Course Summary

The formation of a wholesome marriage and a strong family

The key to a healthy marriage and contented family lies in the foundation on which the marriage rests. Since a spiritual relationship with God is the only basis for meaning, the marriage must reflect the ideals God established for marriage and family life. The course assumes a Christian perspective and demonstrates how that perspective can contribute to a sense of contentment and fulfillment. The course is organized in three modules: (1) The Marriage Ideal, (2) Husband and Wife, (3) Children, Freedom, and Fulfillment. 3 semester hours of graduate credit. Open to M.Div. students only.


•  Lay the foundation for healthy family life through an evaluation of Christian and secular family values.

•  Differentiate family roles.

•  Recognize the need for balance between freedom and responsible Christian behavior

Credit. Credit for the course requires a score of 70% or greater on each of three multiple choice examinations, a research summary , and the submission of a 1,000 word book review over one of the resource books. Each graded element is valued at 20% of the final grade. Additionally, 25 Discussion Postings are expected.  Exam problems are taken from the course syllabus and resources listed below. A sample problem on the examinations follows.

A person who experiences no discipline in childhood will likely (A) become disciplined in adulthood, (B) enjoy a full life unimpeded by restrictions, (C) never learn the art of self-control, (D) over-discipline his/her children.

Resources. Three texts have been selected for widening the student's perspective. One of these become the basis for a book review.

Balswick, Jack O. and Judith K. Balswick. The Family: A Christian Perspective on the Christian Home. 3rd ed. Baker Academics, 2007. 400 pages. $18.49. ISBN: 978-0801032493

Thomas, Gary L. Sacred Marriage: What If God Designed Marriages to Make Us More Holy Than to Make Us Happy. Zondervan, 2002. 304 pages. $10.19. ISBN: 978-0310242826

Witte, John, Jr. and Eliza Ellison. Covenant Marriage in Comparative Perspective. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2005. 356 pages. $37. ISBN: 978-0310242826

Yarhouse, Mark and James N. Sells. Family Therapies: A Comprehensive Christian Appraisal. IVP Academic, 2008. 511 pages. $25.02 ISBN: 978-0830828050