Description: 

This course provides a biblical perspective and an overview of research as it relates to marriage and family relationships. Selected topics include preparation for marriage, qualities for home and family life, the adolescent and young married adult, family management, and contemporary problems in marriage and family life. Upon completion, students should be able to describe biblical principles for marriage and family, to explain examined theories related to marriage and family, to summarize factors involved in mate selection and readiness for marriage, and to articulate principles of establishing and maintaining healthy family relationships.

Overview: 

Marriage and family are seasons in life that most people long to experience, and at the same time, are often seasons of storm and trial. Marriage and family are life structures that God created to bless and to teach us. When marriage and family are lived as God directs, they can be incredibly rewarding and can teach us more about God and His plan for mankind. They can help us develop more of His perfect, righteous character. When we "do" marriage and family our way, the consequences can be dissappointing and destructive. This course will examine many different aspects of marriage and family through the lens of the Holy Scriptures. THL 342 aims to highlight God's clear expectations and clear directions for successful marriages and families. It also focuses on how marriage and family are incredible tools God designed for mankind's spiritual growth and happiness.

Prerequisites: 
There are no Prerequisites or Corequisites for this course.
Instructor: 

Winnail, Scott D.

Executive Vice President and Dean of Faculty
Full Time
Degrees: 
B.S. Ed. (1992), University of Georgia; M.S.P.H. (1994), University of South Carolina; Ph.D. (1998), University of Alabama-Birmingham.
Subject Matter: 
Health, Theology

Dr. Scott Winnail has taught in the university classroom since 1995. To Living University he brings teaching and committee experience, curriculum development, academic advising, professional writing and grants and contract work. Prior to working for Living University, Dr. Winnail served as a faculty member at the University of Wyoming in the area of Health Education and Public Health (1998-2005, tenured). His areas of research and publication have included: school health and coordinated school health programs, community development, community-based needs assessment, program evaluation, physical activity and nutrition, and parental involvement. Additionally, Dr. Winnail worked closely with State Departments of Health and Education, many other state health organizations in Wyoming, Alabama, and South Carolina. He was also very active in school health initiatives at the national level.

Dr. Winnail served as an unpaid elder for the Living Church of God in Wyoming and Colorado from 2000-2005. He then served as an employee for the Department of Church Administration for the Living Church of God headquarters in Charlotte, NC from 2005-2006. From 2006-2009 Dr. Winnail pastored congregations along the gulf coast of the southern US and served as an assistant pastor in Jamaica. He began serving as adjunct faculty for Living University in Fall 2008.

Dr. Winnail returned to Charlotte in 2009 to commence full-time service to Living University and for the first 3.5 years also served as a Regional Director for the Living Church of God congregations in the Caribbean. Dr. Winnail currently serves in both administrative and teaching roles for Living University and directs the on-campus program. He contributes regularly to Living Church of God publications and web productions and also serves in the Charlotte, NC congregation of the Living Church of God.

Course Credit: 
3 semester hours
Instructional Objectives: 

As a result of participating in THL 342, students will be able to:

  1. Communicate a basic understanding of the biblical purposes for marriage.
  2. Demonstrate a knowledge of the current research about marriage trends.
  3. Understand the ramifications of divorce on future generations.
  4. Explain the biblical purposes of the family.
  5. Identify successful and unsuccessful parenting practices.
  6. Understand critical factors that should be in place for a marriage to be successful.
  7. Be able to identify actions that can be taken in order to increase the likelihood of having a happy marriage.
Required Texts: 
  1. Köstengerger, A.J., and D.W. Jones. God, Marriage and Family: Rebuilding the Biblical Foundation. 2nd ed. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2010.
  2. Harris, J. I Kissed Dating Goodbye. Sisters, OR: Multnomah Publishers, 2003.
  3. Harris, J. Boy Meets Girl: Say Hello to Courship. Colorado Springs, CO: Multnomah Publishers, 2005.

Required Booklets

  1. Fall, J. Successful Parenting: God’s Way. USA: Living Church of God, 2007.
  2. Meredith, R.C. God’s Plan for Happy Marriage. USA: Living Church of God, 2004.
  3. Meredith, R.C. Your Ultimate Destiny. USA: Living Church of God, 2009.
Additional Readings: 

Additional readings will come primarily from church literature. The appropriate web links will be designated on the course web site, and may also include other secular sources. Some additional readings will also come from the following sources:

Armstrong, H.W. The Missing Dimension in Sex. New York: Everest House, 1981.
Benokraitis, N. Marriages & Families: Changes, Choices and Constraints. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson/Prentice Hall, 2008.

Students may order their books through the University Bookstore. Living University is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. The textbooks used in this course are commercial publications. They represent the views and ideas of their authors, editors, and publishers. Living University does not endorse these texts nor vouch for their accuracy. We simply employ them in helping you master the content of the course.

Lectures: 

Course lectures will take the format of both video and audio. PowerPoint slides may accompany lectures, and videos will also periodically be available for download with some lectures. See the course website for details.

Course Calendar: 
Week Topics
1 Introduction and Cultural Crisis for the Family
2 Studying Marriage and Family
3 Blessings of Singleness
4 Dating
5 Christian Courtship & Engagement
6 Leaving and Cleaving – Marriage in the Old and New Testaments
7 Nature of Marriage
8 Building a Happy Marriage
9 Romance, Sex and Contraception
10 Family in the Old and New Testaments
11 Parenting – Part 1
12 Parenting – Part 2
13 Homosexuality and the Family
14 Divorce
15 The Importance of Seeking Counsel & Continuing to Learn
16 Course Summary
Course Requirements: 

Due dates and extensions
Submit all assignments on or before the date due. No late or make-up assignments will be allowed except for extreme circumstances (permission of instructor is necessary). Students must complete the course by that last official day of instreuction as set forth in the academic calendar.

Reading assignments
Students will be responsible for the chapter readings that correspond with the class lecture. Be sure to read the chapter prior to logging in and completing the weekly assignment. Readings will correspond with in-class assignments and will help you be better informed. Completing the readings in advance will make the assignments make more sense to you!

Icebreaker assignment
To officially begin this course, you must complete an icebreaker assignment by which you introduce yourself to your classmates through the posting of a short autobiography on the course forum. As we have people from all over the world enrolled in this course, each autobiography will help all know, understand and appreciate each other. Included in your biography forum post, briefly answer the following questions: (please limit your comments to 200 words). The assignment is worth 20 points.   

  • Your Name and the Church area that you attend.  
  • How long you have been part of/attending the church.   
  • Why you are taking this particular course and what you hope to learn.   
  • Whether or not you have taken any other Living University courses.
  • Where you intend to attend the Feast of Tabernacles this year (if you are able to attend).

Veiwing assignments
Course lectures will take the format of both video and audio. Powerpoint slides will accomany lectures and videos will also periodically be available for download with some lectures. See the course website for details.

Discussion forums 
Students are expected to participate in class discussions by posting weekly comments and questions they might have on the Discussion Forum. Each week there will be one or two questions posted on the web page that relate to that week. Make sure that your comments are more than merely personal opinion. Your comments should be grounded in your chapter readings, lecture notes, and based on scripture. These weekly discussions are very important and are designed to reinforce the weekly content in a unique way. Students should also take time at the end of each week to read/review comments from their classmates. Students should also post replies to at least two other classmates. Your replies can be an observation or reinforcing what was said. Try to be as encouraging as you can be. Additional comments or questions are also encouraged. Class participation points will be assigned in accordance with your level participation, and will be a combination of student and instructor input. Involvement in the discussion forum will add to your overall class experience as you discuss the various topics with your classmates. It will give you the opportunity to get yo know your classmates better. The rubric below, will be used for you and I to determine a class participation score at the end of the semester. Class participation is worth 50 points.  
 

Scale Criteria
5 Volunteers to share quality ideas/thoughts/findings from readings and experiences with peers frequently. In addition, presents questions to peers and instructor regarding ideas presented.  Student is always prepared for class, having completed readings and assignments ahead of time. Comments are well grounded in readings, lecture notes, and scripture (when applicable). Usually posts “replies” to comments made by classmates.
4 Volunteers to share quality ideas/thoughts/findings from readings and experiences with peers frequently, but comments may not be solidly based upon readings, lecture notes, and scripture (when applicable).  Usually prepared for class, having completed readings and assignments ahead of time.  Posts “replies to classmate comments some of the time.
3 Volunteers to share quality ideas/thoughts/findings from readings and experiences with peers less frequently than required. Generally prepared for class, having usually completed readings and assignments ahead of time. Comments are often based on opinion and rarely on readings, lecture notes, and scripture (when applicable). Infrequently posts “replies” to classmate comments.
2 Shares ideas/thoughts/findings from readings and experiences as directed, but little effort is put into insuring that they are of quality, and usually comments are much more “opinion” than based on fact and readings, lecture notes and scripture (when applicable). Occasionally prepared for class, rarely having completed readings and assignments ahead of time. Does not post reply comments to classmate comments.
1 Is unable to share quality ideas/thoughts/findings from readings and experiences with peers consistently. Seldom or never prepared for class, failing to complete readings and assignments ahead of time. Does not post reply comments to classmate posts.

 

Writing assignments
Any writing assignments in this course should follow the MLA style as set forth in Writing Research Papers: A Complete Guide by Lester & Lester. Please cite your sources and use quotation marks where needed. The Files feature on an Assignment Submission page lets you submit your work so your instructor can have it handy for download, review, and grading. Below are the five writing assignments required for this course.

Two Mini Research Papers: Throughout the semester, students will be responsible for developing and writing two different mini research papers. Research paper 1 will answer the question, “What are the purposes for marriage?” Research paper 2 will answer the question, “What are the purposes for the family?” Each Research Paper is worth 100 points.

Each paper should do the following:

  • Clearly state the question to be researched,
  • List the top 3 or 4 reasons for this state (marriage or family),
  • Provide a clear rationale that supports each purpose you list. The rationale should include a biblical underpinnings for each purpose you address, any secular research that supports this purpose, and a clear line of reasoning.
  • The paper should include a cover page, an introduction, the body of the paper, a clear conclusion or summary, and an appropriate Works Cited page
  • Each paper should be typed, doublespaced, and 8-10 pages in length, excluding the title page and Works Cited.

The following criteria will be used in grading the papers:

  • all necessary components of the paper included
  • well thought out reasons
  • well thought out rationale for each reason and adequate support for each reason (Bible and other sources)
  • appropriate grammar and syntax
  • adequate and clear summary/conclusion.

Three Additional Activities: You are free to complete these Activities and turn them in at any time prior to and up to the date due. These Activities are designed to get you to think further on particular topics and issues related to class. Activities should be typed. Each Activity is worth 30 points.  

Activities include the following topics:

  • Activity 1: Lessons learned from Dating. Activity 1 is located at the end of the course syllabis
  • Activity 2: Parenting Interview. Choose from one of two options listed under Activity 2 as located at the end of the course syllabus
  • Activity 3: Children and Divorce. Actvity 3 is located at the end of the course syllabus

Additional Activities

A. Activity 1: Lessons Learned from Dating: Identify a person in your local or another church congregation, who is currently happily married, as best you can tell. Try to identify a person (from a couple) you think tried to “do dating right.” Ask them if you can interview them about lessons they have learned about dating. Interview the person you identified and ask them the following questions. Write up the questions, add your concluding remarks, and submit the interview on or before the due date. This assignment will be graded based on the degree to which the assignment was completed, the amount of detail included, and the quality of the writing. The interview should be conducted in person, over the phone, or via Skype. It should not be conducted via email. 

  • What is the gender and current age of the person and how long have they been married?
  • How long did they date their mate before getting married?
  • What aspects of their dating relationship were most helpful in getting to know their spouse? What did this person and their spouse do during dating that they would recommend to others?
  • Based on lessons learned while dating their spouse and during dating experiences with other individuals, what dating advice would this person give to someone who is currently dating or who plans to start dating in the future? Specifically, what should a person not do, and also make sure to do while dating?
  • Summary questions for interviewer: What aspects of your interview stand out most in your mind? Did you have any realizations during the interview or did anything the interviewee said resonate especially with you? Why do you think this was?

B. Activity 2: Parenting Interview: Choose one of the following two interview types to complete. Conduct and write up the interview questions and then write up your response to the summary question. Submit the activity on or before the due date. This assignment will be graded based on the degree to which the assignment was completed, the amount of detail included, and the quality of the writing. The interview should be conducted in person, over the phone, or via Skype. It should not be conducted via email.

Option 1: Interview a Parent - Identify a person in your local church congregation or another congregation and ask them if you can interview them about lessons they have learned in child rearing. This can be a parent of a child of any age.

1. What is the gender and age of the person being interviewed?
2. How many children do they have and of what gender(s)?
3. When this person first became a parent, were there any surprises they experienced as a parent? Anything they were not prepared for? What are one or two examples?
4. What did this parent learn about children’s personalities?
5. What lessons has/did this person learn about himself/herself while being a parent?
6. Is there anything they wish they had done or could have done differently in raising their child/children?
7. What are two or three pieces of child rearing advice this person would give?
8. Summary questions for interviewer: After conducting this interview, what are two or three things that were discussed that struck you as especially important or profound? Why?

Option 2: 2nd Generation Christian Interview - Identify an adult in your local congregation or another church congregation, who is a 2nd generation Christian – meaning that they grew up in this truth and continued in it into adulthood. Ask them if you can interview them on the topic of their own child rearing experiences.

1. What is this person’s age and gender?
2. How many siblings does this person have?
3. Are any of their other siblings in the church today?
4. What do they think were some of the child rearing techniques their parents used most successfully?
5. Why does this person think they are “still in the church?”
6. Are there any special things their parent(s) did that they think contributed to their remaining in the church?
7. Based on their experience, what two or three pieces of child rearing advice would this person give to another parent or someone considering becoming a parent?
8. Summary questions for interviewer: In reflecting on this interview, what are two or three things that stand out as most important from this interview? Did anything that was said in this interview cause you to think differently about childrearing? Why do you think this was?

C. Activity 3: Children and Divorce Interview: Locate an adult church member in your local or another congregation whose parents were/have been divorced (if you cannot find a person in your local congregation, you might consider querying your classmates in this or another LU class – see the instructor if you cannot find someone to interview. You should not interview yourself UNLESS you have exhausted all other options). Ask them if you can interview them about lessons they have learned as a result of living through divorce. Interview the person you identified and ask them the following questions. Write up the interview questions and then write up your response to the summary question. Submit the activity on or before the due date. This assignment will be graded based on the degree to which the assignment was completed, the amount of detail included, and the quality of the writing. The interview should be conducted in person, over the phone, or via Skype. It should not be conducted via email. .

  • List current age and gender of the person being interviewed.
  • How old was this person when his/her parents divorced?
  • How did the person feel prior to, during, and after the divorce?
  • If the person had brothers or sisters, how did they deal with the divorce?
  • How long did it take this person to “recover” from the divorce? Put another way, how long did it take them to be able to go through a day without thinking about it?
  • What important lessons has this person learned from living through divorce?
  • Why does this person believe that “God hates divorce”?
  • What advice does this person have for people contemplating marriage, in order to help minimize the risk of divorce, and maximize marital success?
  • Based on his/her experience, as a future teacher in God’s Kingdom, how might this person approach helping people prepare for marriage, in order to greatly reduce the likelihood of a future divorce?
  • Summary questions for the interviewer: After conducting this interview, what are the primary lessons that stick out in your own mind? Did anything that was said cause you to think differently about the topic of divorce? Explain why?

Quizzes and examinations 
There are no quizzes in this course, but there will be one exam. The Mid-term exam will be given during the middle week of the semester. The exam will be comprehensive and review all the material covered to that point in the semester (Lessons 1-8). The exam will be comprised of multiple choice, short answer, and essay questions. It will be open book and open notebook, so no proctor is required. HOWEVER it is “highly recommended” that the student prepare for this exam by studying ahead of time. Although the exam will not be timed, preparing for the exam will help the student expedite the exam taking process and greatly shorten its duration. The Exam is worth 100 points.

Grading 
A course grade will be determined based on the number of points a student has earned over the semester as follows:

Summary of Course Requirements Point Value   Letter Grade Total Points
Icebreaker 15   A 432 or more points
Research Papers (100 points each) 200   B 384-431 points
Three Activities (30 Points each) 90   C 336-383 points
Discussion Forums & Class Participation 75   D 288-335 points
Mid-Term Exam 100   F 287 points or below
TOTAL 480      

Grades are in the traditional American style of an A, B, C, D, or F. In distance learning, we believe that the measure of mastery of course subject matter is completion of 80% of the objectives for a course. That means that we want students to earn at least 800 points in this course. If they do not do so then they have not achieved the level of the mastery we would like them to have. We want this course to be competencybased and so it is possible for the entire class to receive an A or a B. There is no artificial curving of scores in the assignment of grades. Mastery of the material is what one’s goal should be.

Academic Irregularity
Students have the responsibility for conducting themselves in such a manner as to avoid any suspicion that they are improperly giving or receiving aid on any assignment or examination. An academic irregularity not only includes cheating, but also includes plagiarism (taking another’s ideas and/or words and presenting them as if they were the writer’s own) and the submitting of the same paper in separate courses without prior consent from the faculty members concerned. In cases of suspected academic irregularity, faculty members may refuse to grade such papers or examinations, completely or in part, and to record each of them as a failure. If an academic irregularity is sufficiently serious, the University may take one or more of, but not limited to, the following actions:

  1. Drop the student from the course with a grade of F; 
  2. Place the student on academic probation; and/or 
  3. Dismiss the student from the University.

Students With Disabilities
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal anti-discrimination statute that provides comprehensive civil rights protection for persons with disabilities. Among other things, this legislation requires that all students with disabilities have a learning environment that provides for reasonable accommodation of their disabilities. Students having a disability requiring an accommodation should inform the instructor by email (on the “Course Info” page click on the instructor’s name and then select “Send Email”).

Technology Access
This course requires web access and the student has to have an established e-mail account. The Adobe Acrobat Reader is necessary to view documents that are PDF files. One can download the reader free at http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/readstep2.html.

Course Evaluation
Student input is welcome for improving this course. Making suggestions by e-mail is helpful. Our goal in this course is to facilitate the successful achievement of all instructional objectives by all students. At the end of the course students have the opportunity of assessing the course. We want to make e-learning courses as effective as we can. We may also ask some other questions concerning a student’s experience in distance learning to help us improve our program. We appreciate students letting us know how we can improve our products and services for them and other distance learners.

Withdrawing From or Dropping This Course
It is the responsibility of a student to drop a course if he or she cannot meet the requirements of the course. Any student who stops attending a course without officially withdrawing from it risks receiving a punitive grade for that course. Withdrawal requests may be conveyed in any manner to the course professor, Registrar, or Vice President of Academic Affairs. This action is sufficient for ensuring any refund owed you. Please note the following: If a student drops a course on or before the “Last day to withdraw from a course without a grade penalty” as published in the University Academic Calendar, even if his or her work is not of a passing grade, then a “W” is recorded. If a course is dropped after that date, but before the last 21 calendar days of the semester, then the instructor determines the grade. The faculty member will at this time record a grade of “W” if passing (not computed in GPA) or “WF” if failing (computed in GPA). Students who drop a course, yet remain in one or more other courses during the last 18 calendar days of the semester, will receive a grade of “WF.” Students who completely withdraw from the University at any time during the semester may be given a grade of “W” on all courses. If students do not initiate the withdrawal process, the instructor is required to initiate the administrative process and to record a grade of “W” or “WF” for the course depending on the date the faculty member drops the student from the course. Students who register for a course as an audit, but then withdraw will be assigned a grade of “W” for the course.