School of Behavioral Sciences


Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology (PhD)


Laura Rolen


marital satisfaction, couples satisfaction, couples intimacy, marital intimacy, temperament, temperament in marriage, temperament in couples, personality in marriage, marital reciprocity




This narrative qualitative research project evaluated the influence of meeting a partner's needs regarding marital intimacy. This study investigated the archival data of couples who received temperament-focused marriage therapy. The essential principles taught throughout treatment (relational reciprocity, temperament needs met, the character of Christ) influence marital intimacy. A large body of work examined supports that needs-met (individual and relational) is essential for one's overall health and well-being. Three theories lay the theoretical foundation for this study: (1) Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs theory states that individuals have varying needs and that well-being hinges on their needs being met. (2) Schutz's Fundamental Interpersonal Relations Orientation (FIRO) theory demonstrates the varying individualistic needs for social and relational needs being met. (3) Arno's temperament theory and assessment allow one's innate needs to be determined, and once determined, the need can be met. Detailed therapy notes, interviews, and observations provide an immersion into the participant's life story and the essence of the participant's experience. Pre-, during, and post-session notes (digital and handwritten) captured the conducted in-depth semi-structured face-to-face interviews. All data points (keywords and themes) from session notes were labeled, sorted, and organized into reoccurring themes and patterns. A thorough data analysis revealed connections between themes and dissipated all data outliers. Couples who reported perceiving their spouse to be meeting their temperament needs experienced an increase in intimacy, and individuals who did not perceive their partners to be meeting their needs reported experiencing a decrease in intimacy. The findings of this study support that relational reciprocity, meeting temperament needs, and possessing the character of Christ will influence marital intimacy.

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