Professional Dissertations DMin

Date of Award

2019

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry

College

Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary

Program

Doctor of Ministry DMin

First Advisor

Peter Swanson

Second Advisor

Ricardo Norton

Third Advisor

Ronald Flowers

Abstract

Problem

Divorce rates and marital satisfaction rates are similar in both Christian and non-Christian young adults. Yet increases in church attendance, religious commitment and spirituality have been shown to make significant differences in divorce and marital satisfaction rates. However, many young adults have no framework to understand how to choose a potential spouse, or what factors or characteristics are most important in making such a choice. Almost all premarital education is aimed at young adults who have already chosen their spouse, but have no education aimed at understanding what matters most in making this choice.

Method

A weekend seminar was designed and presented at The Place Adventist Fellowship the weekend of May 19, 2017, that sought to educate young adults on the characteristics most important in a prospective spouse. Thirteen young adults participated in the entire seminar receiving education on developing a biblical framework for marriage. The participants were asked to complete two separate pre-surveys exploring their beliefs regarding characteristics deemed most important in a potential spouse and two identical post-surveys to measure if their beliefs were influenced by the seminar. The results were evaluated using analysis of the numerical data, observations and written reflections by the participants.

Results

The seminar and data revealed a group of 13 young adults who had received no formal premarital education. They were enthusiastic about learning through biblical education and contemporary research how to best develop a framework for understanding the characteristics most important in a potential spouse, and for themselves as a potential spouse. Throughout the seminar, participants expressed a desire for greater education in this regard. The data indicated they were receptive to the biblical characteristics of “hot, holy and healthy” and the seminar was meaningful in enabling the participants to freely discern what characteristics were truly important to them.

Conclusion

Based on the participants’ reflections, the seminar experience and the data from the pre- and post-surveys, the seminar did appear to have spiritual and educational value to them. Consequently, further premarital education regarding the characteristics most important in a potential spouse is merited and recommended.

Subject Area

Church work with single people--Seventh-day Adventists; Mate selection; Marital counseling; Dating (Social customs)--Religious aspects--Seventh-day Adventists

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