Perceptions of committed marriages in African American heterosexual couples married 25 years and longer
Maddox, Moshae Lynette
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The purpose of this study was to explore the perceptions and provide insight into meanings and factors that contribute to healthy committed marriages among African American heterosexual married couples. This study explored the experiences of couples who had been married for 25 years and longer. This qualitative study was conducted using a phenomenological approach and provided the researcher an opportunity to understand life experiences of each participant. The research objectives were to explore (a) what marriage means to African Americans, (b) what African Americans attribute to the longevity of marriage (c) what family values, core beliefs and attitudes influence African Americans' thoughts of marriage, (c) how African Americans perceive happiness or joy as it relates to long-term marriages, and (e) how the challenges in a marriage help strengthen the relationship. The research questions attempted to determine the perceived factors of African Americans in committed marriage of 25 year and longer. The study included 10 African American married couples who had been married for 25 years or longer. The majority of the couples for this study had been married between 31 and 45 years (60%). Based on semi-structured interviews, data were collected by conducting in-depth face-to-face interviews. The interviews were audio-taped, transcribed and analyzed to determine emerging themes. Ten major themes and 7 sub-themes emerged from this qualitative research study: (a) commitment, (b) lifelong, (c) marital satisfaction, (d) commitment to martial relationship, (e) vows to God, (f) family of origin, (g) spiritual beliefs with God, (h) managing normative and non-normative life events, (i) legacy and (j) family utilization of resources.