SINGLE Christian women may have to choose between marrying a
partner who does not share their beliefs and staying single, a new
survey suggests. It found that churches contained large numbers of
middle-class single women, but few single men.
The research concluded that Christian women had to face up to
the possibility that they would go through life without finding a
partner who shared their Christian beliefs.
The survey of more than 7200 adults was carried out by YouGov.
It found that half a million more women than men were regular
churchgoers, and that these single women were very largely middle
While just eight per cent of single people in Britain regularly
attend a place of worship, single women from the socio-economic
group ABC1 make up the greatest proportion. More than one fifth of
these single women attend at least once a year, compared with 13
per cent of single middle-class men.
In contrast, married couples are significantly more likely to
attend church than those in different relationships or none. Three
in five of those who regularly attend places of worship are
married, although in society less than half the population are
Dr David Pullinger, the co-founder of singlechristians.co.uk, a
new website to support single people in the Church, which co-funded
the research with the charity Christian Vision for Men, said:
"We've known it, anecdotally, for a long time, but this new survey
proves it at last.
"Traditionally, churches have been very successful supporting
marriage, but this data shows married couples are already
over-represented in churches. What about single people? What about
those of other marital status? Thousands of Christian women in
particular must choose between marrying somebody who doesn't share
their beliefs, or staying single. They deserve far greater
Dr Pullinger called on churches to work harder to understand the
challenges of those experiencing a single life, and to help people
form relationships: "There will be single women who cry inside for
the families they never had, because they waited in vain to find a
man sharing the same faith as themselves.
"Churches will need to do two things: first is to understand the
pain of those in this situation, and help them with sensitivity and
warmth to find their life story within the Christian adventure. The
second is to actually do something about the absence of men. Many
men say they believe in God, and are practising Christians, but
don't come to church. Many men no longer come when around 25 years
of age. Others who sit in churches for 15 years no longer go when
children leave their household."
Another survey, released intime for St Valentine's Day by the
Christian dating-service FriendsFirst, found that church leaders
would encourage single people in their church to use a dating
agency as the best way to find a potential spouse. The poll of 100
church leaders, representing 10,000 worshippers, also showed that
relationships with a non-Christian were the main reason (45 per
cent) for single Christians' ceasing to attend church.