Date of Defense


Date of Graduation



Social Work

First Advisor

Gary Mathews

Second Advisor

Patricia Criswell


Divorce is very common in the United States today; an alarming 40 to 50 percent of marriages end in divorce (American Psychological Association, 2015). In response to this, there are many theories and reading materials saying they can help prevent divorce or help couples obtain a successful marriage. This thesis examines five different marriage theories and the factors the authors say can help prevent a divorce or factors that lead to a successful marriage. It examines Marital Enhancement through Cognitive Self-Disclosure by Edward Waring, The Triangular Theory of Love by Robert Sternberg, John Gottman’s Gottman Method Couple Therapy, The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman, and Michele Wiener-Davis’ Divorcing Busting: A Solution-Oriented Brief Therapy. Each theory and their factors were reviewed to determine what the author said were the most important factors to a successful marriage. After reviewing each theory their concepts were examined to see if they were actually needed in order to have a successful marriage. Once all the concepts needed for a successful marriage were determined, similarities could be seen. Many factors of the major theories were very similar concepts; they were just defined or named differently. Therefore, these main concepts were grouped together until each concept had a category. Overall, it was found that these five theories were composed of just five factors that lead to a successful marriage: intimacy, commitment, honoring partners, overcoming conflict, and cognitive self-disclosure. After naming these concepts, they were defined using the information from the five theories previously reviewed. These five factors and their definitions make up a new marriage theory in regards to factors that lead to a successful marriage. However the theory has not been tested and would need to be the object of study before proven efficacious.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Open Access

Honors Thesis Presentation.pdf (375 kB)
Defense Presentation

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Social Work Commons