I recently had a conversation with a family therapist friend of mine. He had been in practice for over thirty years. He commented that the vast majority of his clients come from the evangelical and fundamentalist Christian traditions (he is UCC). He also stated that it has been his experience that liberal/progressive Christians seem to have a better understanding and are more commitment of marriage relationships.
This conversation sparked some thoughts. According to my friend, there seems to be a lack of commitment to marriage by evangelical and fundamentalist Christians. It is interesting that the fiercest defenders of the “sanctity of marriage” come from those traditions. I find this to be quite a contradiction. I wonder if part of this dichotomy has to do with sex as “taboo.” I know many young people from these churches who rush into marriage because they need to satisfy their sexual desires and the only way the church allows them to do so is through marriage. A year of so, after their wedding they start to experience major marriage discord and many end up in divorce. Some of them have come to me for pre-marriage or marriage counseling. They came because they heard I offered the “Prepare Enrich” model. They usually commented that their church only offered a Bible Study and the leaders had no formal preparation. This was their idea of pre-marriage counseling.
On a different but related subject, it has been my personal experience that there is also a dichotomy in their understanding of what is right and what is wrong when it comes to personal behavior. I have observed that, on one hand, pre-marital sex is a huge “sin.” On the other, smoking pot is quite normal and accepted. It would be interesting to see if there are any studies out there that deal with these behaviors and their sources.
In any case, these are my thoughts. What are yours?