Psychology of Relationship Development is a course at John Brown University. It meets the social science requirement of the core curriculum.

More importantly, the course presents the topic of healthy relationships in the context of Christian spiritual formation. Students are encourage to think about how theology informs their understanding of relationships and their interactions with others, and then identify how information from research and theory applies to their personal practice.

The writing project for the semester provides each student with their own “theology of relationships.”

Course Description: 

A foundational course that integrates biblical truths with current literature on interpersonal, marital and familial relationships across the lifespan. Course work includes analysis and application of current theory and research on interpersonal neurobiology, emotional & relational intelligence, gender differences, family of origin issues, human sexuality, personality types, communication skills, and cross-cultural relationships. This course may not be audited.

Psychology of Relationship Development provides an opportunity for students to meet a Core Curriculum requirement while learning practical skills that will provide ongoing benefit outside of the classroom.  Coursework is designed to contribute to a number of Core Curriculum goals, including applying biblical truth and a Christian world view, critically evaluating ideas and arguments, demonstrating Christian character in all areas of life, forming and nurturing healthy relationships, and practicing Christian stewardship of students’ bodies, time and other resources.

Course Outcomes:

Upon completion of this course, students will be able to do the following:

  1. Describe the biblical bases for healthy relationships with friends, family and coworkers
  2. Explain the research-based characteristics of healthy relationships, as well as risk factors that interfere with the development and maintenance of good relationships
  3. Identify the implications of families of origin and the importance of clear boundaries in healthy relationships
  4. Identify the implications of differences in temperament or gender on relationships
  5. Incorporate practical applications of their MBTI personality types in personal growth and interpersonal relationships
  6. Describe emotional intelligence (EQ), explain why it is essential, and delineate specific ways to increase EQ
  7. Demonstrate specific tools for communication and conflict management
  8. Explain the biblical and theological and research bases for healthy sexuality
  9. Identify key components of a healthy friendship, singleness, dating, courtship and marriage
  10. Describe approaches to establishing and maintaining relationships that cross cultural barriers