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Keywords:

  • constitutive goals;
  • eudaimonia;
  • flourishing;
  • instrumental goals;
  • marital quality;
  • marital satisfaction;
  • shared goals

This article explores a eudaimonic approach (a focus on human flourishing) for its value in enriching marital quality theory. Spouses' marital satisfaction is reinterpreted as the match between their actual marriage and their marital goals. Goal pursuit is proposed as a primary area of assessment and research in marital quality. Two dimensions of goal pursuit are highlighted. First is a continuum ranging from individually attainable goals to shared goals, which are always collective achievements. Second is a range of goals in which the means and ends are separable (instrumental) to goals in which the means and ends are inseparable (constitutive). These dimensions systematically encompass many currently disconnected areas of marital research, which indicates significant heuristic value in a eudaimonic theory of marital quality.