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The study attempted to investigate the influence of socio-cultural variables on couples’ marital stability in Mainland Local Government Area of Lagos State. The study employed the descriptive research survey for the assessment of the opinions of the respondents. The questionnaire was used to collect vital information for this study. A total of 160 (one hundred and sixty) respondents were sampled for this study to represent the entire population of the study. Four null hypotheses were tested and the following results emerged at the end of the analysis of data: A significant influence of socio-cultural variables on marital stability among couples, there is a significant influence of ethnicity on couples that come from South Eastern Zone and others that come from Northern or Southern Zones of the country, it was also revealed that no significant influence of religion exists on couples’ marital stability, and it was indicated that a significant influence of communication exists on couples’ marital stability. In the long-run, it was found that socio-cultural variables play vital roles on the marital bliss of couples in the society. In the foregoing, the following recommendations were forwarded by the researcher.

(1)         It is the opinion of this researcher that couples should avoid the consultation of the third party in their conflict. Rather, they should try to settle themselves whenever there is any marital disagreement.

(2)         Couples should try to have one faith. It is not ideal that husband and wife should have different religious backgrounds or beliefs.

(3)         For couples to maintain marital happiness and togetherness, love must be watch-word in the family. Without love, affection and element of trust, couples will not go far in their marriages.

1.1       Introduction: Background to the Study  
Culture is generally, described and accepted as people’s way of life, which among other things includes their material lives. The inspiration of every matured man or woman is to have a stable and happy marital life, be compatible in love, values, academic, economic and of course be socially alright. This in line with the postulation of Onyema (1994), that marriage is a social institution for the union of body and soul.
However, stability in marriage may at times be influenced by certain socio-cultural variables. The influence of the variables may be negative resulting to insecurity and unhappiness in marriage or may be positive resulting to a stable and happy union. These variables range from cultural diversity (in case of interethnic marriage), to educational, social, economic and even religious background.
Even age difference is inclusive in these variables. For instance, a lady once confessed that she can never marry an illiterate no matter how rich he may be, because, one day, he might ignorantly use her certificate as a toilet tissue. The implication of this open confession is incompatibility and social inequality in education which are factors that may influence marital stability. The current instability in some marriages in our society today tend to be the resultant influence of social, economic and cultural changes in people’s pattern of living. These changes, according to Amaonye, (1996), have occurred and have continued to occur so rapidly that they are not yet absorbed into our ways of living.
Furthermore, compatibility in social lives of couples is a strong factor for marital stability and survival. When the social lives of couples are at variance, it may likely portend great threat to marital stability, because it takes time to come to terms with why some social outings and involvement are necessary. However, the realization of the salient influence of these socio cultural variables on marriage may likely be positive moment towards marriage stability in our society today.
Age difference is a factor that can cause individuals to refuse to marry certain personalities. Age variables in any case, can cause disaffection and lack of love among married couples, and this is capable of causing bad blood, which may lead to conflict in marriage (Adeleke, 2005). A situation where a much more younger girl marries a much more older man, there may not be that husband and wife love and affection, which make marriage thick and stable. Also poverty or riches is another variable that can separate or unite couples. For instance, in a marriage where there is lack of money, the couple may not live happily in peace. This is because, according to Uzor (2000), finance is one of the uniting factors in marriage.
Language barrier is another socio-cultural variable that makes or mars the union of husband and wife in marriage. This is because, if couples do not communicate well using a common language, disintegration may set in. As Ulumor (2003) puts it, without effective communication, no marriage can stand the test of time. Ulumor is of the opinion that couples who speak one common language, are found to be more united and in love, than those who do not speak a common language. So, inter-ethnic marriage is a factor that must be considered thoroughly before people dabble into marriage.
Religion is an important socio-cultural variable in any marital union. Religion is the way of life of a people. According to Molokwu (2004), marriages have broken down due to differences in religious backgrounds or perception. According to Molokwu, differences or similarity in religious beliefs, consciousness, feelings and so on, build or destroy marriages. If couples are not in the same belief system, it could lead to lack of trust and confidence, and if trust and confidence are lacking in any marriage, it will be extinct.
Marriage should be contracted through a careful planning and accidental marriage (that is marriages that are not planned but are forced on couples to save the family or families from embarrassment) should be avoided like a plague. Before a man weds his wife, both of them should reach the age of maturity. They should mature socially, economically, temperamentally, financially etc.
For a happy marriage, they should maintain a feeling of love and affection. The wife must experience a feeling of being wanted and a sense of belonging, care and security. The husband too needs love and affection to ensure him of a stable marriage. Marriage partners should avoid cognitive error that is, they should not expect the other person to see it. Therefore, if the husband wants the wife to behave in a certain way, he should inform her about his wishes, the same is true of the wife to her husband.
Sexual compatibility tends to foster marital stability, marital oneness to large extent depends on sex. Infact, sex is a form of communication and probably, the most legitimate in which two persons (husband and wife) express oneness of mind and feeling. Therefore, partners in marriage should be socially compatible. Child-bearing is a factor that foster marriage may not be her fault. The main may be very low to effect pregnancy. To avoid unnecessary doubts, both husband and wife should go for a medical checkup to rectify or correct the problem of childessness.
For marriage to work out well, couples should not entertain the interference of in-laws or the third party syndrome. They should avoid washing their dirty lining in the public. They should be of one religious sect, joint account, mind the same thing, maintain peace in the home and allow love and affection to rule their world.
1.2       Statement of the Problem
Marital instability is one of the painful experiences of life. The wish of every married man and woman is to spend their life time together and joyfully till death part them. However, this is not usually the case all the time because at a particular period in their lives, frictions do arise which leads to a near or total collapse of the marriage. And this is one of the inevitable challenges that accompany marriages.
Socio-cultural factors such as religious, age, socio-economic status, social class, educational background, personality, traditional values etc influence the marital stability of marriage among couples are very important variables in marital stability but the relevance of these factors are not recognized by many couples, no wonder there are breakages in many homes as a result of no love, lack of understanding, lack of compatibility, disparity in age, in education, religion and social classes.
Many for instance, have failed to realize that when couples are of diverse culture (inter-ethnic marriage), there is need to respect each other’s culture since this translates to respecting the person you married and subsequent marital stability. These days marriages fail due to lack of tolerance, lack of mutual trust, lack of patience, non-child bearing, no effective communication, lack of good marital altitudes, similarities between couples, lack of maturity and poor socio-economic status.
Finally, when couples are not from same socio-cultural background, and do not have the value system and norms, they tend to vary in understanding of themselves and lack of understanding no doubt, creates conflict, and instability in marital union. Other factors that can break up marriages or bring about conflicts in marital vows include age difference, language barrier, low socio-economic status, religious differences and incompatibility and so on.
Based on the above identified problems, the researcher set out to examine the influence of socio-cultural variables on marital stability among couples in Lagos metropolis.
1.3       Purpose of the Study
The major purpose of this study is to determine the influence of socio-cultural variables on marital stability among couples in Lagos State.
Other objectives of this study will include to:
2.            Examine whether there is difference between religion and marital stability among couples.
3.            Find out whether there is difference between ethnicity and marital success among couples.
4.            Determine whether there is influence of communication on marital stability.
5.            Investigate whether socio-economic status has an impact on couples’ marital success.
1.4       Research Questions
The following research questions will assist the conduct of this study:
1.            Will there be a significant influence of socio-cultural variables on marital stability among couples?
2.            Will there be a significant difference between ethnicity and marital stability?
3.            Will religious backgrounds of couples influence their marital stability?
4.            Is there any significant influence of socio-economic states of couples on their marital stability?
1.5       Research Hypotheses
The following research hypotheses will be formulated for testing in this study:
1.            There is no significant influence of socio-cultural variables on couples’ marital stability.
2.            There is no significant influence of ethnicity on couples’ marital stability.
3.            There is no significant influence of religion on couples’ marital stability.
4.            There is no significant influence of communication on couples’ marital stability.

1.6       Significance of the Study
This study will be beneficial to these individuals:
(1)         Couples: Men and women who are in marital unions, would benefit from the findings and recommendations of this study, because, it will enable them to be more informed concerning factors that tend to make or mar marriages. With this study, they would be able to learn how best to make their marriages to work well or factors that can disintegrate it.
(2)         Parents: Parents would learn some factors that would help their children of marriageable ages to live peacefully with their would-be partners. Parents of children in marriageable ages would be able to abreast with the facts that would lead them to be in good positions to become marital counsellors to their children/wards.
(3)         Counsellors: Counsellors would see this study as a good information that will help them to be in good position to give proper advice on factors that help or destroy marriages, with the study, counselors would be able to guide individuals who seek to marry on the best part to follow so as to guide and secure their marriages.
(4)         The Society: The society is the beneficiary of happy marriages, because, if families are at peace, it be beneficial to the society because the products of a peaceful family is a product of united and peaceful society. Not only that, individuals in the society will be exposed to a better knowledge of the factors inherent in marital union.
1.7       Scope and Limitations of the Study
The scope of this study will be the influence of socio-cultural variables on marital stability among couples in Mainland Local Government Area of Lagos State.
The research will cover Mainland Local Government Area of Lagos State since the research is making use of only Mainland Local Government Area, the generalizability of the findings is limited to the local government area.
However, this study cannot present all the marital problems exhibited by all the couples in Lagos State considering the scope the generalizability of the findings can only be applicable to the other couples in similar conditions. There could be other problems that manifest among couples in Lagos State, but this study will be restricted to the one’s highlighted in the hypotheses.

1.8       Operational Definition of Terms
The following operational terms will be defined in this study thus:
1.            Culture: This is defined as a term emerged whole of idea and things produced by men in their historical experience by 1910 America Anthropologists were using “Culture” to refer to distinctive of traits characterizing particular tribal societies.
2.            Culture Heritage: This is a process of bringing together people of different ideas and cultural background to have common interest and perceive a common goal.
3.            Marriage: Marriage husband and wife or the legal joining together of two person’s of opposite sex as husband and wife.
4.            Cultural Variables: This means culture differences and variations among individuals in a given society or community. They can be socio-economic variables, education, age, religion, etc.
5.            Marital Stability: This refers to happiness, bliss, or compatibility in marriage. The following factors can bring about stability in marriage, they are age, religion, socio-economic status, culture, etc.

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