Given this reality, traditional approaches to premarital and remarital counseling may not be the most optimum therapeutic approach to achieve optimal couple satisfaction (Qian & Lichter, 2011). Arguably, one of the greatest influences on contemporary life-shaping worldviews is the postmodern culture in which we live. Bond (2014), a social psychologist by profession, renders an in-depth description of a construct premise first elucidated by Cole (1996) referred to as “cultural-inclusive psychology” (p. 7). Bond (2014) provides the following comprehensive definition of this all-embracing cultural concept here:
I think of culture on both its senses – the repository of humankind’s fascinating output of cuisine, music, art, architecture, literature, philosophy, and science on the life that teems around us, but also in the more esoteric sense of the residue from this legacy in the life-as-lived by each of us – our beliefs, our values, our worldviews, our talents, our vocations ad our relationships, their style and content, that structure of living from the cradle to the grave. (p. 27).
In other words, several of today’s marriages are exposed to the fault lines created by today’s postmodern culture. As such, if they are not built on a solid foundation, they become extremely susceptible to suffering from the devastating effects caused by marital earthquakes. The influences of the postmodern culture of today’s society including the church are staggering. Rosenbaum and Weathersbee (2013), in a study conducted among 151 newly married couples at nine Texas Southern Baptist churches, reported that, “More than 70% of the respondents reported having had premarital vaginal or oral sex, but more than 80% regretted premarital sex” (p. 263). I would argue that similar statistics may also be unveiled if other denominations were investigated, thus illustrating the intensive impact that postmodernism is having on the Church in general, and more specifically, on the institution of marriage.
Perhaps the most important legislative impact that has impacted both marriages and the Church is same-sex marriages. Again, postmodernism has played and continues to play, a significant role in the significant rise in public support for what is termed marriage equality. This nomenclature which was birthed in the Western hemisphere and has since expanded at the global level. According to Kirby, Mckenzie-green, Mcara-couper, & Nayar (2017), a growing sub-section of the Church has been advocating support for same-sex marriages. Kirby et al., (2017) point out another pivotal initiative emanating from the therapeutic field:
Originally listed as a “sociopathic personality disturbance,” homosexuality was “upgraded” to a mere “sexual deviation” in 1968, and finally in 1973 delisted altogether from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-II) of the American Psychiatric Association; a decision followed by the American Psychoanalytic Association in 1975. (p.907)
Given the pivotal therapeutic postures adopted by some segments of the Church coupled with those elucidated by leading and respected mental health authorities in the United States, it is not difficult to comprehend why the battle against same-sex marriages remains as fierce as it is. In summary, I submit that the views expressed on the topic of same-sex marriage extend beyond the scope of cultural influences. It should also embrace a soul-searching journey that incorporates and encapsulates one’s moral compass, core values, belief systems, ideologies, life philosophies, and of course specific on faith.
Bond, M. H. (2014). How I am constructing culture-inclusive theories of the social-psychological process in our age of globalization. Journal for the Theory of Social Behavior, 45(1), 26-36. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1111/jtsb.12053
Cole, M. (1996). Cultural psychology: A once and future discipline. Harvard University Press.
Kirby, A., Mckenzie-green, B., Mcara-couper, J., & Nayar, S. (2017). Same-sex marriage: A dilemma for parish clergy. Sexuality & Culture, 21(3), 901-918. Retrieved from https://doi:10.1007/s12119-017-9414-1
Qian, Z., & Lichter, D. T. (2011). Changing patterns in interracial marriage in a multicultural society. Journal of Family and Marriage, 73(5), 1065-1084. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1741-3737.2011.00866.x
Rosenbaum, J. E. & Weathersbee, B. (2013). True love waits: Do Southern Baptist? Premarital sexual behavior among newly married Southern Baptist school students. Journal of Religion and Health; New York, 52(1), 263-275. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1007/s10943-010-9445-5