The workings of admiration and adoration within individuals and the family as attitudes against self-interest were investigated. Interviews with American families in two New England states from ten Christian denominations (n = 20) were analyzed qualitatively. As a result, admiration was observed among almost all the families. Three means-end structures emerged in regard to spouses' configuration of the components of adoration, and these three groups of families indicated different features of family. The spouses of the Holistic Devotion (HD) group devoted all resources to God, rejecting the quest for self-interest, defining marriage/family as a coherent unit to serve God. The children participated in this attitude, expressing a similar devotion to God and rejection of self-interest. The spouses of the Personal God (PG) group perceived God as a meaning-maker and a benefactor who was involved in marriage, having multiple goals including spiritual growth and marital care and togetherness. The children expressed similar goals, including family togetherness and affirmation of satisfaction of self-interest. The spouses of the God-as-Benefactor (GB) group mentioned only admiration, and perceived that God was less involved in marriage; they valued marital care that functioned as mutual satisfaction of self-interest. The children similarly sought family togetherness, were centered in self-interest, and religion was instrumental to their self-interest. Six functions working in the family relationships of the HD group were elaborated, and the unique ontology behind these functions was analyzed.



College and Department

Family, Home, and Social Sciences; Marriage, Family, and Human Development



Date Submitted


Document Type





admiration, adoration, self-interest