Robert Craig

Awarding Institution

Andrews University (Avondale)

Date of Award


Embargo Period


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (Theology) MA(Theol)


Arts & Theology


Ministry and Theology

First Advisor

Thomas H. Ludowici


Problem: A serious problem facing the Seventh-day Adventist Church today is the number of marital separations and divorces occurring within the first few years of marriage, often within the first year. Much marital breakdown is due to a lack of understanding of the marital adjustment dynamics which needs to be effected early in the marriage relationship. The purpose of this research is to facilitate a correct understanding of the communication and behavioural adjustment model at work among newly weds.

Method: Biblical models of early marital adjustment were researched. These were supplemented by the writings of Ellen G. White plus a psychological and sociological survey of marriage as it applied to western culture. Two seminar programmes, each of two hours duration, were conducted to help couples understand the marital adjustment dynamics at work.

Results: During the time spent together, the four couples increased their awareness of marital adjustment. A Johari Window evaluation was conducted at the commencement and conclusion of the seminars to determine if they now had a greater awareness of the marital adjustment process. However, in this group the results were similar, perhaps, because all the couples had been well instructed with pre-marital counselling prior to marriage. The dialogue with the participants provided helpful hints, ideas and discussion that cannot be assessed in a survey evaluation. The participants agreed that the seminars were beneficial as an awareness tool to remind couples that ongoing marital adjustment is essential for a lifelong happy marriage.

Conclusion: The success of such a programme can only be assessed in the long term. It will require the nurture of the church by similar marital enrichment programmes in the future. The Seventh-day Adventist minister can help by providing skills to marriage partners.


Project Report (M.A.)

Andrews University, School of Graduate Studies, Avondale Campus, 1986.

Published with permission from Andrews University.

Staff and Students of Avondale College may access a print copy of this thesis from Avondale College Library (261.83572 C84).

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