Die uitwerking van die Christelike huweliksverhouding op verhoudingskwaliteit in die verbondsgesin in 'n postmodernistiese paradigma : 'n narratiewe pastorale ondersoek
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The theme of the present study is: The effect of the Christian marriage relationship on the quality of relationships in the covenant family within a post-modern paradigm – a narrative pastoral study. In the midst of the postmodern zeitgeist and a secular frame of mind, the Christian family has to survive under perpetual pressure of a societal setup in which God's authority is increasingly shunned. This propensity inevitably has a fundamental impact on the Christian's identity, the Christian marital relationship and the covenant family. The various research perspectives which follow will elucidate this matter. Some of the co-researchers confirmed repeatedly how their faith is linked to their conduct in their marital relationship, their family life and life in general. They related their marital relationship and their family life to a relationship with God, the Christian faith and by living on the basis of this reality in the world. To demonstrate the opposite reality, narratives were told of contemporary Christian marriages and the relationship dynamics between different married couples indicating various destructive lifestyle patterns such as verbal and physical violence, talk of suicide, and substance abuse. These patterns are often present in a “Christian” marriage. In the midst of such a hostile living environment, children of the covenant attempt to discover their personal identity, faith identity and family identity. The problem is that the couple's apparent inability to succeed in Christian life skills is then readily transferred to the children, since they follow the parents' example. On the basis of the preceding, the researcher argues that quality of relationship is, among other aspects, connected to a theoretical understanding of the Christian faith, which is expressed in concrete actions within relationships (Jas. 1:22-25; 2:14-26). Quality, in other words, indicates a way of being that characterises the Christian faith. Such a lifestyle is congruent with the proclaimed message of faith and is affirmed through word, deed and attitude. Quality of relationship is also linked to a love for God and one's neighbour. The present research argues for the necessity of a restored covenant relationship between the believer and God, with one of the many implications for a life under the new covenant being a personal relationship with God. A further implication of the new covenant is parents who take the leading role in the family representing the covenant. A return to the covenant is crucial if the believers within marital and familial relationships find themselves far removed from the covenant. Chapter 2 presents experiences of the quality of relationship in contemporary Christian marital and familial relationships. The research methodology for narrative research was followed according to the ABDCE formula, which is recommended by Müller, Van Deventer and Human (Müller et al. 2001:76-96) in the article Fiction writing as metaphor for research: A Narrative Approach. Narration occurs in a social context, and therefore, the focus of research is, among other aspects, on the narratives that co-researchers relate about their marital relationship and family life. Since the co-researchers are believers, God's role in the research narrative was of cardinal importance. This thesis is also based upon J.C. Müller's (2005:82-86) model as laid down in his article, “A Postfoundationalis, HIV-positive Practical Theology”. Practical Theology in South Africa. 20(2), 72-88. Chapter 3 examines experiences in Christian marital and familial relationships, as well as the tradition of interpretation viewed from different research perspectives. The covenant family functions in a postmodern time slot among a plethora of diverse viewpoints, customs and traditions – that do not necessarily reveal the truth. Believers – spouses and their children – need God's insight (Word and Spirit) to live as regenerated people and imitate the lifestyle of Christ in the world. Chapter 4 focuses on the religious and spiritual experience of the married couple/covenant family, from the viewpoint of the co-researchers as well as the view of the research interlocutors. The connection is shown between God's narrative and the co-researchers‟ narrative. In Chapter 5 an inter-disciplinary research is conducted on the effect the Christian marital relationship exerts on the quality of relationship within the covenant family. The dynamics of a marital relationship are investigated and several perspectives highlighted regarding the theme of marital love. The experience of trauma is focused on, because on occasions the marital relationship and the believer's life are undermined by such experiences. A model is proposed for the healing of a traumatised Christian. Chapter 6 deals with alternative interpretations on the quality of relationships in marital and familial relationships. Hereby the research reaches a Climax (C). Different perspectives are investigated on the implication of the covenant as context for the quality of relationships in marriage and family life.
- Theology 
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