Perception of marriage and divorce by married couples: Exploring the dimension and trends of divorce rate in South-East, Nigeria

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International Journal of Research and Innovation in Social Science (IJRISS) | Volume VI, Issue V, May 2022 | ISSN 2454–6186

Perception of marriage and divorce by married couples: Exploring the dimension and trends of divorce rate in South-East, Nigeria

Emmanuel Chimezie Eyisi, Joseph Ogbonnaya Alo Ekpechu, Innocent Nwosu, Jonathan Ukah, Emmanuel Orakwe
Department of Sociology, Alex Ekwueme Federal University, Ndufu Alike, Ebonyi State, Nigeria

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Abstract: The study investigated the rate of divorce in the South-Eastern region of Nigeria as a reflection of the perception of married couples on what is the essence of marriage and the bases for divorce. The study was conducted in two local governments areas and six communities in Anambra State South-East of Nigeria. Data were elicited through questionnaires administered on 195 respondents purposively and randomly selected among married couples in the study area. In-depth Interview (IDI) was also conducted on 45 couples. Data were analysed both quantitatively and qualitatively. The rate of divorce in the South-East; variability of divorce among groups and sections; the influence of modernisation and globalisation on the perception of couples and the impact of state intervention in marital stability constitute some of the major objectives of the study. Findings showed increasing rate of divorce; variability in divorce rates on the bases of education, social class, length of marriage and urban residence; increasing dissonance between traditional marital setting and influence of modernization values on the young couples; increasing level of empty shell marriage as reflected in the dilemma of couples towards divorce suits because of poverty, cost and complicated nature of divorce procedure to many couples. The study recommends a buoyant, stable society built on social justice that will rub off on the families as an important group in the society; a revitalisation of marriage counselling structures at the state, religious and NGO levels; and the strengthening of institutions that will be more committed to the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) than a purely legalistic orientation in the handling of marital suits.
Key words: Perception, divorce, marital instability, state intervention, empty shell marriage, marital contract, modernization/globalisation.
I. INTRODUCTION
Marriage is cultivated or solemnized under processes that cut across cultures between adults of opposite sexes (Alan & Crow, 2001). Marriage in its pristine nature is not only based on relationships that is supposedly idyllic, stable and mutually beneficial with partners playing their roles dutifully, but also a lifelong process broken only by the demise of a partner. The sustenance of a marriage and its functionality to the society is dependent on the nature of societal driven relationship patterns that are not impinged by extraneous factors (kottak, 2006). It has been observed that the more a society is untainted by exogenous factors the more stable the marriage system (Leach, 1985).
However, the marital architecture across cultures has been impacted by factors that are not only imposed, but compelling and essentially inexorable. The range of these factors varies