Dissertation Title:

I’m Going to Love You Forever: A Study on the Longevity of Relationships


Sherry Marasse

Date, Time & Place:

August 19, 2022 at 11:00 am


The purpose of this study was to discover the common elements needed to sustain mutual love and devotion in long-term, committed partnerships. This study utilized a descriptive phenomenological method to understand the lived experiences of long term committed couples. Five couples in mutually satisfying, loving relationships for at least 20 years were interviewed to understand what common experiences, traits, and tools assisted them in maintaining their relationships. Five superordinate themes were identified from the interview analysis: Communication, Providing a Balance, Felt Sense of Protection and Nurturing, Spirituality, and Soulmates. Several participants also stated that a sense of determination was necessary to sustain their long-term relationship during times of challenge and hardship. This study also utilized the Listening Guide as an adjunctive method. I Poems and We Poems derived from the interview transcripts were created to uncover the implicit relational dynamics occurring beneath each couple’s narrative. These poems reflected both the individual participants’ sense of self in their relationship as well as each couple’s shared sense of self in their partnership.

  • Program/Track/Year: Clinical Psychology, OP, 2015
  • Chair: Dr. Elizabeth Schewe
  • Reader: Dr. Lori Pye
  • External Reader: Dr. Patricia Plasay
  • Keywords: Relationships, Soulmate, Romantic Love, Successful Relationships