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Fam Process. 2017 Dec;56(4):883-899. doi: 10.1111/famp.12263. Epub 2016 Nov 7.

Marital Expectations in Strong African American Marriages.

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Department of Health and Human Development, College of Education, Health and Human Development, Montana State University, Bozeman, MT.
Department of Family, Consumer and Human Development, College of Education and Human Services, Utah State University, Logan, UT.
College of Human Sciences and Education, School of Social Work, Child and Family Studies, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA.


The current exploratory study utilized a family strengths framework to identify marital expectations in 39 strong African American heterosexual marriages. Couples reflected on their marital expectations over their 10 or more years of marriage. Three themes emerged through qualitative analysis and the participants' own words were used in the presentation of the themes. African Americans indicated that there was growth in marital expectations over time, with marital expectations often beginning with unrealistic expectations that grew into more realistic expectations as their marriages progressed. Participants also indicated that core expectations in strong African American marriages included open communication, congruent values, and positive treatment of spouse. Finally, participants explained there is an "I" in marriage as they discussed the importance of autonomy within their marital relationships. Results are discussed in association with existing research and theory.


African American; Autonomy; Black; Communication; Expectations; Marriage; afroamericanos; autonomía; comunicación; expectativas; matrimonio; negro; 婚姻; 期待; 沟通; 自主性; 非裔美国人; 黑人

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