The limits of a techinical concept of a good marriage: Exploring the role of virtue in communication skills

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

38 Scopus citations


Teaching communication skills is one of the most common approaches used to improve couples' relationships. These skills are typically presented as content-free techniques that are value neutral. Yet, marital therapists frequently see that exercising communication skills, particularly in conflict situations, can be quite difficult, requiring personal strengths such as self-restraint, courage, generosity, justice, and good judgment. These personal strengths are virtues that are presupposed in communication skills and are necessary for their successful use. The traditional attempt to see marital therapy as value neutral has made it difficult to recognize the importance of these virtues. Therapists might be more effective if they could help couples to identify and cultivate underlying character strengths necessary for good communication. This paper presents an Aristotelian reading of virtues in marriage that can broaden our understanding of marriage and open new avenues for helping couples.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)327-340
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Marital and Family Therapy
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1 2001


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science

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