Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry (DMin)




Faculty of Arts

First Advisor

Peter VanKatwyk

Advisor Role

Thesis Supervisor


Two concepts which have emerged out of Narrative and Solution Focused Therapies are the ideas of "externalizing the problem through the re-storying of events" and "discovering and building upon the story of difference" to create lasting change. By placing himself within the narrative tradition and drawing upon these two therapeutic concepts, the author seeks to show that humorous stories are important narratives of difference which function to build intimacy within the marital relationship. The author begins with a Literature Review of works dealing with Humour and Psychology, Family Systems and Theology. He then examines 10 methodological challenges related to the study of humour. In order to achieve greater triangulation the author draws upon three qualitative methodologies - a thematic approach, an events-based approach and a conversation analysis approach - to examine the use of humour in the marriage relationship. The research field for the study was 20 couples who had been married from I0 to 60 years. Questionnaires and interviews were sent to these couples and from the data the author examined the process whereby couples come to reframe stories of crisis into stories of humour and hope. Two key terms are developed out of this process - "reminiscing" and "referencing". Finally, the author examines issues related to the practice of pastoral care and marriage and family therapy and suggests changes in practice which would better support the important role which humour plays in the marriage relationship.

Convocation Year


Convocation Season