Professional Dissertations DMin

Date of Award

2019

Document Type

Project Report

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry

College

Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary

Program

Doctor of Ministry DMin

First Advisor

Ronald M. Flowers

Second Advisor

David Sedlacek

Third Advisor

Trevor O'Reggio

Abstract

Problem

One of the first and most sacred institutions established by God at creation was the institution of marriage. It is God who placed in man the desire to leave his father and mother, that he might be joined to his wife, with the objective of becoming one flesh. This perfect union ordained by God has proven elusive in many marriages. When I started my pastorate at the Huntington Seventh-day Adventist Church, I observed that many of the married couples were having difficulties communicating effectively and resolving conflict. I noticed that some of them lacked the behavioral skills and resources necessary to address their issues. This lack subsequently hindered their ability to establish strong and healthy marriage relationships.

Method

An eight-week marriage enrichment program was designed and implemented at the Huntington Seventh-day Adventist Church with the objective of helping married couples improve marital satisfaction, specifically in five areas: communication, conflict resolution, sexual relationship, financial management, and spirituality. Four married couples enrolled and agreed to be part of a research group. They were assessed before the study began and four months after the study ended. Two instruments were used to evaluate change in the participants' marriages. The Enrich Marital Satisfaction scale (Fowers & Olson, 1993) was used to measure overall marital satisfaction. The PREPARE/ENRICH Customized Inventory (Olson, Larson, & Olson, 2009) was used to detect change in the five targeted areas of marital satisfaction.

Results

The study indicated that post-intervention, every couple who participated in the study enjoyed a higher level of satisfaction overall in their marriages. They also made positive improvements in four of the five areas taught in the intervention curriculum: communication, conflict resolution, sexual relationship, and spirituality, with one consistent exception, financial management, where every participant scored lower on the post-test than on the pre-test.

Conclusions

All who were part of the research group testified that this enrichment program had an immediate positive impact on their marriage relationship and gave them better tools to address certain issues in their marriages. They all requested that the program be repeated with the hope of rejoining and inviting other couples whom they believe could benefit from what they had learned. Consequently, it is recommended that this program be repeated at the Huntington Seventh-day Adventist Church.

Subject Area

Marriage--Religious aspects--Seventh-day Adventists; Huntington Seventh-day Adventist Church (Huntington Station, N.Y.)

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