This course provides background to the causes of divorce, the emotional and relational consequences for both children and parents, factors that challenge positive adjustment after a divorce, strategies for successful remarriage, blended family dynamics, current policy issues, and the legal, cultural, and theological implications. Ethical concerns and multicultural factors are also considered.
Divorce has both a direct and indirect effect on nearly everybody today. Within the Christian community alone, theological beliefs and debate about divorce and remarriage can be heated and divisive. Yet, for an increasing majority of Americans, it is an emotional and relational reality. Children are often left in the disturbing wake. This course is designed to provide awareness regarding the causes of divorce, the implications on children, families and society, as well as the skills and techniques necessary for helping individuals remarry and join blended families successfully. Time is also spent on the grief following the loss of a spouse to death. This course is offered in an eight-week format and includes extensive readings, experiential observations, exams, a research paper, and interactions with other students via Discussion Board Forums.
Textbook Readings and Lecture Presentations
Course Requirements Checklist
After reading the Course Syllabus and Student Expectations, the student will complete the related checklist found in the Course Overview.
The student will complete the Discussion Assignments in two parts: 1) the posting of a 400-word thread in response to the stated prompt and 2) the posting of at least two 200-word replies to peers’ threads. All posts must be in current APA format and include citations and references. (CLO: A, C, D, F, G) (CLOs: B, C, D, F, G)
The student will submit a 4–6-page 4-MAT Book Review assignment for Helping Children Survive Divorce: What to Expect; How to Help, by Dr. Hart. The 4-MAT REVIEW system is a way of responding to readings that requires the learner to interact with new ideas on several levels.
The student will conduct a 45–60-minute interview with parents who are currently part of a blended family (not including personal/extended family members), to discover firsthand the experiences of integrating two families. The student will compile a list of 10 questions to be asked and submitted along with the paper. Finally, the student will write a 3-4-page summary (not including Title Page and References) in current APA style documenting the interview. (CLOs: B, C, F, G)
- How long have you been remarried?
- What were the most difficult adjustments for you initially in bringing the families together?
- How did you introduce your children to your new spouse?
- How was he/she received?
- What are your current frustrations and challenges?
- How has being in a blended family been a blessing to you and your children?
- What effects did the divorce have on your children? Did you see any behavioral changes? Academic changes? Mood changes?
- What strategies do you and your spouse employ to bring the family together?
- What role does faith play in your marriage and family?
- Did you go to counseling or a pastor for guidance in any of the transitions? Was it helpful? What did you learn? How did it help you?
The student will locate a mental health professional 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, interview the professional, and summarize his/her findings. The student will write a 3–4-page summary (not including Title Page and References) in current APA style documenting the interview and including a copy of all the questions that were asked.
- 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?
The student will develop a personal theological position regarding his/her beliefs about divorce and remarriage. Grading will include proper hermeneutic and biblical support, offering arguments for and against the student’s proposed position. Finally, the student will summarize his/her findings and stated position in a 5–6-page paper (not including Title Page and References) written in current APA style.
The student will take 2 open-book quizzes covering the assigned textbook readings. Each quiz will consist of 10 open-ended questions that are worth five points each. The answers to the questions must be paraphrased, not directly quoted, in order to receive full credit. The student will have until 11:59 p.m. (EST) on Monday at the end of the Module complete each quiz. (CLOs: A, B, C, D, F, G)