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Exploring differences in Protestant -Catholic marriages: A collective case study analysis

Susan Deann Davison Meyerle, University of Nebraska - Lincoln

Abstract

Much of the literature concerning interfaith marriages has been problem-focused. Historically, research has found that couples in interfaith marriages are more likely to divorce, have decreased levels of marital satisfaction, and often result in one spouse converting to the other's religious faith. Recently, research on interfaith marriages, specifically Protestant-Catholic marriages, has begun to appear again after a 30-year hiatus. Even with the new studies, however, the focus has remained on the problems identified in interfaith marriages. No research has focused on the strengths interfaith marriages may possess. ^ This study sought to approach interfaith marriages as a viable marital relationship. It is through a qualitative, collective case study approach that we can begin to understand the complexities of Protestant-Catholic marriages, the issues associated with them, and ways to help partners with different Christian faiths. Four couples were interviewed using semi-structured questions. Family members and clergy were interviewed to provide a broader perspective. Additional sources of verification were employed. ^ Themes were identified through the interview material and other data sources. A with-in case analysis was conducted for each couple. All data collected was then analyzed for common themes, presenting a cross-case analysis. Through these levels of analysis, issues were identified and assertions were drawn from the data. ^ Six key interpretations were developed from the analysis. Interfaith couples: (1) Have strengths, and a shared set of values and sense of spiritual well-being can deepen their bonds; (2) Are committed to their faith, often having the experience of deepening their faith as they learn about their own and their spouse's beliefs; (3) Are committed to their marriages; (4) Are influenced by their families, as are other couples; (5) Can benefit from premarital guidance to assist them in resolving their differences; and (6) Are likely to renegotiate resolution of faith differences at various life stages. This study is significant, not only for its contribution to family strengths literature, but also because it proposes that Protestant-Catholic marriages can be rewarding and happy marriages. ^

Subject Area

Religion, General|Health Sciences, Mental Health|Sociology, Ethnic and Racial Studies

Recommended Citation

Davison Meyerle, Susan Deann, "Exploring differences in Protestant -Catholic marriages: A collective case study analysis" (2002). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3064558.
http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/dissertations/AAI3064558

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