Nollywood and Alternative Dispute Resolution: A Critical Reading of Mr. and Mrs.
Oyewole Isaac AKANLE
NTS Abuja Study Centre
National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO)
Wuse Zone 7, Abuja-FCT
The phenomenon of recurrent broken homes and divorce, which is worrisome, has dominated the African and the global world at large today. The issue of marital conflict, which is linked to the onset of depressive symptoms, psychological disorder, male alcoholism, episodic drinking, clubbing and its deleterious effects on the mental, physical and family health is paramount in national discourse today. It is believed that the bliss in our homes transcends good and healthy working environment and the society at large; hence, serious attention is required because of its critical role in national development. A critical reading of Mr. and Mrs., a Chinwe Egwuagu production shows verbal and physical abusiveness to personal characteristics by neglect, oppressions, and perceived inequality as a result of external stressors (mother-in-law and political class). The thrust of this research is to opine the diplomatic display of a mediator cum counsellors in restoring love and peace into the shattered home. It is equally to advocate for Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) in marital conflict. The cause of the conflict is the focus of the discussion as the parties are brought together by the mediator to negotiate. Emerging developments have indicated that litigation as a mechanism for dispute resolution is old, tired, party unfriendly and incapable of coping with challenges of contemporary dispute resolution. Mediation process usually comes first in litigation processes in our court today where Judges advise that the parties should meet to discuss and if it fails result to litigation. It provides win-win solution while litigation provides win-lose result. This study also shows that marital challenges are not insurmountable; rather, the commitment of both parties is required to build a formidable home and a healthy Nation.
Conflicts have always been part of human existence. It can be intra-personal, inter-personal, national or international. Conflict situation has a multi-dimensional nature which cannot be easily defined but can be observed, perceived or identified. It comes in various dimension and styles but the underlining issue is that it destroys the peaceful co-existence of man. The issue of marital conflict is often linked to the onset of depressive symptoms, psychological disorder, male alcoholism, clubbing, and its deleterious effects on the mental, physical and family health that is paramount in our national discourse today. Marital conflict if not properly managed or unresolved at the early stage often degenerate to domestic violence, broken homes and divorce as experienced worldwide.
On the other hand, the bliss in our homes transcend into a good and healthy working environment and the society at large, hence, serious attention is required by all to bring about peace because of its critical role in national development. Our home is the first place where the issue of peace cannot be jeopardised. According to UNFPA in Eserinune McCarty Mojaye’s Language and Communication for Domestic Conflict Resolution in Nigeria, every year, violence in the home and the community devastates the lives of millions of women. Since every human being has a family, or a home, the starting point for addressing conflicts of whatever dimension is therefore the home. If domestic conflicts are eliminated or curbed, conflicts on the wider scene would also diminish (Mojaye 1). The peace in our home is fundamental to peace in the larger society hence; concerted effort is required to ensure that our homes remain peaceful.
One industry that has played a major role in ensuring peaceful coexistence among the Nigerians is Nollywood. This industry has enjoyed consistent growth over the year. Nollywood, the Nigeria’s version of American Hollywood has been gathering so much success over the last few years with lots of positive changes, especially in terms of production volumes and quality of films. The industry has received lots of international recognition which make their movies to be on high demand globally. The progressive development in educating, enlightening and entertaining of the populace by Nollywood cannot be over emphasized. I must at this juncture commend the playmakers in the industry especially the producer, director and the casts in Mr. and Mrs.
I have never watched a film for two to three times until I saw Mr. and Mrs. produced by Chinwe Egwuagu, which was captivating and emotional driven to the point of shedding tears. A reading of Mr. and Mrs. shows verbal and physical abusiveness to personal characteristics by neglect, oppressions, perceived inequality coupled with External stressors (mother-in-law and social/political class). The remarkable part of the film is the professional display of a mediator cum counsellor in restoring love and peace into the shattered home. In view of this and other lessons learnt, I decided to do a critical reading of Mr. and Mrs. so as to draw home my point on the usage of Nollywood for Alternative Dispute Resolution of marital conflicts.
The word, ‘conflict,’ is derived from the Latin word, confligere, which means, “to shake or strike together violently.” Conflict is viewed by different authorities to mean violence, assassination, warfare/armed struggles, ethnic and religious clashes fight, disagreement, different interest and position, etc. Bartos and Wehr assert that, “while it is easy to identify a conflict, it is equally difficult to define what constitutes a conflict” (5). It is generally believed that conflict is not easy to define because it has a multidimensional nature which gives it ubiquitous nature but can easily be identified or perceived. In essence, conflict manifests itself in different ways, stages and levels; hence, it cannot be described with a simple word.
Asobie believes that conflict is a normal part of any healthy relationship in a home. After all, two people cannot be expected to agree on everything, all the time. Learning how to deal with conflict, rather than avoiding it, is crucial. When conflict is mismanaged, it can cause great harm to a relationship, but when handled in a respectful, positive way, conflicts provide an opportunity to strengthen the bond between two people (in Mojaye1). By learning the skills for conflict resolution, one can keep personal and professional relationships strong and growing. The universality of conflicts makes it an experience of all human beings. Conflicts can strengthen relationships when they are seen as vehicles of change. If someone’s actions or inactions are seen to breed conflicts, then change may be inevitable in order to preserve the relationship. Mojaye concluded that conflict certainly has a bad reputation: If you ask many people “what is conflict?” they are likely to answer with the worst examples, such as wars and other forms of violence. But conflict in its less extreme forms is a fundamental feature of everyday life in all human societies – and it is one of the most important ways that much of social, cultural and scientific progresses have been achieved over many thousands of years. Conflict can inspire change, and make people passionate about finding solutions to problems (Mojaye 1).
Conflicts mostly occur through differences in world view and value attached to certain issue. It occurs whenever people disagree over their values, appreciations, perceptions, ideas, or desires. Sometimes, these differences appear trivial, but it can triggers strong feelings of abandonment, insecurity, hatred, betrayals to a need which may or not be expressed. The differences in opinions or views can equally lead to opposition, resentment and unnecessary argument which may be expressed. It logically follows that when someone is not co-operating; he or she is opposing, and find it difficult to harmonies their interest (Albert 5). In order to live peaceful with someone, you have to do more than tolerating but accommodate the person. Tolerance, people say has expiring date.
The Microsoft Encarta defined crisis as a dangerous or worrying time: a situation or period in which things are very uncertain, difficult, or painful, especially a time when action must be taken to avoid complete disaster or breakdown. More often than not crisis is always confused and interchanged with conflict but from a structural and systematic perspective crisis referred to the grey zone between peace and war or between conflict and war. Billing saw crisis as a sudden eruption of unexpected events caused by previous conflict. He opined that the unresolved previous conflict always lead to crisis. If the conflict handling styles of previous conflict are poor, the most affected or the most disadvantaged group will stage crisis to show their annoyance or grievances on a particular issue (23).
Crisis management on the other hand had to do with bargaining and cooperation with stakeholders to avert a violent or conflict situation, there is a thin line between being coercive and cooperative, being tough and being tender, between aggression and accommodation, the overall concern of the conflict manager is to maintain the balance between the disputants.
Peace and Peacemaking
The concept of peace is often believed to be the opposite of conflict. The concept though freely used, is not easily and clearly understood. It is generally believed that the process of achieving peace is through conflict. Peace is regarded as the “absence of war,” but if war or conflict already exists, peace is regarded as the removal of the causes of conflict through the restoration of justice. Therefore peace is not just tranquillity of freedom from war or the absence of tension but the presence of justice (Nwolise 31). A simple meaning of peace provides that it is freedom from war, hostilities, strife, dissension and civil commotion. It is also taken to mean a state of tranquillity and quietness. The question here is that can we really have absolute peace?
The Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English defines peace as a condition in which there is no conflict between two or more nations or a state of freedom from disorder within a country with the people living according to the rule of law. Peace is an agreement or a treaty to end hostilities. It describes a society or a relationship that is operating harmoniously and without violent conflict. Peace is commonly understood as the absence of hostility or the existence of healthy or newly healed interpersonal or international relationship, safety in matters of social or economic welfare, the acknowledgment of equality, and fairness in political relationships.
The understanding of peace can also pertain to an individual's sense of himself or herself, as to be “at peace” with one's own mind. The early English term is also used in the sense of "quiet," reflecting a calm, serene, and meditative approach to the family or group relationships that avoids quarrelling and seeks tranquillity – an absence of disturbance or agitation. Peace can also be viewed as freedom from quarrels and disagreement; harmonious relations: roommates living in peace with each others. In the same view, Bartlett’s Roget’s Thesaurus says peace is freedom from war, a state of harmony, concord, quiet life or life of least resistance (394).
Martin Luther King Jr. once wrote that, “true peace is not the absence of tension but it is the presence of justice” (Nwolise 32). Peace in the face of conflict requires the elimination of the causes of conflict through the restoration of justice. In his state address on 14th January, 1963, precisely 10 months before his assassination, President John F. Kennedy told the American people that, “the absence of war does not mean peace” (Nwolise 32). He believes that peace is not merely the absence of conflict but the presence of justice. It is possible that people do not actually take arms against themselves, yet there is hostility and hatred displayed through other means. For the fact that conflict is not expressed, peace may be farfetched. The above situation clearly described the conflict in Mr. and Mrs. There was a containment of the marital conflict until it escalates in which the parties open up their mind.
The Norwegian theorist, Johan Gatung, distinguishes three types of violence relevant to the understanding of peace and conditions that create un-peaceful situations or ‘peace less’. Direct violence, i.e. physical, emotional and psychological violence; structural violence, i.e. deliberate policies and structures that cause human suffering, death and harm and cultural violence, i.e., cultural practices that create discrimination, injustice and human suffering. Galtung, in broadening the definition of peace, also outlines two dimensions of peace: ’negative peace’ i.e. the absence of direct violence, war, fear and conflict at individual, national, regional, and international levels; and ‘positive peace i.e., the absence of unjust structures, unequal relationships, justice and inner peace at individual level.
However, peacemaking includes peace enforcement, peace building and other element of peace support operation (PSO). In this sense, peacemaking often accompanies peacekeeping. They both played complimentary roles as indicated by the back and forth movement then in third party intervention, peacemakers are also called ‘third party interveners.’ The Holy Bible states that, “Blessed are the Peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God” (Matt. 5: 9 NIV). Hence it is a noble course that has reward here on Earth and in Heaven. The major role of the peacemakers is to create room for mediation which will in-turn lead to conflict analysis, containment and transformation. The significant role of the counsellor (Mrs. Brown) in Mr. and Mrs. was noticeable and commendable.
Domestic Violence (DV)
This is a pattern of behaviour which involves violence or other abuse by one person in a domestic context against another, such as in marriage or cohabitation. Domestic violence (DV) can take a number of forms including physical, emotional, verbal, economic and sexual abuse, which can range from subtle, coercive forms to marital rape and to violent physical abuse that results in disfigurement or death. Several cases have been reported in Nigeria and other Nations. In fact DV is on the increase on daily basis. It is a product of misunderstanding, misconception, suspicion, jealousy, argument and hatred which grew to violence state. According to Eluwa, domestic conflict (closely related to domestic abuse, spousal abuse, battering, family violence and intimate partner violence) is a pattern of behaviour which involves violence or other abuse by one person against another in a domestic context, such as in marriage or cohabitation (1).
Another cause of domestic violence can be explained with a theory called, Frustration-Aggression hypothesis, otherwise known as the Frustration-Aggression-Displacement theory. This is a theory of aggression proposed by Dollard, et al. in 1939, and further developed by Miller et al. in 1941 and Berkowitz in 1969. The theory says that aggression is the result of blocking, or frustrating, a person's efforts to attain goal (Wikipedia). It further attempts to give an explanation as to the cause of violence, to explain transfer of aggression caused by an unpleasant situation, treatment or happening to another person. The theory, developed by John Dollard and colleagues, says that frustration causes aggression, but when the source of the frustration cannot be challenged the aggression gets displaced onto an innocent target.
Children who live in a household with violence often show aggression from an early age that may later contribute to continuing the legacy of abuse when they reach adulthood traditionally; DV was mostly associated with physical violence. For instance, according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary definition, DV is: "the inflicting of physical injury by one family or household member on another; also, a repeated/habitual pattern of such behaviour" (www.merriam-webster.com).
As noted by Ezeocha and Mojaye, “around the world at least one woman in every three has been beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused in her life time” (2). Domestic violence often occurs because the perpetrator believes that abuse is justified and acceptable. Globally, a wife or female partner is more commonly the victim of domestic violence, though the victim can also be the male partner, or both partners may engage in abusive or violent behaviour, or the victim may act in self-defence or retaliation. As a result of abuse, victims may experience physical disabilities, chronic health problems, mental illness, limited finances, and poor ability to create healthy relationships (Ezeocha & Mojaye 2).
Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)
Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) describes processes of settling disputes by means other than litigation. It includes arbitration, mediation, early neutral evaluation, conciliation and other hybrid process. Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) is a general term, used to define a set of approaches and techniques aimed at resolving disputes in a non-confrontational way. It covers a broad spectrum of approaches, from party-to-party engagement in negotiations as the most direct way to reach a mutually accepted resolution, to arbitration and adjudication at the other end, where an external party imposes a solution.
Somewhere along the axis of ADR approaches between these two extremes lies “mediation,” a process by which a third party aids the disputants to reach a mutually agreed solution. The cause of the conflict is the focus of d discussion as the parties are brought together by the mediator to negotiate. The mediator moderates the discussion but his decision is not binding on them rather he encourages them to make their and decision stand by it.
The concept of ADR is a means of settling disputes, and decongesting the courts by reducing the number of cases that go to litigation since they can be resolved through alternative means of settling disputes. Emerging developments have indicated that litigation as a mechanism for dispute resolution is old, tired, party unfriendly and incapable of coping with challenges of contemporary dispute resolution. Mediation process usually comes first in litigation processes in our court today where Judges advise that the parties should meet to discuss and if it fails result to litigation. It provides win-win solution while litigation provides win- lose result.
Alternative Dispute Resolution can simply be described as African traditional approach to conflict resolution as practiced by our Ancestors prior to the advent of colonialism (Esezobor 21). Thus, ADR is not a new concept to Africans but its elaboration is a novel academic exercise. The effectiveness of ADR is a function on how skilful the negotiators are and commitment on the part of the disputants to abide by the decisions reached. This seems to support the position of Albert that negotiation is an everyday exercise but only a few people are skilled in the art of professional sense of the word (72).
It is a common saying that lover whispers to each other regardless of the distance but people in conflict situation shout at the top of their voices even though at close range yet they won’t hear each other. Therefore, love draws people close despite the distance but conflict or hatred make us farther despite the closeness. On this note, marital conflict is a series of events that have been poorly handled so as to deeply damage the marriage relationship. The issues have festered to the point that pride, anger, hurt, stubbornness and bitterness which prevent blissful home and effective communication.
It is at the back drop of this that such marital conflict should be avoided as much as possible so as not to degenerate to irreconcilable differences and ultimately divorce. Although it is believed that there is no way to avoid conflict in marriage rather one has to deal with it. The question is how will you deal with it when it arises? Few couples like to admit it, but conflict is common to all marriages. Every family has had their share of conflict and some disagreements have not been pretty. It starts with two selfish people with different backgrounds and personalities in addition to some bad habits and interesting idiosyncrasies, throw in a bunch of expectations, and then turn up the heat a little with the daily trials of life. Conflict can lead to a process that develops oneness or isolation. You and your spouse must choose how you will act when conflict occurs. Most couples argue about the same things year after year. They make no progress in solving certain problems rather they even get more entrenched.
The marital conflict if not properly managed leads to divorce. This is the termination of a marital union or dissolving the bonds of matrimony between married couples under the rule of law of a particular country. In some cases, the couple may remain legally married but separated. Divorce can be a stressful experience, affecting finances, jobs, living arrangement, schedules and the well-being of children. Mbiti referred to in Arugu posits that divorce is a delicate accident in marital relationships. What constitutes a divorce must be viewed against the fact that marriage is a process. In many societies that process is complete only when the first child is born, or when all the marriage presents have been paid or even when one’s first children are married. Once the full contract of marriage has been executed, it is extremely hard to dissolve it (Mbiti 145; qtd in Arugu 374).
In essence the issue of separation or divorce should be totally avoided by properly managing the marital conflict. It is pertinent to note that early warning should not be ignored. They manifest in nagging, withdrawer of a partner, secrecy, complains, attitudinal changes, shouting, abusive, showing unconcern to one another, suspecting one another etc. it is advisable to create room for good communication and if that fails, an advice of a marriage counsellor should be sought. The counsellors/mediators will be able to advice appropriately. They includes the private counsellors, religion based: church based and Islamic based, institutionally (university) based, etc. they give Pre-marital and marital counselling as well as resolve conflict in marriage.
The Film: Mr. and Mrs.
Mr. and Mrs. is a story of the friction experienced by two couples who tried to strike a balance between their social status and their family commitments. It is a master piece movie starring the multiple award winning and amazing duo of Nse Ikpe Etim and Joseph Benjamin produced by Chinwe Egwuagu and directed by Ikechukwu Oyeka.
The theme of the story is about a married couple, Kenneth Abah (Joseph Benjamin) and Susan Abah (Nse Ikpe Etim) who was blessed with kids (though they were not shown throughout the movie). Ken is from a wealthy and influential family while Susan came from a family with a poor and struggling background (daughter of a ‘wash man’). Despite her level of education – a law graduate, she was a full time housewife. Susan cooks good food for him, takes good care of the home and totally submissive yet she was taken for granted and disregarded by her husband.
She was treated like a slave in her own home while the husband is more concerned about his welfare and his job as Managing Director of Hills Oil and Gas – his father’s biggest company hence treats her with disdain. The toll of being kept at home and not allowed to leave the house plus the way Ken treats her takes its toll on Susan making her look haggard. She makes fresh meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, because her husband dislikes stale food and eating out. Her husband nags constantly, rains insults on her, and never pays her attention except when he wants to satisfy his sexual needs. She accepts all the abuse in an attempt to please her ungrateful husband.
The movie had its sad moments where you felt the depth of Susan’s sadness and neglect by her husband. There are also hilarious moments like the instance when Ken becomes jealous after discovering that a dildo has taken his place, and the time when he’s pissed at the meal cooked for him by a maid after Susan stops cooking for him. The situation got so bad that they both sought for a counsellor/mediator with the view of divorce but with a condition of living together under the same roof pending the political ambition of Ken’s father realized. With the diplomatic display of a mediator cum counsellor, love and peace was restored into the shattered home. The story equally relates the experiences of Susan and Kenneth as they work out the problems associated with their marriage. At the end of the movie, Susan is able to get back a husband that respect and loves her dearly.
Linda and Charles, on the other hand, have different settings but finds out that her marriage is not perfect after all; her husband had been having an affair with the maid all the while. They equally got their marriage working with the help of the mediator. The movie leaves valid and true lessons for all.
A Critical Reading ofMr. and Mrs.
A reading of Mr. and Mrs., a Chinwe Egwuagu production shows verbal and physical abusiveness to personal characteristics by neglect, oppressions, perceived inequality as a result of societal class coupled with external stressors (mother-in-law and politics). The film shows two families: Susan and Kenneth with Charles and Linda with different issues in their homes. More emphases were placed on Abah’s family. The opening scene shows Kenneth Abbah, the Managing Director of Hills Oil and Gas, who emotionally maltreats his wife of ten years and Susan Abbah, Kenneth’s wife who has to put up with the unfairness of her husband. Halima Olajumoke Sogbesan in an online review said, “it was a story about some of the conflicts and struggles in marriages and how Susan Abah controlled the situation in other to please her husband. ‘Susan represents the struggle for respect and love in her marital home” (1).
The movie attempts to show what is obtainable in the Nigerian society where all respect and full control is in the hand of men. In her words, Susan said, “she respects the husband to the point of worship the ground he walks on.” She realized she has sacrificed her pride, social life and dignity to please her husband. When she complained to Linda, she made her see how she has been taking for granted. I noted that the fire of love in the home went down when Susan began to ask for freedom from being confined and dignity as a wife. This led to maltreatment, verbal abuses, name calling (ingrates, daughter of a wash man) nagging, rejection, slavery and unhappiness. It grew to the point of rape and physical abuse. It should be noted that verbal abuse can lead to psychological imbalance and emotional wreck. The twist was very fast and the wife (Susan) determined to get to the root of the matter.
When the matter was reported to a mediator – Mrs. Brown (Counsellor), Susan and Kenneth have different position and goals in mind. Kenneth position was that Susan was ungrateful for all he’s doing, that she wants freedom to socialised and can live in her dream world. On the other, she wants love, respects, to be called a wife even in public. The situation degenerates to physical abuse and name calling. The first thing she did was to listen, then help them to transform their goals and position. She thereafter advised them to talk, think and talk then come back. The mediation helps Kenneth to realise how important Susan is to him and give more boldness to Susan to press on with the struggle to get her husband back.
The mediation also built some confident in them and they are able to open up. This is a good attribute of a Mediator/Counsellor. Your clients must trust you enough to divulge personal information to you. She did not look at the matter on the surface level but went down to the root (Onion’s style). The root of the matter is that Susan came from a poor background so she is expected to worship and celebrate every gesture she receives. Kenneth also believes that the entire things that the wife required have been provided, so she should be confined. I equally sense insecurity in allowing the wife to mingle with others so that she will not be corrupted. On the other hand, Susan sees herself as a wife and not a slave hence need freedom, love and respects.
The second family that pre-supposed to be conflict free was later discovered to be sitting on the keg of gun powder. This shows that if a conflict situation is not expressed does not negate the existence. In most cases, it is better identified at the latent stage before its escalation. Once it is discovered, it should be discoursed and resolved. If otherwise the service of a counsellor/mediator should be sought.
Another salient part of the Counsellor was that she made them to sign a divorce form even when she knew very well that divorce is the last option. It is always good to act up in line and empathize with your client so as to get their trust. In fact most judges will first and foremost advice their client to use alternative dispute resolution (ADR) before litigation. In marriage, the dissolution can only be granted only when it is discovered that the relationship has broken down irretrievable. The processes are usually long and can be granted if the marriage have not being consummated after a period of time.
The movie opines that marital conflict can be better managed with Alternative Dispute Resolution. The Holy Bible attests to the fact that in the multitude of counselling, there is safety. King’s James Version states in Proverbs 11:14: “Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety.” This statement is corroborated by the Quran that says, “Believers are free to seek for counselling to improve their knowledge, wisdom and their general attitude to life provided the Counsellor is more experienced and knowledgeable than them especially in Islamic faith” (Suratul Nisai Verse 34-35.128-130)The position of the Religious bodies in pre-marital and post-marital counselling is really commendable. This process has helped to restore peace, joy and love to our homes.
The summation of this movie is that marriages will always have challenges no matter how little. At the end, what really matters is that the couple involved is able to transform their issues and leave peacefully thereafter. The movie equally reveals that marriages are prone issues (challenges) no matter how little; the transformation and management of the issue differ from one family to another.
Approaches to Marital Conflict Resolution
This paper talks and advocates for the use of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) in the resolution of marital conflict. There are various approaches to marital Conflict, the application of these approach depend mainly on the nature of the conflict. Another important issue to be considered is the stage of the conflict which includes issues-formation, position-taken, attitude-development to counselling (issues transformation and management). The essence is to save the strength and energy channel on fight, abuses, nagging and even violent acts. There is also the need to enumerate steps to be taken by couples especially when they observe the warning signals.
The mediation process and the body of the mediators’ couple with the circumstances and environment also determine the duration. One cannot rule out the corporation of the partners. Raza notes that the person who usually seeks counselling amongst couples in marital disputes is the wife. In some cases, if husbands do not want to come in the counselling cannot obviously take place (2). He further stressed that the ability to survive stage two of Islamic marriage counselling is an indication for continuity. According to him, in the first five to six weekly sessions, the couple openly expresses all negative feelings about each other. They can sometimes be very hostile to each other. He notes that this can be shocking for one or both partners, since they never realized the other felt so negatively. The next stage is extremely difficult. As the couple has openly conveyed negative feelings to each other, they are usually very angry with one another. In a number of cases, they may completely end coming to counselling. If the couple survives the second stage and remains in counselling, the counsellor asks each of them if they are still committed to maintaining their marriage. It is the view of Raza that counselling is aim at producing content that helps build bridges of understanding among Muslims and their neighbours with emphasis on youth and that a counsellor who is well-trained will never recommend divorce. He/she will only present it as one of many options (Raza 2).
This paper focuses on intra-personal and inter-personal conflicts as experienced in the home. Our homes/marriages can actually be heaven on Earth is spouse learnt to respect the feelings of one another. The film Mr. and Mrs. gave us an expository to the usage of counselling and mediation in resolving marital conflicts. The assumption that conflict management and early discovery of conflict’s danger signs with rapid response has proved to be useful to successful marriage is examined in this study.
However, there is need for pay attention to other mechanisms which includes the environments in which marriages are situated and the interaction between internal and external factors that encroach upon marriage. They are important factors to be considered in explaining the concept of marital conflict. External stressors also may influence marriages directly. The stressors are finance, mother in laws, friends, habits, communication, work environment to mention but a few. There is a growing need to identify the stressors and life events that are and are not influential for different couples and at different stages of marriage, to investigate how these events influence conflict, and to clarify how individuals and marriages may inadvertently escape them.
It has also been established that conflict is not bad in its entirety. Conflicts can strengthen relationships when they are seen as vehicles of change. If someone’s actions or inactions are seen to breed conflicts, then change may be inevitable in order to preserve the relationship. But if conflicts are unresolved, may degenerate into violent situations. The case of Susan and Kenneth is a good example. Conflict make them realized how important they are to each other and that each other’s feeling have been tampered with over the years. When conflict is mismanaged, it can cause great harm to a relationship, but when handled in a respectful, positive way, conflicts provide an opportunity to strengthen the bond between two people.
It is undoubtedly that Alternative Dispute Resolution is an ideal model for marital conflicts. The overwhelming positive transforming role of ADR on our homes should be encouraged. Hence, the crusade should not be left in the hand of few practitioners. Apart from having ADR attached to few courts in Nigeria, Non-Government Organisations should be encouraged to open centre. There is increase in the number of violent cases across the country which could be ameliorated with increase in number of ADR Centres.
The awareness on ADR intervention on marital conflict should be heralded in our dailies, televisions and radios. A lot of people don’t know much about provision hence, sought for litigation for settlement of their dispute. Because of the cumbersome nature of court procedures, time wastage and finance, some people have resorted to fate and so doing became casualty of domestic violence. The relevant government agencies like National Orientation Agency (NOA), National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO) and relevant agents should brace up to the challenges.
The film script writers/producers should do scripts that will deal with some of the issues that constitute marital conflicts. They should also compose it towards peaceful resolutions as in the case of Mr. and Mrs. Most films that have conflict always end up resolving it in courts, church, mosque etc they should also employ the traditional alternative resolution in their films.
We as a society cannot shy away from the issue of peace education. It should be paramount in our education system. There is need to input in our educational system the culture of peace so that everyone will become peace ambassador. This will in no small measure improve our human relations and ability to understand why people behave in a particular way.
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