Maintaining a Satisfying Marriage: A Narrative Analysis of Communication Skills, Stories, and Meanings in Marriage Education
In this study I explore how FamilyLife, a Christian organization committed to marriage education, stories marriage and the communicative behaviors that are emphasized. I completed a review of the current communication literature to allow for an understanding of scholarly framework for the communication behaviors that are specific for building and maintaining satisfying marital relationships as well as the value of marriage education programs. I utilized a thematic narrative analysis to examine 85 articles (Marriage Memos) in order to determine the marriage and communication values that emerged throughout FamilyLife’s narrative of marriage. Similarities found in the Marriage Memos were identified and categorized into twelve primary categories. The primary themes for marriage values were: blueprint for marriage, faith, commitment, family, investment, selflessness, and companionship. The primary categories for the communication values were: listening, power of tongue, cooperation, genuineness, and conflict management. The stories throughout the Marriage Memos maintained strong narrative fidelity, allowing these values to be accepted and utilized by the reader; FamilyLife communicates to the readers the communication skills and behaviors it finds valuable to maintaining a satisfying marriage, while reflecting the need to foremost uphold its own and others’ spiritual values.