A recent survey from Teleios shines some light on how Millennials and Gen Z view Christian dating. The study focused on whether or not the participants believed it was acceptable to be in a relationship with a non-Christian, as well as their views on the purpose of marriage.
“This survey indicates that evangelical adolescents and millennials generally believe a biblically based marriage is between a Christian man and woman which then may fulfill God’s will of the evangelical purpose of marriage as described by scripture (Ephesians 5:21-33),” wrote Teleios. “They also view a romantic relationship with an unbeliever as unfulfilling and do not recommend it to others.”
Teleios is a non-profit that seeks to use scientific data to illustrate the positive impact of following biblical principles. Their survey on Christian dating was comprised of answers from 1,818 people, the majority of whom (75 percent) were female. Most of the participants (91 percent) had never been married and the majority (83 percent) identified as evangelical Christians. The rest identified as “Social Christian” (15 percent), “Christian Seeker” (2 percent) and “Non-Christian” (0.3 percent).
Fifty-seven percent of those who responded were between the ages of 18 and 25. The next largest group (20 percent) was between the ages of 26 and 35, 16 percent were younger than 18, and the rest of the participants were older than 36. Only about half of the respondents lived in the United States.
Most of those who took part in the survey said they had “good wellbeing” in their lives. Fifty-six percent said they believed people could not lose their salvation after trusting in Jesus, while the rest thought salvation could be lost depending on the nature of someone’s sin.
Most of the respondents said they prayed every day and attended church at least once a week.
What About Dating a Non Christian?
When it comes to becoming romantically involved with an unbeliever, the participants generally agreed that doing so would be detrimental. Half of them said they had never dated someone who was not a Christian. Of those who had been in a romantic relationship with an unbeliever, most said that the experience was negative to some degree.
While 23 percent said their spiritual growth was not impacted by dating a non-Christian, 25 percent said it was “somewhat worse,” 23 percent said it was “worse,” and 19 percent said it was “much worse.” Those who had been in a relationship with an unbeliever overwhelmingly agreed they were not inclined to do so again.
When it came to their non-Christian partner’s spiritual growth, 40 percent said they did not notice any difference while being in a relationship with that person, while 30 percent said they saw an increased spiritual interest in their partner. A resounding 74 percent of the survey’s participants said they would not recommend that Christians become romantically involved with non-Christians.
The Purpose of Marriage
Sixty-nine percent of the people surveyed said they believed the purpose of marriage is to represent the relationship of Christ and the church. The next most popular answer (42 percent) was that marriage is a way of fulfilling love between a man and a woman.
The respondents displayed more diversity in their answers to the question of whether God’s will for marriage can be fulfilled if a Christian marries an unbeliever or a “very immature believer.” Thirty percent said the more mature person can positively influence the other, while 40 percent believed the less mature partner will have a more powerful (negative) influence. Thirty-five percent chose to answer that if one partner is not living out his or her Christian beliefs, then the marriage will not be fulfilling God’s purpose of portraying the relationship between Christ and the church.
When asked what would interest them in dating an unbeliever, the most popular answers the respondents gave were “physical attraction,” “personality,” and “fun.” And yet, there was still a general agreement that, in the end, those qualities would not be sufficient to make pursuing a relationship with a non-Christian worthwhile.