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How meeting your future spouse in a worship service can lead to a successful relationship
Having trouble finding a date? Try a worship service targeted at young adults by your local church. - photo by Kelsey Dallas
What is a concerned dad to do when his 26-year-old, Christian daughter remains single? A church elder in Wheaton, Illinois, chose to place a want ad in Christianity Today, urging potential suitors to email him their qualifications.

Christianity Today apologized for the ad soon after it was published, noting that readers had rightly criticized the publication for poor taste. But the 'job posting' illustrates a popular conception of faith communities: they're a great place to meet your future spouse.

Churches sometimes capitalize on this belief by creating special worship services or events for faithful singles. For example, St. Monica Catholic Community in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles hosts a service for young adults on Sunday evenings, nurturing an environment in which people can reconnect with a faith community and meet interesting people, as the Center for Religion and Civic Culture reported.

"Am I shocked that (by) throwing myself in with a group of like-minded people, I found somebody I fell in love with? No, that's not surprising," said one attendee.

The number of couples who meet in church has fallen over the last 15 years, due, in part, to the rise of online dating, The Washington Post reported this week. But relationship experts say churches still have a role to play in sparking and sustaining strong relationships.

"Religious leaders have a huge opportunity to set up places where young people can meet each other and learn to know each other in healthy and supportive ways," said Stephanie Coontz, a professor of history and family studies at Evergreen State College to Deseret News National last year.

Research has shown that couples who share the same faith and religious practices are happier than other pairs, because activities like Bible study build trust and intimacy, The Washington Post reported in 2010. Additionally, joint prayer can reduce relationship conflict, especially when partners commit to praying in good times and in bad, according to a February story in the Deseret News.

Although Americans are less religious now than in previous decades, nearly half of U.S. adult respondents to a 2014 Pew Research Center survey on marriage said that sharing moral and religious beliefs with their partner is very important to them.

Forty-eight percent of U.S. adults wanted their partner to share their beliefs, making it the third most popular relationship goal in the survey, after similar ideas on child-rearing (73 percent) and holding steady jobs (63 percent,) Pew reported.
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