Infidelity in Marriage Causes Effects and Remedies


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The main objective of this study was to find out infidelity in marriage, causes, effects and remedies: a case study of few selected churches. Seven (7) research questions were set to guide the study. Related literature from authors was reviewed. The research design used in this study is the cross sectional survey. The population of this study comprised all the church members who are of the age of 17- 65 and above in selected five (5) churches in Ibadan North Local Government Area of Oyo State. The sample size of this study comprise of three hundred and forty (340) church members selected from the population of the study. The main instrument used for the collection of data from respondents was the interview. 

The researcher designed the in-depth semi-structured interview questions based on the research questions. The researcher employed semi-structured interviews to collect data as they are regarded as most valuable in qualitative studies. The qualitative data from the in-depth interview were analyzed using the descriptive method of qualitative data.


Infidelity in Marriage Causes Effects and Remedies




Marriage is a socially sanctioned union typically between one man and one woman usually called husband and wife. Marriage is a uniquely comprehensive union of hearts and minds, but also distinctively a bodily union made possible by sexual complementarities. It is more than physical attraction and biological union; it involves total commitment, self-donation to one another and taking responsibilities that lead to mutual well-being and marital stability.

Infidelity among married couples in Christian churches has been responsible for most cases of marital separation and divorce. This study investigated the Rapid Increase of infidelity in marriage, causes, effects and remedies: a case study of few selected churches in Ibadan North Local Government Area Oyo State of Nigeria.


1.1     Background to the Study

Marriage also called matrimony or wedlock is a culturally recognized union of two people as partners in a personal relationship which historically and in some jurisdiction specifically involve a man and a woman. This most solemn, sacred and serious union into which people enter establishes rights and obligations between them as well as between them and their children, and between them and their in-law. It is sacred because it is established by God Himself. Serious because it binds the man and woman together in a relationship so close and intimate that their entire future will be profoundly influenced by it.

The sacredness and sanctity of marriage is expressed in the marriage vow itself, “To be my lawfully wedded wife and vow to be loyal to you in every way to comfort you to cherish you, from this day forward, for better for worse, for richness for poorer, in sickness and health and always to love you till death do us part according to God’s holy ordinance to this I pledge myself.” Marriage connotes a life time of dedication and surrendering to each other. A life of sharing the pains, frustrations, disappointments, victory, joy and happiness of each other. It is a life total dependence on each other.

Getting married is a life time experience that is often cherished and looked forward to with great enthusiasm, hope and expectations of eventual fruitful married life. Okoiye, Ukah and Nwoga (2016) asserted that when couples get married, they project establishing a happy and joyous home devoid of rancour, acrimony, violence, conflict or instability.

However, the institution of marriage has been subjected to numerous challenges in recent times considering the fact that the challenges of the twenty first century contemporary societal expectations have made some marriages to experience distress, frustrations and uncompromising experiences that have had negative implications on them and caused marital instability. Entry into marriage is always an experience but it is often discovered that the journey through the marriage life is full of intricacies with unpleasant experiences one cannot deny.

In Nigeria, research studies have being conducted on family and marital problems. In view of these, there have been various research interests in the study of marriage problem so much that is no doubt that the country is beset with a rising incidence of separation and divorce cases after marriage (Audu, 2016). Problem of various descriptions for example locates infidelity in marriage as a major influence of separation and divorce. Ayannuga and Adenuji (2017) noted that marital stability is the key factor in Nigerian marriages and it involves a lot of effort for its sustenance.

Marital stability here is not only a value term but also a relative term which implies firmness and strength to endure under hard as well as easy circumstances. There is a strong alignment between healthy marriages and mental health. Successful marriage and married life will be able to meet many of mental and physical needs in a safe environment and significantly influence on individuals’ mental health. Harley (1996) also noted that it is a wonder that after couples have made solemn and sacred contracts and have promised before accredited witnesses to live together for better and for worse till death part them, the same couples became the architects of conflict and marital instability especially in present day Nigeria. The marriage institution is in fact a reflection of the decadence and general disorder that is evident in the Nigerian society.

The norms and values which were once cherished in the olden days have been washed away as the society moves towards holistic, materialistic and cosmopolitan tendencies. Infidelity among couples is one of the most wrenching experiences a couple can endure. It can destroy families, crush spirits. It also can cause pain to the cheater. Hence, there is no other information about the origin of infidelity apart from the ones written in the Bible; therefore, the Bible remains the basis of information about the origin of infidelity among married couples.

The Bible states that, marital infidelity is the unlawful relationship between a married person and another person of the opposite sex (Book of John 8:3). This is when a person is having an extramarital engagement with another person. Harley (1996) posited that marital infidelity as an affair is when a married individual has intercourse with a person to whom they are not married, that is to say that, it is an affair of two people who are married to different people of the opposite sex.

Nigeria is a religious nation and vast majority of Nigerians, take issues of religion and religious practice as very important aspect of their lives. Also, marriage and religion influence various dimensions of life, including physical health and longevity of life, mental health and happiness, economic well-being and raising of children yet infidelity amongst couples is a major threat to this belief system and poses a risk to marital happiness.


Infidelity in Marriage Causes Effects and Remedies

1.2     Statement of the Problem

Infidelity, being a worldwide phenomenon, has caused tremendous effects on the society and has impacted differently to different couples, socially, economically, psychologically, and culturally. It is one of the most damaging behaviors for the survival of a relationship. It creates a violation of trust and breaks the commitment partners made to each other; it weakens marital relationships and creates tension (Cohen 2015, Mapfumo 2016).

Marital infidelity in churches has been associated with varied emotional responses and behaviours such as increased anxiety and depression, suicidal ideation, along threats of divorce and physical aggression (Taghi, Ismail, & Jaafar, 2019). The act destroys relationships and research shows that it is the single most reason for divorce (Cohen, 2015), and it is due to the inability of spouses to observe sexual exclusivity of each other. Although there is a substantial body of literature on the prevalence and correlates of infidelity, there is need to pay attention to the factors contributing to infidelity. Therefore, this study sought to find out infidelity in marriage, causes, effects and remedies: a case study of few selected churches in Ibadan North Local Government Area Oyo State.


1.3     Objectives of the Study

The main objective of this study was to find out infidelity in marriage, causes, effects and remedies: a case study of few selected churches in Ibadan North Local Government Area Oyo State.

Specifically the study sought:

  1. To find out infidelity in marriage.
  2. To examine the causes of infidelity.
  3. To find out how often does infidelity happens in marriage.
  4. To investigate the psychological effects it has on either of the party.
  5. To find out the damages it causes in marriage.
  6. To find out the adverse effects of infidelity on both spouses as well as their children.
  7. To examine the roles do infidelity play in divorce.

Infidelity in Marriage Causes Effects and Remedies

1.4     Research Questions

  1. What is infidelity in marriage?
  2. What are the causes of infidelity?
  3. How often does infidelity happens in marriage?
  4. What are the psychological effects it has on either of the party?
  5. What are the damages it causes in marriage?
  6. What are the adverse effects of infidelity on both spouses as well as their children?
  7. What roles does infidelity play in divorce?


1.5     Significance of the Study

The following are the significance of this study:

  1. The significance of this research lies in the fact that so many Christian couples ignorantly and purposely engage in the act of infidelity which in the Christian marriage is a sin against humanity and God.
  2. The research work is set to correct this ill and make known to the Christian community on the dangerous effects of infidelity in marriage.
  3. More so the outcome and discoveries of this research work will serve as a source of information or data to students, academia, administrators, consultants, and above all Christian couples and the Christian community and others who may want to undergo similar research studies on infidelity in marriage or Christian marriage.
  4. The results from this study would likewise be useful to the Church Ministers to guide them on the key areas to address, while preparing couples before marriage, as well as, those with marital issues.
  5. This research will also serve as a resource base to other scholars and researchers interested in carrying out further research in this field subsequently, if applied will go to an extent to provide new explanation to the topic.


1.6     Scope/Delimitation of the Study

This study is delimited in scope to infidelity in marriage, causes, effects and remedies, which will cover all forms of immoral activities that exist in churches today with a view of finding a lasting solution to the problem.

Infidelity in Marriage Causes Effects and Remedies

1.7     Limitations of Study

  1. Financial constraint– Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).
  2. Time constraint– The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.


1.8     Operational Definition of Terms

Infidelity: Infidelity is the act or fact of having a romantic or sexual relationship with someone other than one’s husband, wife, or partner. It can also be defined as a situation where two married persons (a man and a woman) not married to each other have agreed to engage in sexual affairs without the knowledge of their marriage partners.

Marriage: Refers to the union of two persons of the opposite sex bound by legal vows as a husband and wife for the purpose of raising up a family with the help of an authorized marriage registrar in a witnessed holy matrimony ceremony.

Couple: Refers to a condition where a man and a woman live together as a husband and wife in making up a family. This term will be used in this study synonymously with the word married.

Christian: Christians are people who follow or adhere to Christianity, a monotheistic Abrahamic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus Christ.

Church: There are really few words that are so frequently used by Christians as the word “church”. Unfortunately, few also are those who really understand this word as the Bible understands it, and apply its Biblical meaning in practice. Given the importance of a clear understanding of what the Word of God says about the church, we will devote this article to its detailed examination.

A quick look at what most people think that the word “church” means shows that the great majority uses this word either to denote a place where various religious ceremonies take place or as a component in the title of various denominations. However, these usages of the word church do not correspond to what the Word of God defines as church, thus making necessary a better examination of the meaning of this word.

The word “church” is a translation of the Greek word “ekklesia” that means “what is called out or forth”. As E.W. Bullinger says, this word was used “of any assembly, but especially of citizens, or of a selection of them, “burgesses”. In the New Testament it is used 115 times, 3 of which it is translated as “assembly”, and 112 as “church”.

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