Date of Award


Level of Access Assigned by Author

Campus-Only Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Human Development


Sandra L. Caron

Second Committee Member

Robert M. Milardo

Third Committee Member

Stephen R. Marks


This study examined the role maintenance behaviors play in marital satisfaction, as well as what factors contribute to happy, long-term marriages. The sample included 28 participants attending conservative Christian churches and 34 people attending nonconservative Christian churches. The Relational Maintenance Strategy Measure (Stafford and Canary, 1992) was used to measure maintenance behaviors, while the Dyadic Adjustment Scale (Spanier, 1976) was used to determine marital satisfaction. Higher maintenance behavior scores were positively correlated with higher marital satisfaction scores. No statistically significant differences were found between males and females, or between those attending conservative versus non-conservative Christian churches. When asked to identify what factors contribute to happy, long-term marriages, differences were found between the conservative Christians and non-conservative Christians in what they identified as their most important factor. Limitations and implications for future research are discussed.