Christian Marriage: Possible for men but not women

Christian Marriage: Possible for men but not women

Engage Network looks at the gender imbalance in the church and whether Christian marriage is a possibility.

christian marriage
Source: Canva

The problem   

There’s an overall gender imbalance in UK church congregations of two men to three women. The majority of the UK church has double the number of single women to single men[1]. But how is this hugely affecting Christian singleness, marriage and family?

The consequences

1. For men

There’s a key need for the church to reach and disciple more men effectively, primarily for their own sake, but also for the health of the whole church and wider society.

2. For women

Up to two million Christian women face a decision – marry a non-Christian man, or remain single and childless. Many are finding that they’re sacrificing their marriage and children because of their faith.

3. For children and young people

If current trends continue, only about 16% of today’s church’s grandchildren will have two Christian parents. 

4. For singleness

A third of adults in church are single, many report that they feel isolated in churches that are overly family-focused, and most want to marry another Christian[2].

5. For dating and relationships

There are often unhealthy psycho-social dynamics between single men and women, with a power balance in men’s favour due to the significant over-supply of women in the dating market.[3] More than half (54%) of single Christian adults said that they haven’t dated for at least a year, or, it is many years since they last went on a date.[4]

6. For marriage

Research by Evangelical Alliance found that more women than men were married to a non-Christian. More than 90% of Christian couples expressed happiness with their marriage; 66% of those in a mixed marriage did so.[5]

7. For parenting 

‘Spiritual fatherlessness’ is increasing, both within families, and within the Christian community. 

The solutions

The Engage Network is a group of leading Christian organisations, including Christian Vision for Men, Care for the Family, British Youth for Christ, Marriage Foundation, Single Friendly Church and The World Prayer Centre. 

The shared vision is “to make singleness or marriage a genuine choice for all Christian women and men, through a church which gender balanced and teaches about healthy Christian singleness, dating and marriage.” 

Engage is a national network of Christian organisations with expertise in different areas around relationships (see Partnership Organisations). We’re facilitating collaborative work to look at the big picture of how these areas affect each other, and implement solutions to address the issues raised. 

[1] The Engage Network (2018), YouGov (2014), Pullinger (2014), UK Church Statistics 2021

[2] Pullinger, D.J. (2014). Singleness in the UK Church.

[3] Pullinger, D.J. (2014). Singleness in the UK Church.

[4] Pullinger, D.J. (2014). Singleness in the UK Church.

[5] Evangelical Alliance (2012). How’s the family?

More to explore

Europe Prays Together

This is an urgent call to join an important prayer initiative starting Thursday, March 10. It was initiated by our friend Johannes

Natasha Ruddock

Natasha Ruddock

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