Renee Fisher is a spirited speaker, coach, consultant and author, who published her first eight books in under eight years. A self-proclaimed "Dream Defender," Renee is passionate about calling dreams to life in others. A graduate of Biola University, she lives in Houston, TX with her handsome husband and their fur child named Star. Connect with her at ReneeFisher.com.
ChristianMingle® and JDate® released their second annual State of Dating in America™ Report.
An online survey of 2,647 singles, ages 18-59, were surveyed. And to be honest, some of the stats are to be expected, while some were disappointing. The ones I found most interesting were: sex before marriage, importance of marrying within the same faith, and amount of time before moving in.
Before I jump into bed over a controversial topic (pun intended), I want to talk to the singles.
When I was single for most of my 20s, and it was hard. I wasn't last of my friends to get married, but I am the last to have a child. It makes me sad that some of my friends have experienced the sting of divorced or the heartache of not receiving child support (or very little) as a single mom.
Relationships are tough.
“In today’s modern world there are so many factors contributing to blurred lines and mixed messages when it comes to dating and relationships. I see clients every day who are struggling with how to navigate muddled waters in a new or long-term relationship, and this study by ChristianMingle and JDate confirms these issues exist across the country” says Rachel Sussman, Marriage and Family Therapist and Licensed Clinical Social Worker.
I do not claim to be an expert like Ms. Sussman, but I know that there is a better way.
I recently read A Confident Heart by Renee Swope. She said, "A confident woman wants to know who God created her to be. She is comfortable saying "no" to some [good] thing so that she can say "yes" to living the [great] life God wants her to life. She is intentional and secure about pursuing the spiritual purpose God has for her."
Let me be very clear: sex is beyond good -- it's great.
I wish Christians wouldn't treat sex as "bad" or "don't touch" or "stay away." Because it was quite confusing to suddenly be able to flip the switch to "good" when I got married. Obviously it's something you want to do, but it's just not that easy to go from believing sex is bad and dirty and wrong to suddenly good and great and sexy.
To all the single Christians out there -- please do not let these statistics make you feel judged.
However, if you agree with the 61% of single Christians surveyed that sex before marriage is okay -- you are entitled to your opinion. But. I know there is a better way because it's not God's best.
Sex is far greater than test-driving a relationship, needing to share a feeling, or experiencing the right sexual chemistry before marriage. There's a divine connection that God created between a husband and a wife.
Mark 10:7-9 says, " ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”
I hope these statistics from ChristianMingle® and their second annual State of Dating in America™ don't surprise you. In fact, I hope it moves you to find a better, more godly way -- and not just because sex is dirty and wrong and bad.
Because it's so good that it has the power to change and transform lives.
Because it's the way God intended.
Because it's worth waiting for. . .
ChristianMingle® State of Dating in America™ Report Statistics
Sex Before Marriage
+ 61% of Christians say it's okay to have sex before marriage
+ 23% says it's okay, if they were in love
+ 5% said yes, but only after they were engaged
+ 11% said no
Importance of Marrying Within the Same Faith
+ 17% said they would only marry someone of the same faith
+ 29% said they would strongly prefer to marry someone of the same faith
+ 34% said it would be nice to marry someone of the same faith
+ 21% said just looking for someone they like
Amount of time before moving in
+ 10% said 6 months or less
+ 78% said more than six months but less than a year
+ 28% said more than a year but less than two
+ 13% said two to five ears
+ 1% said more than five years
+ 8% said they would only move in after they were engaged
+ 12% said they would only move in together if they were married
When I was at the offices for ChristianMingle in Los Angeles, we (the advisory board) were discussing these statistics. As a group we didn't want to just throw this information out there without giving singles hope. Instead of just throwing these statistics at you -- I'd like to start a dialogue.
After reading these statistics, if you'd like more information -- please check out my latest two books on relationships:
+ Not Another Dating Book ~ $8.69 on Amazon
+ Loves Me Not: Heartbreak and Healing God's Way ~ $2.99 on Amazon
I also interviewed Ruth Rutherford, a Christian single, who blogs at I Kissed My Date Goodnight. I wanted her opinion on dating and why the church isn't much help when it comes to addressing these statistics.
"There's an absolute stigma in the Church when it comes to dating. Anyone who says there isn't is married. The Church preaches at length in both word and deed about marriage and parenting and children, placing such blessings on a holy pedestal for everyone to strive toward reaching. Singleness, however, isn't acknowledged with high regard. It's simply a stage we all have to somehow get through to reach those ever greater milestones.
The catch lies in the fact that in order to get from single to married, one must date. Yet the Church, for the most part, diminishes the importance of dating. Apparently if we pray hard enough and believe, our future husbands and wives will just sit next to us on the pew one Sunday morning and the rest will be history. If it were that easy, I'd have four husbands and 12 kids by now! Dating is tough. Being single is tough, too, but it shouldn't be. There's nothing inherently wrong with being single, or wrong with someone who isn't married. The Church, of all places, should accept and engage people across the board -- regardless of relationship status. Perhaps then the walls of stigma that separate singles and the rest of the Christians will finally be broken down, allowing for true community to thrive."
Question: Do you agree or disagree with the 61% of Christian singles who approve of sex before marriage? Why or why not?
Follow up question: What can we do to encourage Christian singles who may be struggling with waiting for sex for marriage?
*Previously published on ReneeFisher.com.
[Photo: Google Image]