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An existential-phenomenological approach to understanding the experience of marital satisfaction Cawsey, Peter


This study is an existential-phenomenological investigation into the experience of marital satisfaction. It sought to understand the meaning of marital satisfaction as lived. Five married individuals, three females and two males, who had been married for ten years or longer were interviewed. They were selected on the basis that they were experiencing satisfaction in their marriage by their own reckoning. They were located through personal referrals from friends and colleagues. Each person (co-researcher) was asked to tell the story of satisfaction in their marriage. The in-depth interviews were tape-recorded, transcribed and analyzed using an existential-phenomenological approach as outlined by Colaizzi (1978). The protocol analysis resulted in the explication of fifteen themes. The themes (or constituents) were described and then woven into an exhaustive phenomenological description of the experience of marital satisfaction. Finally a concise description of the experience was formulated. The results of the study show that there is a consensus of the experience and meaning of marital satisfaction by those (the co-researchers) living the experience. The study makes suggestions for future research and points out applications of the results in pre-marital and couples counselling.

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