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A Critique Of Marriage Ethics


Adeleye Olusola Musibau Submitted In Partial Fulfillment Of The Requirement Of The Degree Of Master Of Arts; University Of Lagos Akoka Yaba Lagos 2011

Acknowledgement I would like to thank God for giving me life, wisdom and strength to embark upon and to finish this Master Of Arts Degree In Philosophy. I also want to thank all those through whom God worked in bringing this work to a successful completion. This would include but not limited to my wifes family members, professors, colleagues, friends and my supervisor who have supported and encouraged me at various times and ways. My profound gratitude goes to my late parents Mrs. Anike Adeleye and Mr. Owolabi Adeleye, whom I believe, their unconditional love, constant prayers from the ancestral world, nurture

my daily existence and empower me to seek greater heights and never to relent in my struggle for survival. My special thanks also goes to my intellectual mentors: professor Olumuyiwa Falaiye, Dr. Oladotun. Ogunkoya, Dr. E.O. Kehinde, Dr. Chidozie. B. Okoro, Mr. Debo Gbadebo, Mr. Daniel Ekere, Mr. Peter Osimirin, Bishop Mike okonkwo, Deacon Mike Oluwayomi Sekoni, and Engr. Olugbenga Amoo for their excellent mentorship skills, for under their guidance, I was able to start and complete this work. I appreciate all my professors and lecturers, (even if space and time will not allow me to mention their names here,) who at different stage of this research gave me what I needed to move forward.


I dedicate this work to my lovely children - for their sacrifice and support. I dedicate this work also to Dr. Mrs. E. O. Kehinde, who has relentlessly and with unequivocal commitment has extended herself beyond the limits of supervisorship in order to ensure that this work was completed successfully. You provided solutions to my problems, listened to my frustrations, encouraged me through words and deed to step beyond every obstacle as I journey through this seemingly herculean task. With this dedication I wish to express my sincere gratitude to you for everything you have done for me.

Abstract This study investigates marriage practices in the western and African societies on one hand and compares family values in the traditional and contemporary Nigerian societies (albeit, with high leaning on the Yoruba cultural practices,) on the other. We claim that the dysfunctional acculturation that follows from the post colonial Nigerian total embracement of globalization and modernization is at the heart of the rampant conjugal misery and the copious moral decadent and corruption that we are experiencing in Nigeria today. We argue in this work that if a society is poorly governed, it is a reflection of a systematic breakdown of family values. The implication of this is that the Nigerian family structure merely reflects the general mood in the country. Of course, there is a disturbing evidence of a breakdown in family values everywhere in the country. Vices have become virtues in the peoples attitude, who are relentless in their pursuit of easy wealth and the good things of life.

Virtues such as honour, integrity, honesty and other fundamental family and societal values are now regarded as archaic. The brazen theft of our common wealth flourishes; corruption thrives even among the foot soldiers of the war against it; elections are rigged in defiance of the right of the people to choose their representatives; and those who have turned our societal values and family virtues into vices are honoured by traditional rulers, the universities and the nation itself. We argue that all these social ills boils down to systematic breakdown in proper African family values. Therefore, we believe that solution to Nigerian social problems lies in the family, which is the basic social unit to inculcate in the socialization of their children virtuous cultural values and orientation. This will in turn re-establish the gregarious way of life our ancestors enjoyed in the days of yore.

Introduction Marriage is sacred in Africa and it solidifies relationship that enrich communities and nations by bring forth new life and new hope. Marriage is a journey through life which enhances and enriching entire communities. Lack of

marriage is the death of a nation and a people. Communities that fail to recognize marriage become decadent and self- destructive with a range of social, economic and health issues . This, perhaps, is what informed the African worldview which is captured in a proverb which says that A man without a wife is like a vase without flowers. However, various marriage practices have existed throughout the world. In some societies an individual is limited to being in one relationship at a time (i.e. monogamy), while other cultures allow a male to have more than one wife (polygyny) or, less commonly, a female to have more than one husband (polyandry). Some societies even allow marriage between two males or two females. Societies frequently have other restrictions on marriage based on the ages of the participants, pre-existing kinship, membership in religious or other social groups and so on. In view of these, this study takes a critical look at this universal phenomenon called marriage, (its meaning, purpose etc)through two socio-cultural background viz.

Western and African perspective . We compare western and African marriage practices and we argue that the influence of modernization and globalization on African marital values are the major causes of the endenmic social ills and corruption that is threatening Africa, especially the Nigerian societies like the Damocle sword.

Chapter one deals with the panoramic analyses of different types of marriages and their pertinence to their peculiar social milieu. Chapter Two centers on Family in the African

context, the place and value of children in marriage, methods of child spacing and parenting and parental authority. Chapter three borders on family instability in Africa, the causes of family conflicts, how conflict can degenerate into separation and divorce, and the impact of divorce on children and the society. Chapter four deals with the overview of status of contemporary African marriages and families. There, we discussed comprehensibly that in order to ensure continuing cooperate existence of Nigeria, where relative social order, unity, peace and justice shall reign, our government must adopt socio-economic policies that will promote benign relationship among spouses. This will in turn cultivate a suitable ground wherein vibrant and confident youth that will be properly socialized and ingrained in stable family with virtuous cultural values and orientation can be groomed.

Table Of Content

Chapter one: Introduction to the concept of marriage 1.1. 1.2. 1.3. Definition Of Marriage.. Monogamy. Polygyny. 1-3 3-6 6-10

1.4. 1.5. 1.6.

Levirate Marriage Same-Sex Marriage.. Child Marriage

10-13 13-15 15-18

Chapter two: Family in the African Context 2.1. Definition Of Family.. 23-26

2.2. Different Family Forms.. 26-30 2.3. Major African Family Forms. 30-34 2.4. The Place And Value Of Children In Marriage 34-36 2.5. Child Spacing 36-39 2.6. Parenting And Parental Authority39-43 2.7.Division Of Labour Withing The Family: Children, Parents, And

Others. 43-47 Chapter three Family Instability In Africa 3.1. Common Sources Of Instabilty 54-55 3.2. Common Types Of Tension.55-56 3.3. Causes Of Tensions56-60 3.4. Separation And Divorce.60-64 3.5. Impact Of Divorce On Children And Members Of The Extended

family 64-68

Chapter Four: overview of status of contemporary African marriages and families 4.1. Evaluation. 74-77 4.2. Sexuality in the colonial Nigeria .. 77-81 4.3. conclusion and recommendation .. 81-84

Chapter One Introduction To The Concept Of Marriage 1.1. Definition Of Marriage

The modern English word marriage derives from Middle English mariage, which first appears in 12501300 C.E. This in turn is derived from Old French marier (to marry) and ultimately Latin martre (to marry) and martus (of marriage)1. Encarta dictionary defines marriage as a legal relationship between spouses; a legally recognized relationship, established by a civil or religious ceremony, between two people who intend to live together as sexual and domestic partners; the joining together in wedlock of two people. According to Skolnick, Arlene: Marriage is a socially recognized and approved union between individuals, who commit to one another with the expectation of a stable and lasting intimate relationship. It begins with a ceremony known as a wedding, which formally unites the marriage partners. A marital relationship usually involves some kind of contract, either written or specified by tradition, which defines the partners rights and obligations to each other, to any children they may have, and to their relatives. In most contemporary industrialized societies, marriage is certified by the government.2 In addition to being a personal relationship between two people, Sklonick maintains that marriage is one of societys most important and basic

institutions. reproduction.










Confucius describes marriage as the union of two different surnames, in friendship and in love, in order to continue the posterity of the former sages. Mbiti, speaking on marriage, writes: In Africa, marriage is the only known incubator for the raising of balanced socially functional children. It is a civilized union of man and woman. However, in all the communities the bride plays a very special role and is treated with respect because she is a link between the unborn and the ancestors.

Wurata lending credence to this Mbitis view holds that African weddings are a spiritual and social family affair and involve the combining of two lives, two families, and even two communities.4 Marriage is believed to be a natural necessity for every human being. Marriage is a journey through life which enhances and enriching entire communities. Lack of marriage is the death of a nation and a people. Against these backdrop, we can arguably say that conventionally, marriage is a social union or legal contract between people that creates kinship. It is an institution in which interpersonal relationships, usually intimate and sexual, are acknowledged in a variety of ways, depending on the culture or subculture in which it is found. Such a union, often formalized via a wedding ceremony, or matrimony. The institution of marriage however, pre-dates reliable recorded history, many cultures have legends concerning the origins of marriage. The way in which a marriage is conducted and its rules and how its ramifications has changed over time, depending on the culture or demographic of the time.5

Anthropologists have proposed several competing definitions of marriage so as to encompass the wide variety of marital practices observed across cultures. In his book The History of Human Marriage, Edvard Westermarck defines marriage as a more or less durable connection between male and female lasting beyond the mere act of propagation till after the birth of the offspring.6 In The Future of Marriage in Western Civilization, he rejected his earlier definition, instead he provisionally defines marriage as a relation of one or more men to one or more women that is recognized by custom or law.7 The anthropological handbook Notes and Queries defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman such that children born to the woman are the recognized legitimate offspring of both partners.8 Furthermore, in recognition of a practice by the Nuer of Sudan, which allows women to act as a husband in certain circumstances, Kathleen Gough suggested modifying this to a woman and one or more other persons.9 By and large, we can see that Marriage as an ubiquitous feature of human kinship and social organization and its development has assumed a critical role in the history of social institutions. Some anthropologists even argued that the regulation of sexual relationships may in itself have formed the basis of all human social orders. Several widely occurring functions of marriage can be associated with notable behavioural universals which include: (i) parental responsibility for long term infant nurturing and education, (ii) social regulation of sexual competition, (iii)organization of gendered divisions of labour, (iv) assignment of individuals to social groups and statuses, and (v) the formation of intergroup alliances and exchanges. In spite of these general features, different cultures have developed a fascinating diversity of regulations and customs concerning prohibitions and preferences for marriage partners as well as expectations between spouses and in-laws. Prominent variations, such as arranged marriages, polygamy, and

same-sexed unions provide a rich ethnographic record for speculating about why societies differ. They also challenge our tolerance of different moral conventions at the most basic level. 1.2. Monogamy The word monogamy comes from the Greek words monos which means one or alone, and gamos which means marriage.10 Monogamy refers to the state of having only one mate at any one time; practice of maintaining a relationship with only one sexual partner at a time. The term is applied to the social behavior of some animals,

and to a form of marriage in which an individual

has only one spouse at any one time. In our current usage, monogamy refers to having one sexual partner irrespective of marriage or reproduction. In the United States and in other Western societies, both law and longstanding tradition dictate that marriages are monogamousthat is, an individual is married to only one other person. This form of marriage exists in all cultures, even in places where other arrangements are recognized. People in monogamous cultures may not have more than one marriage partner at a time. However, if a marriage ends due to the death of a partner or divorce (legal termination of marriage), remarriage is acceptable. Thus, people in monogamous cultures may have more than one spouse during their lifetimes. Recent discoveries have led biologists to talk about the three varieties of monogamy: social monogamy, sexual monogamy, and genetic monogamy. The distinction between these three are important to the modern understanding of monogamy. Social monogamy refers to a male and female's social living arrangement (e.g., shared use of a territory, behaviour indicative of a social pair, and/or proximity between a male and female) without inferring any sexual interactions or reproductive patterns. In humans, social monogamy equals monogamous marriage. Sexual monogamy is defined as an exclusive sexual relationship

between a female and a male based on observations of sexual interactions. Finally, the term genetic monogamy is used when DNA analyses can confirm that a female-male pair reproduce exclusively with each other. A combination of terms indicates examples where levels of relationships coincide, e.g., sociosexual and sociogenetic monogamy describe corresponding social and sexual, and social and genetic monogamous relationships, respectively.12 When we are applying these terms to people, it's important to remember that social monogamy does not always involve marriage. A married couple is almost always a socially monogamous couple. But couples who choose to cohabit without getting married can also be socially monogamous. Serial monogamy is described as a societal mating practice in which individuals engage in sequential monogamous pairings,13 or in terms of humans, when men or women marry another partner sequentially.14 However, one does not need to marry in order to be considered as practicing serial monogamy, as it can also be defined as multiple pair-bonding, or having more than one sequential mate. When one individual is married and still has extramarital affairs, they would be considered as practicing serial polygamy, as this is no longer socially accepted in monogamous societies. This form of serial polygamy can exist as both polyandry and polygyny. One theory of this is that it pacifies the elite men and equalizes reproductive success. This is also called the Male Compromise Theory.15 Such serial monogamy may effectively resemble polygyny in its reproductive consequences because some men are able to utilize more than one womans reproductive lifespan through repeated marriages.16 Evolutionary theory predicts that males seek more sexual partners than females because of their higher fitness benefits from such a reproductive strategy.17 From an evolutionary standpoint, males developed many behavior strategies that allow them to acquire more sexual partners because of the observed reproductive success.18 Therefore, in order to monopolize more than

one females reproductive life span without being considered polygamous and thus breaking social norms of a monogamous society, males try to remarry women younger than themselves. A study done in 1994 found a significant difference between ages of remarried men and women because the men have a longer reproductive window.19 Serial monogamy has always been closely linked to divorce practices. Wherever procedures for obtaining divorce have been simple and easy, serial monogamy has been found.20 As divorce has continued to become more accessible, more individuals have availed themselves of it, and many go on to remarry.21 Griswold Robert, author of Family and Divorce in California, and Victorian illusions and everyday realities, further suggests that Western culture's inundation of choice has devalued relationships based on lifetime commitments and singularity of choice. It has also been said that high mortality rates in centuries past accomplished much the same result as divorce, enabling remarriage (of one spouse) and thus serial monogamy.22

1.3. Polygyny Polygyny derives from neo-Greek poly many, and gyny woman or

wife. It is a form of marriage in which a man has two or more wives at the same time.23 In countries where the practice is illegal, the man is referred to as a bigamist or a polygamist. It is distinguished from relationships where a man has a sexual partner outside marriage, such as a concubine, casual sexual partner, paramour, cohabits with a married woman or other culturally but not legally recognized secondary partner aside from variations in the determination of who people can, cannot, and must marry, cultural differences are quite apparent in the number of spouses a man or woman can have. While modern Western societies believe in the sanctity of monogamy and enshrine it in their legal codes, most social traditions, over 80%, accept at least some degree of polygamy, the union between a person and more than one spouse. Forms include:

polygyny, where a man has more than one wife polyandry, where a woman has more than one husband.

Among the two forms of polygamy, polygyny is by far the most widespread. Several different schemes have been proposed to explain its incidence. Some people suspect that a desire for numerous sex partners is built into basic human biology, a factor that would explain the almost its universal occurrence, but not the exceptions or variations. Other theories based on population and ecological factors explain it as a response to lengthy periods of sexual abstinence that women must follow after child birth in some cultures. This practice reduces population growth, but drives husbands to acquire additional wives to meet unfulfilled sexual needs. Demographic theory suggests that polygyny may occur because of a surplus of women that results from a high incidence of male warfare. However, polygyny occurs in many situations of relatively balanced gender ratios or even, as in the case of the Yanomamo, where males outnumber females. Accordingly, some men accumulate two or more wives only at the expense of others who never marry, or, much more usually, marry at a later age than women do. As such, the society becomes divided between young bachelors, who may remain single into their thirties and older polygynists. This arrangement may occur informally or may become a marked feature of the social structure. For example, in some South African societies, such as the Zulu, all young men in their twenties were organized into military age regiments and were not allowed to marry until their term of service ended. The social division between polygynists and bachelors points to another prevalent theory of polygyny, which is based on social stratification. In societies where men are not distinguished by differences in access to productive resources, such as land and capital, status distinctions are mainly attained and expressed through direct control over people. This goal is most obviously acheived through incorporating many women into ones domestic group and

expanding it by fathering a large number of children. Traditional South African marriage structures provide an appropriate example. Most societies were divided into commoner, noble, and royal strata. Commoners usually were able to marry only one wife, nobles supported several, and royals could boast numbers that reached over a hundred. A stratificational theory of polygyny also accounts for its greater incidence in comparison to polyandry, since men tend to occupy higher statuses than women in the majority of societies. Polyandry is a form of polygamy in which one woman is married to several men. Its occurrence is rare and assumes a specific concentration in the Himalayan areas of South Asia. However, it is sporadically distributed in Africa, Oceania, and Native America. Two forms have been recorded: fraternal polyandry in which a group of brothers share a wife, and non-fraternal polyandry in which a womans husbands are not related. The Nayar case represents a non-fraternal form in the sense that a woman engages in sexual relations and has children with several different men, any of whom may be called upon to acknowledge paternity. Fraternal forms are common in the mountainous areas of Nepal and Tibet. Among the Tibetian Nyinba, brothers live together throughout their lifetimes in large patrilineally constructed households. They share a common estate and domestic responsibilities. They also share a common wife with whom each maintains a sexual relationship. Generally, each child of the marriage is acknowledged by and develops a special relationship with one of the possible fathers, even where biological paternity cannot be determined. This arrangement can partially be understood as a response to a shortage of women due to a lower survival rate in comparison to men. It also has important economic implications. Since brothers share a wife, their joint estate remains intact from generation to generations and is not subject to the fragmentary and inefficient divisions that might occur if each belonged to a separate conjugal unit24. Polyandry is generally found in areas where difficult physical environments or high populations impose extreme pressures on agricultural systems. It works to

limit population growth and to ensure the coherence of agricultural estates. Some theorists suggest that this institutions more often occurs in societies in which women hold relatively high social status

However, it does not reflect

the same stratification pattern as polygyny, since a womans social position and prestige are not determined by the number of husbands she can amass. Female status is more apparently marked in woman-woman marriage options in polygynous societies. Polygyny has been practiced in some cultures throughout history. It was partially accepted in ancient Hebrew society, in classical China, and in sporadic traditional Native American, African and Polynesian cultures. In India it was known to have been practiced during ancient times. It was accepted in ancient Greece, until the Roman Empire and the Roman Catholic Church when having one wife, but multiple lovers became the norm. It was accepted in SubSaharan Africa for most of the past two millennia.26 Among the Hebrew, polygyny was a permitted practice (and required in the case of a levirate marriage) whilst polyandry (a woman having more than one husband) was seen as adultery. The Hebrew Bible indicates that polygyny was practiced in ancient Israelite societies. Though the institution was not extremely common, it was not particularly unusual and was certainly not prohibited but discouraged by the Bible (namely the Mosaic Law recommended that kings should not have many wives, and when Solomon took 1000 wives the Bible cites his polygamy as the reason for the fall of his faith). The Bible mentions approximately forty polygynists, including Abraham, Jacob, Esau, David and King Solomon, to mention few, with little or no further remark on the institution.27 The current predominant belief among Christians in the United States is that polygyny is wrong and claim that there is New Testament Biblical evidence to support that stance, citing for example Matthew 19:4-6 (KJV) :

And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.28 In the United States, polygyny or "plural marriage" was allowed in the early history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). It ended in 1890 under the president of the LDS Church Wilford Woodruff.29 Officially since 1899, members of the LDS Church faced excommunication for being polygynous. In Islamic countries the stricture is the traditional Sharia which interprets teachings of the Quran to permit polygamy with up to four wives, as long as it is practiced under the specified conditions: that is, men who marry more than one woman may do so provided they will treat their wives with kindness and dignity as well as for providing for their material needs equally. Sororal polygyny is a type of marriage in which two or more sisters share a husband. In Islam, this type of polgyny is specifically prohibited. Forbidden unto you are your mothers, and your daughters, and your sisters, and your father's sisters, and your mother's sisters, and your brother's daughters and your sister's daughters, and your foster-mothers, and your foster-sisters, and your mothers-in-law, and your step-daughters who are under your protection (born) of your women unto whom ye have gone in - but if ye have not gone in unto them, then it is no sin for you (to marry their daughters) - and the wives of your sons who (spring) from your own loins. And (it is forbidden unto you)

that ye should have two sisters together, except what hath already happened (of that nature) in the past (before this revelation). Lo! Allah is ever Forgiving, Merciful.

While few present-day states permit polygamous marriages, polygynous male behavior may be observed in the establishment of mistresses, who are openly or secretly supported. In this way, men may be said to be technically monogamous but de facto polygynous.

1.4. Levirate Marriage Levirate marriage is a type of marriage in which the brother of a deceased man is obligated to marry his brother's widow, and the widow is obligated to marry her deceased husband's brother31 . Levirate marriage has been practiced by societies with a strong clan structure in which exogamous marriage (i.e. outside the clan) was forbidden. It is or was known in many societies around the world. The practice is similar to widow inheritance, where, for example, the deceased husband's kin can dictate whom the widow may marry. The term levirate is a derivative of the Latin word levir, meaning "husband's brother". Levirate marriage can, serve as protection for the widow and her children, ensuring that they have a male provider responsible for them. It can also be seen as a denial of a woman's autonomy, and a restraint on her life. The practice was extremely important in ancient societies (e.g., Israel and Near East), and remains so today in those parts of the world. Having children enabled the inheritance of land, which offered security and status. A levirate marriage might only occur if a man died childless, in order to continue his family line. A levirate marriage (yibbum in Hebrew) is mandated by Deuteronomy 25:5-6 of the Hebrew Bible and obliges a brother to marry the

widow of his childless deceased brother, with the firstborn child being treated as that of the deceased brother, which renders the child the heir of the deceased brother and not the genetic father. There is another provision known as halizah (Deuteronomy 25:9-10), which explains that if a man refuses to carry out this 'duty,' the woman must spit in his face, take one of his shoes, and the others ( people )in the town must always call him 'the one without a shoe'. While this provision implies that a brother may opt out of Levirate marriage, there is no provision in the Books of Moses for the widow to do so. Later authorities in Jewish law (Talmudic period) strongly discouraged yibbum in favor of haliza. Because there is a general prohibition on a man marrying his brother's wife, anytime that a yibbum is not required (for example if the deceased had a child), it is forbidden. (Leviticus 18:16) Islamic law (sharia) clearly lays down rules for marriage, including who can marry whom, and the Qur'an prohibits a wife to be "inherited" unless she agrees.32 However, certain groups in Muslim-majority countries do or did practice levirate marriage, more often in the name of tribal practices or customary law rather than Islamic law.33 In Africa, among the Igbo people and the Yoruba of southeastern and southwestern Nigeria, it was a common practice for a woman to marry her late husband's brother if she had children. This enabled the children to retain the father's family identity and inheritance. Although less common today, it is still practised: Levirate marriage is considered a custom of the Yoruba, the Igbo, and the Hausa-Fulani Under customary law among the Yoruba, a brother or son of the deceased husband was traditionally allowed to inherit the widow as a wife. The inheritance of the youngest wife of the deceased by the eldest son...continues to be practiced in Yoruba land. Under Igbo

customary law, a brother or son of the deceased Igbo husband was traditionally allowed to inherit the widow as a wife34 Among the Maragoli of western Kenya,35 likewise in the Luo case widows become mostly remarried to the deceased husbands brother..36 In the highlands of Kenya, it is Nandi custom for a widow to be taken over by a brother of her deceased husband.37 According to customary law, it is tantamount to adultery for a widow to be sexually involved with a man other than a close agnate of her late husband.38 In countries such as South Africa where a Levirate marriage is known as ukungena, the obligation for a woman to enter into a levirate marriage is on the decline due to increasing awareness of women's rights. Among the Zulu, the levirate and ghost marriage (the vicarious marriage of a woman to the name of a deceased relative) was common until relatively recently. In Zimbabwe Levirate marriage is traditionally practiced by the Shona and it is commonly known as Kugara nhaka 39. Under the practice, the younger brother is the one who can inherit the wife of the elder brother. The elder brother is not allowed to inherit the wife of the younger brother. However, the practice is now being discouraged, in Africa, just like the rest of the world, due to the epidemic of HIV /AIDS and increasing awareness of women's rights.

1.5. Same-Sex Marriage. Same-Sex Marriage can be described as a civil marriage for lesbian and gay couples. In the 1990s and 2000s homosexual rights groups addressed a number of other issues, including the rights of gay and lesbian families. In 2001 The Netherlands became the first country to legalize same-sex marriages, giving same-sex couples the same rights that heterosexual couples have in areas such as inheritance, taxes, divorce, and pension benefits. Belgium legalized same-sex marriages in 2003. Spain and Canada followed suit in 2005.

Canada became the fourth nation to legalize same-sex marriage and the first outside of Europe. Several other European countries recognize homosexual unions, although these unions are generally called civil unions or registered partnerships rather than marriages. The United Kingdom, for example, permitted civil partnerships beginning in December 2005. The same month the Constitutional Court of South Africa struck down the countrys Marriage Act as unconstitutional because it did not permit same-sex marriage. The court stayed its ruling for one year to allow parliament to amend the act, but it stipulated that the ruling would go into effect regardless by December 2006. In December 2006 South Africa became the fifth country to legalize gay marriage. The federal district of Mexico City allowed civil unions for same-sex couples in late 2006.

In the United States, 39 states have passed laws forbidding same-sex marriages and denying recognition of same-sex marriages obtained elsewhere. In 2004, 13 statesmost of which already prohibited such marriages by law enacted constitutional amendments banning same-sex marriages, joining four other states that had previously done so. Gay couples can legally marry in only one state in the United States, the state of Massachusetts. Four states Connecticut, New Hampshire, New Jersey, and Vermontpermit civil unions, which extend the same legal rights of marriage to same-sex couples that heterosexual couples have under state law. Vermont legalized civil unions in 2000, Connecticut did so in 2005, New Jersey in 2006, and New Hampshire in 2007. In addition California state law extends full marriage rights to domestic partnerships. In November 2003 the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, the states highest court, ruled that gay couples have the right to marry under the states constitution. In February 2004 the court clarified its ruling, saying that civil unions were not sufficient and that only marriage met its criteria for equal rights for gays. The court ruled that the history of our nation has

demonstrated that separate is seldom, if ever, equal, in affirming that homosexuals are entitled to the same rights of marriage as heterosexuals. On May 17, 2004, same-sex marriages became legal in Massachusetts, and authorities there began to marry gay couples. State legislators pledged to amend the state constitution to ban gay marriage but allow civil unions. Such an amendment would require voter approval. A growing number of local governments and private corporations have

implemented domestic partnership laws or policies that extend some of the legal benefits of marriage to same-sex couples. Generally, however, homosexual couples in long-term relationships do not have the same legal protection as people in heterosexual marriages. Under the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), for example, many federal marriage benefits, such as tax breaks and Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid provisions, are denied to gay couples. Adopting children is also problematic for homosexuals. One state, Florida, has laws that explicitly prohibit homosexuals from adopting children. Other states, such as Utah, have administrative rules that prohibit adoptions by unmarried couples, which would preclude gays. Other states allow a same-sex partner to adopt the biological child of the other partner. The vast majority of states do not explicitly prohibit gay couples from adopting. New Hampshire is one of the few states that explicitly allows gay couples to adopt.41

1.6. Child Marriage. Child marriage usually refers to two separate social phenomenon which are practiced in some societies. The first and more widespread practice is that of marrying a young child (generally defined as below the age of fifteen) to an adult. Due to women's shorter reproductive life period (relative to men's), the practice of child marriage tends to be betrothal of young girls to fully grown men.

The second practice is a form of arranged marriage, in which the parents of two children from different families arrange a future marriage. In this practice, the individuals who become betrothed often do not meet one another until the wedding ceremony, which occurs when they are both considered to be of a marriageable age. Child marriages may have many purposes. The aristocracy of some cultures tend to use child marriage among different factions or states as a method to secure political ties between them. For example, the son or daughter of the royal family of a weaker power would sometimes be arranged to marry into the royal family of a stronger neighbouring power, thus preventing being taken over. In the lower classes, families could use child marriages as means to gain financial ties with wealthier people, and to ensure their successions. Families are able to cement political and, or financial ties by having their children marry. The betrothal is considered a binding contract upon the families and the children. The breaking of a betrothal can have serious consequences both for the families and for the betrothed individuals themselves. Child marriage was possible in Judaism, due to the very low marriageable age for females. A ketannah (literally meaning little one was any girl between the age of 3 years and that of 12 years plus one day;42 a ketannah was completely subject to her father's authority, and her father could arrange a marriage for her, without her agreement. According to the Talmud, if the marriage did end (due to divorce or the husband's death), any further marriages were optional; the ketannah had the right to annul them.43 If the father was dead, or missing, the brothers of the ketannah, collectively, had the right to arrange a marriage for her, as had her mother, although in these situations a ketannah would always have the right to annul her marriage, even if it was the first.

The choice of a ketannah to annul a marriage, known in Hebrew as mi'un (literally meaning refusal, denial or protest),lead to a true annulment, not a divorce; a divorce document (get ) was not necessary, and a ketannah who did this was not regarded by legal regulations as a divorcee, in relation to the marriage. Unlike divorce, mi'un was regarded with distaste by many rabbinic writers, even in the Talmud; in earlier classical Judaism, one major faction the House of Shammai - argued that such annulment rights only existed during the betrothal period (erusin), and not once the actual marriage (nissu'in) had begun.44They further argue that a father should not marry his daughter to anyone until she grows up and says 'I want this one', and that any marriage that takes place without the consent of the girl is not an effective legal marriage. In Islam, Sunni sources state that Muhammad consummated his marriage with Aisha when she was nine years old and had reached puberty.45 In accordance with this example set by Muhammad, Islamic scholars state that marriage can take place once a child reaches puberty. Prepubescent children may be married or promised for marriage, following a detailed procedure, but a girl is not handed over to her husband until she is fit for marital congress, as demonstrated by Muhammad's action with Aisha.46 Despite many countries enacting marriageable age laws to limit marriage to a minimum age of 16 to 18, depending on jurisdiction, traditional marriages of girls of younger ages are widespread. Poverty, religion, tradition, and conflict make the rate of child marriage in Sub-Saharan Africa rampant. The various UN-commissioned reports indicate that in many Sub-Saharan countries, there is a high incidence of marriage among girls younger than 15. Many governments have tended to overlook the particular problems resulting from child marriage, including obstetric fistulae, premature births, stillbirth, sexually transmitted diseases (including cervical cancer), and malaria.47

In parts of Ethiopia and Nigeria, numerous girls are married before the age of 15, and some girls are married as young as the age of 7.46 In parts of Mali, 39% of girls are married before the age of 15. In Niger and Chad, over 70% of girls are married before the age of 18. In South Africa, the law provides for respecting the marriage practices of traditional marriages, whereby a person might be married as young as 12 for females and 14 for males.48 Nevertheless, early marriage is often cited as a barrier to continuing education for girls (and boys). This includes absuma (arranged marriages set up between cousins at birth), bride kidnapping, and elopement decided on by the children.49 Child marriage is a violation of human rights whether it happens to a girl or a boy, but it represents perhaps the most prevalent form of sexual abuse and exploitation of girls. The harmful consequences include separation from family and friends, lack of freedom to interact with peers and participate in community activities, and decreased opportunities for education. Child marriage can also result in bonded labour or enslavement, commercial sexual exploitation and violence against the victims. Because they cannot abstain from sex or insist on condom use, child brides are often exposed to such serious health risks as premature pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections and, increasingly, HIV/AIDS. Parents may consent to child marriages out of economic necessity. Amidst severe criticism from all works of life some adherent of child marriage have doggedly argued that child marriage is a way by which some parents provide male guardianship for their daughters, protect them from sexual assault, avoid pregnancy outside marriage, extend their childbearing years or ensure obedience to the husbands household. However, the right to free and full consent to a marriage as recognized in the universal declaration of human rights (1948) is with the recognition that consent cannot be free and full when one of the parties involved is not sufficiently mature to make an informed decision about a life partner. The

convention on the elimination of all Forms of discrimination against Women (1979) states that the betrothal and marriage of a child shall have no legal effect and all necessary action, including legislation, shall be taken to specify a minimum age of marriage. The Committee on the elimination of discrimination against Women recommends this age to be 18.

The role of government and civil-society institutions therefore is to develop and implement systems to prevent or discourage this practice. More importantly, because child marriage is closely associated with poverty, government commitment to poverty reduction is likely to lead to a decrease in child marriages. Government action is also required to review customary and civil law.

References 1. Oxford English Dictionary 11th Edition, "marriage 2. Arlene, Skolnick. Marriage. Microsoft Encarta 2009 [DVD]. Redmond, WA : Microsoft Corporation, 2008. 3. J.S. Mbiti. Introduction to African Religion, (2nd ed.), (Nairobi: East African. Educational Publisher LTD.1975.)pp.95-96.

4. D.W. Waruta. Marriage and family in contemporary African society: challenges in pastoral counseling In Waruta, D.W. and Kinoti, H, W. (Eds.), Pastoral care in African Christianity. (Nairobi: Acton Publishers.2005)p.19. 5. Leonard, Trelawny, Hobhouse, . Morals in evolution: a study in comparative ethics (New York: Palgrave-Macmillan. 1906)p.180 6. Edvard, Westermarck. The History of Human Marriage Volume 1, (New York: Robert Appleton Company.1921.) p. 71. 7. Edvard ,Westermarck,. The Future of Marriage in Western Civilization, (New York: Palgrave-Macmillan. 1936) p. 3. 8. Notes and Queries on Anthropology. Royal Anthropological Institute. (1951. )pp. , p. 110. 9. E. Kathleen Gough, . "The Nayars and the Definition of Marriage", Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland: (1959) pp.2334. 10. R.C. Preble (ed.) Monogamy in Britannica World Language Dictionary. (Oxford-London 1962, p. 1275.) 11. G .gren, Q. Zhou, and W. Zhong. "Ecology and social behaviour of Mongolian gerbils Meriones unguiculatus ." In Animal Behaviour. (Mongolia, China: Xilfudjeudeyjxidiuhot Press. 1989).p11. 12. Ulrich H. Reichard, "Monogamy: Past and present". In Reichard, U.H., Boesch, C.. Monogamy: Mating strategies and partnerships in birds, humans, and other mammals. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 2003). pp. 325. 13. R. Wright . The moral animal: the new science of evolutionary psychology. (New York: Pantheon Books, 1994). P.99 14. M. Mulder, B. Mulder. "Serial Monogamy as Polygyny or Polyandry?". Human nature 20 (2). (2009). P. 130 15. Lagerlof N. Lagerlf. "Pacifying monogamy". Journal of economic growth 15 (3). (2010).pp. 235262.

16. M. Jokela, A. Rotkirch, I. Rickard, J. Pettay, and V. Lummaa. "Serial monogamy increases reproductive success in men but not in women". Journal of Behavioural Ecology 21 (5). (2010). Pp. 906912. 17. P . Starks, C. Blackie. "The relationship between serial monogamy and rape in the United States (19601995)". Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 267 (1449).( 2000.) p.1259 18. J. Kunz, P. R. Kunz ."Social setting and remarriage: ages of husband and wife". Psychological Reports 751. (1994 )719. 19. Ibid.p.772 20. Ibid.p.774 21. Ibid.p.773 22. Robert L.Griswold. Family and Divorce in California, 18501890: Victorian illusions and everyday realities. (Albany NY: State University of New York Press. 1983). pp. 78. 23. Webster's Third New International Dictionary, Unabridged, s.v. 'polygyny'. 24. Group Marriage, Encyclopedia Britannica Online, http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/247131/group-marriage, retrieved August 19, 2011. 25. Ibid. 26. R. Clignet. Many Wives, Many Powers, Evanston : Northwestern University Press. 1970)p. 17 27. Why did God allow polygamy/ bigamy in the Bible?.

http//www.gotquestions.org/polygamy.html. accessed 2011 -09 -10. 28. Holy Bible KJV . Matthew 19:4-6 s.v. marriage. 29. Paul, Spencer. "Polygyny and the Manifestations of Inequality" In The Pastoral Continuum: the Marginalization of Tradition in East Africa, (Clarendon Press Oxford, 1998.)pp. 51-92. 30. Quran 4:23 31. Levirate. Microsoft Encarta 2009 [DVD]. Redmond, WA: Microsoft Corporation,2008.

32. Al Faruqi, Maysam. Sharia. Microsoft Encarta 2009 [DVD]. Redmond, WA: Microsoft Corporation, 2008 33. Ibid. 34. Jaan Valsiner: 35. Ibid. p.99 36. Regina Smith Oboler . "Nandi Widows", In Betty Potash (ed.) : Widows in African Societies : Choices and Constraints. Stanford University Press, 1986. P.83 37. Ibid. p.78 38. Ibid. p.79 39. Ibid. pp.85-90 40. Homosexuality. 41. Ibid. 42. Jewish Encyclopedia article Majority, http:www.jewish.com/2009/01/18/stories/2009011855981100.htm. Retrived 2011-11-02 43. Jewish Encyclopedia article Mi'un, a publication now in the public domain. 44. Ibid 45. D. A. Spellberg, Politics, Gender, and the Islamic Past: the Legacy of A'isha bint Abi Bakr, (Columbia University Press, 1994.) p. 40 46. Armstrong Karen, Muhammad: A Biography of the Prophet, (Harper San Francisco.1992.) p. 157. 47. Nawal M. Nour, "Health Consequences of Child Marriage in Africa", Emerging Infectious Diseases 12 (11). (2006) pp.16441645 48. Child Marriage Factsheet: State of World Population 2005 - UNFPA 49. Nawal M. Nour. op.cit. p.1646. Microsoft Encarta 2009 [DVD]. Redmond, WA: Microsoft Corporation,2008. Culture and Human Development.( SAGE Publications, London, 2000.) p. 100

50. United Nations Population Fund, State of World Population 2005: The promise of equality: Gender equity, reproductive health and the Millennium Development Goals, UNFPA, New York, 2005, p. 50. 51. United Nations Childrens Fund, Early Marriage: A harmful traditional practice: A statistical exploration, (UNICEF, New York,2005.) pp. 12-13. 52. Ibid. p.15

Chapter two Family in the African Context 2.1. Definition of Family

The word family according to Encarta Dictionary refers to a group of relatives: a group of people who are closely related by birth, marriage, or adoption. A group of people living together and functioning as a single household, usually consisting of parents and their children 1. Oxford English Dictionary defines family as a group of persons consisting of the parents and their children, whether actually living together or not.2 These suggest that there seems not to be a univocal definition of the word Family. Nevertheless, the term family as used here refers to basic social group united through bonds of kinship or marriage, present in all societies. Ideally, the family provides its members with protection, companionship, security, and socialization. The structure of the family, and the needs that the family fulfills vary from society to society. The nuclear familytwo adults and their childrenis the main unit in some societies. In others, it is a subordinate part of an extended family, which also consists of grandparents and other relatives. A third family unit is the singleparent family, in which children live with an unmarried, divorced, or widowed mother or father.3 Furthermore, the U.S. Census Bureau says : A family includes a householder and one or more people living in the same household who are related to the householder by birth, marriage, or adoption.4 All people in a household who are related to the householder are regarded as members of his or her family. However, a family household sometimes may contain people not related to the householder, but those people are not included as part of the householders family in census tabulations. A household can contain only one family for purposes of census tabulations. Not all households contain families since a household may comprise a group of unrelated people or one person living alone.

Family, as defined by a 1970s Long Island, New York housing code and as upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1974:

One or more persons related by blood, adoption, or marriage, living and cooking together as a single housekeeping unit, exclusive of household servants. (2) A number of persons but not exceeding two living and cooking together as a single housekeeping unit though not related by blood, adoption, or marriage shall be deemed to constitute a family. 6. As a matter of fact the three views of family upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court include: 1. A traditional nuclear family of two parents and their children, and where the parents are presumed to be acting in the best interests of their children. In such a family, there is no need to give the children their own voice even when parents do such things as institutionalize their children; 2. An extended-kind model of family made up of a community of parents, siblings, grandparents and other relatives which should be recognized as a primary family, even if the blood-ties are not as strong as a nuclear family; and 3. An individualist model where family members are fairly autonomous and that individuality should be respected.7 Canadian Statistics further defines Family as: A now-married couple, a common-law couple or a lone-parent with a child or youth who is under the age of 25 and who does not have his or her own spouse or child living in the household. Now-married couples and common-law couples may or may not have such children and youth living with them. Now-married couples and common-law couples are classified as husband-wife families and the partners in the couple are classified as spouses.8

Family, as defined by the Netherlands Cabinet refers to a social unit where one or more children are being cared for and/or brought up.9 The National Statistical Service of Greece counts all the people who live under the same roof as a family even if they are not related.

However, to the Yoruba, the family is the most sacred and significant institution, who are child-centered, ruled by the elderly, and controlled by adults. The family is an effective unit of political control, religious affiliation, resource allocation, and assurance of safety. It is also the most effective agent of socialization. The family teaches the first lessons in discipline, personal gratitude, and affection. The family is where young people are exposed to their first preferences and prejudices. In the family, the lessons in honor and shame are learned, just as are the first lessons in dissembling to avoid the truth that may injure the well-being of the community11. More poignantly, it is in and through the copious lessons in religious symbolism learned in the family that one comes to understand the cyclical and connected way of life in the here and now, the future, and the hereafter12. Many Yoruba proverbs reiterate the view that the dead gave birth to the living, and the living ought to give birth to and nurture the children who represent the future. The Yoruba further cloak these sentiments, according to Abimbola, in the garb of religious obligation by insisting on a notion of afterlife whose reward is the opportunity for those elders who died well or properly to come and visit their progeny on earth. They attach their soul to the two other souls of the child to be born. Eleda, the first soul, is every individual's share in divine essence. The ori is that which is unique, or that which distinguishes one from any other person. In and through the child that is born, the dead are reincarnated to temporarily be with and bless the living.13

The sociological significance of this notion of birth and rebirth lies in its usefulness as a social welfare policy. It ensures that children are wanted, nurtured, and brought up to be fine examples of what the Yoruba call Omoluwabithe well-bred child. If a parent believes a son or daughter is a reincarnation of the parent's mother or father, the parent will not abandon the child. Seen in this context, marriage for the Yoruba man or woman is a necessity. 2.2. Different Family Forms.

The family is the fundamental unit of social structure, the only unit common to all groups of people. The family unit has specific functions with relation to its members and to the total society. It is the primary social institution, serving as the means of transferring culture from one generation to another. Division of labor between sexes is a strong influence in keeping the family together. The institution takes different forms among different peoples. Family systems ordinarily count descent through both father and mother, but many tribes consider a child as belonging to either the father's or the mother's family. This type of inheritance constitutes the unilateral family. The term sib in United States anthropological usage and the term clan in British usage denote the unilateral-descent groupthat is, matrilineal or patrilineal clans indicate lines of descent through the mother or father, respectively. 14. The diverse data coming from ethnography, history, law and social statistics, establish that the human family is an institution and not a biological fact founded on the natural relationship of consanguinity15. Early scholars of family history applied Darwin's biological theory of evolution in their theory of evolution of family systems.16 American anthropologist Lewis Henry Morgan published Ancient Society in 1877 based on his theory of the three stages of human progress from Savagery through Barbarism to Civilization.17 Morgan's book was the inspiration for Friedrich Engels' book The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State published in 1884.18 Engels expanded Morgan's

hypothesis that economical factors caused the transformation of primitive community into a class-divided society.19 Engels' theory of resource control, and later that of Karl Marx, was used to explain the cause and effect of change in family structure and function. The popularity of this theory was largely unmatched until the 1980s, when other sociological theories, most notably structural functionalism, gained acceptance.20 However, the different types of families occur in a wide variety of settings, and their specific functions and meanings depend largely on their relationship to other social institutions. Sociologists have a special interest in the function and status of these forms in stratified (especially capitalist) societies. The term nuclear family is commonly used, especially in North America and Europe, to refer to conjugal families. Sociologists distinguish between conjugal families (relatively independent of the kindred of the parents and of other families in general) and nuclear families (which maintain relatively close ties with their kindred). The term extended family is also common in North America, Europe and Africa. This has two distinct meanings. First, it serves as a synonym of consanguineous family (that is of the same blood). Second, in societies dominated by the conjugal family, it refers to kindred (an egocentric network of relatives that extends beyond the domestic group) who do not belong to the conjugal family. These types refer to ideal or normative structures found in particular societies. Any society will exhibit some variation in the actual composition and conception of families. Much sociological, historical and anthropological research dedicates itself to the understanding of this variation, and of changes in the family that form over time. Thus, some speak of the bourgeois family, a family structure arising out of 16th- and 17thcentury European households, in which the family centers on a marriage between a man and woman, with strictly defined gender-roles. The man typically has responsibility for income and support, the woman for home and family matters.

According to the work of scholars such as Max Weber, Alan Macfarlane, Steven Ozment, Jack Goody and Peter Laslett, the huge transformation that led to modern marriage in Western democracies was fueled by the religio-cultural value system provided by elements of Judaism, early Christianity, Roman Catholic canon law and the Protestant Reformation.21 In contemporary Europe and North America, people in academic, political and civil sectors have called attention to single-father-headed households, and families headed by same-sex couples. Also the term blended family or stepfamily describes families with mixed parents: one or both parents remarried, bringing children of the former family into the new family.22 Also Michael Lamb, a social psychologist says that traditional family refers to a middleclass family with a bread-winning father and a stay-at-home mother, married to each other and raising their biological children, and nontraditional which is diametrically opposed to traditional family. Most of the US households are now non-traditional family.23 Nevertheless, in Africa, the family as a universal group, with many different forms and functions. The basic family unit is the elementary or nuclear family, a small domestic group made up of a husband, his wife, and their children; frequently, attached kin are included as well. This group is formed by a marriage and ends either with the death of one of the spouses or with divorce. Where polygyny is permitted, a husband and his wives form a compound family. Elementary and compound families in most parts of the continent traditionally have also been units of wider and longer-lasting families, known as joint or extended families. In these families, there are typically two or more generations, either a group of brothers and sons and their wives and children (a patrilineal joint family) or, in some places, a group of sisters and their husbands and children (a matrilineal joint family). This kind of family is longlasting, and indeed self-perpetuating; a death makes no difference to its overall structure, and thus it can last over several generations, with a membership of up to a hundred people and more. As a general rule, joint and extended families are found in rural rather than in urban settlements, the latter more

usually being occupied by many elementary families, each in isolation from the others. But there are many exceptions (e.g., the Yoruba of the traditional southern Nigerian cities, still maintain extended families bond even today). The basis of kinship in Africa as elsewhere, is descent from an ancestor. The most widespread descent group is known as the clan, which can be either patrilineal or matrilineal. The members of the former type of clan comprise all those who are born from a single founding ancestor through the male line only; those of the latter comprise all those born from a single founding ancestor or ancestress through the female line only. Patrilineal is far more common in Africa than matrilineal, which is limited mainly to parts of Zambia and Malawi, in central Africa, and to Ghana and Ivory Coast, in western Africa. Regardless of the means of descent, authority in the family and elsewhere is always formally held by men; therefore, men have domestic authority in both patrilineal and matrilineal families (formal matriarchy is unknown in Africa). Clans, which are rarely corporate units in Africa, are clusters of kin who claim a single common ancestry but can rarely, if ever, trace the actual links of descent. Usually clans are exogamous units and may recognize various ritual prohibitions, such as taboos on certain foods, that give them a sense of unity and of distinctiveness from others. Clans are typically segmented into constituent groups, with each group recognizing a founding ancestor more recent than the clan founder; these are known in the literature as lineages, one of the criteria for a lineage being that its memberspatrilineal or matrilinealcan trace actual kinship links between themselves. Lineages may themselves be segmented into smaller units, the smallest typically being the group around which a domestic family is established. Such a family (if patrilineal) includes the husband and his children, all members of the small lineage, and his wife, who by the rule of exogamy must come from another clan.

Almost every African society has some form of descent group, however transitory, as the basis of its social organization. The recognition of these variations of ancestral descent is an effective way of constructing local groups that can last for severaloften for manygenerations and in which the closeknit ties of kinship provide powerful links through the notion of common blood. By claiming exclusive ancestry, such a group can claim exclusive rights to clan and lineage property24. Marriages between their members, by the rule of exogamy, cement them in to larger communities and societies, each possessing its own sense of common ethnic and cultural belonging.

Although these traditional forms of family and kinship are lessening in importance, with the continuing need for urban and industrialized labor and the consequent increase in labor migration, yet, the strength of kin groups remains great. They are well suited to traditional forms of production and exchange where these are found (which is still the case among the majority of African peoples),

and they provide a sense of personal identity and security


that is of high emotive value.

2.3 Major African family forms. John Mbiti underscores the important belief and sense of the community among traditional Africans when he writes : in traditional Africa, the individual does not and cannot exist alone except corporately. He owes existence to other people, including those of past generations and his contemporaries. Whatever happens to the individual is believed to happen to the whole group, and whatever happens to the whole group happens to the individual... The individual can only say: I am because we are, and since we are, therefore I am.

Christopher I. Ejizu lay much emphasis on the fact that the sense of community and humane living are highly cherished values of traditional African life. He argues that in spite of the apparent disarray in the experience of modern politics and brutal internecine wars in many parts of the Africa Continent, for traditional Africans, the community is basically sacred, rather than secular, and surrounded by several religious forms and symbols.29 A. Shorter writes that a visitor to Africa is soon struck by the frequent use of the first person plural 'we', 'ours' in everyday speech. In modern African urban cities, primary community loyalties of one's extended family and village, continue to exert their hold over people who live away from the communities of their home-towns

Ogundowole talking on cultural identity, argues that

People generally return to their villages from their residence in the cities (crossing the artificial boundaries created by the colonial interloper) from time to time to join members of their village community to celebrate important traditional rituals and cultural events like initiation, title-taking, festival etc.31 Traditional Africans share the basic instinct of gregariousness with the rest of human-kind. Families and members of kin-groups from minimal to maximal lineages, generally live together and form community. Africans share life intensely in common. There are communal farmland, economic trees, streams, barns, and markets. There are also communal shrines, squares, masquerades, ritual objects and festivals for recreational activity, social, economic and religious purposes. Members of the same kindred or clan could distinguish themselves by their proficiency in a particular trade, skill or profession.

Some traditional African communities or even entire language group may be experts in wood carving, practice of traditional medicine, or black-smithing. For example, the Lovedu of South Africa, the Ibibio of south-east Nigeria and the Awka in Igboland are widely reputed for their skills in wood-carving and blacksmithing . These and similar features characterize the communal life of both agrarian and normadic groups of traditional Africa. Closeness to nature,

the experience of life in terribly hazardous environment, and the crucial need for security and better performance in means of livelihood are some relevant factors that combine to deepen the natural impulse for gregariousness and sense of community among different African peoples. For traditional Africans, community is much more than simply a social grouping of people bound together by reasons of natural origin and/or deep common interests and values. It is both a society as well as a unity of the visible and invisible worlds; the world of the physically living on the one hand, and the world of the ancestors, divinities and souls of children yet to be born to individual kin-groups. In a wider sense, African traditional community comprehends the totality of the world of African experience including the physical environment, as well as all spirit beings acknowledged by a given group. The network of relationships among human beings are remarkably extended and deep. In fact, the words family, brother, or sister, etc. define far more for Africans than what they mean today for the average European or North American. The family for the traditional African, usually includes one's direct parents, grand and great grand parents, brothers, sisters, uncles, and aunts, cousins, nieces and nephews. And normally, a child would refer to any of his uncles or aunts as his father or mother, his nephews and nieces as his/her brothers and sisters. People generally do not ask a child his/her personal name. Rather, a child is identified as a child of so and so parents. The extended family system is the model. The molecular family pattern is alien and believed to be inimical to the traditional value of community. Actually, it is only in recent times that the latter system began to surface mainly in urban towns as a result of external influences in the Continent. The extended family structure is up held by the people as model, one in which parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts, nephews and nieces live together and are cared for by their children grand-children and other relatives in mutual love and respect.

Prior to the advent and spread of external forces of change engendered by colonialism, commerce and Christian and Islamic missionary campaigns most groups of sub-Saharan Africa lived in stable, largely small-scale and homogeneous communities. The traditional religion was a typical religion of structure. It was the sole world-view with which people explained, predicted and controlled space-time events. It underpinned every facet of life of the people. It was particularly significant in inculcating and promoting the sense of community-living and certain key values associated with that. African traditional religion suffused and gave meaning to life, pervaded and permeated all its aspects. What one of the pioneer colonial officials, who lived and worked among the traditional Igbo of Nigeria from 1895 to 1905 witnessed, is typical of the situation that prevailed throughout sub-Saharan Africa prior to the total exposure of the Continent to external forces of radical change. ...They are, in the strict and natural sense of the word, a truly and a deeply religious people, of whom it can be said, as it has been said of the Hindus, that they eat religiously, drink religiously, bathe religiously, dress religiously, and sin religiously. In a few words, the religion of these natives, as we have endeavoured to point out, is their existence, and their existence is their religion.33 The situation has changed radically today. The experience of colonialism, Christian missionary activity and Islamic religious campaign have given rise to a radically different socio-political and religious background in Africa. Colonialism created a new social and political order in sub-Saharan Africa. It created modern nations by pulling together traditional groups with diverse language and cultural identities. Countries like Angola, Congo Brazzaville, Ghana, Nigeria and Rwanda came into existence as a result of the colonial enterprise. Urbanization has given rise to mega-cities in different parts of the Continent. Most communities are no longer homogeneous. They are

heterogeneous and plural in virtually every aspect of their life. A wedge has been driven between the sacred and the so-called secular aspects of life. 34 While it is true that the traditional religion still has considerable influence in the life and culture of many African peoples today, it no longer enjoys exclusive dominance and control over the life of the vast majority of the population. The prevailing social and political order in most parts of contemporary sub-Saharan Africa resembles more the state of affairs in European countries. Civil society now prevails. There are civil governments, civil law, agencies of government responsible for law and order, Western-type schools for formal education and socialization. Above all, plurality of religions is now the existing order in the Continent with Christianity and Islam being the dominant faiths. The law of diminishing returns have since befallen African Traditional Religions. Roles in society are now much more specialized and differentiated unlike what obtained in the traditional background. Life is parceled out into specific departments and different needs catered for by distinct units in the civil society. The prevailing radical social change has far-reaching implications for the ideal of community-living in contemporary Africa. On the one hand, the world-view with which people explain and control reality is no longer the traditional one which is religion-dominated. Certain traditional African beliefs, customs and practices associated with the idea and promotion of community-living among many African groups have been outlawed.35 They were considered either too barbaric, or simply opposed to the aims of colonial administration and/or Christian missionaries. For example, Polygamy, which has as its major objective to produce many children and thereby increase the size of the community as much as possible, is in serious decline in many parts of modern Africa. This is as a result of the combination of several factors, including Christian missionary preaching against it, couple with the changing economic circumstances. The traditional belief in ancestors and other spiritual patrons, as well as the vital role they were believed to play in fostering community-living

and healthy family ethics have been seriously relativized in most contemporary societies. African societies are visibly in a state of transition, a stage of betwixt and between, with the attendant anxiety, tension and confusion being felt at virtually every facet of life of the people. The destabilization of the traditional values have clearly left wide gaps in the social structure, particularly in the bonds of conjugal/intersexual, interpersonal and inter-group relationships.

2.4 The place and value of children in marriage. If we consider the classical three goods of marriage as expounded by St. Augustine - the bonum prolis or offspring, the bonum fidei or unity, and the bonum sacramenti or indissolubility

- we can immediately state that at first,

the sense of children as a good that is, a value to be desired is so strong in the traditional African outlook - as to make the other two goods totally subordinated to it and indeed over-ridden by it.36 It is important, here, to underline that the main factor behind polygamy in Africa is not sexual incontinence, but the overriding desire and, as it were, necessity of having children. This can be seen, for instance, in the fact that the taking of a second wife is so often the simple consequence of the barrenness of the first wife or inability to have a male child.37 However, some scholars have argue that Polygamy not only violates the divine design that marriage should be a communion of life between just one man and one woman who then become two in one flesh (Gen. 2, 24), but, it also contradicts the fundamental equality of the spouses which is grounded both in nature and in the scriptural affirmation that the feminine expression of human nature - no less than the masculine - images God (Gen. 1,26-27). Although polygamy still has its defenders; the majority of Africans readily understand that the Christian and natural norm of monogamous marriage is essential for upholding the dignity of woman.

Nevertheless, African have

deep and universal conviction that children are a

blessing. At personal and social attitudes, they favor having children. Lack of children is considered a misfortune, or even a sign of a curse. The desire for children has always been the main motive inspiring the African to marry. It would be inadequate to interpret this as placing the procreational or biological aspect of marriage above the aspect of personal fulfillment. A true analysis is that personal fulfillment for the African is achieved very principally in having offspring - through which one expresses and perpetuates oneself. Children have always been regarded as a prolongation of self and therefore in some way a fulfillment of immortality. A man who had no child would consider himself dead and finished. His life has come to an end: it has no continuation. The concept of a deliberately barren marriage is inconceivable for the African. It would mean a choice not to express oneself; therefore a lack of personality and of personal fulfillment; a choice to remain within an expressionless selfenclosure. Even today an African who sees a couple that does not want children will say that they are barren, that is, they are not capable of having children. In consequence, most Africans cannot even understand the idea of contraception It makes no sense to them. 2.5. Child Spacing Of course, procreation is a fundamental right but parenthood should be responsible. The goal of Child spacing is to assist families in achieving the number of children desired, with appropriate spacing and timing to ensure optimal growth and development of each family member

Failure to plan a

pregnancy can adversely affect the health of the individual, the health of the relationship and the health of the family as a whole. Traditionally, intensive breast-feeding of long duration (18-24 months) has been the norm, and in many African countries the prevalence of breast-feeding still exceeds 90 percent in the immediate postpartum period. Unfortunately this useful and life saving practice for the infant is decreasing especially in urban areas. In some

African societies, a long period of abstinence from sexual intercourse after delivery was a major contributing factor to child spacing.39 In 1976, family planning objectives were defined for Africa during a regional meeting on Family Welfare and African Development South of the Sahara in Ibadan (Nigeria) under the auspices of IPPF (The International Planned Parenthood Federation )

In view of the right for couples to have children by

choice, governments were advised not to relent their efforts in ameliorating the performance of national family planning programmes. In Cameroon, for instance, under provisions of sections 337 and 339 of law No 65/LF/24 of 24 December 1965, and Law No 67/LF/1 of 12 June 1967, abortion is punishable (whether self-inflicted or procured, consented or without consent), except when performed as a medical necessity such as saving the mother from great danger to her health or in the case of pregnancy resulting from rape.41 Despite these laws, induced abortion continues to be carried out in increasing numbers in all communities. There are no political restrictions on other methods of fertility regulation despite divergences in religious opinion. Over the last 30 years, several attempts have been made to get family planning to take off in Africa, but often, there has been no political will and commitment. The drive for child spacing started in Cameroon in 1971 after a seminar on family planning programmes organized by the Institute of Public Affairs in Washington, at which a participant, Professor Nasah, presented the situation of alarming rates of induced and spontaneous abortion in Cameroon and how they could be prevented by family planning. In 1975, Nasah and Drouin opened the first family planning clinic in Cameroon at the Central Maternity, Central Hospital, Yaounde. It was still through this teams effort that the Cameroon National Welfare Association (CAMNAFAW) which is affiliated to IPPF was founded in Cameroon 1987. Prior to 1980 the Cameroon government had a pronatalist policy and it was not until February 1980 at the Bafoussam Congress that the government was for the first time called upon by the

President to undertake actions to sensitize and educate the population on responsible parenthood, and the need to curb the rising population in Cameroon. A law permitting the sale of contraceptives was enacted in July 1980. In July 1986, during the presentation of the 6th plan of action, the President of Cameroon again called on Cameroonians to consider procreation as a fundamentmal right but stressing that parenthood should be responsible. In 1989, a Department of Maternal Health and Mental Health was created in the Ministry of Public Health and a national family planning policy was adopted in 1991. Since the creation of the family planning clinic in the central maternity, training of personnel in family planning technology has regularly been carried out by the reproductive health training team of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology of the Faculty of Medicine, University of Yaounde.42 In the last 15 years the attitude of the African Government went from open hostility toward family planning to tolerance under responsible parenthood and to commitment to family planning as a national policy.43 Most African countries, have followed the same pattern of evolution as Cameroon. A growing number of African thinkers have become increasingly skeptical about the validity of the arguments behind population control. For several decades, third world countries have been told that control is an essential condition for growth and development. If you want to maximize economic growth, you must minimize population growth. Msgr. Burke notes that : As Africans become aware of the limitless amounts of money spent by western agencies in propagating birth-control in the Third World, they are beginning to ask: can all of this be really so disinterested? why is it that we have to pay for aid to build roads and dams and so forth, but we get funds for family planning free... Well, I think that people expect you to pay for what benefits you. If they are prepared to make a free gift, it is because the gift benefits them! Not that family-planning aid is really free. The adoption of a family-planning

policy is the premium the developing country has to pay if it wants to receive aid in essential areas of development. This is what the developing countries are being told: If you want aid for highways, hospitals and PowerStation, then reduce your birth rate. No familyplanning policy? No aid. It is as simple as that. 44 The ongoing contraceptive campaign with all of its anti-sex, anti-marriage, antifamily, anti-life implications radically violate the sacredness of natural sense so deeply shared by Africans. Most African governments have adopted some form of population-control policy. Western population agencies however are not too satisfied with the way these policies have been implemented and tend to accuse African governments of half-heartedness in the matter. The accusation is no doubt correct. No government is going to try to impose policies which their people deeply detest, still less so when most of the ministers of the government themselves share that detestation, and look on those of their colleagues who do not, as having lost their African identity. The western agencies do not seem to realize - or just do not care- that they are violating deeply-ingrained cultural and moral values. Probably they do not care; because their campaigns are undoubtedly making progress. The birth-control mentality is becoming generalized in the cities. Through the schools, including the rural schools, teenagers and even children are becoming imbued with it. The result is that sexual morality is collapsing among the young. Pornography another western export - is becoming widespread. Teenage pregnancies are escalating (hence the insistent call for free abortion as the only solution). The African countries too are faced with an ominous growth in social violence and general dishonesty (which, as the West has already experienced, always follow sexual permissiveness).45

2.6 Parenting and parental authority

Parenting refers to child-rearing : the experiences, skills, qualities, and responsibilities involved in being a parent and in teaching and caring for a child. In other words, Parenting is the process of promoting and supporting the physical, emotional, social, and intellectual development of a child from infancy to adulthood. Parenting refers to the aspects of raising a child aside from the biological relationship.46 In the case of humans, it is usually done by the biological parents of the child in question, although governments and society play a role as well. In many cases, orphaned or abandoned children receive parental care from non-parent blood relations. Others may be adopted, raised by foster care, or be placed in an orphanage. The goals of human parenting are debated. Usually, parental figures provide for a child's physical needs, protect them from harm, and impart in them skills and cultural values until they reach legal adulthood, usually after adolescence. Developmental psychologist Diana Baumrind identified three main parenting styles in early child development: authoritative, authoritarian, and permissive.47 Maccoby and Martin expanded the styles to four: authoritative, authoritarian, indulgent and neglectful.48 These four styles of parenting involve combinations of acceptance and responsiveness on the one hand and demand and control on the other49 Each parenting style has a different impact on children.

Authoritarian parenting style can be very rigid and strict. It is mostly patriarchical in nature and everything is often decided by the father. Parents who use this style have a strict set of rules and expectations; if rules are not followed it ends up with punishment. There is usually no explanation giving for the punishment; just that the children are in trouble and should be dealt with accordingly. This parenting style and parents who use a more authoritarian approach with power assertion and the involvement of physical punishment with little emotions of comfort and affection are more likely to produce children with deviant

tendencies. This style is subject to producing children that can internalize and externalize undesired behaviours as well as developing problems in social situations. Also the punishment aspect of this parenting style also contributed to problems in school for the youth, their behaviours were often deemed undesirable. This contributed to the youth conducting themselves in a deviant manner in the school as well as toward other children50

The authoritative style consists of following the same rules as the authoritarian parents; having strict rules and expectations however, there is more open communication with parents and children in the authoritative style. They listen more to their children and how they feel. When children have problems with rules and they are broken these parents tend to be more receptive. They monitor instead of trying to rule the childrens life they are less restrictive parents but still assertive

Permissive parenting is often the style parents try to stay away from. There is not much structure here for children, and parents often do not set rules or have guidelines for their children. They do not have many expectations from their children; they avoid conflict and are more nurturing to the children. They are more lenient when it comes to misbehaviour and often do not punish the children for wrongdoing Children under this parenting style have a hard time communicating with parents about things they found important to them. Children with less communication with parents tended to have more negative behaviours at school than those






communication with their parents

Uninvolved parenting style, here, parents are often absent emotionally and they have no expectations of the children and regularly do not have communication or a nurturing feature to them. They provide everything their children need for survival with little or no time to engage them in

discussion. They are not interested in their schooling other than making sure that they go and they are not interested in extracurricular activities they (children) may be involved in. There is often a large gap between parents and children with this parenting style. Children with little or no communication with their parents tended to more often be the victims of other childrens deviant behaviour and involved in some deviance themselves

There is no single or definitive model of parenting. What may be right for one family or one child may not be suitable for another. With authoritative and permissive (indulgent) parenting on opposite sides of the spectrum, most conventional and modern models of parenting fall somewhere in between. Parenting strategies as well as behaviours/ideals of what parents expect whether communicated verbally and/or non-verbally also play a significant role in a childs development54. Parenthood of children appears to have more and, arguably, deeper roots in African in Africa shows that motive for parenthood is not restricted to

communities when compared to industrialized countries, Insight into the value issues relating to individuals happiness and personal wellbeing. For example, children secure conjugal ties, offer social security, assist with labour, confer social status, secure rights of property and inheritance, provide continuity through re-incarnation and maintaining the family lineage, satisfy emotional needs etc. hence African often say that It takes a whole village to raise a childThat is, a child upbringing is a communal effort. The responsibility for raising a child is shared with the larger family (sometimes called the extended family). Everyone in the family participates especially the older children, aunts and uncles, grandparents, and even cousins. It is not unusual for African children to stay for long periods with their grandparents or aunts or uncles. Even the wider community gets involved such as neighbors and friends. Children are considered a blessing from God for the whole community. This communal










emphasizes the values of family relationships, parental care, self-sacrificing concern for others, sharing, and even hospitality. This is very close to the Biblical worldview as seen in scripture texts related to unity and cooperation (Ecclesiastes 4:9,12) and a mother's self-sacrificing love (Isaiah 49:15-16). Within this structure, children occupy a central place and are raised in a close family group. However, rapid demographic and socio-economic changes due mainly to urbanization and modernization have altered the composition and structure of families in modern African societies. In the modern era, the concept of family has shrunk to become a nuclear family consisting solely of the father, mother and children, thus denying many parents of the assistance they once received from extended family support networks. The nuclear family is a matter of the individuals life, his house, his possessions and not the traditional usage of our farm, our home, sharing all happiness and woes and successes as in an extended family. As a result, many parents find it difficult to carry out their work as well as family responsibilities. In many homes, both parents (i.e. mother and father) work, and leave the parenting responsibilities to nannies, house-help etc. The consequence of these neglect is the apparent socially undesirable and deviant behaviours of the children ranging from areagirlism and area-boyism to secret cultism, debauchery, armed robbery etc. 2.7 Division of labor within the family: children, parents, and others.

Gendered ideologies influence the way we think, the goals we make, and the roles we take on in and out of the home. The family as the primary and immediate unit of society is our first agent. It is an effective system through which unequal traditions and relationships are established and inherited. These traditions are based on defining different realms for men and women on the basis of notions of their inherent characteristics. So while men embody logic, rationality, thought, objectivity, individuality, independence, progress and culture; women embody feeling, emotions, dependence, fickleness,

subjectivity, possessiveness nature and feebleness. Women are also considered naturally incapable of supporting themselves and hence their assumed dependence upon men, roles that are internalised and form the basis of social expectations that men will have to bear the responsibility of women. In Africa, just as with most parts of the world, the hierarchical structure of the family, rests on two axes: age and sex. The young are compliant to the old, and women are compliant to men. Traditionally, the source of authority and power that the father exercised stemmed from the fact that he is in possession of the family property and control it. This compliance of the young and of females is acquired through socialization.

In Nigeria, for example, among the Yoruba,

the eldest male Olori-ebi is the patriarch, he is the head of not just the immediate, but the entire extended family. In that role, he is the adjudicator of family disputes from the personal to those about the division of the family's wealth. He's also the spiritual leader of the family, because of his age he's thought to be closer to the spirits of the family's dead ancestors.56 Arguably, the biological dispositions of women and men are said to obviate their social roles. Women are associated with the home and hearth while men with the outside world; women with nature and men with culture; women with private and men with the public, women with emotions and men with rationality. Women are taught to be subservient, obedient, silent, self sacrificing, unquestioning, tolerant, including of violence and pain. They are spoken of instead of being the ones speaking. They internalise alien perspectives and constantly judge themselves on these parameters. Those who defy these expectations are termed bad and immoral with characters unbecoming of women. A limited role is accorded to women that stems and revolves around their biological experiences. Thus culturally constructed masculinity and femininity have operated historically to naturalize and sustain gendered and unequal power relations. Although this has changed historically due to complex changes in the socio-political and economic contexts and womens movements, the hegemonic patriarchal ideology that guides social

behaviour and imagination remains strong and adapts to structural and social changes in order to accommodate and incorporate them. The traditional nuclear family shows women at home with the children while men go out and work as the bread winners. In the past decades however, more and more women have entered the paid work force as either labourers or as career women. Regardless of this change, the work place, the culture and most of all, the men have not adjusted themselves to this new reality57. In other words, behavioural and organizational changes lag behind ideological changes. An example of this stalled revolution is the current labour division of the home

Hochschild defines the additional unpaid work, such as

cleaning, cooking etc. that people do in the home as the second shift. According to her, women worked an extra month of twenth-four hour days a year taking care of the second shift.59 Why is it that women are stuck doing all these work? She gave example of her home: In my family, my father was the traditional bread winner husband who took care of all the finances and provided for everything. He felt that he did not have to clean since he worked and paid all the bills, while my mother stayed at home. If this is a valid reason for immunity from housework, then why does it not work the other way around? If women are equal bread winners in the home, then how do men continue to avoid sharing equal responsibility for the second shift?60 However, different explanatory approaches to the persistence of the gendered division of domestic labour involve very different understandings of the problem, but they all presupposes an explanation that ultimately points to how unpaid labour is distributed within the couple. Basically, two main perspectives are found in the literature. One is rational-choice minded, the other develops a symbolic interactionist viewpoint.61 According to the first one, the division of labour is a gender blind process based on the bargaining power

that partners obtain from the resources exchanged (e.g., money, social status) in the relationship. In this view, domestic labour is an unpleasant activity that people generally seek to avoid. Under the other perspective, domestic labour has significance for partners gender identity and does not represent necessarily an activity to be avoided. Furthermore, housework can represent a way to display love and affection toward the partner, especially (and most often) from the part of women. What brings about change according to these different perspectives? Under the rational choice point of view, womens increased access to resources should foster change in traditional gender roles. From the symbolic interactionist perspective change in the division of domestic labour can arise when domestic tasks are no longer vehicles of meaning for ones gender identity. Moreover this requires also a change at the macro level. Indeed the meaning of domestic activities for gender identity is not independent of shared notions and cultural norms. The latter are incorporated in different expectations that the labour market and welfare institutions have towards men and women. Therefore the doing-gender based explanation refers to institutional elements whose change remains to be explained. 62 A recent theoretical model by Breen and Cooke takes a wider view on the topic. Many studies, in fact, concentrated on the division of labour once the couple is already formed and neglected the consequences of previous and successive phases (i.e. mating and separation) for the aggregate distribution of domestic labour. In the Breen and Cookes model, the division of domestic labour is the outcome of a trust game that begins with partner selection and continues during marriage when the division of housework takes place quite straightforwardly until possible marriage breakdown. Under the models assumptions, husbands cooperation to domestic labour, is conditional upon womans type (i.e. her attitudes toward marriage and family and her economic circumstances as well), facilitates certain kinds of marriages (i.e., pairings between certain types

and prevents marriage dissolution. The persistence

over time of marked inequalities in the distribution of housework between men

and women would be explained by the fact that only a small minority of women is of Autonomous type (i.e. egalitarian minded and economically independent) and an insufficient proportion of men is of Adjuster type (i.e. not completely traditional minded). Thus threats of divorce are not strong enough to convince this kind of men that it is better to participate in domestic tasks rather than to endure marital breakdown. In sum, according to this model, to explain the persistence of the gendered division of domestic labour it is necessary to look at the dynamics of couples formation and dissolution. In the long run an equalization in the distribution of domestic labour will be determined by the survival and increasing prevalence of couples made of partners with greater odds of marital stability and gender equality with respect to domestic labour. Although appealing, there is at least a missing element in this causal explanation64: the mechanism linking inequality (or non participation at all) in the division of domestic labour and risk of divorce. A good candidate to fill in the gap is perceived fairness. In fact inequality per se is not a reason to divorce. The perception of injustice or unfairness about inequality in the distribution of housework is a motive that could lead to divorce. Persisting perception of unfairness is likely to generate dissatisfaction with the relationship and resentment toward the partner

In the end, this can lead to

divorce if the latter is feasible. However, much research showed that unfairness in the division of housework seems to be of concern only for a minority of women ( especially women with western orientation ) and that fairness does not coincides with equality for most couples This casts serious doubts on the likelihood that inequality in the distribution of tasks is a major cause of divorce66. On the other hand, perceived (un)fairness and (dis)satisfaction might be elements that prompt behavioural change endogenously, fuelling couples bargaining process. If that were true, the relationship between division of domestic labour and divorce would be more complex and needing to be revised. Also Breen and Cookes model should be revised in order to be more compatible

with observed mechanisms responsible for the modification of housework distribution within couples. For example, taking into account perceived fairness, in the long run one could find that (1) there remain couples with more egalitarian allocation and hence higher level of perceived fairness; or (2) there remain couples more available to bear inequality and hence the aggregate distribution of housework remains gendered and at the same time the perception of fairness is still high. The latter observation would not seem to be much compatible with Breen and Cookes model. Because of limitation of time and space we cannot explain the three-way relationship between housework, perceived fairness and divorce. we have focused instead on how the first two dynamically change over time and our submission is that a division of housework perceived as unfair generates pressure that motivates spouses to restore equity in a later time by redefining the division in some way (e.g., outsourcing some part of the housework, bargaining over a greater involvement of the partner, or simply decreasing standards). This does not exclude divorce as an extreme option to solve the fairness issue. Yet the former becomes less likely if other adjustments are possible. References 1. Simpson, Ida Harper. Family. Microsoft Encarta 2009 [DVD]. Redmond, WA: Microsoft Corporation, 2008 2. J.A. Simpson and E.S.C. Weiner, s.v. family The Compact Oxford English Dictionary New/Second Edition, (New York: Oxford University Press, Inc., 2000). 3. Simpson, Ida Harper. Op.cit. 4. Census 2000 Profiles of General Demographic Characteristics, United States, U.S. Census Bureau, Washington, DC (2001). p. A-1. Archived at: http://www.census.gov/prod/cen2000/doc/ProfilesTD.pdf retrieved 5. Ibid.

6. Janet L. Dolgin, The Constitution As Family Arbiter: A Moral in the Mess? Columbia Law Review, 102.(1) (March 4, 2002), pp. 379- 383 7. Hans-Joachim Schulze. General Monitoring Report, 2004, European Observatory on Family Matters (2004), p. 2. Archived at: http://europa.eu.int/comm/employment_social/eoss/downloads/gm_04 _Netherlands.pdf and Hans-Joachim Schulze and Peter Cuyvers, The Situation of Families in The Netherlands in 2001, European Observatory on Family Matters (2001), p. 2. Archived at: http://europa.eu.int/comm/employment_social/eoss/downloads/gm_01 _netherlands_schulze_cuyvers.pdf 8. Census Family Definition, Statistics Canada, Accessed at http://www.statcan.ca/english/concepts/definitions/cen-family.htm on August 27, 2005. Statistics Canada information is used with the permission of Statistics Canada. 9. Ibid. 10. Aphrodite Teperoglou, "Greece," International Encyclopedia of USA (2002), p. 775. Available through: Marriage and Family, (2nd ed). James J. Ponzetti, (ed.), Macmillian Reference http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail//0028656725/qid=112 3776640/sr=8-1/ref=sr_8_xs_ap_i1_xgl14/104-08876804192712?v= glance&s=books&n=507846orhttp://www.galegroup.com/servlet/ItemDe tailServlet?region=9&imprint=000&titleCode=M106&type=4&id=174024 .Retrieved 20/10/2010 11. O.A. Balogun, African Beliefs. In: O.O. Odugbemi, A. Adebanjo, K.A. Balogun and S.F. Adedoyin (eds.), Essentials of General Studies,( Ago-Iwoye: CESAP. 1997.) pp. 330334. 12. O. Gbadegesin. Destiny, Personality and the Ultimate Reality of Human Existence: A Yoruba Perspective. A paper presented at the second perennial meeting of the Institute of Ultimate Reality and Meaning in Toronto, Canada, August. 1983.pp.39-41


W. Abimbola. Iwapele: The Concept of Good Character in Ifa

Literary Corpus. In: W. Abimbola (ed.), Yoruba Oral Tradition, ( Ibadan:University of Ibadan.1975.)pp.389-393 14. 15. 16. Simpson, Ida Harper. Op. cit Foucault, Michel. The History of Sexuality: Volume I: An

Introduction. (New York : Vintage Books. 1978)pp.24-25, 56 Sociology :Founding the discipline. Encyclopdia Britannica. http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/551887/sociology/22296 1/Founding-the-discipline#ref=ref748622. Retrieved 2009-07-26. 17. Enciclopedia Britannica. http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/146165/culturalanthropology/38786/Marxism-and-the-collectors#ref=ref423234. Retrieved 2011-10-22. 18. 19. 20. Ibid. Tooker, Elisabeth. Another View of Morgan on Kinship. Current Sociology :Founding the discipline. Encyclopdia Britannica.

Anthropology 20, (1) (March 1979) pp. 131134. http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/551887/sociology/22296 1/Founding-the-discipline#ref=ref748622. Retrieved 2009-07-26. 21. 22. Sdp.cam.ac.uk. McCornack, http://www.sdp.cam.ac Reflect & Relate .uk/contacts/staff/ an introduction to profiles /mlamb.html. Retrieved 2011-10-26. Steven. interpersonal communication. (Boston/NY: Bedford/St. Martin's. 2010) pp. 369370. 23. 24. Zinn and Eitzen (1987) Diversity in American families, (New York: E.K. Ogundowole. Concerning the Self-retrieval of the Self :Problems Viking/Penguin Books.) p. 3 of Retrieving African Primordial Universe of Being (Lagos, Correct Counsels,2005, ) pp43-47 25. Ibid p 172

26. 27.

Ibid E. K. Ogundowole. Philosophy and Society (Lagos: Correct

Counsels. 2004)p.31 28. 29. 30. 31. J.S. Mbiti,(ed.) African Religions And Philosophy (London:

Heinemann, 1990 ed.) p.106. C.I. Ejizu. OFO, Igbo Ritual Symbol (Enugu : Fourth Dimension A. Shorter. African Christian Theology (London; Geoffrey Chapman, E.K. Ogundowole. Concerning the Self-retrieval of the Self : Publishers Ltd. 1986)p.34 1975). Problems of Retrieving African Primordial Universe of Being (Lagos, Correct Counsels,2005, )pp. 47-48 32. 33. 34. 35. 36. Ibid A.G. Leonard, The Lower Niger And Its Tribes (London; 1905, Frank E. Ibid Msgr. Burke. Marriage And The Family This conference paper K. Ogundowole. Philosophy and Society Lagos: (Correct

Cass, 1968 edition)p.129 Counsels. 2004) p.67

was presented in January 1987,within a series of courses for the training of in-service volunteers and technical experts in the field of international development, organized by Istituto per la Cooperazione Universitaria (ICU), Rome 37. 38. Ibid. Magdalene Yang Mange. The knowledge attitude and practice of

contraception among university students in Cameroon. MD Thesis - CUSS University of Yaounde. (1991)p.74 39. Ibid. p.77

40. 41. 42. 43. 44.

D.W. Awasum, and P. Etube. Final Report - Diagnostic Study of B.T. Nasah and P. Drouin. Care of the mother in the Tropics. Int.

Contraceptive Acceptance in Yaounde. Ministry of Health. (1992) pp.10-11 (Yaounde : Ceper 1982)pp.41-43 R.J. I. Leke. Family Planning in Africa South of the Sahara. Ibid. p.60 Msgr Burke. Marriage And The Family This conference paper was Journal of Gynecology. Obstetric. 3(33-35.) (1989) pp.62-75

presented in January 1987,within a series of courses for the training of in-service volunteers and technical experts in the field of international development, organized by Istituto per la Cooperazione Universitaria (ICU), Rome 45. 46. King, Christopher, and Scott, Eugenie Evolution Microsoft Bernstein, Robert. "Majority of Children Live With Two Biological Archived from the original on April 20, 2008. Encarta 2009 [DVD]. Redmond, WA: Microsoft Corporation 20008 Parents".

http://web.archive.org/web/20080420053142/http://www.census.gov/ Press-Release/www/releases/archives/children/011507.html. Retrieved 2009-03-26. 47. 48. D. Baumrind,. "Parental disciplinary patterns and social competence in children". Youth and Society 9 (3) (1978) pp.238276 E.E. Maccoby, and J.A. Martin. (1983). Socialization in the context Handbook of Child Psychology, volume IV: Socialization, of the family: Parentchild interaction. In P. Mussen and E.M. Hetherington. 49. 50. personality, and social development,( New York: Wiley,1983) pp. 110. J.W. Santrock.( Ed.) A topical approach to life-span development, A.C Fletcher, J.K. Walls, E.C. Cook, K.J. Madison, & T.H. Bridges. third (New York: McGraw-Hill. 2007).p62. Parenting style as a moderator of associations between maternal

disicinplary strategies and child well-being. Journal of Family Issies, 29(12), (2008) pp.1724-1744 51. 52. 53. 54. 55. Ibid.p.1745 Ibid.p1746 Ibid. pp. 1746-1747 L. Brown and S. Iyengar. Parenting Styles : the impact on student Nazek Nosseir. Family in the New Millennium: Major Trends

achievement. Marriage and Family Review , 43(1)(2008.),pp.14-38. Affecting Families in North Africa, Major Trends Affecting Families: A Background Document, Report for United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Division for Social Policy and Development, Program on the Family (2003), p. 6. Archived at: . http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/family/Publications/mtnosseir.pdf Retrieved 2011-10-26. 56. 57. 58. 59. 60. 61. Ibid. A. Hochschild. The Second Shift: Working Parents And The Ibid. p. 235 Ibid. p. 3 Ibid. p. 235 S. Coltrane. Research on Household Labor: Modelling and

Revolution At Home. (New York, NY : Viking Penguin Inc.1985) p.235

Measuring the Social Embeddedness of Routine Family Work, Journal of Marriage and the Family 62 (4) (2000),pp.92-95 62. 63. C. West and D. H. Zimmerman.op. cit.pp.5-12 Breen, R. and Cooke, L.P., (2005), The Persistence of the

Gendered Division of Domestic Labour. European Sociological Review 21(1) (2005)pp.43-57 64. S. Blair. (1992), The Sex-Typing Of Children's Household Labor: Parental Influence On Daughters'and Sons Housework Youth And Society 24(2) (1992)p. 178


D.L. Pia and V.L. Bengston. The Division of Household Labor

and Wives' Happiness: Ideology, Employment, and perceptions of Support. Journal of Marriage and the Family. 55(4) (1993) pp. 901-909. 66. J. Baxter and M Western. (1998), Satisfaction with Housework: Examining the Paradox. Sociology 32(1)pp.101-103.

CHAPTER THREE Family Instability in Africa 3.1. Common Sources Of Instability The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition defines stability as the state or quality of being stable, especially resistance to change, deterioration, or displacement. It refers to the quality of being enduring and free from change or variation1. Thus, instability as the opposite of the above stated qualities means unstableness, the quality or attribute of being unstable and irresolute. 2

Forman and Davies define family instability as the degree to which families fail to provide continuity, cohesiveness, and stability for children 3. Ackerman et al. outlined five sources of instability: (i) frequency of residential moves, (ii) the number of families with whom the child lived, (iii) changes of caregivers intimate relationships, (iv) severe illnesses in the child's history, and (v) negative life events other than the above. The first two indicators of instability, residential moves and changes of families/caregivers, have been identified as central sources of instability by many researchers such as Adam and ChaseLansdale,( 2002); Forman and Davies,(2003); Milan et al., (2006); Moore et al., (2000). It has been argued that these two factors are important due to their direct effect on childrens relationships with their parents, friends, neighbours, and possibly their teachers, which are social networks important for their optimal development and well-being.4 Unfortunately, a great number of children experience some level of family instability, as measured by turmoil in living circumstance, before they reach adulthood. These unstable living situations may often involve changes in their physical environments, such as moving to new homes, or in their family environment, such as a parents new partner moving in. Many of these children experience a number of changes in a relatively short time5. Previous research has identified a number of additional factors that contribute to family instability: significant changes in parents financial situation6, or working status, experiences of considerable health problems or death in the family7,, frequent changes of parental intimate relationships, reoccurring nonnormative school transitions, and moving to a new country8. Many have stressed that unstable family environments have detrimental effects on childrens behaviours and emotional states9,10. Some attention has been given to the negative influence of childhood family instability on young peoples wellbeing. For example, it has been claimed that a separation from ones parent figure may lead to having fewer positive relationships with adults

Forman and Davies however looked at the relationship between family instability and adolescents maladjustment and found that family instability significantly correlated with different internalizing and externalizing indicators of maladjustment. Nevertheless, previous research has focused mainly on cognitive, behavioural

and academic


indices of well-being and only very

few studies have looked at the psychological outcomes of instability. Moreover, our literature review revealed that previous research had not looked at the effects of family instability on young adults.14 3.2. Common Types of tension Encarta Dictionary defines the word tension as anxious feelings, mental worry or emotional strain that makes natural relaxed behaviour impossible.


Common types of tension in the family as used here, we mean common types of family conflict. Family conflicts come from a wide range of sources. However, anxiety is emotional state in which people feel uneasy, apprehensive, or fearful. People usually experience anxiety about events they cannot control or predict, or about events that seem threatening or dangerous16. For example, students taking an important test may feel anxious because they cannot predict the test questions or feel certain of a good grade. People often use the words fear and anxiety to describe the same thing. Fear also describes a reaction to immediate danger characterized by a strong desire to escape the situation. The physical symptoms of anxiety reflect in a chronic readiness to deal with some future threat. These symptoms may include fidgeting, muscle tension, sleeping problems, and headaches. Higher levels of anxiety may produce such symptoms as rapid heartbeat, sweating, increased blood pressure, nausea, and dizziness. According to the fourth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, a handbook for mental health professionals, describes a variety of anxiety disorders. These include generalized anxiety disorder, phobias, panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and posttraumatic stress disorder.

Whereas marital instability results from the effects of occupational stress, from non-flexible job choices of women, socio-economic factors, infidelity amongst others, Most anxiety disorders do not have an obvious cause. They result from a combination of biological, psychological, and social factors.

3.3. Causes of tensions. Causes of tension in the family include but not exhausted in the following : Disillusionment, Communication Problems, External Stress, Finances and Jobs, Sibling Rivalry, Child Discipline and Parent-Child Rivalry, In-Laws and Extended Family, Work, Children, Illness, Remarriage, etc. Disillusionment: Perhaps at the root of the majority of marital problems that lead to divorce is a gradual decrease in feelings of love between partners. Dr. Ted Houston argues that a decrease in the perceived amount of love and satisfaction in the relationship was a more reliable indicator than marital strife and conflict in predicting marriage failure18. Houston felt that fading love and growing dissatisfaction led to the resentment, anger and apathy that often manifests as negative interaction. Houston's study found that couples who date for a brief time before getting married are more likely to have unrealistic expectations and become disappointed in the marriage. These couples often expect marriage to resemble a Hollywood romance and feel cheated when reality sets in. This disillusionment with the marriage may explain why many couples cite incompatibility or irreconcilable differences as a reason for divorce.19

Communication Problems: According to the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML), inadequate communication or incompatible methods of communication may cause many of the other marital problems leading to divorce. Problematic communication methods include passive-aggressive behavior, reacting in anger, bringing up past arguments and arguing in front of others.20 External Stress: Spouses often encounter sources of stress outside the marriage, like problems at work, financial issues, health problems, and disputes with other family members. If these stressors are not handled in a healthy, constructive way, they often have a negative effect on the marriage. The stressed spouse may take out her frustrations on her partner, starting a domino effect of anger and resentment. Adultery is another external stressor that is detrimental to a marriage. However, infidelity is usually a symptom of other problems in the marriage, such as lack of communication. The AAML finds that infidelity typically indicates dissatisfaction in some aspect of the marriage.21 Finances and Jobs: One major source of family conflict is within the area of finances-specifically, the lack of enough money to pay bills, maintain the mortgage or rent, buy sufficient food and other necessities and have any remaining money for recreation. A job or career, the main source of a family's finances, may contribute to conflict within a family. If a parent's job keeps him away from home most of the time, the spouse at home with the children often feels neglected or overwhelmed. If both parents work, the children may suffer from lack of parental bonding and involvement. Conversely, if the parent becomes

unemployed, this causes its own form of stress and conflict, as finances dwindle and uncertainty sets in about the future. Sibling Rivalry: Another cause of family conflict is the inevitable rivalry that occurs between siblings. Children typically seek their parents' attention and approval, even if this requires tattling on, or sometimes causing harm to, a sibling. Whether a child expresses jealousy of her sibling, competes with him or teases him nonstop, it is bound to cause conflict. Each child deserves an equal amount of parental love and acceptance, yet sometimes a parent may favor one child over another. This merely intensifies the conflict. Child Discipline and Parent-Child Rivalry: While mutual agreement on the subject of child discipline is crucial, the lack of consensus opens up another potential area for family conflict. If one parent acts as the disciplinarian, the other parent typically becomes the consoler to whom the children turn; this often pits one parent against the other. Similarly, in the case of disciplining teenagers, a parents vs. teens scenario frequently erupts, when teens disagree often vehemently with the rules that parents set in place. A battle of the wills ensues, setting up a parent-child rivalry. A dangerous variation of this conflict occurs if either or both parents become abusive towards the children under the guise of discipline. Likewise, as teens become bigger, stronger and more confrontational, they may abuse parents or younger siblings. In-Laws and Extended Family: If relatives routinely interfere in the family's decisions and lifestyle, conflict will ensue.

Work: Work and family conflicts are common grounds for tension and pressure, according to the Sloan Work and Family Research Network. When the demands of the workplace interfere with family obligations and expectations, relationships become strained, and schedules are interrupted22. Conflict may arise when one parent must work late, setting off a tumult of consequences that affect meal planning, daycare and other family plans. If demands of work often take priority over family plans, and create resentment and anger that can escalate into longstanding conflicts. Conversely, the conflicts at home will affect workplace performance and additional pressure from the employer to satisfy his expectations. When stress accumulates, it furthers the family conflict. Children: As children age, they present more family conflict than they do as pliant youngsters who relied on their parents for nurturing and survival. According to psychologist Carl Pickhardt, some children are more strong-willed than others and cause conflict in the family even at a very young age. At the same time, parents often disagree on how to manage a strong-willed child, which presents additional conflict in the marriage and the family. Power struggles within the family result in additional conflicts that can stress family communication23. Illness: Conflict often arises when a family member becomes ill. Physical and mental illness put a strain on the entire family's time, budget and communication skills. When a person who once was a reliable member of the family becomes ill, struggles for power can ensue between the remaining family members. According to the Mayo Clinic, drug addiction and alcoholism are major sources of family conflict. These diseases affect every family member in a number of ways, ranging from financial and security issues to safety and reliability24.

Remarriage: Step-parenting is often a stressful situation for both adults and children and may lead to a wide range of conflicts. According to the American Psychological Association, children often don't view stepparents as authority figures, resulting in discipline and respect conflicts. Stepparents who don't embrace their new family as their own create additional conflicts when they question the loyalty of their spouses25. 3.4. Separation and Divorce. According to Encarta Dictionary, Separation and Divorce both refer to official ending of a marriage. Whereas Separation, in the law of domestic relations, refers to a separation agreement, that is, a contract entered into between husband and wife by which they agree to live apart; or a judicial separation, a court decree that separates the parties to the marriage and provides for their living apart. A separation agreement contains provisions for the custody and support of minor children, as well as for the division of property between the parties, Separation does not dissolve the marriage relationship. Divorce, or dissolution, is a legislatively created, judicially administered process that legally terminates a marriage no longer considered viable by one or both of the spouses and permits both to remarry26. Dr. Ted Houston in 1981 carried out a 13-year study of newly married couples wherein he argues that Perhaps at the root of the majority of marital problems that lead to divorce is a gradual decrease in feelings of love between partners Over time, a decrease in the perceived amount of love and satisfaction in the relationship was a more reliable indicator than marital strife and conflict in predicting marriage failure. Houston felt that fading love and growing dissatisfaction led to the resentment, anger and apathy that often manifests as

negative interaction couples who date for a brief time before getting married are more likely to have unrealistic expectations and become disappointed in the marriage. These couples often expect marriage to resemble a Hollywood romance and feel cheated when reality sets in. This disillusionment with the marriage may explain why many couples cite incompatibility or "irreconcilable differences" as a reason for divorce.27 Many authors have linked the transformation of the family in the United States with its related changes with higher rates of divorce. Research has shown that in contrast to the 1950s, divorce rather than death has become the major cause of marital dissolution in postmodern time28. According to Commaille, the late 1960s marked the time when the institutionalized aspects of divorce changed from a fault to a no-fault divorce procedure, the main basis becoming the irreconcilable disruption of marital bond29. With this came the shift from seeing divorce as family disorganization to divorce as family reorganization, a process that has resulted in the pluriformity of family forms

The concept of no-fault divorce brought related changes such as the notion of friendly divorce, referring to civilized form in which partners or divorcees-tobe, divorcees or ex- or former partners, are relating, or are expected to relate

Dumon argues that the notion of friendly divorce was not to imply that divorce should not create problems for individuals, but rather, it was a way of deproblematizing divorce on the societal level, making it an accepted phenomenon. Divorce no longer carried a shameful stigma, but became part of an accepted process of the turnover of partners. Some of the consequences of this are said to be evident in the nature of stepfamilies (resulting from divorce), whereby a step parent often competes with a living biological parent in the childs upbringing. Notable in this case is the diminished status of fathers who are often nonresidential parents with limited visitation rights or, in the extreme cases, with no rights of visitation or even knowledge of their children

A good number of attempts have been made to formulate explanations of marital dissolution. Levinger postulated that marital strength stems from the interaction between attractions (affectional rewards, socioeconomic rewards), barriers (felt obligations, moral proscriptions, external pressure), and alternatives ( a persons perception of how he or she might fare outside marriage)to a marital relationship. A decrease in the marriages attractiveness and/ or an increase in the weakness of its barriers to leaving it are said to impel individuals toward dissolution. Another factor is the presence of a more positive assessment of alternatives33 . Nye developed a new formulation that is very similar to this by suggesting that marital stability is determined by the amount of

positive affection toward the spouse, constraints against its

dissolution, and the perceived unattractiveness of alternatives to the marriage Lewis and Spanier used the same constructs to describe the relationship between marital quality and stability. Alternative attractions and external pressures to the marriage serve as contingencies mediating the relationship between marital quality and stability35. On the other hand, Edwards and Saunders proposed a model of the

dissolution decision involving the effect of the decreased barriers and increased alternatives upon commitment. They hypothesized linear and unidirectional relationship among the components of their model. Their proposition five stipulates that once the barriers to divorce are overcome in a psychological sense and available alternative to the relationship has been perceived, the goodness of marital outcomes is reassessed. Then the person will begin to devalue the rewards in his or her marriage relative to the cost of staying in it. Devaluation of ones reward-cost ratio is said to have ramifications for marriage. In their proposition six, they stated that the higher the comparison level of alternatives and the lower the goodness of marital outcome, the lower the level of commitment to the marriage36. In these authors maintain that, clarifying their proposition,

If a person has become aware of attractive alternatives and reassessed his or her marital outcome, the sense of attachment or identity with that relationship is likely to decrease. Ones loyalty to the spouse, involvement in the marriage, and sense of belonging begin to decline.

This lead logically to their final proposition that the lower the level of commitment to the marriage, the more likely the dissolution decision. Many authors such as (Beach and Broderick (1983),Johnson (1985),

Lund,(1985) Rusbutt, 1980,(1983) and Stanley and Markman (1992) have therefore hypothesized that commitment is perhaps the major determinant of marital stability. According to Stanley and Markman, commitment can be understood as encompassing two related construct: personal dedication and constraints commitment. Personal dedication involves the desire of an individual to maintain or improve the quality of his or her relationship for the joint benefit of the participants38. Constraint commitment on the other hand, refers to either external or internal pressure that forces individual to maintain relationship regardless of their personal dedication to them. Constraint commitment favours relationship stability by making termination of a relationship more economically, socially, personally, or psychologically costly39. If commitment is taken as the bond that holds a couple together, it is possible to speculate that higher constraint and personal dedication factors in marital commitment translate into higher marital stability. However, investigators point to the process of acculturation as one that generally decreases barrier and increases alternative regarding relationship commitment; a process that is more likely to lead to dissolution decisions. Berry viewed acculturation as a process that brings about cultural changes which include the alteration of traditional institutions and the replacement of these with imported ones, a change that is said to weaken both traditional family values and normative consensus regarding social life. This is because

these cultural changes tend to greater individualism and less effective social control40. They are therefore, assumed to be positively related to the rate of marital disruption. Berry also argued that the degree of shedding of ones cultural values due to acculturation and the replacement thereafter with new norms are affected by many variables arising from the acculturative milieu41. Some of these variables include: (a) The emphasis on individualism and submission, (b) the open job market in the United States which offers immigrant females more opportunity for financial independence and which frees them from economic dependence on males

(c) the judicial system in the United States which is more disposed

toward granting divorce to a couple patriarchy44.

and (d) the equality of gender roles

espoused by United States Society which challenges the prerogative of

These values are said to be moderated by the degree of benefits experienced in the original culture relatives to the opportunities in the acculturative arena

Consequently, a couple, for example, may experience differential adjustment in the acculturative place since some of the benefit accrued by one gender in the original culture may be compromised in the new setting. Researchers have identified the area of gender role as one possible area of such differential adjustment whereby females tend to acculturate faster than males and tend toward more egalitarian roles while males tend to retain as long as possible their traditional privileges based upon patriarchy

Put together, these theories lead to this possible conclusion. that, acculturation can have a mitigating effect on the traditional social structure that empower marital constraints, increase alternatives to relationships, and consequently lower the level of commitment to marriage.

3.5. Impact of divorce on children and members of the extended family.

Children typically find divorce very upsetting due to the sense of loss it creates. Parents and children go through a period of grieving triggered by the disruption and loss of the former family unit and structure. Children find it stressful and upsetting to change residences or develop a new dynamic in which one parent is not present. It is impossible to have a discussion of family stability and functioning without giving proper attention to the relational (or dynamic) aspect of family life. Logically, we cannot simply look at concrete information and state that family structure or makeup alone impact behavioral outcomes. Olson argues that the quality of relationships and the interaction of family members is what truly impacts child development47. Perhaps one of the most common issues faced by children in todays society when considering relationship within a family is that of parental separation. Divorce or separation is determined to have an almost immediate effect on behavioral outcomes for children. If divorce occurs anytime other than immediately after birth, has a detrimental impact on the child(ren) in the sense that children removed from a major primary caregiver are found to suffer immediately from attachment-related issues be for later childhood outcomes. Divorce or separation alone cannot be completely blame for these outcomes. This is due to the assumption that most families facing divorce or separation are already in some amount of relational distress prior to the parents breakup49. Marital satisfaction has long been tied to emotional and behavioral development in youths
50. 48.

Research continues to indicate

that the earlier these issues begin to take form, the more detrimental they can

Children who are in a family in which there is a high

amount of conflict between partners are much more likely to experience feelings of unease and uncertainty, leading to unpredictability within the familys daily living. Marital distress is easily transferred onto children, resulting in development of maladaptive feelings or behaviors, depression, or

other forms of behavioral difficulty. Conflict between parental figures that cannot be resolved tends to be projected upon children; this places stress on the child, increasing the likelihood of anxiety, stress, and depressive symptomatology with that child, possibly leading to externalizing behaviors tied to the development of task-behaviors of younger children
52. 51.

Furthermore, the quality of relationship between husband and wife has been Children developing in a home with a lower quality of relationship between parents are more likely to experience attention- or task-related delays or difficulties. Another relational aspect of family stability that has been examined by some is the idea that the time (actual clock hours) spent with families can impact development. This specific concept was not included in this review due to Olsons hypothesis that clock hours alone do not account for family development; instead, what is important are the bonds and cohesion formed as a result of what is done within the time families spend together53. Family cohesion is an extremely important concept to include in any discussion of family stability. Any or all of the other indicators discussed in this review could impact perceptions of family cohesion and feelings of closeness. Family cohesion can be explained as the closeness a family feels to one another or the bond and trust that is formed between parent and child(ren) on an emotional level. Family cohesion provides a strong influence on possible adolescent delinquent behavior. Youths with higher levels of family cohesion have been found to experience fewer internalizing behavioral problems as well as attention- related problems as those who could be classified as more disengaged from their parental figures or primary caregivers54. Classic studies, such as those done by Cooper et al., even found that perceptions of family cohesions lead to appropriate development of self-esteem in children. On the other end of that spectrum, children who are disengaged from their families or those who do not feel bonds of trust and closeness with a caregiver figure had a much higher probability or risk of developing negative or socially unacceptable behaviors55. Olson warns against both extremes of engagement or cohesion.

He states that families who become too enmeshed are also in danger of developing inappropriate boundaries56. The development of inappropriate boundaries or the complete lack of boundaries within a family is easily transferable into other aspects of a childs life, such as relationships with peers or future relationships in that childs life as he or she matures. It is also important to examine how family cohesion is achieved. Although there is not a great deal of consistency among the literature about this concept, there is discussion about how families spend their time when they are together. This concept is largely identified as family routines or rituals. Family rituals can be defined as habits or behaviors families engage in together. These rituals or routines can be daily routines such as meals together, or they can be something classified as a tradition, such as celebrations or holidays. Research points to the idea that engagement in and development of constant, predictable routines and rituals within a family lead to better social development and overall happiness

Families who take part in family activities, or spend

quality time, together at an early outset in the childs life create a much more stable and much safer environment for the child to develop in. Participation in regular family rituals leads to development of identity and healthy behaviors58. These behaviors can be something as simple as using appropriate social and conversation skills to development of appropriate boundaries. Families who engage in these regular behaviors and routines tend to have higher levels of functioning (both within the family as well as within other systems) and lower levels of problematic behaviors

Family rituals assist in developing a sense of

belonging and identity for family members60. This sense of belonging to a family unit is hypothesized to be a strong predictor of development of appropriate relational qualities later in life. When examining the results of the above review of literature, it is important to keep in mind that children/families from different cultures and backgrounds function differently in their day-to-day interactions. In his Circumplex Model of family interactions, Olson hypothesizes that families who are well balanced in

these relational areas (communication and cohesion), no matter what their culture or ethnicity, will be the most successful. Olson theorizes that families who function within healthy levels of all of these relational components but are still flexible enough to function when these qualities are not present will be the most successful and develop in the healthiest manners61. On the other hand, the higher the levels of instability are within a family, the higher the levels of maladjustment that can be expected62. To compound these results, the amount of instability that occurs within one year, particularly in regards to the concrete indicators (e.g., the number of relocations, the number of times the maternal figure has been hospitalized, or the number of partners the primary caregiver has allowed into the family environment), specifically impacts the level of behavioral maladjustment exhibited by children.

Refererences 1. The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. s .v. stability (N Y:Houghton Mifflin Company. 2009.) 2. Collins English Dictionary Complete and Unabridged s.v. instability. (US : Harper Collins Publishers 2003) 3. E. M. Forman, and P. T. Davie. Assessing childrens appraisals of security in the family system: The development of the Security in the Family System (SIFS) scales. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 46 (1). (2005).pp. 900-906. 4. G. Schofield and M. Beek.. Providing a secure base: Parenting children in long-term foster family care. Attachment and Human Development, 7 (1), (2005) pp.3-25. 5. S. Milan, E. E. Pinderhughes, and the Conduct Problems Prevention Research Group. Family instability and child maladjustment:

Trajectories during elementary school. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 34, (1)( 2006) pp.4350 6. B. Ackerman et al. Family instability and the problem behaviours of children from economically disadvantaged families. Developmental Psychology , 35, (2) (1999).pp. 258-268 7. S. Milan et al. Op. Cit. P.42 8. K. A. Moore, S. Vandivere and J. Ehrle. Turbulence and child wellbeing Assessing the New Federalism. (Washington, DC: Urban Institute. 2000). from http://www.urban.org/UploadedPDF/ anf_b16.pdf. Retrieved 2011- 10-10 9. L. A. Marcynyszyn, G. W. Evansand J. Eckenrode. Family instability during early and middle adolescence. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 29,(1) (2008)pp.380382. 10. S.E. Palmer. Placement stability and inclusive practice in foster care: An empirical study. Children and Youth Services Review, 18, (3)(1996). Pp. 589-601. 11. E. K. Adam and P.L. Chase-Lansdale. Home sweet home(s): Parental separations, residential moves and adjustment in low-income adolescent girls. Developmental Psychology, 38,(1) 792805. 12. M. J. Carlson and M. E. Corcoran. Family structure and childrens behavioral and cognitive outcomes. Journal of Marriage and Family, 63, (4) (2001).pp. 779 792. 13. 737 14. 15. 16. . E. K. Adam and P.L. Chase-Lansdale. Op. cit. p.811 Encarta Dictionary s.v. conflict Conflict Management: Key elements of Conflict http://www. J. D. Teachman. The living arrangements of children and their educational well-being. Journal of Family Issues, 29,(1) (2008). Pp.734-

livestrong. com/article/181699-sources-of-family conflict /# ixzz 1g VgJXUlC .Retrieved 2010- 07-22.

17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23.

Ibid. Bufka, Lynn F., and Barlow, David H. Anxiety. Microsoft Encarta Ibid. Ibid. Ibid. Ibid. Conflict Resolution from http:/ www. Questia. com/ Conflict _

2009 [DVD]. Redmond, WA: Microsoft Corporation,2008.

Resolution /UploadedPDF/ anf_b16.pdf. Retrieved 2011- 10-10 24. 25. 26. 27. Ibid. Ibid Kassin, Saul. Clinical Psychology Microsoft Encarta 2009 [DVD]. Conflict Management: Key elements of Conflict http://www.

Redmond, WA: Microsoft Corporation,2008. livestrong. com/article/181699-sources-of-family conflict /# ixzz 1g VgJXUlC .Retrieved 2010- 07-22. 28. 29. 30. J. Robert Levy. Divorce Microsoft Encarta 2009 [DVD]. Redmond, J. E. A. Commaille. Divorce in Western Europe. The law on the Conflict Management: Key elements of Conflict http://www.

WA: Microsoft Corporation,2008. figures . ( Paris : INED. 1983.) pp.964-966 livestrong. com/article/181699-sources-of-family conflict /# ixzz 1g VgJXUlC .Retrieved 2010- 07-22. 31. 32. J. E. A. Commaille. Op.cit. p.902 W. Dumon. The situation of Families in Western Europe : a

Sociological Perspective. In s. Dreman (ed.) The Family on the threshold of the 21st century: trends and implications (Mahwah, NJ : Lawrence Erlbaun associates. 1997)p.147 33. C. Levinger. Marital Cohesiveness And Dissolution : An Integrative Review. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 27(2)(1976) pp.19-28

34. 35.

F. I. Nye. Is choice and exchange theory the key. Journal of R. A. Lewis and G. Spanier. theorizing about the quality and

Marriage and the Family.40, (1)(1978)pp.219-225 stability of marriage In W. R. Burr, R. Hill,F. I. Nye, and I. L. Reiss (eds.) Contemporary theories about the Family.(vol. 1) (New York : Free Press 1979)pp. 269-272 36. J.N. Edwards and J.M. Saunders. coming apart : A model of the marital dissolution decision. Journal of marriage and the Family 43, (2)(1981)pp.382,385. 37. 38. p.595 39. 40. 41. 42. 43. Ibid. p.596 J.W. Berry. Acculturation and adaptation in a new society. Ibid.p.85 H.L. Bee. The Journey of Adulthood.(3rd ed.) (Upper Saddle River, A. Golini and A. Silvestrini. Family change , fathers and children Ibid. p. 286 S.M. Stanley and H.J. Markman. Assessing commitment in

personal relationships. Journal of marriage and the Family.54, (1) (1996)

International migration review 21(3) (1992).p69

NJ: Prentice hall, Inc.1996)p.16 in Western Europe; A demographic and psychosocial perspective. In s. Dreman (ed.) The Family on the threshold of the 21st century: trends and implications (Mahwah, NJ : Lawrence Erlbaun associates. 1997.)pp.201208 44. J. Connell. Status or Subjugation? Women, migration and development in the South pacific. International migration review. 18,(1)p.964 45. W. Dressler, A. Mata, A. Chavez, E. E. Viteri,and P. Gallagher. Social Support and arterial pressure in a Central Mexican Community. Psychosomatic Medicine. 48, (1) (1986)p.339


N. Abadan-Unat. The effect of international labour migration on

womens roles : the Turkish case. In C. Kagitcibasi and D. Sunnar (eds.) Sex roles family and community in Turkey (Bloomington IN: Indiana University press. 1982)p.208 47. 48. 49. D.H. Olson. Circumplex model of marital and family systems. D. Fanshel,S. J. Finch, and J.F. Gundy. Foster children in a life B. Ram, and F. Hou. Changes in family structure and child Journal of family therapy. 22,(1) (2000) p.144 course perspective.( New York, NY: Columbia University Press. 1990)p.60 outcomes: Roles of economic and familial resources. The Policy Studies Journal,31(3), (2003) p.310 50. 51. R. E. Emery, K. E. OLeary. Interparental conflict and the children L. Wang, and D.R. Crane. The relationship between marital of discord and divorce. Psychological Bulletin, 92, (1) (1982)p. 310 satisfaction, marital stability, nuclear family triangulation, and childhood depression. The American Journal of Family Therapy, 29, (1) (2001) p.337 52. W.A. Goldberg, and M.A. Easterbrooks. The role of marital quality in toddler development. Developmental Psychology, 20,(2) (1984) pp. 504-506. 53. 54. D.H. Olson. Op.cit.pp.216-222 D. G. Eaker, and L. H. Walters. Adolescent satisfaction in family

rituals and psychosocial development: A developmental systems theory perspective. Journal of Family Psychology, 16, (1) (2002).pp.406-409 55. p477. 56. 57. D.H. Olson. Op.cit.pp.216-222 G. M. Viere.. Examining family rituals. Family Journal, 9,(3), L. Schuck, and J. Bucy. Family rituals: Implications for early intervention. Topics in Early Childhood Special Education, 17,(4),( (1997).

(2001) p.285.

58. 59. 60. 61. 62.

D.H. Olson. Op.cit.pp.253-255 Ibid. p. 260 Ibid.p262 Ibid.pp.262,263 S. Milan, and E. E. Pinderhughes. Family instability and child trajectories during elementary school. Journal of


Abnormal Child Psychology, 34,(1), (2006). pp. 43-45.

Chapter four Over View Of Status Of Contemporary African Marriages And Families 4.1. Evaluation There are three types of marriage in the contemporary Nigeria: religious marriage, civil marriage, and traditional marriage. A Nigerian couple may decide to take part in one or all of these marriages. Religious marriages, usually Christian or Muslim, are conducted according to the norms of the respective religious teachings and take place in a church or a mosque. Christian males are allowed only one wife, while Muslim men can take up to four wives. Civil official weddings take place in a government registry office. Men are allowed only one wife under a civil wedding, regardless of religion. Traditional marriages usually are held at the wife's house and are performed according to the customs of the ethnic group involved.1 At any rate, modern forms of marriage vary from the English-style weddings, under the Marriage Ordinance, to marriage by customary law, to simple parental consent and blessing, down to casual and temporary mutual consent.

The last four decades in Nigeria has witnessed a tremendous change in family patterns. Among these changes are phenomena such as growing rates of divorce, out-of-wedlock births and father absence due to globalization and cohabitation of people without a marriage contract,2 . This borders on the problem encountered by the contemporary families in Nigeria today which is partly due to the impact of foreign culture on family values, the economic impact and the creation of new roles in the family. Not all marriages fail for the same reason. Nor is there usually one reason for the breakdown of a particular marriage. Nevertheless, poor communication, financial problems, a lack of commitment to the marriage, a dramatic change in priorities, Infidelity, failed expectations or unmet needs, Physical, sexual or emotional abuse, lack of conflict resolution skills and so on. Marriage has always been influenced and often determined by larger social factors. In turn, the strength of marriage as a social institution reflects the health of a society. However, changing attitudes toward gender and sexuality, the growing number of women in the work force, the stresses of occupational life, large-scale shifts in the economy, and the enormous challenges of raising children in a fast-paced, media-centered society in which values are in flux 3are militating against stability of marriages and families in Nigeria . All these causes of disharmony in the family could have been curtailed to the barest minimum if it had not embraced globalization all the way. In other words, we believe that globalization has failed the family. It has eroded strong family values and replaced it with commercialized relationships thereby inflicting a heavy blow on the marriage institution.

Globalization is the thesis that we now all live in one community. But in what ways exactly? The world has become a global village. Globalization has not only made the world smaller, it has also made it interdependent. An investment decision made in Europe can spell unemployment for thousands of people in Africa, while a business decision taken in Tokyo can create thousands of new

jobs for workers in north-east England5. The dislocation caused by these changes not only affects the family economically, it also affects it morally, socially and psychologically.

We live in a world of transformations that is undoubtedly affecting almost every aspect of what we do. For better or worse, we are being propelled into a global order that no one fully understands, but which is making its effects felt upon us. Traditional Nigeria family systems are becoming transformed, particularly as women stake claim to greater equality. Arguably, there has never before been a society, so far as we know from the historical record, in which women have been even approximately equal to men. This truly is a global revolution in everyday life, whose consequences are being felt around the world in all spheres from work to politics. As with most Nigerian cultures, to the Yoruba, the corporate group is a key factor in understanding social organizations especially the extended family system. To the Yoruba, the extended family kinship is the immediate reference group for individual social identity. In certain areas, the ties of the extended family are so strong that one's obligation toward members in an extended family system is as close-knit as that of the nuclear family in the modern west. In the extended family system, the term sister or brother is usually employed in a much broader context than it is commonly understood in the west. It is appropriate within the cultural context to refer to one's cousin as brother or sister, and one's niece or nephew as daughter or son respectively7. But what do we have now? This noble institution that acts as a check to marital problems have been watered down by globalization. The situation is such that nuclear families as it is perceived by the Americans have found their way into the families in Nigeria, especially, among people living in the urban cities thereby creating more problems than solving them. The prevalent form of human dwelling place in Yoruba land, according to Fadipe, known as the compound, agbo-ile (literally a flock of houses) is fast giving way to flats and duplexes or

single family bungalow-houses. This in turn is killing the gregarious nature of the people 8. The family is the microcosm of the larger society. Within the family, it is the husband and wife that are expected to play this socialization role. In the traditional Nigerian society, the man is not only seen as the head of the family but also the sole director of the affairs taking place in the family. With the advent of Christianity, the position of the wife in the family turned out to be complementary to that of the husband. Both husband and wife are expected to play the role of raising their children along the line of societal norms9. The tension however arises when a woman who tries to combine a career and a family is soon reminded that she's flaunting the socially accepted norms. She finds herself in a seemingly no-win situation. The qualities associated with the role of wife-mother (nurturance, emotionality, responsiveness to people rather than ideas) are seen to be incompatible with those qualities associated with success in the occupational sphere (independence, rationality, and assertiveness). Yet, due to the harsh economic climate in the country, many women are likely need to balance work and family at some point in their career. Finding an employer who recognizes the importance of such a balance and who is ready to offer the same can make a crucial difference in managing a successful career and family. But, most corporate organizations in Nigeria today like the banks, telecommunication companies, oil and manufacturing companies, employ young women to market their products. They put these young ladies under undue pressure to deliver their products. These corporate organizations have long working hours, thereby inflicting more strain on the family units. There is hardly any female friendly organization in Nigeria and this also accounts for the disequilibrium in the family. Today most working wives rarely get back home daily before dusk, in pursuit of their professions and careers, thereby leaving the children at the mercy of nannies. If the children are not properly trained and brought up in a stable environment, in

the company of both parents, what kind of leaders are we expecting in the nearest future? 4.2. The Use Of Sexuality in the Pre colonial Nigeria. In pre-colonial Nigeria, the primary purpose of marriage is to sustain the human race through legitimate and responsible procreation. In the earliest times, great importance was attached to virginity. For instance, to the traditional Yoruba, sexuality is geared toward one goal, which is procreation, to achieve continuity of the human race. Marriage is the prescribed setting for the exercise of human sexuality among the Yoruba. Though certain situations may necessitate other measures, such as concubinage. Therefore, marriage is a duty expected of all adult male and female members of Yoruba society. Marriage is one of the characteristics of a mature person, because to be unmarried is perceived as a feature of childhood, irrespective of the individuals age. Marriage conveys a status of responsibility, which may not be true of an unmarried person. This status at marriage is manifested at different levels for the male as well as the female. For the Yoruba woman, marriage is an indication of her maturity because she is able to change residence from her fathers house to that of her husband. In addition, it shows her ability to manage both human and natural resources. Also, it bestows on her the privilege to belong to the league of mothers. Marriage for the man is an indication of maturity because he now becomes a provider and guardian of others in the family. Consequently, depending on the level of success of the man as a husband and provider, responsibilities in the larger society may be assigned to him. Again, the status that marriage bestows on both male and female in Yoruba land transcends this life into the hereafter because on it hinges the phenomenon of the ancestors. Marriage is a rhythm of life in which everyone must participate: the ancestors, the living, and the yet unborn. Having children is essential in Yoruba marriages. Children are the glory of marriages, and the more there are of them the greater the glory10. The

significance of having children is frequently recorded in Yoruba oral genres including songs, stories, proverbs, dictums, and dirges. Examples of some sayings on the importance of procreation in Yoruba oral genres are: omo niyi, omo nide, omo laso, omo ni i wo le de ni lojo ale, meaning children guarantee prestige, children are as brass, children are cloths (because they shield parents from shame), children take care of the house (concerns) for parents in old age and after death. Others include: ina ku fi eeru boju, ogede ku fi omo re ropo, ojo a ba ku, omo eni ni wo le de ni, meaning when the fire is out, ashes replace it, when the banana tree dies, its child (young one) replaces it, when one dies, it is the children who replaces one, another example says omo omo oosin, omo lafe aye, meaning children are worthy to be revered because they constitute the essence of life. Consequently, marriage and procreation are closely tied together among this people. To die without having children is the greatest calamity that could befall any individual among the Yoruba. A popular Yoruba song aptly sums it up: ori mi ma je npo fo omo lere aye, meaning may my destiny not let me be a loser, for children are the gains of living. This explains why Yoruba people, especially females, go to great lengths to ensure that they produce children; to die without children is to become disconnected, to become an outcast, and to lose all links to the human race after death. To produce no children is to be erased and forgotten totally in the memories of ones family members and community. The proper use of sex therefore is to produce children. Women bear the larger part of the task of procreation through pregnancy and childbirth; hence the Yoruba prescribe more regulations in the form of ritual observance or prohibitions (taboo) for womens sexuality. Sex is recognized as a gift from the creator to both men and women, but its use is monitored to avoid abuse. The Yoruba do not attach any form of guilt to sexual feelings except where they are not properly utilized, such as in incestuous relationships or when they violate specific religious values such as sex on the bare ground or in the afternoon.11

In summary, the popular belief of the Traditional Yoruba about sex is that it is sacred; that is, it has religious flavour. The sacredness of sex is exemplified in the fact that (a) it must be performed mainly by husband and wife. Hence, there is no room for premarital and extramarital sex (b) it must be performed at night and not in the afternoon, as prescribed in some religious taboos placed on sex. For example, the belief is that any couple that has sex in the afternoon will give birth to an albino child. Albinos are eni orisa, that is, those who belong to the divinities. Thus, they are not ordinary children. Unlike other normal children, they have to observe the dos and donts associated with belonging to Orisa. Yoruba people dread offending the divinities. (c) Other places where sex must not be performed include the farmland so that the ancestors of the land would not be offended. It is no wonder then that there are specific rituals that must also be performed whenever anybody broke any of the taboos associated with sex. (d) Sex is considered sacred in all its forms and interpretation. And as a matter of fact, it is something that must not be talked about. It is no wonder that activities often associated with sex such as kissing and petting are not so common in Africa, especially when done in or around public places. Anything that relates to romance and sex is to be done secretly. All these clearly show how traditional Yoruba beliefs about sex shape their world view12. Consequent to this, the practice of pornography, which is common in the contemporary society, is theologically, socially and morally objectionable because of its tendency to lead people to show disrespect for man and woman and their private parts. For instance, Africans, especially Yoruba people, do not call male or female private parts by their real biological names.

They call them names that people would not easily associate with sex. For example, any reference to any of these parts on the electronic media would be done in a way that very young people would be unable to decipher what the discussion is all about. This does not suggest that Africans had no forum for sex education. After all, we are aware of various puberty rites geared towards educating the younger ones. On account of the above examples, traditional African society, based on its religious mentality about sex, forbids adultery, homosexuality, masturbation, lesbianism, incest among other things. These are not only taken as sexual immoralities, they are taken also as sin against God on the one hand, and against society on the other hand. Thus, anyone who commits any of these offences would be ostracized. Anyone guilty of incest, bestiality and homosexuality would be excommunicated16. To caution people from engaging in these, the society made provision for a magical medicine such as Magun, meaning, dont climb or teso which is placed on a girl to discourage promiscuity17. In fact according to Ogunsakin Fabarebo, Yoruba have over thirty-five types of Magun. Whenever it is placed on a woman, any man who has a sexual affair with her will suffer one injury or the other and at times, death13. The traditional Yoruba people place high premium on virginity, which according to Abogunrin is tantamount to sexual purity, which is mandatory within marriage19. A virgin girl does not only boost her own social status, she also by her act of fidelity and faithfulness, does honour to her parents.20 CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATION

These days more people engaged in premarital sex because the birth control pill are readily available. Likewise simple economic logic tells us that ready availability of abortion increases the use of that procedure. Gone were the Fadipe argues that great days when the sanctity of virginity is uphold. importance was attached to virginity. He writes :

In every division of Yoruba land great importance was attached to a bride being found Virgo Intacta, and this was the rule for both high and low alike... A bride, on the other hand, who was found virgo intacta was the cause of much rejoicing to her husband, and of rejoicing and self-congratulation to her parents and relatives. The white sheet smeared with blood was sent in a covered calabash bowl to her parents the first thing in the morning (in some cases even the same night) accompanied by a sum of money and a hen for sacrifice to the head of the bride21. Alaba, lending credence to the above view writes: No sooner had modernity (literacy, colonialism, capitalism,

individualism, etc) crept into the hitherto preliterate, subsistence agrarian, communal Yoruba society than this great importance attached to virginity waned and almost disappeared. Pre-marital sex became acceptable. Happy is a fiance who got impregnated by her fianc during courtship. The wedding ceremony would be arranged judiciously to pre-empt the arrival of the first baby of the marriage. Most churches and mosques have been condoning this practice. In light of this, we believe that nostalgia alone cannot hold a family in traditional form. The form of family will necessarily change in response to economic and technological changes. And indeed in the case of contemporary Nigeria, our value system has really changed. Role compatibility is another important aspect worthy of consideration in married unions, especially in a society( like Nigeria) that permits multiple role sets for wives and husbands, because when a wife expects her role to include employment outside the home and her husband does not; or even expects her to be fully house wife. These kinds of incompatibilities produce role conflict, in this case between the female's self-expectations and the male's role

prescriptions. Therefore gender roles become an important part of premarital assumptions and anticipations. Such incompatibilities require varied forms of negotiation, and sometimes counseling, to reduce conflict. Role overload and role conflict are closely related. A frequent international phenomenon of role overload occurs when an employed wife also does a large part of the domestic chores traditionally assigned to her. This produces role strain in that not all tasks can be performed in the time available. Consciously acknowledging this imbalance may lead to arguments and, if the issue is not resolved, it will result family to marital breakup. Communication and a bit of in one piece. understanding from the husband may help to resolve the issue and keep the Work role and other demands outside the family heighten both role strain and conflict. The wife's external employment introduces another set of role demands that increases role strain and conflict through social power adjustments as is

Married women's employment outside the home increases in the traditional Yoruba extended families.

stress when they are expected to be primary caregivers to their elderly parents expected When a female enters the marketplace, as it is increasingly common, she derives status benefits from her direct contribution to the family income. However, with the wife's greater economic independence, she is more likely to sever the relationship if conflict is unresolved.

Nevertheless, the feminist movement has influenced gender role change both in and outside the family in multiple ways. Broadly speaking, the movement may be viewed as a social process focusing on female role identities and prescriptions. Its basic premise is that gender ascriptions produce power inequities in family systems where the male is the primary paid earner and the female is confined to domestic duties. Domestic work is viewed as important but not well rewarded in money or status. Feminism thus, identifies inequities and suggests strategies for their modification. Today, in Nigeria there are more

women in the work places than men23. The traditional jobs earmarked for men like the banks, teaching, lecturing, public service have been overtaken by the women. The current school enrolment statistics show that there are more females in school than their male counterparts24. In fact the women are gradually taking over all the known professions from Medicine to Law and trading except Politics. In a given society a norm regarding the meaning of a marriage contract comes to be accepted. Albeit the complexity of the family as an institution should not be left to the whims of government as if it were an economic activity. The culture of the people should be allowed to guide it. Most times external influences destabilize the accepted norms in the society, so, this must be consciously regulated. In traditional Yoruba society, family members eat their meals together. It costs less labor to prepare one big meal at one time than several little meals at various times. However, as the technology of serving food has advanced, and the cost has decreased, individuals can more readily eat on their own schedules in response to their own appetites. Consequently the number of times when the family all sits down together for a meal has decreased. The family meal is now a ceremony of nostalgia more than a necessity. All these binding features in family values should be reignited in the families and sustained. Nongovernmental organizations should channel all advertisements towards reuniting families, rather than dissipating their energies in advertorials of AIDS. It will be good to do a complete reorientation for our youths, advising them on the ills of globalization, especially as it affects the stability of the family values. Internet dating and its attendant problems is fast affecting the bond of nuptial ties. The internet, as it is awash with issues of same sex marriages which is very alien to our culture, but which is fast encroaching into our youths psyche. Single parenthood, is another issue which used to be a taboo in our tradition, but has come to be accepted because of the various rights groups springing up

from various sources. We really need to stand up to some of these foreign cultures that are been rammed down our throats by westerners. The rich culture of the Nigerian personality is fast eroding and would soon be seen only on the pages of history books if we do not make haste while the sun is still shining. We are not in any way advocating for the complete abdication of the western civilization as it pertains to marriages and family values. But, of essence is the preservation of the values that accounts for the stability of the family in the traditional society. This point underscores the fact that we are adopting wrong values from the west and dropping the values which should be sold to other cultures. We advocate that the National Assembly should create enabling law for large corporations to be more female friendly. This may take the form of longer maternity leave, early closure from workplace, and the removal of high and not only unachievable, but unreasonable targets in marketing products for married women. If we adhered to these recommendations, we believe that stability in the families will be achieved. This will have a multiplier effect on the society since the family is the microcosm of the society. It will not only make the country safer in future ,it will also breed a country of vibrant and confident youth that will be properly socialized and ingrained in stable family with virtuous cultural values and orientation.


1. O. Alaba. Understanding Sexuality in the Yoruba Culture Africa Regional Sexuality Resource Centre 1 (1) (2004) p. 3. 2. D. Browning. The world situation of families: Marriage reformation as a cultural work. (Edinburgh: T & T Clark. 2001)p. 243 3. O. Alaba. Op. Cit. P4 4. N.A. Fadipe. The Sociology of the Yoruba, (Ibadan: Ibadan University Press, 1970) pp. 301-302 5. C. L. Gohm, S. Oishi, and E. Diener. Culture, Parental Conflict, Parental Marital Status, and the Subjective Well-Being of Young Adults. Journal of Marriage and Family 60 (2) (1998).pp319324 6. N.A. Fadipe. Op.cit p.309 7. J. S. Mbiti, African Religions and Philosophy (London: Heinemann, 1969), 26.

8. N.A. Fadipe. Op.cit pp.91-93 9. Ibid. p. 89 10. 11. J. S. Mbiti. Op .cit. p. 26. O. Olajubu, Celibacy in Christianity: Any Relevance to the

Contemporary Church in Nigeria, M. A. thesis, Department of Religions, University of Ilorin, 1989, 9. 12. O. Olajubu, Celibacy in Christianity: Any Relevance to the Contemporary Church in Nigeria, M. A. thesis, Department of Religions, University of Ilorin, (1989,)p.9. 13. 14. 15. 16. J. O. Kayode. African Ethics on Sex in Abogunrin, S. (ed.) S. O. Abogunrin. Ethics in Yoruba Religious Tradition in World N.A. Fadipe. Op.cit.pp.81-84 Kwasi Wiredu, and Kwame Gyekye. (eds.). Person and Community Religion and Ethics in Nigeria, (Ibadan, Day Star Press, 1986) p. 51 59 Religions and Global Ethics. (ed.) (Crawfordsvile : S.S Press1989)p278

(Ghanaian Philosophical Studies 1), (Washington, D.C.: The Council for Research in Values and Philosophy. 1992.) 17. Fabarebo. Ogunsakin .Contemporary theories of Magic: Maguns disparate characteristics in Orita: Ibadan Journal of Religious Studies; 27 ( 1 & 2,) (June and Dec. 1998,) pp. 9 12 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23. Ibid. p.20 S.O Abogunrin. Op.cit p215 Olugboyega Alaba. Understanding Sexuality in the Yoruba N.A. Fadipe. Op.cit.pp.81 H. Standing, Dependence and Autonomy: Women's Employment and Emeka Nwosuji The Role Of Husband And Wife In Contemporary

culture Africa Regional Resource Centre 1(2) (2004). P.4

the Family in Calcutta. (London: Routledge. 1991).pp.92-93 Nigeria Society available at http//family.jrank.org/pages/1773/Yoruba-

families Yoruba - culture-meaning-marriage.htmlixzzlmQmqot Retrieved 2012- 02- 02 24. Ibid.