Rawlings School of Divinity


Doctor of Ministry (DMin)


Mario Garcia


Marital Education, Marital Satisfaction, Pastoral Counseling, Church-based Counseling


Counseling | Religion


Marriage is a fundamental component of the Christian experience; it is an institution that ideally bonds two believers in a lifelong relationship through which they can grow spiritually and emotionally, support one another, and often create and raise the next generation within the warmth and nurturing of a united family. Unfortunately, marital dissatisfaction and divorce—common phenomena in the United States—can have a wide range of negative consequences not only for spouses but also for their children, parents, and friends. This Doctor of Ministry thesis examines how the author’s local church ministry, River of Life Fellowship Ministries, deals with issues of divorce and marital dissatisfaction and determines if there were more effective options that could be developed to increase positive outcomes for spouses. Specifically, the purpose of this thesis is to provide a marital education ministry that improves marital satisfaction and decreases the likelihood of marital dissolution through a combination of couples counseling and marital education group sessions. After conducting a three-week marital education program, participants reported a 12.5% increase in marital satisfaction and a high likelihood of recommending such programs to friends and family, indicating that a church-based marital education program can improve marital satisfaction, thereby reducing the probability of marital dissolution.