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Title:A Grounded Theory Model of How Couples Prepare for Marriage
Author(s):Nelson, Heather A.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Ebata, Aaron T.
Department / Program:Human and Community Development with a concentration in Human Development and Family Studies
Discipline:Human and Community Development with a concentration in Human Development and Family Studies
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Psychology, Social
Abstract:The purpose of this study was to learn more about how couples prepare for marriage. Preparing for marriage has received very little attention in the research literature with most marriage preparation studies having to do with evaluations of formal marriage preparation programs. From this literature, it is known that, despite the fact that marriage preparation programs have been shown to be effective in promoting marital success, relatively few couples participate in them. Most formal marriage preparation takes place in a religious setting. As such, this study sought to better understand the marriage preparation of couples both within and outside of a religious setting. Retrospective data were gathered through in-depth interviews conducted with 27 first time married couples. Using grounded theory methods a three stage model of marriage preparation was developed. The model suggests that marriage preparation occurs throughout a lifetime and begins well before the engagement period. During stage one, which occurs pre-courtship, individual preparation occurs with the main task being self-development. Couples identified four main areas that helped them prepare for marriage during stage one: learning from parental marriage example, learning from romantic relationships, religious upbringing, and developing a sense of self and personal characteristics. Stage two is the courtship in which relational preparation occurs. Couples identified four main areas that helped them prepare for marriage during this stage: getting to know each other, communicating, cohabitating, and working through challenges. Finally, stage three is the engagement in which relational preparation continues to occur, often becoming more intentional. During this stage, couples who had a religious marriage ceremony were required to participate in marriage preparation programs. Most couples did not use formal marriage preparation resources in addition to those required by their churches. The most common explanation given by couples for not seeking out additional resources was that they already felt prepared. In fact, all couples reported feeling prepared for marriage at the time they got married. Given that participants described preparing for marriage throughout their lives, marriage preparation efforts should target not only engaged couples, but also individuals at various stages, such as adolescence and young adulthood.
Issue Date:2008
Description:139 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2008.
Other Identifier(s):(MiAaPQ)AAI3314858
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-28
Date Deposited:2008

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