Project Documents

Date of Award

2012

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

Alanzo Smith

Third Advisor

Anita Pembleton

Abstract

Problem. Marriage is an important institution and adjusting to it may be a challenge. More so, intercultural married couples have their own set of challenges. Here, like any other marriage, intercultural married couples face instability by endeavoring to accommodate each other’s style of life derived from the family of origin. Intercultural married couples are dyads that are made up of male and female couples with different cultural background. Moreover, settling in a new location or uprooting from one country to another poses an ever greater likelihood of encountering problems because intercultural couples hold even more diverse value systems, beliefs and attitudes. This experience is reflected in the marital instability among members in the Milton Keynes Seventh-day Church, a multicultural community. For example, marital satisfaction is one factor that may influence intercultural marriage resulting in a compounded effect. Any efforts to help couples negotiate from a transition of individuality to partnership in their relationship positively channeling challenges may be helpful. As a ministry leader, I have seen the immense challenges many intercultural couples encounter and as a result, there is a need for research and programs to help make a difference in addressing their marital challenges. Therefore, the researcher is proposed a study to accomplish this. It is a program designed to help intercultural marriages through educational inventions that give attention to the unique difficulties and challenges facing intercultural couples.

Method. The Evaluating and Nurturing Relationship Issues, Communication, Happiness (ENRICH) inventory that measures marital satisfaction, marital communication, conflict resolution and idealistic distortion was administered to the Milton Keynes Seventh-day Adventist Church married couples to assess marital satisfaction and the factors that influence marital satisfaction. Each couple responded to 35 statements and the responses were totaled for each subscale. The responses were analyzed and an intervention for married couples, The Empowering Couple’s Seminars, was contextualized into 10 one hour and thirty minute seminars over 10 weeks was administered. The same inventory was administered to the same sample group; and the results were compared.

Results. Thirty-six (36) individuals (18) couples were involved in this study at the Milton Keynes Seventh-day Adventist Church in London. This study was a pioneering work with the Adventist Church in Milton Keynes with results indicating four main areas that influenced these multicultural couples’ relationships: Marital satisfaction, couple communication, couple conflict resolution and idealistic distortion. The results also indicated a great need for more emphasis on family and marriage enrichment ministry. The findings show that marital couples of the multicultural community of the Milton Keynes Seventh-day Adventist Church benefited from the enrichment program.

Conclusion. The outcome of this study is limited to the Milton Keynes Seventh-day Adventist Church, London. This study supports a large body of research that has found no significant difference in the factors that impact marital satisfaction. Individual marital couples’ stories and experiences may differ based on culture, country, or ethnicity, but differences and negativity that impact marriage are not very different, even though they share the same key feature of a strong biblical foundation for marriage. As a result of the findings of the study, to effectively enrich and strengthen multicultural couples, enrichment educational programs should take a keen interest in understanding cultural and ethnic dynamics. The findings of this study suggest that the intervention used in the study may be a contributing factor in strengthening marriages and reducing problem areas.

Subject Area

Interracial marriage, Marriage--Religious aspects--Seventh-day Adventists

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