Department of Family Therapy Dissertations and Applied Clinical Projects

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences – Department of Family Therapy


Martha Gonzalez Marquez

Committee Member

Ronald J. Chenail

Committee Member

Christopher Burnett


Many couples get married hoping and believing their new relational commitment will last a lifetime. Unfortunately, however, this expectation sometimes goes unrealized. In our society, divorce rates are high and continue to climb due to a myriad of contributing factors. In regard to marriages directly connected to military culture and traditions, they not only grapple with managing the everyday stress and strain encapsulated in daily living, they also contend with military-related stressors that can also disrupt personal connections and derail marriages. In this study, the researcher will focus on the lived experience of Vietnam Combat Veteran Couples in long-term marriages diagnosed with PTSD. The goal of this study is to pinpoint some of the most-enduring yet integral aspects of intimacy having contributed to the long-term marriages of this population. The most-enduring and integral aspects within these relationships, in this population, has not been thoroughly studied. Moreover, this study will help to fill this gap in research by exploring the positive aspects found within the long-term marital relationships of Vietnam Combat Veteran Couples diagnosed with PTSD. The researcher will utilize a theoretical approach designed to work in concert with the multifaceted variances found within the premise of marriage itself; while also focusing on both the academic and practical sides of this phenomenon. The researcher will employ theme based interview questions in an attempt to examine the lived experience, as well as, the enduring and integral aspects associated with the longevity of these long-term marriages. Couple participants will be studied using the phenomenological method Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA). The results of which will guide the researcher in formulating discussions, conclusions, and recommendations for the future.