Challenges and Conflicts . . . Strengths and Supports: A Study of Enduring African American Marriages


marital longevity, African American marriages, Black marriages, marital success, factors in marital longevity, enduring marriages


Most studies of marriage among African Americans have adhered to a problem-oriented perspective. Consequently, relatively little is known about enduring African American marriages. As marriage confers numerous psychosocial and economic benefits, there is merit in studying the characteristics of African American marriages that stand the test of time. Seventy-one married African American couples (mean length of marriage = 32 years) provided information regarding their religious practices, perceived reasons for their marital longevity, challenges encountered, marital happiness, and common areas of disagreement. Participant couples reported being happily married, attending church frequently, praying frequently, and believing that their faith has played a large role in their marital longevity. Responses also indicated that these couples have faced and overcome challenges and disagreements to remain married.

Original Publication Citation

Phillips, T. M., Wilmoth, J. D., & Marks, L. D. (2012). Challenges and conflicts... strengths and supports: A study of enduring African American marriages. Journal of Black Studies, 43, 936-952.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date


Permanent URL


Journal of Black Studies




Family, Home, and Social Sciences


Family Life

University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor