Date of Conferral
Because marriage brings two individuals who may or may not come from the same background into an intimate relationship, there are times when a marriage can be stressful. Although spirituality may be useful in coping with marital stress, there are few published studies on the influence of spirituality on stress in marriages in recent years. The purpose of this study was to examine the influence of spiritualty on stress in marriages. Differentation-based spirituality, an outgrowth of Kerr and Bowen's spirituality theory, served as the theoretical framework. A phenomenological research design was used to explore whether spirituality was a factor that allowed couples to remain married during marital stress. Twelve couples took part in an idiographic sampling which focused on the individual in order to understand the full complexity of the individual's experience with stress they endured in marriage, how they coped with stress, and whether their spiritual beliefs affected their ability to remain married. Audiotaped interviews were transcribed, coded, and then categorized into themes. The results of this study indicated that spirituality affected the marriages of participants. Spirituality is beneficial for couples dealing with stress in their marriage. The social implications for this study are valuable for the professional, and to the clients who seek services from the professionals, positive social change can be found in new directions for future research and developing interventions for professionals working with couples. A recommendation is to develop more research about spirituality, stress, and marriage that can be used to help couples in crises during marriage counseling.