Date of Award

Summer 2004

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Committee Director

Thomas J. Socha

Committee Member

Sujata Moorti

Committee Member

Fran Hassencahl

Call Number for Print

Special Collections LD4331.H85 R39 2004


In interpersonal communication language shared between two people becomes important in the everyday life of relational participants. Even more so, the language shared between married couples is vital because of their "unique relationship". Part of that language involves the symbols, gestures and words called idioms that have specialized meaning for the marital dyad.

This thesis sought to discover what idioms are identified among married couples at three stages of the family lifespan, newlyweds, couples with children and empty nest couples as they seek to maintain a system of "personalized communication" as it relates to their marital satisfaction (Breuss & Pearson, 1993, p. 609). One goal of this study was to determine what patterns may exist between marital couples across the family lifespan. Since previous research seems to indicate an increase followed by a decrease, this study also sought to establish if there is a correlation between the frequency of idiom usage with husband's and or wives' own ratings of marital satisfaction. These questions thus add a new dimension to the study relating to intimacy and private talk among marital dyads.


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