Date of Award:

5-2014

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)

Department:

Family, Consumer, and Human Development

Advisor/Chair:

Linda Skogrand

Abstract

This qualitative study investigated how religion contributes to or strengthens strong African American marriages. This study was conducted within the family strengths framework. In order to develop an in-depth understanding of how religion contributed to their marriages, five couples who talked extensively about religion in their marriage were selected out of the total sample of 39 couples and were presented as case studies. Six themes emerged across all five case studies: couples consistently practiced their religion, religion was the foundation of the marriage, religion strengthened personal growth, couples had exemplars for a strong marriage, couples turned to religion during difficult times, and religion transcends race. These findings indicate that these couples practiced their religion in all aspects of their lives. The study provides an explanation of why a paradox may exist within the African American community in terms of religion and divorce. Implications of the findings are discussed.