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William Flythe, Ralph L. Piedmont, Ph.D., Teresa A. Wilkins, Ph.D.

Partner COA Using Spirituality as a Predictor of Marital Satisfaction

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The ability of an individual to predict his/her spouses response to life situations has been an object of study in attempting to understand marital satisfaction for some time (Mahoney et al. 2009). Very few studies have explored spiritual construct contributors to marital function and satisfaction. This research seeks to better understand marital function and how the personological and spiritual perceptions individuals have impact their own marital satisfaction. This study explored marital function though the lens of personality and spirituality.  Individuals’ ability to accurately understand their partners’ behaviors and motivations can lead to greater marital satisfaction (Piedmont & Rodgerson, 2013). This research explored how perceptions of partner and one’s ideal mate had on marital functioning, via both self-report and observer ratings. There were 297 participants (129 males and 168 females) made up of Caucasians (n = 245), Spanish/Hispanic/Latinos (n = 24), Blacks (n = 23), Asians (n = 19), Native Americans (n = 9) and Pacific Islanders (n = 2). Each participant completed several measures, including Goldberg’s (1992) IPIP 50 (a measure of personality), Piedmont's (2016) NMI (a measure of spiritual motivations), Spanier et al.'s (2001) RDAP (a measure of marital function), and select demographics. It is anticipated that the similarity between the three perceptions (self, partner, ideal mate) on the NMI will be positively associated with marital function. As both men and women’s three perceptions become more congruent, the higher their martial function will be. This research may be particularly useful in premarital and preventive counseling as it could shed light on dyadic perceptions of spirituality contributing to marital function. Furthermore, this research may be helpful for those willing to seek counseling but who have unwilling partners. It may allow clinicians to accurately measure dysfunctional perceptions that are held and to work toward new perceptions that could lead to increased marital satisfaction. This information may help to better predict marital outcomes as well as couples counseling outcomes.


 Keywords: spirituality, personality, marriage, satisfaction, functioning, relationship, couple.

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