Private, religious universities are some of the best colleges for finding a spouse, according to a recent study by Facebook data scientists in their “From Classmates to Soulmates” study.
Facebook’s data science team researchers Sofus Macskassy and Lada Adamic analyzed users over the age of 25, and found that 28 percent of couples had attended the same college. From this, they calculated the top universities married couples had in common.
The top 25 schools for men to meet their wives were all private, Christian universities. For the women, 16 of the top 25 schools were Christian colleges. These two lists had 12 schools in common, all of which were Christian.
Although PLNU did not appear in the study, Olivet Nazarene University and Northwest Nazarene University ranked 15 and 24 respectively.
Psychology professor and department chair John T. Wu teaches PLNU’s Intimate Couples Marriage Course. Coming from UCSD, he was surprised to see so many married couples when he first started teaching here.
A possible explanation for the phenomenon is that many students on secular campuses live together at the same age as some Christian students get married, Wu said. The study’s results could be an indicator of Christian students’ values and a desire to honor God in marriage.
“The big question is how successful these marriages are. I think there’s a general assumption that couples who marry as undergraduates won’t be successful, but that’s not necessarily true,” Wu said.
The divorce rate among PLNU alumni is 16 percent, according to a research project by Wu and fellow psychology professor Kendra L. Oakes Mueller.
“I’m not advocating for early marriage, but people who marry young aren’t necessarily domed, like people may think they are,” Wu said.
AJ Wolf, associated student body president, said that while it can be a beautiful thing for younger couples to pursue Christ together in marriage, there is also a danger in church culture becoming too wrapped up in the need to find a spouse.
“In the Bible, Paul talks a lot about singleness and the sacrifice that comes with marriage in being able to serve the Lord,” Wolf said. “I wonder if the Christian story, as it should be told rightly, has been hijacked by the American story of the nuclear family.”
Vice President for Spiritual Development Mary Paul also emphasized the need to see the Christian life as more than marriage and family.
“Staff and faculty work hard to make people see bigger than that,” Paul said. “There are bigger dreams in life than just getting married. Putting marriage off can give you time to dream and grow in yourself.”