Author(s)

David DixonFollow

Department

Counseling Department

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Chair

David Jenkins

Primary Subject Area

Psychology, General; Psychology, Social; Religion, General; Sociology, Individual and Family Studies

Keywords

Bonding, Christian Spirituality, Long-Term Marriages, Marital Health, Phenomenological, Qualitative

Disciplines

Christianity | Counseling Psychology | Family, Life Course, and Society | Psychology | Religion

Abstract

This is a phenomenological study examining the shared experiences expressed by 10 couples who have been married one time for more than thirty years and have been described as practicing Christian spirituality within their marital relationship. The data was collected by one source, the researcher, as the couple's participated in a joint interview. Two major Christian spirituality themes emerged from the couple's interviews. The first major Christian spirituality theme was being and doing. The being and doing theme interplayed throughout the interview with the emerging process factors of affectionate expression, bonding, and commitment. The second major Christian spirituality theme which emerged was marriage and growing. As couples told their stories a Marital Growth Model emerged from the study which included the outcome variable of hope which existed within the vernacular of many of the participants interviewed. This study has implications for enrichment programs for churches as well as aiding premarital and young couples in understanding the developmental processes of marriage from a Christian spirituality perspective. Suggestions for future study include qualitative research to other faith religions, mixed populations, and cultures.

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