The rate of family instability and divorce has become a serious problem which interferes with couples output at work, emotional, educational and social balance. Premarital counselling is a program which exposes intending couples in Owerri municipality, Imo state, to exploring their dreams, fears, and differences before marriage. The purpose of this study is to investigate the influence of premarital counselling on family stability in Owerri municipality. The study identified and used three research questions and two hypotheses which provided direction for the study. The study adopted ex-post facto design which was used to elicit information from 200 respondents comprising of (100) married men and (100) married women in Owerri. Population of the study was 720. Proportionate stratified sampling technique was utilized to select 200 married couples out of 720 married men and women. Instrument for data collection was a questionnaire that was developed by the researcher which contained twenty eight (28) items. It was face validated. cronbach alpha statistics was used. Data collected were analyzed using mean and standard deviation and t-test. Results showed that among others, Recommendations were made and suggestions for further studies proferred.

Background of the study
Premarital Counselling came into prominence in the twentieth means a therapy that prepares couple who intends to be married before agreeing to officiate at a wedding (Naylor 2014). It constitutes services that are made available by professional counsellors to individuals who are intending to or desiring to venture into marriage relationship. The categories of citizens that mostly appear for premarital counselling in the society are the unmarried youths who are just at the verge of preparing for marriage. They are already young adults who are to be assisted with useful information about what obtains in the marriage institution, how to prepare for it and enter into marital relationship with a desired mate. Premarital counselling is when a professional works with an intending couple to enhance their relationship before they get married and helps them acquire skills and realistic expectations (Gladding 2007). For the purpose of this study, premarital counselling means counselling that seeks to help individuals, couples or group of couple to prepare for and build a successful marriage without a mixed feeling.

Premarital Counselling being a marital intervention program came into prominence in the twentieth century and was first documented in 1924 when Ernest Groves taught the premarital course in preparation for family life at

Boston University. The first mention of Premarital Counselling as a significant process or valuable service in building emotional and physical health was in a 1928 article in the American Journal of obstetrics and Gyneacology (Stahmman &   Hiebert, 1997). Formal Premarital Counselling programs have been practiced from as early as the 1930’s with the first program developed by Merill-Palmer Institute in 1932. In 1941, the philadephia marriage council established a standardized program with the stated purpose to help young married and premarital couples gain “a better understanding of what companionship in married life involves and thus help them avoid some of the causes of marital difficulties” (Mudd, Freeman, & Rose, 1941, p.98).

Despite these early beginnings, Premarital Counselling was still relatively uncommon until the 1970s. While the clergy have had a long history of meeting with couples prior to their wedding, it is only in the last three decades that the focus of these meetings have shifted from education about the nature and meaning of the marriage rite itself toward education geared at preparing couples for marriage (Stahmann & Hiebert, 1977). Similarly, because interactional theories were still in their infancy in the 1950s and 1960s, professional Counsellors tended to conceptualize marital problems as the problem of one individual in the relationship. Therefore, premarital counselling, as is understood today was not a regular part of professional clinical practice.

With the declining influence of the extended family around the turn of the twentieth century, premarital preparation began with the Clergy along with the physicians, mental health workers and a few college classes growing into more systematic pastoral, instruction and enrichment counselling. Both clergy and other family professionals held meetings to address marital problems because they had contact with family members at significant stressful times in the life cycle of families and had the advantage of ongoing rapport with the family before problems arose. (Stahmann & Hiebert, 1987).

Today, as in the past, there are three main groups that provide premarital education namely: the Clergy, professional counsellors or therapist and physicians. The clergy provide the greatest amount of formal premarital education as a mandatory marriage preparation programs before church wedding (Stahmann and Hiebert 1997; Stahmann and Salts, 1993). Professional counsellors or therapist provide premarital education often for those who have been divorced and are preparing to marry again. Physicians do some premarital education as well but that is usually limited to one meeting where they give contraceptive and sexual information (Stahmann and Hiebert, 1997).

Premarital counselling as described by Markman & Halweg (1993) as an intervention program and a requirement for all couples before entering into a marriage or after marriage. They added that premarital counseling has several definitions with the major difference being in what the reasoning is behind the need for such intervention. Premarital Counselling generally refers to a process designed to enhance and enrich premarital relationships leading to more satisfactory and stable marriages with the intended consequence being to prevent divorce” (Stahmann 2002, 205). In other words, the process of premarital counselling can address possible sources of conflict before they have time to escalate into more serious situations that could threaten the health and longevity of a marriage.

Marriage institution is said to be as old as the history of man and his creation. According to Ggbenga and Akume (2002), marriage is a divine situation which should be a special relationship for life and harmoniously integrate the husband and wife into becoming “one flesh”. Undiyaundeye and Ugal (2006) described marriage to be the cohabitation of heterosexual adults who engage in socially approved sexual relationship having children, engaging in economic co-operation and sharing a common residence.

In African setting, successful marriage is a highly valued goal for Nigerians, in that man is in charge of the family welfare and the woman takes care of the children and also in charge of the kitchen as they are being called “Oriaku”, meaning that married couples must work together to create stability in their families. According to Adesanya (2002), family stability is the relationship in which couples live together in marriage enjoying the closest possible loving and fulfilling relationship without any intention to break up......

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Item Type: Project Material  |  Size: 81 pages  |  Chapters: 1-5
Format: MS Word   Delivery: Within 30Mins.


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