Project Documents

Date of Award

2013

Document Type

Project Report

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry

School

Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary

Program

Doctor of Ministry DMin

First Advisor

Trevor O'Reggio

Second Advisor

David Olson

Third Advisor

David Sedlacek

Abstract

Problem

Couples who are between the ages of 18 and 40 divorce frequently in the North American Division of Seventh-day Adventist. In Highlands County, Florida young couples seem to experience marital stress which may affect marital satisfaction. Unique to young marriages are certain stressors that can contribute to a decrease in marital satisfaction which will inevitably lead to a failed relationship. Although, there are several enrichment programs that focus on potential challenges for couples in general, few solely target married couples age 18 -40 with skills to manage these unique stressors.

Method

The purpose of this in-ministry project was to increase marital satisfaction among couples 18- 40 by discovering and educating them on how to manage three major stressors that can negatively affect their relationship. Using quantitative research methods, married Seventh-day Adventists age 18-40 in Highlands County Florida were surveyed using the Enrich Martial Satisfaction Survey. A literature review was done to determine three common stressors that impact young marriages. From the study, the potential stressors that threaten marriages unique to this target population were: finances, division of house labor, and sex. A marital enrichment program was contextualized to educate couples on how to manage these common stressors with emphasis on stress reduction. A pretest was given before the seminar. Also an open-ended survey was given to determine the correlation between the literature and responses from the group. Three seminars were conducted that addressed these stressors. At the end of six months the marital satisfaction survey was administered again. The results were compared and analyzed to see if there was an increase in marital satisfaction.

Results

Findings revealed that six out of the seven couples increased their marital satisfaction after the Marital Satisfaction Program. This increase occurred while only addressing three items in the satisfaction scale (finances, division of household labor, and affection/sexuality) that served as potential stressors. In addition, scored data revealed that there was a 28% increase in satisfaction when these three stressors where measured independently against their pretest scores. The other seven items that were not addressed in the scale surprisingly had an increase of 16% over the pretest scores.

Conclusions

This study concludes that educating married couples ages 40 and under on how to manage three stressors (division of household labor, finances, and expression of affection) can positively increase marital satisfaction.

Subject Area

Marriage quality, Marriage--Religious aspects--Seventh-day Adventists, Marriage--Florida, Husband and wife, Relationship quality

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