Pastoral Psychology

, Volume 31, Issue 4, pp 244–253 | Cite as

The contribution of life cycle theory to pastoral premarital and marriage counseling

  • Mark W. Muncy


As theoretical background for premarital and marriage counseling, the human capacity for intimacy is viewed from Erikson's understanding of adolescence and early adulthood. The psychology of identity is shown to have strategic importance for an assessment of readiness for marital intimacy and a dialectical relationship between intimacy and identity is explored. The mutuality and commitment of intimacy is correlated with the divine/human relationship and the category of religious covenant. The implications of this understanding of marriage for premarital counseling are given, and a combination of Erikson's psychosocial themes and Pruyner's theological diagnostic categories are applied to the marriage relationship to provide a diagnostic framework using the entire life cycle perspective.


Life Cycle Theoretical Background Early Adulthood Diagnostic Category Cross Cultural Psychology 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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  1. 1.
    Thomas Oden,Game Free: The Meaning of Intimacy (New York: Harper & Row, 1974), pp. 24–25.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Erik Erikson,Identity, Youth and Crisis (Norton, 1968), pp. 167 & 137.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Ibid., pp. 161 & 163.Google Scholar
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    Ibid., p. 220.Google Scholar
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    Erikson,Insight and Responsibility (Norton, 1964), p. 125.Google Scholar
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    Erikson,Identity, Youth and Crisis, p. 168.Google Scholar
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    William Kilpatrick,Identity and Intimacy (Delta, 1975), p. 224.Google Scholar
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    Erikson,IYC, p. 165.Google Scholar
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Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mark W. Muncy
    • 1
  1. 1.Northeast Presbyterian ChurchKansas City

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