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What Christians Really Think About the Church’s Relationship Advice

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New survey research sheds light on how believers navigate the stickier matters of dating and marriage.

Over the years, Christians have produced and read far more books on how relationships and singleness should work than on how these things actually do pan out. Vicky Walker’s new book Relatable: Exploring God, Love, & Connection in the Age of Choice, based on a survey of more than 1,400 people, aims to change that.

Walker writes from a more-or-less Protestant British perspective, but American Christians will find much they recognize. Over the course of 12 chapters and several appendices, Relatable covers everything from the history of marriage to typical teachings on gender roles to, of course, sex. But she also gets into stickier matters like the role of technology and the church’s significant sex-ratio gap—the latter a topic that raises questions of dating outside the faith.

Throughout the book, she leavens this often-difficult discussion with a welcome dose of humor. It’s not quite Monty Python, but Walker brings an almost C. S.-Lewisian appreciation of the comedy of our romantic foibles.

Framing Sex and Relationships

Much of the book reports the results of Walker’s survey, which encompassed a sizeable but somewhat homogenous group. Women vastly outnumbered men (71 percent to 26 percent; some didn’t answer this question) and less than 2 percent identified as Catholic, apparently none as Orthodox. Of the 900 who specified their ethnicity, 90 percent identified as white. The last number may partly reflect British population demographics, as well as a tendency toward segregated worship that extends into other social networks.

For those interested in further reading, Valerie Y. Bernard-Allan’s 2016 PhD thesis, “It Is Not Good to Be Alone; Singleness and the Black Seventh-day Adventist …

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Source: Christianity Today Magazine

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