Collins Anaeche, Ph.D., is a 2021 graduate of the PhD Program in Marriage and Family Therapy at Antioch University, New England

Dissertation Committee:

  • Denzel Jones, PhD, Committee Chair
  • Kevin Lynes, PhD, Committee Member
  • Norja E. Cunningham, PhD, Committee Member
  • Lucille Byno, PhD, Committee Member


marital satisfaction, marital dissatisfaction, couples, heterosexual relationships, differences, spirituality, religion, religiosity, multidimensional systems, treatment, emotional intimacy, interpretative phenomenological analysis, IPA

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As the dynamics of the United States’ social landscape shifts in relation to the diversity of culture, ethnicity, values, and traditions, and as religion and spirituality have become highly diverse and fluid, diversity in spirituality has received limited attention in the field of marriage and family therapy. Utilizing an interpretative phenomenological analysis, this qualitative investigation explores common meanings and experiences of emotional intimacy of couples in heterosexual relationships where there are differences in spirituality. Overall, the results of this investigation demonstrate that in situations where heterosexual couples who display differences in spirituality attentively attuned to their individual and relational needs, their emotional intimacy satisfaction was enhanced; in situations where couples’ attentiveness to their spirituality and religious differences was undermined, their individual needs suffered, and their emotional intimacy was impeded. Furthermore, this study shows that it is not so much the differences in the contents of spiritual beliefs between spouses in married relationships that determine the direction of their emotional intimacy satisfaction but their shared or divergent values on spirituality. Clinical implications for therapists are provided alongside study limitations and recommendations for future research.


Collins Anaeche

ORCID Scholar ID# 0000-0003-2497-6705