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.


1. Lay the foundation for healthy family life.

2. Determine if Christian family values differ from secular family values.

3. Appraise the meaning of “freedom” according to the Christian perspective.

4. Differentiate the different family roles.

5. Recognize the need for balance between freedom and responsible Christian behavior

6. Demonstrate a willingness to share personal opinions/stories and interact with peers.

7. Show a willingness to consider adopting Christian family values within your


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