One thing I hear from altar-bound couples is how compatible they are and how much in love they are. This is great, but what I want to know about is their relationship/bonding (attachment) style. Most couples I have dealt with have never heard of this or have, but know little about it. What I typically suggest is that couples read up on the subject starting with Attachment Styles – Why Knowing Yours Can Change Your Relationships, then take a free online, researcher developed attachment style (The long, not short version) at http://www.web-research-design.net/cgi-bin/crq/crq.pl and share the outcome with each other.
Obviously, I place great store in attachment style in marriage, something reflected in articles and blog entries I have penned going back many years including Is an attachment style problem complicating or undermining your life? and Problems relating well to God & your fellow man? Your attachment style may be a major contributor.
Hopefully you and your intended spouse both have secure attachment styles. But what if one or both of you do not? Judging from published studies and analytic articles on this area of human psychology, when an individual with an anxious attachment style marries someone with an dismissive-avoidant attachment style, there is almost certain to be big trouble in paradise. Marriage and family therapists consider the presence of more than one of these predictors (criticism, contempt, defensiveness and stonewalling) in a marriage an indication that it may not last. Many of these predictors characterize individuals with a dismissive-avoidant attachment style, something which underscores all the more the need for couples to determine their individual attachment styles before tying the proverbial knot.
Not surprisingly, attachment style plays a role in infidelity too.
For Christians, there are other considerations surrounding marriage which are touched on in Preparing for Marriage and, for Roman Catholics especially, in this online Pre-Cana course: https://livingourfaithinlove.com/
For those readers with one or more marriages under their belt (especially followers of Yeshua), it is vital to determine whether you are morally free to remarry. If not, you may be entering into an adulterous union (This carries some heavy duty consequences - click). To help you sort this out, I strongly recommend that you view this 9m59s video: https://youtu.be/hOvxlcR_Yd0
For those readers who prefer written material over video, or who just want more detailed information, I highly recommend perusing these articles:
I would be remiss not to include this article in which the author limits "adulterous marriages" to a very narrow category of unions: https://biblicalgenderroles.com/is-there-such-a-thing-as-an-adulterous-marriage/
And yes, the issue of adulterous marriages is complex and not unexpectedly contentious one within the community of believers. Actually, the American church has over time pretty much lined up its teachings on divorce and marriage with that of the secular world.
It would be a mistake in my opinion for divorced folks to interpret this ecclesiastical laxness over divorce and remarriage -- as well as the contentiousness and theological in-fighting going on in some quarters over it -- as constituting a form of permission-by-default to press on with a remarriage. Since estrangement and (ultimately) separation from God is decreed for the sexually immoral, there is too much at stake to throw caution to the wind and enter into a 2nd, 3rd or nth marriage (Those already in such a state may not want to hear this, but their only remedy may be to adopt a brother-sister type relationship with their "significant other").
For those couples who are considering entering into a marriage without any major encumbrances (such as a prior marriage) but in which one or both partners has an attachment disorder, the question arises: Can an attachment disorder be altered or remediated? The answer is a qualified "yes". The methods used to effect such change differ somewhat between practitioners and treatment facilities, something reflected in these online sources: Adult Attachment Therapy and How to change your attachment style. From what I have been able to garner from various psychoanalysts who handle adult attachment disorders, therapy that produces lasting results takes years if not decades to transact.
It is, of course, both easy and natural to dismiss an attachment disorder and assume the heady biochemistry of infatuation/love and lust (love potion #9, if you will) will hold sway against all comers including relationship/bonding issues. From my own experience and observations, most people with an attachment disorder -- especially dismissive-avoidant types -- function fairly normally while under the influence of the aforementioned love potion. But as the "magic love phase" fades out over time, their old troublesome patterns of coping reemerge and soon their marriage becomes strained and then dysfunctional.
In the final analysis (as it were), make sure your pre-nuptial homework is thorough. You and your intended bride or groom should (at the very minimum) answer these 13 Questions Before Getting Married and also take the (long form) researcher developed attachment style inventory at http://www.web-research-design.net/cgi-bin/crq/crq.pl and share the outcome with each other. If one or both of you turns out to have an attachment disorder, do yourselves a big favor and learn all you can about it including treatment/remediation options.
For couples in which one or both have prior marriages, do not skip over or treat lightly the question of whether you are biblically/morally at liberty to remarry.
To sum it all up using my own country vernacular, better to drive your pickup down a dry narrow road than a wide, muddy one.
For the insatiably curious and others who want to know more about love, relationships, and attachment challenges, as well as how to live as God intended:
Becoming Attached: First Relationships and How They Shape Our Capacity to Love (Paperback)
Treating Attachment Disorders: From Theory to Therapy (Paperback)
The Relationship Between Attachment Styles and Lifestyle With Marital Satisfaction Mohammadi K, Samavi A, Ghazavi Z. The Relationship Between Attachment Styles and Lifestyle With Marital Satisfaction. Iranian Red Crescent Medical Journal. 2016;18(4):e23839. doi:10.5812/ircmj.23839.
Anatomy of Love: A Natural History of Mating, Marriage, and Why We Stray (Completely Revised and Updated with a New Introduction) by biological anthropologist Dr. Helen Fisher. Click to access a list of Dr. Fisher’s books on Amazon.com
For You Shall be Holy as I am Holy by Rev. Bert M. Farias.
© 2017 by Dr. Anthony G. Payne. All rights reserved.
Note bene: I have no commercial or other interest in any clinical or other enterprise mentioned or linked to in this article.