The predominant way men and women date and mate in 2012 is based on physical attraction and charm (artificial intimacy)  which is strengthened through approval seeking. Yet the religious among us seem to have little problem with this deceptive courtship even thought Judeo-Christian and New Age teaching stresses honesty and openness. Our spiritual leaders certainly aren't condoning the results of these mirage relationships such as adultery, divorce and serial monogamy, but they seem utterly clueless to the cause of so many unhealthy unions. It is no wonder then that the divorce rate for the churched is the same as the unchurched.

 In Christian churches many priests and ministers will require a couple to submit to premarital counselling as a condition of officiating their ceremony. But the tremendous romantic momentum of the mirage relationship  often pushes the lovebirds forward to the wedding regardless of the outcome of the counselling sessions.  The twitterpated man and woman view the sessions as a hurdle to be jumped instead of a time for serious examination and introspection. Infatuation blinds the  couple to the serious differences that are exposed by even the most cursory examination of their facile romance. By then it is too late to stop the mismatched couple from seeing things through to the altar. The couple may hear cautionary words of warning but they are too infatuated to comprehend their meaning.

One sees this in the courtship of Danny Bonaduce. The former "Partridge Family" television star turned talk show host/disc jockey boasted that he had been married to his born-again Christian wife, Gretchen, " for five years, and we've known each other for five years and seven hours." According to Danny, "It didn't bother me that I married  a stranger in order to get sex from a woman who didn't want  to have sex until she was married." Danny used the artificial intimacy of physical attraction and charm to plunge into the marriage. He uses approval seeking to maintain it,ceding all control of the union to his wife. As he phrased it, "I'm not captain of the ship at home. I'm barely first mate."

Danny Bonaduce isn't the only mirage man attracted to Christian women. A recent report on devout Christians married to non-believers noted that the vast majority of these "unequally yoked" Christians are women. True to what we call Mirage Man Syndrome,  a significant number of these women reported marrying "men who pretended to be Christians during the courtship only to reveal their religious indifference after the wedding." Their approval seeking was successful in getting them to the altar. Living the 100% Christian life after the wedding was another story, as their shocked and disappointed Christian wives were soon to discover.

It is indeed tragic  that we are given challenges, sermons and homilies to live lives of authenticity from our clergy and spiritual leaders like Oprah Winfrey, but these same  spiritual leaders express absolutely no interest in discussing why our romantic relationships are based on dishonesty and result in so much pain.

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