"I've only gone out with a couple of girls at church, and I won't do it anymore," says Luke*, a 40-year-old Christian man living in Southern California. "At this point, I'm happily resigned to not ask a girl out at church ever again."
This was one of the first statements I heard from the group of four Christian men I interviewed last week—and we'll just call them Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. They all attend Bel Air Presbyterian Church, and range in age from 28 to 40 years old. In addition, they are all currently single, and their words formed a striking correlation with what I heard from the single, Christian men in New York City: They're all interested in finding someone to spend their lives with, but not particularly keen on finding her at church. 11 Reasons To Date A Church-Going Guy
As a single Christian woman, this isn't exactly what I wanted to hear. I've been attending Christian churches for a substantial chunk of my life, and it stands to reason that I've often thought I might meet my future husband there. It would be easier than meeting him at a bar, or a gym, or my workplace, wouldn't it? At least at church I can presume that the men I'm surrounded by share my faith, and that we have similar beliefs and values in common. However, as the years have passed by, the dates I've had with men at church have been rather few and far between. And I'm not the only woman who has found this to be true.
When I was living in New York City, one of my female friends dropped a rather pointed allegation about the Christian male population: "They're not pursuing us," she said. "We're all single, yet no one is being asked out. The men need to step it up." The Church Convinced Me Not To Have Sex
Or, perhaps the women need to step it up? Or at least ask why. This is the 21st Century after all...
On a mission to answer this question, and many others, I talked informally with a group of men in New York City, and then sat down with the guys from Bel Air Presbyterian to chat about the pursuit of love, about Christian dating, and about why on earth they don't want to date women who go to their church. Their answers were rather complex and revealed a whole host of issues I never would have considered.
Here is a little snapshot of what I learned from them over an evening of pizza and beer.
First off? They do want marriage. Their frustration with pursuing women at church has little to do with laziness, or indifference about dating. All the men I talked to were searching for love. Some had even been married or engaged in the past, and now found themselves single once again. My Faith Is Keeping Me Single
When I asked them why they wanted to get married, Luke, age 40, admitted that he's wanted to be married and have kids ever since he was an adolescent. "Between the ages of ten and thirteen, I developed a vision of what I wanted my life to be like when I was a grown man. Marriage and kids have always been part of it. That's what I've been working towards and building towards all these years."
Alex, age 36, lives in Manhattan and says simply, "I want a companion in life. Experiences are not nearly as rich or colorful without someone to share them with."
John, age 28, takes a more spiritual approach: "The thing I'm most excited about, in terms of marriage, is waking up next to someone and seeing God through her eyes. I want to grow my faith by learning through her and the way she sees God." When It Comes To Love, Would You Let God Decide?
All the men agreed that their faith is extremely important, and that it shapes the way they go about dating. It's integral to the way they approach life and make decisions. They're looking for a spiritual connection with women who have similar priorities. Which naturally begs the question: Why not date the women they meet at church?