Pew Research reports that 15 percent of U.S. adults have used online dating sites or mobile dating apps. But what about evangelicals? The most recent member poll of the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) asked, “Has someone whom you know personally tried an online dating website? And if so, was it a Christian dating website?”
Nearly 93 percent of evangelicals surveyed said they knew someone who had tried an online dating website. Almost 60 percent of those who answered “yes” said that at least one of the websites they used was a Christian website. Twenty-two percent weren’t sure if the person they knew used a Christian or secular dating website, and 19 percent said that it was not a Christian website.
Many participants cited positive experiences for their friends or relatives who used an online dating website. Roughly a quarter of those who responded to the survey mentioned that they knew an individual who married someone they met on a dating website.
One NAE member said, “Two of my three children utilized Christian dating websites. In both cases they met men to whom they eventually became engaged and then married. Both daughters and their husbands and their children remain active Christians. I am grateful.”
A little under 8 percent of those who responded noted that they had met their spouse through an online dating website — using either a Christian or secular dating website.
A few respondents explained why online dating can work. One mentioned that his online dating friends “believe they knew each other better than people often do via traditional courting practices. This was especially true where some time passed before they were able to meet in person.”
Another NAE member said that the couple they knew has “been happily married for two years now. Because of the distance, they would have never found each other without it.”
Some cited ambivalent or negative experiences with online dating. One wrote that his friend “met one guy through it, but they didn’t really connect. She is now dating someone that she did not meet online.” Another NAE member described a disappointing experience, but added that it was “hard to know whether to blame [the] dating service.”
One participant noted that success in online dating may be based somewhat on stage of life. He felt that those who were successful were “mature individuals seeking second spouses, following death or divorce … Young, restless, inexperienced online daters have often been disappointed or sadly mislead.”
For Further Reading
Aaron Smith and Monica Anderson, “5 Facts About Online Dating,” Pew Research, February 29, 2016, http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/02/29/5-facts-about-online-dating/ (accessed June 27, 2016)
Jenell Williams Paris, Leslie Ludy, and Dennis Franck, “Is Online Dating for Christians?” Christianity Today, October 17, 2011, http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2011/october/online-dating-christians.html (accessed June 27, 2016)
John Piper, “Is Online Dating Good for Christians,” Desiring God, August 12, 2014, http://www.desiringgod.org/interviews/is-online-dating-good-for-christians (accessed June 27, 2016)