Developing A Marriage Enrichment Seminar For Couples At Easthaven Baptist Church, Kalispell, Montana
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ABSTRACT DEVELOPING A MARRIAGE ENRICHMENT SEMINAR FOR COUPLES AT EASTHAVEN BAPTIST CHURCH, KALISPELL, MONTANA Michael W. Marrs The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, 2015 Faculty Supervisor: Dr. Stuart W. Scott This project focuses on the development and implementation of a marriage enrichment program pastors’ and lay personnel can utilize for the purpose of helping couples strengthen and enhance their marriages. Chapter 1 explains the purpose and goals of the project, including the methodology used to identify the eight key topics incorporated into the program. Chapter 2 begins with an exposé of the biblical basis for marriage, demonstrating how the Bible presents marriage as a sacred covenant-keeping relationship in which God joins a husband and wife into a one-flesh union for the purpose of displaying Christ’s love for his church. The chapter explores how the preeminence of Christ positively impacts marriage. Emphasis is placed on what a person believes about God, and how their theological perception determines what they believe to be true about the purpose and meaning of marriage. Ultimately, what couples believe to be true about God will determine the quality of their marriages. Chapter 3 examines the distinct roles and responsibilities of husbands and wives. Four key roles of the Christian husband as a leader, longsufferer, learner, and lover are examined. Nine attributes of Christ’s love for his church are discussed, including how husbands should exemplify each attribute in how they love their wives. Chapter 3 also examines the wife’s role and submission. Clarification is made regarding what biblical submission looks like, including, six misconceptions regarding what submission is not. Other topics addressed include, communication, forgiveness, identifying idols of the heart, and sexual intimacy in marriage. Chapter 4 details the steps involved in conducting the marriage enrichment retreat associated with this project. Details are provided on how eight key topics were chosen and developed for the retreat. Included is a weekly breakdown of events, and a description of each of the eight sessions taught during the retreat. Chapter 5 presents an evaluation of the project in meeting the stated purpose and established goals. Strengths and weakness of the project are discussed, along with suggested improvements intended to enhance future retreats. The importance of teaching the Gospel with an emphasis on God’s mercy, grace, and forgiveness, is emphasized in the theological and personal evaluations of this project. The appendices include all supporting forms, surveys, lessons plans, and supporting data. Appendix 8 includes a copy of a research paper addressing “Divorce, Remarriage and Church Leadership.” The paper is referenced in the project, and those making difficult decisions regarding divorce, remarriage and church leadership often request copies of the paper.