Should Christians use a church congregation SOLELY as a place to meet and marry?

In 1990, at the ripe old age of 19, I was asked to be a Deacon at my church. Being a Deacon isn’t an ordained position, but it is a very important position. I was one of 24 volunteer members of a select commitee (members who served a 6 year calling) that was responsible for deciding some of the financial and missions related aspects of the church. 12 of us (myself included) were also responsible for the weekly responsibilities of preparing for church service that Sunday. My month of Sundays, was August.

In one of these August Sundays, I remember greeting a newbie who was visiting our church. It was a young woman in her mid to late 20s, a single mother. As Deacon, I was one of the first people to greet her at the door and I showed her to a pew where she was seated. We had our service and I assisted the Pastor in greeting people when they left. This young mom lingered in the Sanctuary with her daughter, not in any hurry to leave, trying to talk to as many people as she could. This continued the following week when she visited our church a second time.

In her third visit, she spent about 5 minutes talking to me in the sanctuary and told me that she would not be returning. I asked her why, if someone had offended her or if we didn’t make her feel comfortable? She said she was in fact very comfortable at our church and she very much wanted to continue attending but she saw no real reason to do so, that she was “…wasting her time.” So I asked a follow up question as to how she could be wasting her time here? She said that there weren’t any single Christian men at our church that she was interested in seeing socially outside of church and she wanted to get married. Returning for additional Sundays would be a waste of her very sparse time.

Well…. an honest (if not cold) response.

So this leads to a much bigger question: was she (from a Christian standpoint) acting ethically? Obviously, looking for a husband (and step-father for her daughter) was her primary motivation for attending our church if only for a very short period of time, but should that be the ONLY reason (as it apparently was?)

My first fiancée (well, we were engaged to be engaged if there is such a thing) told me that before she met me (early 1990s), she used to church-hop. For those not aware of what that means: church-hopping is like bar-hopping, but going to different churches week-after-week. You do that for the social aspect of church first (the spiritual aspect second.) I am not aware if this is still a custom carried out by younger Christians today but I can see the reason for it if you are shopping for a Christian spouse. What better possible place to look than church?

But is it ethical to do so if that is your sole motivation? Do you simply rule out attending a church simply because you can’t find anyone there who you might consider an eligible suitor? What if you feel the presence of the Holy Spirit as you listen to sermon? Is nothing gained (nothing to gain that makes it worth your time) if no one there will do until death you do part?

Moreover, sometimes people in church might regard the search for a spouse (in their church) as something that makes them uncomfortable. Would a protective father who wants to raise his daughters in a place that he feels very Holy and sacred take kindly to some strange visiting man attending church one week and then asking to see one of his daughters socially, just one week later? As a father of a young daughter, I can tell you that I would find that downright creepy.

I’ve been searching the Gospels lately and I haven’t found any scripture that specifically disapproves of this behavior. So the answer to this question is pretty subjective based on how one looks at a church and the members who attend it.

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5 responses to “Should Christians use a church congregation SOLELY as a place to meet and marry?”

  1. innocentbystanderboston says :

    Wow I got hit by a robot! First comment.

  2. Solomon says :

    I liked this post.

    I don’t see anything wrong with it in and of itself. One thing though- The woman should be seeking God in fervent prayer about where she should go. What if she would have stayed, and a few weeks later, the magic guy walks in. She is leaning on her own understanding, not trusting in the Lord and letting Him direct her paths. Sad thing there, though, is that “trusting in the Lord” can be a real wasteland, as my fat ex-wife has discovered. You can trust and pray all you want, but if you are a mean fat bitch, God is not “sending you a godly husband”. She has been waiting and celibate for almost 10 years.

    Anyway, it sounds like she is not seeking God’s wisdom or guidance on the matter, and also not seeking to learn more of God, which is the point of attending a sermon. What this indicates is that she is not a sincere christian who puts God first, rather she is putting herself first. What about her kid? Shouldn’t her church choice criteria factor in how good the place is for her kid(s)?

    The whole thing smacks of predatory practice. Since she is not submitted to God, or seeking God, and since you can tell a tree by its fruit, it seems you could conclude she is a wolf in sheep’s clothing, and is looking for a man to rob and dominate, not a man to serve or submit to or minister to. If she is not submitted to God’s word, nor studying it, its a safe bet that she will not be any sort of submissive or demure wife.

    Your example of “what if it was a guy” is telling. Church dudes deliberately watch for and deflect such dudes. They do not want them there, they know that their intent is to sin. Funny how we might presume the church-hopping guy to be a seducer, while we view the woman doing the same thing as fairly blameless.

    Let me tell you, a woman is just as capable, if not more so, of wreaking destruction and heartbreak and committing sin. I think we should all be vigilant in church of anyone who does not demonstrate an earnest love for God above all else.

    you can tell a tree by its fruit.

    • innocentbystanderboston says :

      I don’t think these situations (people wanting to get married so they “church-hop”) is all that unusual. And yes, we do look at men and women different in this regard. If a man spent a couple/three weeks in a church then told the leaders that he was leaving to find another church because he didn’t find any spouse worthy women there, the church would probably say “GOOD RIDDANCE”

  3. guest says :

    Should Christians use a church congregation SOLELY as a place to meet and marry?

    If they do that, they’re not Christians. However, too many young actual Christian women make the opposite error – don’t use church as a place to meet and marry *AT ALL*. It’s the LAST place they look for a date, when it should be the first.

    And conversely, the woman in your story sounds like a nonbeliever who is just using the church to score a beta-provider. I know this happens because I once encountered a Muslim lady who came to church to try to pawn off her daughter to a good Christian man! (And admitted as much when I questioned her.)

    That said — the act of going from church to church in search of a mate, is not intrinsically wrong. I did it myself, actually. In my early 30s, I was attending a relatively small church which had a lot of excellent qualities, but not one of the single women there had any interest in me.

    One day I went to the pastor — who knew my romantic woes quite well — and told him that I thought it was time for me to start visiting other churches: “Nobody HERE wants me, and where else am I going to find a Christian woman, besides church?”

    So I outlined my plan to, while still being faithful to my home church, start visiting the evening services and singles-ministry groups of pretty much every other church in the area. He agreed completely and gave his blessing.

    This plan was total failure — (i didn’t score a wife til the rise of internet dating a couple of years later) — but, it wasn’t WRONG in a moral sense.

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