Instructor: Dr. Andrew H. Selle (assisted by Mrs. Dawna S. Selle)
Time: October 21 – 27 , 2021
Place: Akas 13, Riga.
(In English, with simultaneous translation in Latvian)

Course description

More than ever before, we need to build a theology of marriage, and marriage counseling, solidly upon a biblical worldview.  God created marriage with a particular design and purpose.  At its very heart, it is a covenant—one which is “intimate and personal….Yet at the same time, it is far more durable, binding and unconditional than one based on mere feeling and affection….a stunning blend of law and love.” (Timothy Keller, The Meaning of Marriage:  Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God (New York:  Dutton, 2011), p. 84.)

For more than a thousand years, western culture enjoyed consensus about marriage.  Yet now biblical marriage is under attack and confusion reigns.  The church feels that pressure.  Every Christian leader knows that Christian marriages face trouble and failure, for we are sinners who live in a dark world corrupted by sin.  Thankfully, the Gospel gives us hope.  Through Jesus Christ, God redeems marriage, then restores and transforms it. 

In this course, we want to lay a strong theological foundation, and then find practical tools for cultivating vibrant, Christ-honoring marriages that actually anticipate the glory of the New Creation!  Nothing less is good enough for King Jesus.


Education: (Andrew) B.A. Oberlin College (1973), M.Div. (1979), D.Min. (1985) Westminster Theological Seminary;  (Dawna) B.A. Temple University (1976). 
Both received training from Christian Counseling & Educational Foundation, and are Certified Christian Conciliators® with the Institute for Christian Conciliation. 

Experience:  After serving as a pastor for ten years in an evangelical presbyterian church, Andrew became a full-time Christian counselor with a specialty in helping marriages and families.  Dawna has taught in schools and women’s retreats, and is also a piano instructor and church pianist.  They serve together as counselors, mediators, and instructors, and have a special concern for resolving conflicts in biblical and effective ways that honor Christ.


Marriage is a “covenant of companionship.”  How is this different from the legalistic view or the romantic view?

How can we speak truthfully and effectively about marriage to a culture that is utterly confused about marriage?

How can a couple cultivate love and intimacy in their marriage?

How are the roles and responsibilities of husband and wife the same?  How are they different and complementary?

How can couples resolve conflict when it happens?  How can they learn to make united decisions?

How can church leaders rescue marriages that are in trouble, giving good counsel at every step in the healing process?

How does the Gospel transform every aspect of marriage and marriage counseling?  Many couples have been helped by counseling that is not explicitly Christian.  How is Christian counseling different, and better? 


Lecture 1 (Thursday, 21/10)
Introduction: Historic Consensus and Cultural Confusion, Meaning of Marriage (I): Marriage as Image of God, Marriage as Covenant

Lecture 2 (Friday, 22/10)
Meaning of Marriage (II): Husband and Wife—Common Mandate, Distinctive Roles

Seminar (Saturday, 23/10) “Gospel Hope for Broken Communication”
Required attendance for students taking the course for credit.

Lecture 3 (Monday 25/10)
Cultivating Great Marriages: Practices for Growing Marriages that Honor Christ, Conflict Resolution in Marriage

Lecture 4 (Tuesday 26/10)
Rescuing Troubled Marriages: Wise Priorities; an Outline for Marriage Counseling

Lecture 5 (Wednesday 27/10)
Specific Issues in Marriage
Marriage, Divorce, and Remarriage
Other issues according to the interests of the class


1. Attendance at all classes – lectures and discussions (unless valid reason for absence).
2. Required readings
2.1. Journal and internet articles (~100 pages),
2.2. Timothy Keller, The Meaning of Marriage:  Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God (New York:  Dutton, 2011),
3) “Open-book” exam.
4) Personal reflection paper (1-2 pages)


Signing up for the course and additional information : Janis Perkons, phone +371 26356030,

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