Marriage is a relationship between a man and a woman whereby the couple leave their respective families to establish a new one. Marriage according to George (2000) is the institution uniquely apt in conceiving and rearing children by securing the participation of both parents in ongoing union. Marriage could be justified by its role in protecting caring relationships (Brake, 2012); it also provides caregivers who assist children in their upbringing (Hartley & Watson, 2012). Conflict is inevitable in every marriage relationship. Because of natural differences which become more and more apparent, conflicts come into the marriage, if the couple does not learn to resolve these conflicts; their love will be replaced with hostility and animosity. Marital relationship consists of a series of actions and motivations. The more active the people, the more potential area of conflict can be expected (Houston & Boeing, 1992; Smith, 1992; Williams and Barefoot, 1998). Conflict need not to be fatal. In fact, some counselors suggest that conflicts are normal and can provide a creative force in marriage.
There are four Types of Marital Conflict (Weber, 2011), thus: Money Conflict: Worries about money or the way it is spent often produce a stress that leads to conflict in a marriage. The pressure of paying bills or meeting other financial obligations creates an anxiety that can amplify disagreements and put additional strain on a relationship. It can be more difficult to take differences of opinion in stride or to tolerate the idiosyncratic tendencies of the partner that are displeasing.
Statement of the Problems
Every marriage inevitably experiences conflict. No matter how compatible the partners maybe, even the healthiest of relationships occasionally descend to unpleasant conflicts. Some casual disagreements often escalate to a high level of conflict. The ability of each partner in a relationship to navigate through these conflicts is critical. Children have been affected by conflicts in the families which lead to both physical and psychological problems thereby affecting the society and the country at large. Marital conflict has affected a lot of marriages, both in Nigeria and beyond, which can lead to divorces when it is not well managed. In this vain, clergy, teachers, parents, policy psychologists are concerned that individuals be better prepared for a marital relationship. Most researches in the area of marital conflict come from the west, and researches considering communication, age, and education as variables in marital conflict are few. The researcher examined the roles communication, age, and education play in marital conflict in the Nigeria context. The researcher addressed the following questions:
1) Does communication play a role in marital conflict?
2) Does age play a role in marital conflict?
3) Does education play a role in marital conflict?