469, p = 0.001, p<0.05] , sexual relationship skill training had significant effect on marital satisfaction [t (73, 0.05) =1.651, p = 0.042, p<0.05] , financial management skill training had significant effect on marital satisfaction [t (73, 0.05) = 4.480, p = 0.001, p<0.05] , conflict resolution skill training has no significant effect on marital satisfaction [t(73, 0.05) = 0.928, p = 0.375, p>0.05] , parenting skill training has no significant effect on couples‘ parenting [t(73, 0.05) = 2.365, p = 0.075, p>0.05] . The result further reveals that significant effect difference exists among the components or indices of all the marital satisfaction [F (369, 4) = 52.77, p = 000 p<0.05] and that relationship education skills training had improved Young Dual-career couples‘ marital satisfaction. From the findings, it is recommended among others that Ahmadu Bello University authority should be encouraged to establish relationship training unit in the University Counselling Centre to train dual-career couples on skills that will enhance their marital relationship and satisfaction.
1.1 Background to the Study
The emotional and mental health of the population depends on family health and family health depends on the health and continuity of relationship between husband and wife (Mohsen, 2015). No society can claim to be healthy unless it has healthy families. Marriage and marital relationship is the start of forming a family (Nasehi, Raeis, Jafari & Rahmani, 2004; Tahmasebi, Moghadasi, Alavi & Moradi, 2005). Marriage is described as a normative, personal life event in adulthood and involves the habitation of husband and wife with different characteristics and needs (Sevinc & Garip, 2010). In general, people get married for specific purposes such as finding meaning in life and living for a better quality of marital life. A good marriage guarantees a peaceful and joyful atmosphere for the attainment of a better marital satisfaction. It is the desire of every married couple in a marital relationship to attain a happy and satisfying marriage, however, according to Joseph and Inbanathan (2016), recent trends of improved opportunities of education for women and their subsequent entry into formal career have altered the traditional roles of couples in the marital relationship. This gave rise to the dual-career couple, which is a situation where both spouses are in paid employment.
Employment according to Bett, Kiptiony, and Sirera (2017), offers new sources of satisfaction among career couples and at the same time presents new types of problems that threaten marital satisfaction. Young dual-career couples in balancing career and marriage need to possess basic skills for the enhancement of happiness and satisfaction in marriage. It is worth noting that continuation of marriage depends on spouse sense of satisfaction with each other Kantarkousheh & Hassan, 2010; Lucas, Parkhill, Wendorf, Imamoglu, Weisfeld, Weisfeld, 2008). Taking on the highly contending spheres of both marriage and work is causing problems among couples (Ochsner, 2012) and this may lead to low marital satisfaction (Barakat & Keikhosravani, 2014). This is more evident mostly among the young working couples that interface between marriage and work.
The interface between work and marital relationships is noticeable, especially for dual career couples, owing to the high expectations that each of these domains entails (Lewis & Cooper, 1987). In achieving a balance, negotiation and adjustment might be a key to enhance marital satisfaction. Effective negotiation and adjustment among couples require special marital skills to handle various marital satisfaction components. The positive role marital satisfaction plays in the stability of marriage is high (Fatehizadeh & Ahmadi, 2006). In the support of this statement, ten categories that were identified to predict strong and satisfying marriage according to Oslon (2018) are ranked in order of communication, flexibility, closeness, personality issues, conflict resolution, sexual relationship, leisure activities, family (parenting), financial management and spiritual beliefs. Very few studies have focused on how to provide skills in achieving satisfaction in marriage mostly in Nigeria. Such skills involve marital communication skills, sexual relationship skills, financial management skills, conflict resolution and parenting
Marital satisfaction is simply the degree of contentment couples receive in marital relationship. According to some previous researches, marital satisfaction refers to a subjective and global evaluation of the relationship (Daiuto, Baucom, Epstein & Dutton, 1998; Marcaurelle, Belanger & Marchand, 2003). It is a situation in which, couples have the satisfaction and feel happy living together (Shakerian, 2010). Measurement of marital satisfaction among couples is key to existence of a long lasting marriage. This is achievable through couple‘s e effort of selfregulation through love and care especially among young couples. This love and care requires intentional effort. One way to make this effort is through marriage enrichment programmes that teach couples the skills they need to make their marriages strong, satisfying, and enduring. The efforts of couple to achieve marital satisfaction are key in the development of the marital relationship. Despite all these assertions, marital issues as regards meeting satisfactory expectations of couples are on the increase most especially among the working couples (Scott, Howard & Natalie, 2012).
Indeed, working couples marital satisfaction is influenced by many factors, for example, safe and pleasurable sexual relationship is mentioned to be one of the most important factor noticed in the researches (Rahmani, Alahgholi & Merghati Khuee, 2009). The research findings indicate that sexual affairs are ranked first in a married life and sexual satisfaction can bring about a favorable and satisfying marriage (Alahveriani, Rajaie, Shakeri & Lohrasbi, 2010). Other factors that influence marital satisfaction include individual factors like attachment security, marital interactions like the husband’s contribution to household labor or intimacy goal, and the influence of external stress. Williams and Lawler (2003) stressed that communication and parenting variables were strong predictors of marital satisfaction. The other factors influencing marital satisfaction concerns issues of race, class, gender differences, financial management and conflict resolution. This study focused on factors such as communication, sexual relationship, financial management, conflict resolution and parenting variables which are part of the indices that enhance marital satisfaction. Therefore, the study focused on the couple‘s communication skills, sexual relationship skills, financial management skills, parenting skills and conflict resolution skills for the enhancement of marital satisfaction.
Satisfaction in marriage is mostly anchored on couples meeting each other‘s communication expectations. Effective communication between married couples is the ultimate bond of companionship in marriage (Harris, 2014) and this requires a special skill. Poor communication style leads to anger and crises in marriage. One of the biggest issues in a marriage is to believe that the act of talking to one‘s partner is communication. Experience has shown that most young couples fall into common errors in communication; as complaint is not communication, criticism is not communication and emotional blackmail is not communication. Poor communication can lead to marital problems during the early years of marriage. Learning skills to express oneself with assertiveness based on one‘s feelings, accepting the views and needs of one partner rather than complaining or criticising might be the best way to attain marital satisfaction.
The sexual satisfaction has emerged as another significant factor associated with marital satisfaction that requires special skills. According to Sassler (2010) and Pinto and Neto (2012), a happy and satisfying marriage lies in the couple‘s ability to meet each other‘s sexual needs satisfactorily. Sexual satisfaction, including the frequency of sex and sexual activities, sexual interest and satisfaction of one‘s spouse has a great deal to do with marital satisfaction. Indeed sex according to Ayub (2010) is important to marital satisfaction. This is so as sexual inactivity may be a sign that there are other problems within the marriage. Acquiring skills for meeting sexual relationship satisfaction is an important part of keeping a relationship strong and loving, as sex can be a way of showing affection and marital satisfaction.
Another component of marital satisfaction is finance. A good financial management skill affects not only financial satisfaction, but also marital satisfaction and quality of marital relationship (Dion, 2013). Satisfaction with one’s financial status can enhance marital satisfaction. Conversely, financial difficulties and dissatisfaction with one’s financial status according to Copur and Eker (2014) can lead to marital conflict and divorce. The way and manner a working couple manages their financial issues through better financial management skills have been shown to be a major factor contributing to satisfaction with one’s marriage (Copur & Eker, 2014). Pinto and Neto (2012) have shown that imprudent financial behaviour among dual-career couple can lead to unkindness, decreased couple communication and diminished marital satisfaction. Perceptions of how well one‘s spouse handles money according to Copur and Eker (2014), also play a role in shaping the quality and stability of marital life. When individuals feel that, their spouse does not handle money well, they report lower levels of marital satisfaction (Britt et.al, 2008). Lack of skills to handle financial issues among couples may actually create low marital satisfaction (Copur & Eker, 2014).
Furthermore, low marital satisfaction is associated with poor conflict resolution mechanism and marital satisfaction is achievable when a couple resolves their marital problems amicably through effective conflict resolution mechanism. It is the responsibility of couples to provide this resolution mechanism at all time for better marital relationship and satisfaction. Marshall (2014) has shown that conflict is natural, but how healthy couples learn to resolve conflicts and its negative feelings through appropriate conflict resolution skills determine marital satisfaction and good parenting.
Satisfaction with ones parenting style and the ability of a couple to provide healthy parenting practices to promote children‘s well-being and marital satisfaction requires special parenting skills (Petch, Halford, Creedy & Gamble, 2012; Harris, 2014). Husbands and wives are happier when they use special skills to share child-rearing duties, however, sharing this responsibility does not necessarily mean that couple divides parenting practices equally.
Nevertheless, giving support to each other in this practice is a determining factor for love in marriage and marital satisfaction (Galovan, Holmes, Schramm & Lee, 2013). The bonds between fathers and their children also contribute to couples’ marital satisfaction. Also, Galovan, et al. (2013) states that when wives feel their husbands are close to their children, both spouses report better marriages. This shows that the father-child bond is particularly important for wives. It is important for couples to realise that transitioning into parenthood is a stress period that requires an adjustment, most especially among dual career couples. To counteract the stress, Galovan, et al, (2013) recommends that dual-career couples should make each other a priority in discharging their parenting fulfillment in such a way that promotes marital satisfaction.
In promoting marital satisfaction, the study of Mercury (2016) has shown that many marital problems are rooted in couples‘ inability for solving problems. It is important to state that human needs a form of education that provide skills for coping with dissatisfied situations. This is more important in marriages, as training that helps the couple to have skills that improve their marital life is a way of solving marital problems. Fahami, pahlarazandeh and Asadi (2015) identified the most common concepts to demonstrate the amount of happiness and stability in marriage lies in the ability of spouses to possess adequate knowledge and skills to handle marital issues. More so, in the last two decades, husband and wife in working careers have become the common couple‘s relationship pattern in Nigeria and mostly within Nigeria University communities. It is an environment where young couples pursuing a career along with marriage. This category of couple deserves marital skills to handle the demands of these two domains to better their marital satisfaction. Acquiring these skills to better marital satisfaction can be attained through relationship education.
Relationship education training according to Dion and Hershey (2010), and Tabat (2015) is the training that provide skills to strengthen marriages most especially among the young couple. Young couples with their inexperience in marriage brings about challenges to marital satisfaction. Such challenges are that of resolving marital conflict, sexual fulfillment, good communication, mutual commitment, child bearing and rearing leads to decline in marital satisfaction. A decline in marital satisfaction among working couples in the institutions of learning affect not just the spouses themselves but also the students. This challenges require special skills. These skills are expected to strengthening marriage. It is based on inadequate relationship skills for sustaining and strengthen a healthy marriage for the attainment of marital satisfaction, is the compelling gap the researcher seeks to be filled by providing relationship education training to young dual-career couples with aim of assessing the effect of the relationship skills training on marital satisfaction among dual-career couples in Ahmadu Bello
1.2. Statement of the Problem
Marital and demands of work often create conflict among employed couples. The conflict between the needs of couple and demands imposed by work in turn leads to adjustment and adaptation problems in marriage (Beegan, Mugthar & Wani, 2017). This problems in most cases make the husband suffer the absence of the wife due to work, and wife bears burden of work stress both at work and at home. Prolong maladjustment leads to decline in marital satisfaction and brings about marital distress, separation and ends up in divorce. Finding harmony in between one‘s career and marriage roles requires adjustment among the couples. A well-adjusted career couple will have higher quality marriage life which leads to satisfaction and peace of mind in marriage. Spousal support becomes necessary as it improves marital adjustment and reduce home/work conflict (Rinku, 2013). In solving maladjustment problems that brings about low marital satisfaction among young dual-career couples, proper relationship skills training plays a vital role for the successful marital adjustment and adaptation for a satisfying marriage.
Many couples have been and are still seriously at war with themselves simply because of the failure to acquire skills to enable them arrive at marital satisfaction, majorly that of communication, sexual relationship, finances, conflict resolution and parenting. The inability of most couples to arrest, manage or resolve these issues between them contributes to low marital satisfaction. The effect of low satisfaction in the marital relationship is anger and crises, which is one of the reasons for broken homes today. The problem of decline in marital satisfaction among young couples is not limited to Nigeria alone. For instance, statistics released by Statistics Canada. (2014) revealed that Canada had a marriage rate of 4.4 (per 1,000 people) and a divorce rate of 2.11 % which indicated thatnearly one-half of all marriages failed. Similarly, United States data showed that about 50 percent of marriages end in divorce. In Zimbabwe, divorce occurs in about two out of every five marriages.
The situation could be worse in Nigeria as growing numbers of expert observe that high divorce rate is due to a number of social changes such as women education and employment. For instance, in contemporary Nigeria, divorce is increasing with certain types of lifestyles and movements that have satiated the society such as increasing spousal irresponsibility and career woman ideology. According to Ezugwu (2013), the high rate of divorce in the country has become a source of worry to some Nigerians. Ezugwu (2013) stated that two-year statistics collected by Real news revealed that Customary Court, Ojo, Lagos, reported 67and 71 applications filed for divorce in 2011 and 2012 respectively out which the court granted 62
(approximately 45%) dissolution. Yakubu (2019) observed that divorce rates seem to be on the rise, mostly among young couples in the Northern towns of Kano, Zaria, Katsina and Bauchi with reasons of decline marital satisfaction. Furthermore, evidence from the customary court in Zaria metropolis indicates a high rate of divorce most especially among young couples between the ages of 1-10 years in marriage. This suggests marital dissatisfaction.
Researcher‘s experience and information from the University Counselling Unit, indicates that, most young working couples complained of marital related problems of unresolved conflicts. The Researcher‘s further interactions with a number of young working couples within the University shows that there are difficulties in meeting certain marital expectations of their spouses due to stress from work, which mostly leads to poor handling of communication issues. Poor communication in most cases provoke other marriage-related challenges, such as challenges of resolving conflict, sexual fulfillment, finances, mutual commitment, child bearing and rearing.The resultant effects of threat to marital satisfaction is anger and crises which may eventually lead to broken homes, separation and eventually divorce. The negative effects of decline in marital satisfaction of dual career couple is not just on the marriage but also on the students, children, home, University community and the country.
The decline in marital satisfaction among young couples is an indication that every couple needs relationship education training in order to stay healthy in a marriage. In recognition of this, Atunse (2018) suggested the need for young couples with low marital satisfaction to go for marriage enrichment programmes that provides relationship skills, as a way to curb the increasing rate of broken homes so as to preserve the sanctity of marriage and build happier and satisfied home. The need to provide enlightenment through appropriate relationship skills training for marital stability and satisfaction necessitated this study. Going by information and literature the researcher had used, not much had been done to encourage the University to establish a Relationship Education Training Centre in the Counselling Unit to assist in training career couples in dealing with marital related issues.
It is in view of the observed information and problems of low marital satisfaction among dual-career couples that made this study assessed the effects of relationship education training on marital satisfaction among young Dual-career couples in Ahmadu Bello University Community, Zaria. This study, therefore, seeks to know whether couples who participated in relationship education training differ in marital satisfaction before and after the training.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The main objective of the study is to assess the effect of relationship education training on marital satisfaction among young dual-career couples in Ahmadu Bello University community, Zaria- Nigeria. Specifically, the study seeks to assess the:
- effect of communication skill training on marital satisfaction among young dual-career couples in Ahmadu Bello University community, Zaria.
- effect of sexual skill training on marital satisfaction among dual-career young couples in
Ahmadu Bello University community, Zaria.
- effect of financial management skill training on marital management among young dualcareer couples in Ahmadu Bello University community, Zaria.
- effect of conflict resolution skill training on marital satisfaction among young dual-career couples in Ahmadu Bello University community, Zaria.
- effect of parenting skill training on marital satisfaction among young dual-career couples in Ahmadu Bello University community, Zaria
- mean effect difference between the Components of marital satisfaction among young dual-career couples general marital satisfaction among young dual-career couples.
1.4 Research Questions
The following Research Questions guided the study:
- What is the effect of communication skills training on marital satisfaction among young dual-career couples?
- What is the effect of sexual skills training on marital satisfaction among young dualcareer couples?
- What is the effect of financial management skills training on marital satisfaction young among dual-career couples?
- What is the effect of conflict resolution skills training on marital satisfaction among young dual-career couples?
- What is the effect of parenting skills training on marital satisfaction among young dualcareer couples?
- What is the mean effect difference between the Components of marital satisfaction among young dual-career couples?
1.5 Research Hypotheses
The following null Hypotheses are formulated and to be tested at 0.05 levels of significance.
HO1: There is no significant effect of communication skills training on the young dual careercouple‘s marital satisfaction.
HO2: There is no significant effect of sexual relationship skills training on the young dual career-couple‘s marital satisfaction.
HO3: There is no significant effect of financial management skills training on the young dual career-couple‘s marital satisfaction.
.HO4: There is no significant effect of conflict resolution skills training on the young dual career-couple‘s marital satisfaction.
HO5: There is no significant effect of parenting skills training on young dual career-couple‘s marital satisfaction.
HO6: There is no significant mean effect difference between the Components of marital satisfaction among young dual-career couples.
1.6 Significance of the Study
The results of this study are expected to be of significance to the young dual couples and intending couples; married couples, Home Economists and marriage counselors; Curriculum developers, Government and Non-Governmental agencies in the following ways:
It is expected that the knowledge dual career couples gained during the training would help in enhancing their skills in improving their marital satisfaction. In addition, intending couples might equally use the findings as a guide for marital preparations.
The study would to be beneficial to married couples, as the findings may help them to
adjust their marital responsibilities.
The study would to be useful to Home Economics professional and marriage counselors in terms of using the document and its findings as a guiding material in teaching students in marriage-related issues and topics. It can also serve as working tools for organising regular talk shows on Television and Radio programmes, seminars and workshops on various marital issues such as communication, financial, conflict resolution, sexual relationship and parenting. Curriculum developers are expected to benefit from the findings of this study as it may serve as a source of the document to bring about suitable topics and programmes on marriagerelated issues in relation to pressure from work on marital relationships. In addition, curriculum developer can use the findings to develop an indigenous relationship education training manual
that is more suitable to our cultural realities.
The outcome of this study would to serve as document to assists University authority Government and Non-Governmental agencies handling marital issues, and most especially the ministry of women affairs and other related bodies.
1.7 Basic Assumptions of the Study
This study was specifically carried out on the assumption that:
- Dual career couple who attend relationship education training may have better
communication skills for their marital satisfaction
- Dual career couple who attend relationship education training may have better sexual
relationship skills for their marital satisfaction after the training.
- Couples may use skills acquired during the training to map out a workable plan for their finances to avoid misunderstanding that can lead to the end of their marriage
- The couple may use conflict resolution skills acquired during the training to resolve their marital issues amicable through effective Conflict resolution mechanism for better satisfaction in marriage
- Couples may see a change in their marital satisfaction, which is the major determinant of long-lasting marriages after the training.
1.8 Delimitation of the Study
This study was delimited to the Effect of Relationship Education Training on Marital
Satisfaction among young Dual-Career Young Couples in Ahmadu Bello University Community, Zaria- Nigeria. This is because there are young couples where both spouses are involved in the parallel task of gainful employment, at the same time bear the responsibility of providing marital satisfaction. It was also delimited to working young couples, between one to ten (1-10) years in marriage. Experiences and study have shown that young couples face many challenges during these years of marriage and these can affect their satisfaction. This group of persons were in a better position to give accurate information on marital satisfaction based on their experiences as working young couples. The study was further delimited to key skills components of marital satisfaction such as communication skills, sexual relationship skills, finance management skills, conflict resolution skills and parenting skills.
EVALUATION OF THE EFFECT OF RELATIONSHIP EDUCATION EXERCISE ON MARITAL CONTENTMENT AMONG YOUNG DUAL-CAREER COUPLES IN AHMADU BELLO UNIVERSITY, ZARIA- NIGERIA