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Is the Ability to Make Meaning Correlated to Marital Satisfaction    Experiment

21 years ago, I was working on my Ph.D. in Psychology. I needed to complete a handful of courses before I was able to begin my dissertation. Then, something amazing happened, we adopted our daughter. Because of her needs, I took a leave of absence from my program and never returned. I know now like I knew then that I had made the right choice. However, the desire to complete my goal of earning a Ph.D. was always lingering in the back of my mind.

When Jeannie went to college a few years ago, that nagging thought started getting louder. I waited for Paul to finish up his MBA before mentioning that I wanted to get my Ph.D. before I turned 50. Paul, being the perfect husband, supported this idea and encouraged me to start looking at programs. I started school 18 months ago and just passed my comprehensive exams. Yes, in 18 months I have taken all of my course-work and written countless papers and I am ready to embark on my dissertation.

Before I jump into what my study will be about, I will share with you a little realization that I had recently. Back in undergraduate days, we were required to do a study for our research class. Even though I was in a group, I pretty much decided what we would study because that’s how I have always rolled. We studied the effects of semantic processing versus rote on memory. The experiment was simple; the subjects were read a list of words and then asked to write down what they recalled. One group was told to repeat the word several times (rote) after hearing it and the other group was told attach a meaning to the word (semantic processing). The results showed that semantic processing was a better way of remembering things. So what does this have to do with my dissertation?

My dissertation will be on marital satisfaction and what are the protective factors to make a marriage work. To that end, I hypothesize that making meaning is a tool that marriages use to survive and thrive the ups and downs of life. Making meaning is a term coined by Viktor Frankl that refers to making sense of senseless things that happen in life like loss or tragedy. People who make meaning experience more happiness and are better equipped to deal with what life flings their way. Making meaning and semantic processing are closely related. Both involve making connections. So, 30 years later, I am still studying the same thing!!

We launched a crowd-funding campaign to help with the expenses of my experiment. All donors will receive a special mention in my dissertation and we also occasionally give some great gifts for those who donate the most on any given day.

Here is how you can help:

You can post/share this campaign with your Facebook and Twitter folk. Here is a sample of what you can post.


Hi Family and Friends! My good friend Lee Reyes-Fournier, from, is working on her Dissertation and is crowd-funding to help with the expense of the experiment. She is studying risk factors for marital dissatisfaction. Specifically, she is looking at whether making meaning, which is looking for the silver lining, is related to marital satisfaction. She needs our help so please donate anything you can and if not, share with your networks. Everyone who donates will receive a special mention in the forward of her dissertation.


Our friend from @CoupleDumb is crowd-funding to help with her expenses for her dissertation. Please help with a donation or RT

Check back with CoupleDumb on Facebook for daily mentions and possible gifts for the largest donations.

Thank you in advance!

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