Divorce, Marriage and Blended Families – DBFA 610

CG • Section 8WK • 11/08/2019 to 04/16/2020 • Modified 07/28/2020

Course Description

This course prepares students to address multiple factors contributing to the breakdown of a family and draws upon current findings in marriage and family research, as well as psychological literature to identify significant influences and outcomes of divorce. Attention is given to the reconstructed family exposing those treatments found to be most effective for stability and satisfaction.


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The last four decades have yielded a plethora of evidence as to the prevalence, leading causal factors, and psychological, as well as sociological implications of the cultural phenomenon that has reached epidemic statistical proportions. Despite a range of ideological perspectives attempting to give explanation to the condition, there is a strong and growing need for human service professionals to better understand how the individual members of a family are affected by the loss of its integrity and stability. This course builds on the existing Judeo-Christian understanding of family as foundational to society, but goes further in its exploration of how best to intervene in the wake of a divorce to re-stabilize the members affected and equip those same individuals for future involvement in marriage and family without being unduly jeopardized by the original break.

Measurable Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  1. Identify realities of the current state of marriages in America.
  2. Recognize and describe relationship patterns of disconnected and unsatisfied marriages, as well as individual and relational variables that predict divorce.
  3. Identify the emotional and relational processes and consequences of divorce for adults and children.
  4. Describe the legal process and requirements associated with divorce.
  5. Develop a personal hermeneutic of divorce and remarriage based on Scripture.
  6. Recognize the effects of marital conflict, divorce, child maltreatment and remarriage on children.
  7. Identify the common issues children have following parental divorce and describe strategies for healthy adjustment.

Course Assignment

Textbook readings and lecture presentations/notes

Course Requirements Checklist

After reading the Course Syllabus and Student Expectations, the student will complete the related checklist found in Module/Week 1.

Discussion Board Forums (4)

Discussion boards are collaborative learning experiences. Therefore, the student is required to create a thread in response to the provided prompt for each forum. Each thread must be at least 400 words and demonstrate course-related knowledge (Dr. Dobson’s assigned works and/or the core text, as well as video/audio content). In addition to the thread, the student is required to reply to at least 2 other classmates’ threads. Each reply must be at least 200 words.

Structured Interview Paper

The student will locate a mental health professional or pastoral counselor actively involved in counseling divorced and remarried couples and blended families in the student’s local area. The student will prepare at least 10 questions for a 45–60-minute interview with the professional, and then summarize his/her findings in a 6–8 page summary (not including Title Page) in current APA style documenting the interview, including a copy of the questions asked.

Potential Questions:

  • From you experience, what are some of the most prevalent reasons couples divorce?
  • What are the most common challenges you see in the first three months following separation?
  • Do you recommend temporary separation as a technique in helping keep couples married? Why or why not?
  • What are the biggest adjustments couples have to make during separation? Divorce? Remarriage?
  • When and how do you tend to see the effects of divorce manifest in children?
  • What are the most difficult adjustments you see in two families coming together?
  • How do you counsel divorced individuals with kids to begin dating again? What do recommend for that process? What common mistakes do you see being made?
  • What is your personal theology of divorce and remarriage? How does it fit with what you see and experience in your practice?

Research Paper

The student will select a research topic related to Divorce, Remarriage, and Blended Families. Students will complete a minimum 10-page research paper in current APA format related to the focus of the course and course material. The paper should be a minimum of 10 pages in length (not including Title Page and References page) and follow APA guidelines, with at least 10 supporting sources from peer reviewed research/journal articles.

Quizzes (2)

Each quiz will cover the Reading & Study, Video, and Audio material for the assigned modules/weeks. Each quiz will be open-book/open-notes, contain 10 short answer questions, with no time limit to complete.

4-MAT Papers

Student will submit 4–5 page 4-MAT papers for Helping Children Survive Divorce, and for The Smart Stepfamily. The 4-MAT REVIEW system is a way of responding to readings that requires the learner to interact with new ideas on several levels. Detailed instructions and a grading rubric are available in Blackboard.