Project Documents

Date of Award

2010

Document Type

Project Report

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry

School

Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary

Program

Doctor of Ministry DMin

First Advisor

Alanzo Smith

Second Advisor

Elvin Gabriel

Abstract

Purpose. The purpose of the study was to explore the quality of the relationship of certain married couples in the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Trinidad and observe the impact that a marriage seminar would have on those families. This study should add to the academic field of study by possibly helping counselors and family therapists to consider whether group sessions with married couples will be a reasonable option in helping to enrich their relationships. It will likely provide resource information for counselors and counselees alike.

Justification. for the Project 1. Historically, the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Trinidad has had a record of strong marriages. This rich legacy needs to be preserved. 2. Seventh-day Adventists are perceived as role models by many non-Seventh-day Adventists in Trinidad in terms of marital success. The current growing tolerance for divorce within the church threatens to undermine this positive perception. 3. The Seventh-day Adventist Church is accepting new members into its membership, some of whom come from broken homes and dysfunctional families, and thus, it has an obligation to equip and enable these new members to establish strong families. 4. The practice of obtaining a divorce outside of biblical grounds among Seventh-day Adventist leaders and members is increasing in the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Trinidad.

Methodology. Theological reflection was done by examining relevant biblical passages and relevant passages from the writings of Ellen G. White that address the marriage covenant, divorce, and how to strengthen the marriage relationship. Christian literature dealing with strengthening the marriage relationship and marriage enrichment seminars was reviewed. A sample of six churches were selected in a combination of two large, two medium, and two small churches. A questionnaire was developed and sent out to married couples to determine (1) the quality of their relationship, (2) the strength of their communication, (3) management of conflicts, (4) how issues are resolved, and (5) the impact of in-laws. The questionnaires were collected and the data analyzed. A seminar to strengthen the marital relationship was developed based upon the evaluation of the questionnaires and was administered at a common site where the voluntary group of participants were invited to attend. The seminar consisted of five sessions that were administered for one day to the voluntary group of participants. After three to five months, the same questionnaire was given again to the participants who attended all of the sessions. The results were analyzed to determine the impact, if any, that the seminar had on their marital relationships as well as their appreciation of their marriages as covenantal and a reflection of Christ and His church.

Results. This study was relevant to my academic advancement since it allowed me to develop my powers of investigation, enhanced the practice of analyzing critical data, improved my ability and capacity to develop appropriate seminars, and enriched my own relationship and increased my counseling skill. This research was qualitative. The surveys took place in certain churches of the South Caribbean Conference among some of the married couples. Thus, this group were adults between the ages of 25 and 60.

Conclusion. The application of the intervention strategy provided the participants with the information to experience change, growth, and renewal. The evidence of impact on the relationships of the participants was clear. Their positive responses to the majority of the statements in the post-seminar survey indicated that fact.

Subject Area

Marriage--Trinidad and Tobago, Marriage--Religious aspects--Seventh-day Adventists

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