The aim of this chapter is to give insight into the purpose of this study and to state clearly the problem that led to this study. The first section is the background to the study which will help create a better understanding of the variables involved in this study. The second part will identify the gaps which exist in literature that has led to this study and clearly discuss these gaps. The last sections will discuss clearly the objectives of this study and the key terms that will be used in this study will be defined.
1.1 Background to the Study
Marriage is the major turning point of every married person’s life. If a person wants to live a happy life, he or she must try to satisfy his or her marital life and to satisfy ones marital life one must struggle both of them jointly (i.e. martial and happy life) (Muhammad, Naeem and Khalid, 2014). Marriage is an ancient practice, although its meaning may have changed throughout time and space. The word ‘marriage’ means only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife, and the word ‘spouse’ refers only to a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or wife.
According to Vries (2015), marriage is more than love. Marriage consists of a life of effort and concern, felicitation and melancholy, illness and health. It consists of being young and becoming old, dealing with small and big problems, coping with internal and external hardships and threats. A lot of days, weeks, months, and years are lived jointly. During this lengthily phase, the couple lives together in proximity, which unveils all. It soon become clear that big things can matter very little while small things can became awfully big. Often over a small matter a great dispute arises up. Marriage can explain how any person can be awfully small. Mistakes and short comings or couple who live closely together can harm each other horribly through words expressions and actions (Thompson, 1990).
According to Ramcharan (2015) there are two elements in marriage. One is bodily (sexual wish etc) and another is divine (love, respect, adore etc). Towards the end of life both elements are coming closer and closer and at a particular point of time the later aspect (love, respect, adore etc) becomes evident. Marriage is purely the highest of all human interaction and therefore must never be entered into carelessly.
Marital stability has long been a trendy topic in studies of the family, most likely because the idea is supposed to be narrowly associated to the stability of any marriage. Marital stability is defined as the condition in which there is usually a feeling of pleasure and contentment in husband and wife and with each other (Hashmi, Khurshid, and Hassan, 2013).
Many studies conducted on marriage and marital stability constantly proved that age at marriage is affected by the quality of the marriage itself. Number of investigations conducted at different times has confirmed that late marriage increases marital instability (Monahan, 1953, Burchinal, 1965; Glick and Norton, 1971; Bumpass and sweet, 1972, Weed, 1974; Schoen, 1975; Lee, 1977). Successful marital life gives satisfaction of each person. Every person wishes to make his or her marital life successful. The most important point to live a happy, satisfied and stable life is to see the perception of the spouse about life, his or her ideology, expectations, demands, likings and disliking. Marital stability leads to a satisfaction life as well (Muhammad, Naeem and Khalid, 2014). No wonder Olomo and Sajini (2011) could define marriage as “a legal institution or relationship and its legality may be established by civil, religious or by other means”. Numerous studies show that late marriages increases marital instability; more recently studies show that late marriages also appear to be less stable. It has also shown that marital instability is highest for those who marry late, with those who marry early scoring somewhat lower (Booth and Edwards, 1985). They further added that this perceived problem coincides with the peak in sexual interest, especially among men, hinting that this may have a biosocial origin. Perhaps individuals who limit their sexual partners to when their interest in variety is high develop a pattern of acting out their impulses throughout lives. Late marries may be marrying people quite different from themselves because they have fewer choices. Late-marrying males also tend to marry women considerably younger and better educated than themselves. These background differences could be an important reason for marital instability.
Marital instability, which simply refers to the interpersonal difficulties within the marital relationships, has many causative factors. Ajai and Ipaye (1997) wrote thus: The family is the most basic unit of society and building block for national development. Just as there cannot exist any society without families or homes, there cannot be sustainable development without stable families or homes. Nothing man does is ever perfect, therefore, there are bound to be imperfections in marriages. They also perceived that various conflicts and crises that cause marital problems include the following factors: economic hardship, sickness and sexual incompatibility. However, the nature of this relationship (between late marriage and marital stability) has not been found to be consistent. Whereas, most scholars report a negative relationship between age at first marriage and likelihood of marital disruption. Age at marriage has also been found to have a large negative effect on likelihood of marital disruption in white marriages but is not a predictor of Black divorces (Robert, 1986).
In history there difficult experiences of marriages in different times. Some time there was a practice of early marriages and sometime late marriages. In early times people and their needs were so simple, so they promoted the custom of early marriages. But with the passage of time the needs of the people increases and become more and more and to fulfill these needs people require more achievements. For this purpose they require more education, jobs, and business etc, and consequently comfortable homes, life styles and ideals. To achieve all these objectives people promoted a new trend of late marriages. Hence, the need for this study to examine late marriage and its impact on marital stability in families using Benin Metropolis as a case study. Since the adoption of late marriage practice in the study area have in turn have great positive and negative impact on marital stability in which the negative impact has almost silence the positive impact in various ways.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
History tells us that marriage was always and everywhere be under discussion. Every religion, every philosopher and practical wisdom has its own point of view. There is no doubt that every type of marriage has some particular factors which affect it such as aggression, personal maturity, level of understanding, independence of thoughts, intelligence, education, awareness, health, financial responsibilities, skill to manage family life, stress and strain effects, lack of experience, lack of patience, lack of patience, religion, and individual interests. As marriages are necessary for humans, marital stability is equally important.
In recent times there has been various conflict and crises in marriages resulting to marital problems such as economic hardship, sickness, sexual incompatibility, childlessness, sex of the children, unsatisfactory sexual relationship and incompatibility of the couple which in turn is one of the major factor hindering marital stability in marriages. This of course can be attributed to late marriages. Another problem posed by late marriage may also include lack of love/affection, poverty, infidelity, drunkenness, male child syndrome, educational disparity, unwise choice of a partner, incompatibility of tempers, sexual starvation/depreciation and lack of harmony among couples which has pave way for marital instability. These factors are duly responsible for the huge numbers of divorce rocking the nation today which have made the society unstable.
Ajai and Ipaye (1997) pointed out that the family is the most basic unit of society and building block for national development. They added “Just as there cannot exist any society without families or homes, there cannot be sustainable development without stable families or homes”. Since there are bound to be imperfections in marriages as nothing man does is ever perfect; there is need to proffer long lasting solutions to the aforementioned problems caused by marital instability as a result of late marriage. This prompted the researcher to embark on this study “Late marriage and its impact on marital stability in families using Benin Metropolis as a case study” to truly point out where these problems exist and make necessary recommendation.
1.3 Aim and Objectives of the Study
In light of increasing attention among couples and marital stability focusing on how to sustain existing marriages in the society, the aim of this research is to examine late marriage and its impact on marital stability in families: A case study of Benin Metropolis and to find out other reasons that may be responsible for late marriage and marital instability especially in our country Nigeria. It has been discovered that there is little or no literature that critically examines late marriage and its impact on marital stability in families and major causes of late marriage and marital instability, this research aims at adding to the limited number of literature that looks distinctively at the degree of impact that late marriage has on marital stability especially in families. This would enable a clearer understanding on how late marriage affect marital stability and the other factors that may be responsible for marital instability specifically in the Nigerian society.
The purpose of the study therefore are as follows;
1.4 Research Question
In conducting this study the researcher asked the following questions;
1.5 Research Hypotheses
In order to achieve the above stated aim and objectives, the following null hypotheses were formulated and will be tested by the researcher:
1.6 Significance of the Study
There is a great need to know the relationship between late marriage and marital stability in families in Edo State especially those in Benin Metropolis. This study will help to know the impact of late marriage on marital stability. Marital instability has long been the focus of investigation and research in Edo State and Nigeria at large. However in Benin Metropolis this topic is not extensively studied. The researcher was interested to know whether there is any relationship that exists between late marriage and marital instability in families. It has often been observed that males and females prefer late marriages without taking their time to investigate whether it has negative impact on marital stability or not. In late marriages individuals usually become irritable and due to their complexes, attitude and become more rigid and mature as well, so it would be interesting to compare the causes of late marriage and marital instability in families.
This study gives us information about the causes of late marriage and marital instability and this opens new horizons for new researchers. The findings of the research are helpful for the policy makers to introduce some new strategies for the betterment of the society.
Benin City is the administrative headquarters of Edo State. It lies on latitude 060 02’ and 060 161 North and longitude 050 051 and 050 451 East, the city is about 117. 4km2 inland from the mouth of Benin River which flow into Gulf of Benin (Aserz, 1975).
It is a flat city at an altitude of about 80m above sea level, on the Benin River; it comprises three Local Government Area (L.G.As), Egor, Ikpoba-Okha and Oredo. The centre of Benin is located on a depression which could be rightly described as a basin or a low lying peninsular and this is also surrounded by undulating hills. Benin City is a modal town which occupies an area of about 68 square km.
Benin City is underlined by the sedimentary rocks of pre-Cambrian origin, which are formed as a result of accumulation of some various rocks. Benin City is found to have a very poor topography, which as a result have led to most of the erosional problems that are been encountered in the areas. Benin City is located on sides of hilly areas and as a result of this given rise to easy occurrence of flooding in the area.
The climate of the area lies within the savanna belt and therefore has two distinct seasons a year. These are wet and dry seasons. The wet season begins in late March with about 200mm of rainfall. This is experienced towards the end of the rainy season. The rainy season affected by the south-west winds which brings about the maritime (MT) airmass that blows across the Atlantic oceans rainfall figures for Benin City are about 1175mm. The climate is tropical Savannah (Koppen classification AW). Heavy flooding occurs during the rainy season (Okaka et al., 2000).
The dry season which last from November to mid March is usually a period of high temperature (350c) and intense heat. By November, this area is so dry but there are some occasional shows of rain within this period which is less than 25mm, the water level is greatly reduced at this time, and farming activities are almost brought to a standstill. The Sahara affects the area especially between November and February. This is the cold harmarttan wind. During the period, the atmosphere is dry, dusty, hazy and cold. Temperature records here show an average of between 220c and 300c.
In terms of vegetation, Edo State has a rain forest within the low land rain-forest belt of the south and forest savanna of the North. Thus, the state can be divided into two major vegetation belts. Benin City lies within the rain forest belt, with grasses often exceeding 1½ meters high punctuated with trees of crooked and granted stems of about ten to twelve meters, predominate all round, with the exception of the river valley where trees of about thirty to thirty five meters are found. Trees found in and around Benin are food trees e.g mango, bean seed, cashew, orange and palm trees etc.
The climate and soil condition favours the growth of plants, but the persistent annual bush fire has reduced the vegetation to that of secondary vegetation. It is pertinent to note that along valley of Ikpoba river, high forest free like obeche, Iroko, walnuts are found most of its vegetation are derived savanna as a result of agricultural practices that is been carried soil.
In terms of soil, the that are found in Benin City are mainly sand, and mud, which are loosed and unconsolidated which as result of its loose particles give rise to the high erosional process that is experienced in the area. The type of soil found in Benin City is a sandy loam soil and it is made up of Benin formation. Most of these soil types do not support the wide growth of agricultural crops; hence they can only be used for the building of some house pattern found in the area. Most of the soil found in Benin do not contain the mineral constituent to that are need by plants, hence they do not support filling in the soil, since they are very porous and cannot check erosion.
This has also contributed to the high rate of flooding that is been experienced in this region. Most of the soil that are found in this area can only support fruit crops and very few food crops. In some parts of Benin lateritic soils tend to occur.
Benin is an urban agglomeration with a population of about 1.2million people (Brinkhoff, 2010). Benin City has a total population of about 1, 147,188 as at 2006 census data. Edo state has a population of 4million people (census 2006 projection); with an annual growth rate of 2.8% while according to the USAID reports in 2002. Edo state was estimated to have a population of 2.86muillion (in 1996, 2.1 million of which 50.13% were male). (FBS, 2007). The state is multi-religious and multi-ethnic with Christianity, Islam and African traditional religion as the most dominant.
1.7.5 Agricultural/Socio-Economic Activities
Benin City is an urban area with a wide range of economic activities some of which are agriculture, industries and transportation. The main crops are rubbers, oil palm, cocoa, yam, cassava, maize, rice and plantain, sugar cane, cashew, oil palm (and its derivative products), groundnuts, soya beans, tomatoes, cotton and tobacco are also produced fruit like pineapples, coconuts, oranges, avocados as well as green leafy vegetables, all grow abundantly in the area.
Edo State is blesses with such industrial mineral resources as quartzite, marble, clay, limestone, chalk, gypsum, gold, petroleum, kaolin and lignite. Benin City is the site for numerous industrial outfits: soft drink factories two large breweries (including one of the largest breweries for Guinness stout outside of Dublin, Ireland) wood and timber processing industries, printing and publishing firms, textile mills, carpet manufacturing floor tile producers animal feeds industries, pharmaceutical firms and so on. Industrial activities include rubber, timber and food processing. There is significant horticultural activity within the metropolitan area (Obi, 1994). A large proportion of the population lives in low-income settlements. A state owned Cement Company is located at Okpiela (Etsako LGA) close to substantial limestone deposits.
In terms of transportation, Benin city as the state capital is a major centre of traffic routes to Warri and Sapele (both in Delta state, they are major seaports and oil towns), to the Eastern cities of Onitsha, Enugu, Calabar and Port Harcourt and to the western city of Ibadan, Abeokuta and the former political capital of Lagos, are especially well traveled.
A major federal trunk road runs east-to-west through Benin City, connecting Lagos and the western states and incorporating the Benin Shagamu express way. Buses and taxis operates on many routes in the main connecting services for all part of the state intro-town services are also provided by the Edo municipal transport services as well as by some private transportation companies in Benin city. Benin City has an airport that is serviced by Nigerian airways, ADC Airlines, EAS Airlines, Arik air, kabo air, aero contractor etc.
1.8 Scope of the Study
The scope of this study entails “Late marriage and its impact on marital stability in families using Benin Metropolis as a case study”. It is also of the view on how late marriage can be able to draw the attention of the individuals to its adverse impact on marital stability just like that of the case study of Benin Metropolis.
This study is an effort to find out what factors can be responsible for late marriage and marital instability in the context of homes and family life.
1.9 Limitation of the Study
Limited time, financial constraint, language and communication barrier were some of the problems encountered in the course of carrying out this study. Nevertheless, this research work is expected to advance some knowledge.
1.10 Definition of Terms