Evaluating a marriage enrichment programme for newly married couples in Sultanate of Oman
Al-Mughairy, Asila Juma
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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In Oman and Arab Gulf countries, rising rates of divorce and family breakdown have increased public concern about the severity of marital and family problems. According to the ministry of justice (2002-2009), the rates of divorce increased from 1661 in 2002 to 2698 in 2009. The ministry of social development reported that the number of divorce cases provided by the Ministry according to 2003 was 7822 while in 2009 the number increased to 8199 cases, the money spent on these cases reached 4461,414 Omani Rials (Ministry of Social Development, 2003-2009). Some researchers from Gulf countries reported that the average length of some gulf countries marriage is only five to seven years (Al qashan, 2007). The main purpose of the present study was to develop, deliver and evaluate an Arabic version of the marriage enrichment programme in Omani context. In order to determine whether this programme could effectively improve the marital relationship and marital satisfaction of Omani couples. In addition, the majority of previous studies which focused on marriage enrichment, have been conducted in predominantly white, Western population (Yelsma, 1988). The current study will contribute insight into the ways couples from other cultural backgrounds interact with each other in achieving marital satisfaction, specially couples from Muslim countries. In this study, 83 newly married couples participated; 46 couples completed the six-week Marriage Enhancement Programme (MEP), completing assessments directly before, on completion and at six-months follow-up. There were 37 couples as a comparison group for measuring the impact of the programme on the experimental group. The results show that couples who completed the programme reported higher levels of satisfaction, in the form of a broad and significant improvement in their relationship on the six dimensions, than those of comparison group, all increases remained significant at six-month follow-up. These positive findings suggest the potential effectiveness of the MEP and the importance of future longitudinal outcome studies to validate its enhancement utility. It seems to warrant other culturally tailored studies to test the worth of this programme with different samples.
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