David DixonFollow




School of Behavioral Sciences


Doctor of Philosophy


David Jenkins

Primary Subject Area

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


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


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


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.