Academic journal article Ife Psychologia

Scrambling for Greener Pastures and Family Disintegration in Nigeria

Academic journal article Ife Psychologia

Scrambling for Greener Pastures and Family Disintegration in Nigeria

Article excerpt

This study specifically examines the psychological status of women whose husbands travel abroad for greener pastures. Human migration from one geo-political region to another is part of man; and searching for land that flows with milk and honey appears the salient reason among others. Nigeria witnessed the nuptial exit of its virile and young minds to the foreign land for better living between the 80s and 90s and it has remained constant. This migration has affected every facet of national building in Nigeria - politics, economy, social, agriculture, and science and technology; among others. This paper therefore, examines the psychological effects of husband's exit for greener pastures on the wife and the children left back at home; and the effects also on the development of the society at large. It suggests ways government, work place and organizations could help couples on the job; and strategies to put in place should one of the spouses decides to embark on a foreign mission for better living.

Key words: scrambling, greener pastures, migration, family disintegration, couples, and Nigeria.


Most studies on migration of people from the third world countries for greener pastures in the Western world (especially America) focus on its adverse effects on the nation. Others look at it from socio-economic angle; i.e. how it has economically and socially underdeveloped Africa, especially Nigeria. And yet others prefer to explore the economic benefits on the nuclear family and its attendance to urgent needs of the community. Few of the studies examine the psychological implications of migration on the nuclear family and the tearing apart of the couples and their children becoming vagabonds. This paper is therefore, a psychological dissection of the effects of migration on marriage and the children (nuclear family). Psychology as a science of behaviour occupies a vintage position in the examination of the effects of spouse migration on the psyche of the nuclear family. The topmost reason for scrambling for greener pastures by married people is to seek and acquire better living for their family members. Since family situation is unquantifiably important; and is a pointer to what happens in the larger society; there is a need to explore the aftermath of migration on the nuclear family vis-àvis spouse and children. This exploration will open in-roads to reawakening up to the challenges of migration to the Western world (especially America) and overcoming the problems of divorce and abandonment.

Purpose of Marriage and Roles of Participants

One of the greatest mysteries of human organization is marriage. Marriage is a social institution binding a union of two marriageable persons as husband and wife. It is an institution in which interpersonal relationship (usually intimate and sexual) are acknowledged. There are different forms of marriage though; but this study is limited to one man, one woman; monogamy type of marriage. World over, marriage is seen as one of the developmental stages in the life of the individual. And one of the fundamental purposes of it is to start a family (i.e. procreation; the conceiving, bearing and nurturing of offspring); implying that society for its survival has created the concept of family which is the base of society and, in turn, the family is consequence of marriage. Similarly, one of the primary purposes of marriage is companionship/ partnership. Nature implants in men and women instincts that impel them to seek the companionship of marriage and in this companionship; husband and wife are able to hope for help and an easing of their physical discomforts even as they grow older. Also, marriage is meant to legitimize sexual relations. It implies that one of the ways this partnership fortifies, invigorates, relaxes and pleasures the participants is through sexual relations. And finally, marriage is meant to serve as remedy for concupiscence or illegitimate sexual desire. …

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