Divorce, Remarriage and Blended Families – DBMF 405

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

Course Description

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.

Prerequisites

None

Rationale

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.

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.(MLOs: B, C, D, F, G)

Structured Interview Paper 1 – The Blended Family

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. (MLOs: B, C, F, G)

Potential Questions:

  • 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?

Structured Interview Paper 2–Mental Health Professional

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. (MLOs: B, C, F, G)

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?

Theology of Divorce and Remarriage Paper

The student will develop a personal theological position regarding his/her beliefs about divorce and remarriage. The student may want to use Divorce and remarriage: Four Christian views from the recommended reading list to build his/her case on God’s view of 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. (MLOs: A, B, E)

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. (MLOs: A, B, C, D, F, G)

 

4-MAT Paper

Student will submit a 4–6-page 4-MAT paper 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. Detailed instructions and a grading rubric are available in Blackboard. (MLOs: C, F, G)