5 Reasons Christian Singles Aren’t Dating

In Dating by Debra Fileta38 Comments

In the last post from #TheDatingScene blog series, I reported that over 53% of singles who took my survey reported that they have not been on one date in the past 6 months. You can read that entire article here.

The majority of Christian Singles are NOT dating.

At the end of that article, I asked singles to tell me why. Why aren’t Christian singles dating? Why has the common date become such a rare thing? The comments rolled in, and some fantastic conversation came of it. As I read through and interacted with the comments, 5 big-picture themes emerged as to why #TheDatingScene is on snooze for most single Christians:

#1 They have unrealistic expectations.

One of the most common things that many singles reported experiencing from the opposite sex is the unrealistic standard of what they’re looking for in a relationship. Men are looking for a cross between Mother Teresa and America’s next top model (click to read more), while women are after the Jesus-loving-Brad-Pitt (click to read more). There’s a false standard that we’ve perpetuated and let’s just put this out there: no one is measuring up.

I believe it’s important to have our standards of character, integrity, and morals when it comes to a dating relationship – but could it be that in the name of “not settling” we’ve confused our PREFERENCES for our NEEDS? Maybe it’s time to prioritize our majors from our minors, and consider pursuing someone that might typically be considered “outside of our usual type”.

Men, Stop Looking for a Super Model Wife.

Women, Please Learn to Settle for the things that DON’T Matter.

#2 They aren’t being asked.

There’s definitely a fear culture surrounding the topic of asking someone out on a date. We’re so paralyzed by fear, failure, and rejection. It’s almost as though we’re so afraid to fail- that we’d rather not even try. In fact, the majority of singles reported that when it comes to dating: they aren’t usually do the asking.

If majority is not asking, that also means majority is not dating.

I think it’s time to exchange our fear for faith, and take the necessary steps to get healthy and then seek out a healthy relationship. If you’re at that point in life, here’s an article I wrote with some basic how-to’s of asking someone out on a date. If you WANT to get to that point, consider taking my 21 Days to JumpStart Your Love Life e-course (more details on that plus a promo code at the bottom of the article). 

#3 They’re having a hard time meeting one another.

I think this is a really legitimate concern, and one in which I hope and pray the Church will listen and begin to fill the needs of this generation. Too many churches are not offering a way for their Singles to meet – leaving them to fend for themselves with things like social media, online dating, and everything in between in an attempt to meet. We offer groups for every other category of life, but when it comes to singles – if you’re past college, there’s a good chance you’re out of luck when it comes to finding a group to connect with at your local church.

My hope and prayer is that by having and sharing these conversations, men and women in leadership will realize that the 25+ singles are a truly neglected demographic within the Church – and then do something about it. It’s time to make some noise, approach our leaders, and do our part to build bridges and opportunities for singles to connect. Start a group, initiate a conversation, share your concern, and do what YOU CAN to create a places for singles in the body of Christ to connect. (One place that’s doing this INCREDIBLY well is Saddleback Church – with a Singles Event that I’ll be speaking at coming up this weekend!)

#4 They’ve been taught that women shouldn’t initiate a relationship.

Part of the problem with the lack of interaction among sexes is that woman have been taught that their role is to simply do nothing. They’ve been told the lie that a “woman of God” lets the man initiate, pursue, and make things happen. This leaves women feeling powerless – as though they have no control in their relationship status and no right to take initiative themselves. I’ve been pretty outspoken about how I feel about this subject. If you’ve yet to catch up on those posts, you can give them a read here.

#5 They’re taking dating way too seriously.

Twenty years after the I Kissed Dating Goodbye movement, and we’re finally learning to lighten up about dating. But I believe we still have a long way to go. I’m a firm believer that dating in high school is something that teenagers should do without – the problem is that too many people then take that mentality long into ADULTHOOD.

Christians tend to put the decision of who to date on the same level as the decision of who to marry. There’s so much pressure surrounding the topic, when at the end of the day, a first date is nothing more than getting to know someone better over a cup of coffee. Christians need to stop stressing so much about dating.

I believe that the more we talk about these things, the more we’ll know. And the more we know – the better we’ll do. 

Stay tuned for my entire blog series with the rest of the survey results all about #TheDatingScene

COMMENT BELOW: I want to take this conversation to the churches and ministries I interact with across the country: What is something the CHURCH could do to help encourage healthy dating and interactions between men and women? 

Debra Fileta is a Professional Counselor, national speaker, relationship expert, and author of True Love Dates: Your Indispensable Guide to Finding the Love of Your Life, where she writes candidly about dating, relationships, and how to find true love. Her newest book, Choosing Marriage, is set to be released in the Summer of 2018! You may also recognize her voice from her 200+ articles at Relevant Magazine, Crosswalk.com, and all over the web! She’s the creator of this True Love Dates Blog, reaching over 4 million people with the message that healthy people make healthy relationships!  Connect with her on Facebook or Twitter or book a session with her today!

Ready to get your dating-life started and meet some other singles?

Sign up for my 21 Day to Jump Start Your Love Life e-course 

For a limited time, use code TheDatingScene to receive $10 off SALE price of the course!

 

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38 Comments on "5 Reasons Christian Singles Aren’t Dating"

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Lori
Guest

Great article. I’m in the 50’s age group and single. Debra your posts have helped me get my thoughts corrected about dating, myself and whole lot of relational dynamics. I’m so glad you do this .. Thank you !!!

Ruthie
Guest

I’m in the 50+ category too. I found great comfort in one of your articles about the lack of availability of Christian men. I think this holds true especially with people my age. I have NOT given up, but just think, maybe God has a smaller pool to pull from for me! LOL!!! I keep looking!!!

Sarah
Guest
I think the Church could do better by actually giving the single demographic some attention. As a single twenty-something with single thirty-something friends and and peers, we feel a bit dusted under the rug or left to our own devices when it comes to ministry. Something my own church body has done is started what’s called “Friday Night Hangz.” Every Friday the college ministry team hosts a time of fellowship and community at the intern house. There’s normally 40 to 80 people that show up. Most of them are college age and mid 20s, but I believe if the church… Read more »
Christine
Guest

I so agree!! The church doesn’t have to “play matchmaker,” but it would help if they at least created the spaces in which singles could meet. My church also does the segregated women’s/men’s ministries. It’s frustrating not only because I want to meet single guys, but I also see the need to just keep interacting with men and have godly examples in front of me. -I appreciate what I can learn even from the older or married men.

T T
Guest
The church could be intentional about including singles in non-official activities that involve church members as a non-pressure way for individuals to meet and get to know each other. Begin including the needs of singles in corporate prayers – communicate that this is an important issue that the church supports. Ask if they’re looking and willing to be set up (and the type of person they might be interested in). Listen and be encouraging when a single person expresses a desire to marry (try not to make things worse). Share stories about how they met their spouse – especially when… Read more »
Anonymous
Guest

To me, #2 is a consequence of #1. I’ll ask (and I have), but I usually hold off unless I believe there’s a decent chance of success (and yet, I’ve been rejected every time). When you get shot down, it can take a little while to get over it…plus, if you ask too many too quickly in a church group, you get a reputation FAST.

Colin
Guest

Or worse, you asked HER first and now you are asking ME. You think so little of ME and expect ME to give YOU the time of day?

Rebecca
Guest
A few months ago I read a good article online from a pastor about singles ministries. Basically the point was that singles ministries don’t thrive because it’s a group that very few people want to be a part of, and the goal when there is to try and get out of the group as soon as possible. It can also be awkward, because a lot of people have the expectation that they will meet someone there. His Church decided to do a mixed Bible Study, so singles could interact but it was a more relaxed environment. I think something similar… Read more »
Jasmine Ruigrok
Guest

They could actually TEACH on relationships. From my experience, I’ve seen so many people wind up in one toxic relationship after another within the church, and they are not getting the wisdom and tough counsel they need. I think if the church actually started teaching more on what a good relationship looks like, AND making yourself relationship material, we would see a lot more healthy couples as a result.

Sam
Guest

Have them in the first place!☺

Many smaller churches simply don’t have much to work with (rural areas, anyone?) I can attest to this firsthand. You can’t ask anyone out when the selection of singles (between two churches, mind you) is about ten people — basically all of them either guys or my own siblings.

You can’t ask who you can’t meet!

Edgar
Guest

I totally agree with you that’s the case with me too!!

Tina
Guest

Come to Denmark, there’s like 8 girls/women pr. guy in almost all churches. So I know the feeling😉

Sam
Guest

Denmark? Interesting. Can’t get a break anywhere, can we?

Jasmine
Guest

I agree with you too! My church has about 20 people in it and they are all in their 60’s and up and are grandparents! Other churches I have attended with people my age (35 and up) are already married and have children. And I feel like such an outcast being completely single with no one at all.

Sam
Guest

My church has about 100 in it, and a grand total of 1 single adult under the age of 35 — me. Like you, I have visited other churches and found that no one my age (26) is still single, either. They do start early around here…

Mikayla
Guest

I understand, I go to a smaller church, and there’s very few singles. The few that we have, well we’ve all grown up together, just about, so we are all almost like siblings. Or we have a huge age gap. For example, the guys close to my age are like 6 to 9 years older or 5 years younger. I know age doesn’t fully matter, but there’s still not a lot of options.

Crystal
Guest
This is a good article. Advice for the church….I love my church and there are very few singles (10) of us. As such when a single person does date (usually outside of the church) and get marry they usually leave the church. Well it’s become to a point when ever any of us date they assume that we will be leaving the church and begins to write is off! That drives me nuts. As we don’t know where the relationship goes and that they should realize that we still need them. Another thing that drives me nuts is that if… Read more »
Edgar
Guest
Debra I agree with you that churches are lacking in having groups for singles or young adults to meet, my church being one of them. This would really help specially in my church that has over 700 members. Its hard to recognize anybody your interested in unless you attend all 3 services every weekend. I honestly can admit that I haven’t met the right person to ask out on a date. The reason being that the service I attend there’s not that many young adults that attend (18-35). So I’m like okay where am I supposed to find a godly… Read more »
Sam
Guest
I’m with you there, Edgar. If you ask me, I think a lot of Christian “hang out in casual groups first” dating advice takes for granted that you will a) know lots of Christian singles, and b) have all of them in groups at church (or on mission trips, or conferences, or volunteer orgs.) where you can get to know each other from across the room. I don’ know about you, but the average of a church worker around me is about 65 years old. Ditto for churchgoers. The problem with Starbucks (or the bookstore, or the library, or the… Read more »
Edgar
Guest

Yes I know what you mean. I can be a very social person once I get out od my “little bubble”. I have thought about online dating but those sites charge crazy feed that I can’t afford to have all the features.

Gabriel
Guest

Sometimes I think I Kissed Dating Goodbye has done more harm than good.

anonymous
Guest

You probably have thought of this, but I am more likely to read this page when I’m not dating versus when I’m dating, so your sample population is probably pretty skewed in favor of singles who are not dating. So the 53% number may be a significant overestimate of the true number of singles who aren’t dating right now.

Liz
Guest
I think what’s helpful at a church is a young adult group, not necessarily just a singles group. We have a group at my church for any young adults and we have the range from single to dating to married. That makes it easy to meet people and it also makes it more sustainable. If the group is for singles and then once people are dating they can’t be in it anymore, it’s hard to sustain a group. I haven’t met anyone to date in our group, but several people have, but they still are involved. The other thing I… Read more »
Monica
Guest
Yes, yes, yes. As a person who is happily single, the idea of singles-exclusive groups makes me cringe. It’s my experience that marriage and the family unit have been moralized and idolized in broad swaths of the Church. If we are to consider ourselves a “church family,” the tight-knit family unit must become more flexible and less important (note I did not say unimportant) — as sisters and brothers in Christ, our ideas of family must expand to include those outside the “traditional family model.” For example: is it the end of the world if spouses do not sit together… Read more »
Single in Europe
Guest
Love this idea!!!!! Actually, im blessed because, in the country I live in, though the churches are small and none are perfect, the culture as a whole tends to consider one a youth until at least 40 or so, married or not. As a result, older singles don’t feel so left behind or marginalized. There is also more of a freedom to develop meaningful relationships with people of both genders and of all ages…I think this is key. Many Churches and Christian groups segregate gendersand ages so much that kids grow up not even knowing how to feel comfortable around… Read more »
Jasmine
Guest

I fall into the older singles category. (35+) and it is extremely uncomfortable being among teens and 20 somethings who go partying, the 30+ crowd are married and/or have children, and the rest are all over 60 and grandparents! (in my community, not my church. My church has only about 20 members and they are all older….60+ ) What about those who are 35+ who have never been married and never had children? Might as well be part of the furniture in today’s society because it seems no one notices us.

Crystal J.
Guest
My experience has been that when addressing singles across any life span, churches address preparation for marriage only: stay single or get married, how to be a good wife / husband, building a strong marriage, etc. And all that is good and needed but not balanced well with teaching how to be a strong person of faith while keeping your hope for marriage, how to pray for your love life (thanks for creating this guide, Debra!), teaching healthy relationships in general, etc. I’ve also seen the trend that the people talking about singleness in church are people who haven’t actually… Read more »
Edgar
Guest

Somebody should make a singles group on Facebook.

Hope
Guest
Like so many others, I would just like to be recognized by the church as a person, whole in my own right (meaning I’m not looked down on because I’m not married). In the church culture I’ve grown up in, you are basically considered an irresponsible child until you’re married…I’m 33, and I’ve been working, paying bills and paying my own way since forever, and if an elder in the church acknowledges me at all, they treat me as if I’m in my teens, with a very few exceptions. That makes it very difficult to continue attending, and in fact… Read more »
Beth
Guest

Amen. Also applies to those over 40 and 60

Will Emler
Guest

I’m In the 30+ Category & No Woman Has Approached Me Yet & I’m Close To Almost 40 Yrs Old What & How Should I Go About The Idea?

Demi
Guest
I think various churches could host a singles potluck once a month. The Pastor of the church could give a brief pep talk and the worship team or one person could play some guitar or piano for background music. If you could get 12 churches to do this each one would only have to do it once a month. People could be encouraged to bring a homeless person so we could love on them and build relationships with those in the community that are homeless and appear single (?). Singles need to practice cooking to prepare for marriage so potlucks… Read more »
Demi
Guest

Oops I meant to say each church would only have to host once a YEAR if twelve churches could agree to do this.

Demi
Guest

I respect Debra for her opinion encouraging women to initiate relationship but it is nice when men take the lead because after all that will be their role in marriage to be the head of the home. It does not mean women can’t drop hints and be available but the actual asking is nice to come from the men.

James
Guest
Being single and in my mid-30s, a problem I’ve seen with friends and experienced myself is that many churches give talks on relationships, dating and marriage to their youth groups or college-age groups, but once those groups get older than that there’s an (unsaid) expectation that most people will be settled down and married by then. For those that aren’t married by that age, marriage is then something that is preached on once or twice a year at best, and there’s little encouragement for the still single people, who by this time go into the workforce and are generally busier… Read more »
Single in Europe
Guest
To everyone complaining about there not being anyone around them to date… I understand…grew up in a small church with no one close to my age other than my siblings. I feel it. But… I think it’s time to… Look again, think outside of the box… 1) travel–there’s a whole world of people out there in tiny churches 2) broaden the age difference bracket within reason…like the person you date should not be young enough to be your child nor old enough o be your parent… I have several friends who have even gone against the norm and been open… Read more »
Single in Europe
Guest

I’m preaching at myself too. Can’t live from a place of narrow doubt and fear, but from a place of trust in God no matter what.

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