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This study investigated causes of marriage break-up among the elites in Aguata Local Government Area of Anambra State. A descriptive survey design was adopted for the study. Four research questions were formulated to guide the study. The population of the study was made up of five thousand two hundred educated civil servants, traders, artisans and farmers (5200). A total of 100 civil servants, traders, artisans and farmers who were married were sampled. Data for the study were collected using a self-constructed instrument titled causes of marriage break-up among the elites “COMBAE”. The questionnaire was administered on educated civil servants, traders, artisans and farmers. The method used in validating the instrument was face validity. A test-retest method of reliability was used. The reliability coefficient was 0.85. The method of data analysis used was statistical mean. The result of the study showed that financial difficulty, lack of communication, in-laws interference, procreational problems cause marriage break-up among the elites in Aguata Local Government Area of Anambra State. Based on the above findings, recommendations were made to alleviate causes of marriage break-up among the elites and conclusion drawn.



Background of the Study

Marriage is an institution carefully designed and established by God who is a perfect bring. He created this institution to bring man and woman together as husband and wife and be united together forever until deaths do them apart. In the biblical account of creation, man was the last of God’s creation. After the creation of man, God brought all animals to man and asked him to name them as he so desire.

Because the animals cannot give man companion and he cannot communicate with them or even send them on errands, God noticed the situation of Adam in his predicament and difficulty in relating well with the animals; God created Eve. Man was greatly overwhelmed with Joy when he saw a creature of his own kind, who he can relate with. And out of excitement, the man said “at last, here is one of my own

kind, bone taken from my bone and flesh from my flesh. Woman is her name because she was taken from man” (Genesis 2:23). “It is for this reason that a man have to leave his father and mother and is united with his wife, and they become one” (Genesis 2:24). It is in line with the above biblical account that we cannot but admit the fact that marriage originates from God the divine creator and master of mankind

out of his own concern for the well-being, joy and fulfilment of man. After the creation of this vocation, God admonished man not to ever separate from his wife, but always live with her in good times and in bad times, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, in scarcity and in plenty, until death do them apart. According to Canon 1055 paragraph 1. “Marriage is a covenant between a man and a woman

whereby they establish between themselves a life time partnership. The fathers of the second Vatican council (Vatican II) joined their voice with Paul VI in affirming the position that marriage was established by Christ as a great symbol of his personal union with the church, in order to give full scope to its sacred power and to enable it become for husband and wife a great mystery whereby they might express in

their own lives the love by which Jesus Christ himself for the church. Marriage is an institution established and ordained by God the sublime creator and it is a fact that has been accepted by a lot of people both theologians and non-theologians alike.

Felix McDon (2007) said that a lot of people jump into marriage without having a sufficient knowledge of what it is, or what it should be, and before long, marital failure will set in with the whole process breaking up irretrievably with both parties to the marriage loosing all. Over the past years, the society has witnessed an alarming rate of separation, break ups, marital dissatisfaction, and loss of affection between couples. The above statement is supported from an investigation carried out in Anambra State (Nwobi 1995). Marriage is a well planned institution carefully established and ordained by God. In affirmation of this action of God, Pope Paul VI in his encyclical human vitae point out that marriage is not the effect of chance or the product of any evolution of unconscious natural forces; it is the wise institution of the creator to realize in mankind his design of love.

However, marriage is defined as the sacred and permanent life long union between a man and a woman who have by legal implication agreed to live together as husband and wife. For the economist, marriage is nothing but a contract, which can be entered into and terminated at any point in time. Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary of current English by A. S. Hornby, 6th edition (2000) defined marriage as the

“legal relationship between a husband and a wife; the ceremony in which the two people become husband and wife. Document on the laity in the church, says that the creator of all things has established the conjugal partnership as the beginning and basis of human society. We could say then that marriage offers man and woman in the conjugate society, the opportunity of growing and developing in each other’s love

and company. Sociologists have defined marriage as a social group and social system that has social structures that fulfils various functions. Others defined marriage as a secret and permanent contract which is assumed to be enacted when two people (a man and a woman) decide on their own accord and in the presence of at least two witnesses to exchange the formal of consent to live a life of vocation of love

and sharing for each other for the purpose of promoting their mutual growth and welfare as persons in the journey through life. Marriage is a risky business, the most risky undertaking routinely taken on by the society. Break-up can be defined as the termination of relationship between couples because of the existence of incompatibilities between them. James Smoke (1984) defines it as “the end of a relationship and closure of marriage.

Break-up of marriage is also the process of dissolving a marriage union so as to enable either of the parties to that union go into another marriage with a different person entirely. It also refers to the ending of a relationship, typically a romantic one. Break up can very from casual to emotionally traumatic and it can occur from innumerable reasons which include conflict in personality, lifestyle changes, a breach of mutual code of conduct or attraction to a different person.

According to the Rutgers national marriage project, more than half of all first-time marriage in the United Stats of America ends in break up. One might assume that 20 percent chances of enjoying unhappy marriage is applicable to non-Christians, that some how religious couples should fare much better. Sadly, no. According to a national survey conducted by the Barna research group, there is no

statistical difference for Christians when it comes to break up. In fact, the study reveals, Baptists have the highest break-up rate of any Christian denomination and are more likely to get break up than atheists and agnostics. Some of the factors that causes many marriages to break-up ranges from; in-law problems, lack of communication, financial difficulty, ignorance, procreational problems, sex-role, early

marriage, incompatibilities, sexual abuse etc. break-up has a ripple effect that touch not just the family but the entire society. Each break-up is like the death of a small civilization. Nwobi (1995) found that between 1990 and 1995, two hundred and twenty-five break-up cases were filed in high courts in Anambra State of Nigeria, out of which hundred and fifty were disposed off and seventy five were still

pending by March 1995. One significant observation he made was that break-up cases were recorded in all the judicial divisions of the state. He concludes that the fact that these statistics above does not include break-up cases involving marriages under customary law and unreported break-up cases seems to indicate that family conflict leading to broken marriages is very high; even in a place like Nigeria.

Kelvin (1997) said that marriage has been described as society’s emotional thermometer, serving as an indicator of the stress and failure trends. Provisions of break-up are nearly universal and historical and are of ancient origin, the first written marriage break-up regulations are being incorporated into the Babylonian code of Hammurals around 2, 000 B. C. this regulation provided that a husband could

break-up marriage with his wife at will, with no stated reasons required. Elites can be defined to mean a group of member of the society who are highly educated and learnered. It can be said to be a group considered to be the best or most important because of their power, talent, wealth etc. Therefore, marriage break-up among elites can be defined to mean a process where the educated, talented and

highly influential members of the society dissolve their marriage with their spouses due to the incompatibilities that exist between them. Finally, marriage is expected to be for life but recent events show that break-up as a social cankerworm has not only become a recurring decimal but also intensified in the Nigeria society.


Statement of the Problem

Societies are disturbed over the increasing number of broken marriages which in most cases change a person’s life completely, some partner’s quarrel a lot and their children usually become unhappy which creates problem to the society in general. Akinboye (1982) is of the view that depression, anger and ambivalence constitute the major causes of marriage break-up. Initially, stable marriages crumble in the

face of various reasons, some of which are strong and compelling while others are weak. When marriages break-up, the children are greatly affected due to loss of parental care. Harold Shryock (1989) a study of marriage relations is justified, not only in the hope of helping to avoid the tragedies of marriage, but also as a means of ensuring a maximum realization of the good things this social institution has to offer. Many

marriages are reasonably successful and bring considerable happiness. But by a mere complete understanding of the factors involved in the marriage relationship, it would be possible for partners in these moderately successful marriages to experience greater degrees of success and happiness. To whatever extent a given marriage falls short of the ultimate, to whatever extent it offers less than it is

capable of offering, to that extent as well, the husband and wife are responsible for side-stepping their privileges and obligations to each other, to the children who come into their home, to their community, and to their creator. The question before the researcher is why is marriage break-up common in our society today? Because this breaks-up is usually found among the educated and non-educated couples in

the society. This situation has become of great concern and important to the researcher on this problem area with a view to identify some of the causes of marriage break-up among the elites in Aguata Local Government Area of Anambra State.

Purpose of the Study

The main purpose of the study is to determine some major causes of marriage break-up among the elites in Aguata Local Government Area of Anambra State. Specifically, the study focuses on:

  1. Determining whether financial difficulty constitute part of the causes of marriage break-up among the elites in Aguata Local Government Area of Anambra State.
  2. Ascertain whether lack of communication constitute parts of the causes of marriage break-up.
  3. Examine whether in-laws interference cause marriage break-up among the elites in Aguata Local Government Area.
  4. Determine whether problems of procreation constitute parts of the causes of marriage break-up among the elites.

Significance of the Study

This research will be useful to future researchers, to the communities in Aguata Local Government Area of Anambra State, the larger society and significant others in studying the reasons for marriage break-up among the elites.

The study will also be important to married people who enter into marriage with out having full understanding about the new relationship. It will be beneficial to those who intend to marry as well as married couples.

Religious and community leaders can as well as use the findings of the research work to advice couples on the problems they will encounter in their marriage and also the good way of handling such conflict whenever it arrives in their marriages.

The study will also be useful to guidance counsellors who may in one way or the other be involved in assisting couples with broken marriages to know the proper counselling strategies and techniques to adopt during the counselling session.

It also intends to make the educated couples know that the highest rate of marriage break-up in the society usually comes from them than the non-educated couples.

Therefore, this study also looks for possible ways which can be made to the officials concerned, the guidance counsellors, the church or any other authorities who may assist to prevent these problems.

Scope of the Study

This study is designed to ascertain some causes of marriage break-up among the elites in Aguata Local Government Area of Anambra State, Nigeria.

Research Questions

  1. How does financial difficulty cause marriage break-ups among the elites in Aguata Local Government Area of Anambra State?
  2. How does lack of communication among couples cause marriage break-ups among the elites in Aguata Local Government Area?
  3. How does in-laws interference cause marriage break-ups in Aguata Local Government Area?
  4. How does procreational problems cause marriage break-ups among the elites in Aguata Local Government Area of Anambra State?


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