According to a recent study, most Millenial and Gen Z Christians say they would only date and then marry someone who was also a Christian.
The study, conducted by Telios, a non-profit organization focused on highlighting the “truth of the Bible through scientific research,” focused on the beliefs of Christians regarding the “biblical 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),” Teleios wrote. “They also view a romantic relationship with an unbeliever as unfulfilling and do not recommend it to others.”
The study surveyed a total of 1,818 respondents, most of whom were 35 or younger (93 percent), unmarried (91 percent), female (75 percent), evangelical Christians (83 percent) from the United States (51 percent) and Europe (15 percent).
When asked their feelings on the biblical purpose of marriage, a majority (69 percent) said that the purpose of marriage is to represent the picture of Christ and the church that is illustrated in the Bible.
Another 42 percent said that that marriage is meant to be between a man and a woman, while 14 percent said its purpose is to produce children and to continue to populate the world.
Millennials and Gen Z on dating unbelievers
Dr. William C. Stewart, the co-founder of Teleios, pointed out that dating and marriage between Christians and unbelievers does not fulfill the biblical picture of marriage:
“The love, devotion and deference between a believing husband and wife reflects the loving relationship between Christ and His church. The primary goal of Christian marriage is to attract unbelievers to the gospel. This is not possible by dating or marrying an unbeliever. Such relationships result in a negative, or at a minimum an unfulfilling, outcome. Christians should marry Christians.”
The study further revealed that a majority (74 percent) of those surveyed agreed with Stewart’s sentiments, saying that marrying an unbeliever would go against God’s will for marriage.
Another 35 percent said that if one partner did not actively practice their faith, then the marriage would be unequally yoked, failing to demonstrate the biblical picture of marriage.
While a majority of participants reported that marriage should take place between people of the same beliefs, 30 percent said it is “possible for a marriage to an unbeliever to fulfill God’s will and that the more mature Christian partner could influence the unbelieving partner.”
Among the participants, half said they had never dated an unbeliever, while half said they don’t believe Christians and unbelievers should be romantically involved.
The study also asked the respondents who had dated non-Christians about the experience they had, to which 66 percent said it was “somewhat to very negative.”
“Further, 25 percent indicated their own faith became worse in a romantic relationship with an unbeliever,” the report noted. “In contrast, 40 percent of participants claimed their partner’s faith did not improve during the relationship, while only 5 percent stated that their companion became a Christian by faith in Christ.”