hough the average age of marriage in the United States increases by the year — with men 30.5 and women at 28.1, according to the 2020 U.S. Census — one fact remains true: a majority of people want to get married at some point. It goes without saying that dating apps are the matchmakers of modern times, helping connect people based on their location, preferences, and personal interests. But this approach is equal-parts better and harder, depending on which dating site you choose to invest your time and energy in.
So, you’re done messing around and want to find that fairytale kind of love? Then, you’ve got some work ahead of you. Figuring out which serious-dating website or app is best for you is a lot like, well, dating. With so many fishes in the digital universe, how do you catch the one that will result in a dream come true? The key to figuring out which platform will keep you engaged, result in matches and hopefully help you find your way off dating apps, is to be strategic. Each platform utilizes various features — from algorithms to interfaces — that are great for some folks, and not so good for others. Here, how to figure out which of the top dating sites for marriage is right for you:
How to Choose the Best Dating Site For Marriage
Consider if religion is important in your future marriage.
Though eHarmony doesn’t shout it from the rooftops, it’s well known within the industry as the spot for those who value religion. It’s a step down from say, Christian Mingle, but their philosophy and matching is based on values. They also don’t allow homosexual members to join eHarmony, as the site is intended only for the heterosexual community (as an aside, they do have a destination for the LGBTQ, just not on eHarmony). Though non-Jewish folks can join JDate, the idea is that you would be open to converting if it was important to your partner. When you imagine your future family and you picture attending church and other rituals, you should start your spouse search on one of these sites that put religion at the forefront.
Consider how simple — or complex — you want the site to be.
It seems like there are new dating sites and apps popping up weekly, and some are way more complicated than others. Although there are tons of millennial- focused options out there (think: Bumble and Hinge), sometimes classic is best, especially if you’re looking for something serious. There’s a reason why Match has been around for so long — since 1995, to be exact. With a vast user base and a pricing model that forces singles to get serious, Match has resulted in more marriages than any other platform. If you are truly, really, incredibly ready to get hitched, your effort is best spent on this dating site. But a word to the wise: Match doesn’t make it easy and that’s the point. Messages are often long, profiles are meant to be super-robust, and many users say it’s a full-time job to keep up. When you put in the time and you are strategic about your searching, chances are high you will find compatibility.
Consider how involved you want to be in the dating process.
No dating site — especially those for the marriage-minded — are completely hands-off. Every site and app requires work upfront, like filling out a profile, answering multiple choice questions to gauge your personality, and engaging in conversations with potential matches. But once you’re settled in, you may want something a little less involved. Hinge can still give you the serious results you’re looking for in a laid-back way. Here, you don’t pay for the service but you do have to be more thoughtful with your opening one-liner. Hinge forces you to comment on a photo or a profile question response, and it dings you if you aren’t replying. This is a great way to ease into the serious-dating territory, especially if your job is uber-demanding or you often forget to engage online.
This is just the beginning: Datezie’s relationship and dating experts have taken the guesswork out of finding the best dating sites for marriage. Below, find their recommendations, as well as some helpful tips to find success a.k.a. a life partner.
Best Overall Dating Site for the Marriage-Minded: eHarmony
Dr. Thomas shares that of all of the top dating sites for marriage, eHarmony leads the pack. This all comes down to their unique—and time-consuming—method of matching. It’s not as easy as entering your email address at 4 p.m. and going on a date by 7 with eHarmony, rather, they take the process seriously and require their members to put in effort, time and consideration. “eHarmony uses a lengthy, in-depth questionnaire the members fill out which is based on a scientific approach to finding compatible partners,” Dr. Thomas continues. “eHarmony uses the completed questionnaires to find compatible matches based on serious relationship qualities including relationship values, exclusivity, altruism, social values, agreeableness, accommodation, conscientiousness, and religious values.”
Once you provide all of your information, eharmony carefully matches you with other singles. You’ll notice that you may not have a laundry list of matches like other sites, but that just means, you have a smaller, more fitting pool to pick from. In fact, they use science to determine matches: eHarmony was founded by psychologist Dr. Neil Clark, who studied the characteristics that often bring two people together.
If you’re a little rusty — perhaps, you’re dating for the first time after loss or divorce — then opt for the Total Connect membership plan because it offers a guided communication option. With eharmony’s help, you’ll be able to take your conversations beyond “hi” and “how are you” into something more meaningful.
Read our full eHarmony Review
If You’re More Career-Oriented: Elite Singles
Executive Editor and Founder of Cupid’s Pulse, Lori Bizzoco says if you are looking for the real deal, then go to Elite Singles due to their claims that they have the most marriage-minded and educated singles out there. The numbers back it up:According to their public data, over 90% of users are over the age of 30, and 82% have a university degree. “The singles on Elite have spent time on their careers and are now looking to settle down and take the next step in life,” she continues.
When signing up for the dating app, you must answer a 200-question personality test. Although it may be time-consuming, this test alone weeds out any of the skeptics or less serious folks, which means you’re more likely to find someone looking for something more serious.
The “Have you met” feature forces you to look outside of your matching criteria, but it may just lead you to your forever person. It challenges users to budge on certain preferences, whether it’s age, location, or personality traits. It may just open your eyes to something — or someone — you weren’t expecting!
Read our full Elite Singles Review
If You’re Not Quite Sure If You Want Something More Serious: Match.com
If you’re on Team Monogamy, you’ve definitely paid attention to the ads detailing the success and benefits of marriage. Though we can’t exactly back up the claim that 1 in 5 marriages came from Match—there are hundreds of positive reviews that give it merit for those seeking long-term relationships. Dr. Thomas says one of the greatest aspects of Match is its large membership, which gives you better odds for meeting your right person. They also approach dating from various angles: recommending matches, allowing you to save searches, in-person group dating in large metros, and the ability to communicate via voice or text straight through their site.
Your ability to ‘make it’ on Match boils down to your effort level and how smart you are at weeding through the pool to find those who are seriously on the same pages as you are. “If you decide to join Match, make sure you only select or agree to matches who specify they are looking for a serious, long-term relationship leading to marriage or that they are at least open to marriage,” Dr. Thomas adds.
Match keeps the safety of all of its users top of mind. To prove this, they have their very own mobile service that gives out a new phone number to users, so they can call and text their matches.
Read our full Match.com Review
For Millennials Looking for a Serious Relationship: Hinge
For starters, Hinge’s tagline — “Designed to be deleted” — makes it clear that you will find love, possibly marriage, on the app. In an ideal world, you would meet the love of your life through a friend. It might not be as easy as that with the digital realm of love affairs, but Hinge has given a modern upgrade to the matchmaking process, according to relationship expert Susan Trombetti. “It’s almost like your friend connected you which is an old–fashioned way to meet people. It’s very private and your friends on Facebook don’t know you have been connected to their friend unless someone tells them,” she explains. “You get to see the person’s real name, their job, and a little more about them giving you the idea that you aren’t dating so blind.” Generally speaking, Trombetti says members here are relationship-minded, and ready for a partner, not a playmate.
Although it may be annoying to some, Hinge’s “Your Turn” feature will nudge you when you’ve been silent in a conversation for a prolonged period of time. Consider it their way to put an ending to ghosting, once and for all.
Read our full Hinge Review
The Best Dating App for Marriage For All Kinds of Love: OkCupid
It might not be the first place you think to go when looking for the top dating sites for marriage, but it’s the open-minded nature of OkCupid that gives it a spot on this list, according to Dr. Thomas. No matter what kind of person you’re looking for or what orientation you identify with, OkCupid welcomes you, your kink and hopefully, your soon-to-be-partner. You can find hook-ups here, but it’s also a place where true, long-lasting love blooms.
When filling out the survey during the sign-up process, make it known that you’re looking for a serious relationship, eventually leading to marriage. This helps OKCupid match you with other singles looking for the same kind of relationship. “OkCupid offers appealing profiles and uses an algorithm that puts the most viable members to the top so you can easily see who you might be the most compatible with. To put you to the top, updating your profile frequently can get you more noticed and contacted by other members,” she adds.
The questions in the initial survey tackle everything and anything, like if you’re 4/20 friendly or see the glass half-up versus empty.
Read our full OkCupid Review
For Women Who Want to Take Charge of Their Love Life: Bumble
Wanna make the first move, ladies? Or more to the point: Don’t want a stream of weirdos sending you inappropriate pictures on some random app? Then head to Bumble because as Trombetti puts it, the app allows women to take control of their search and alleviate some of the pressure men sometimes feel making the first move.
While there are tons of people on the app looking for hookups or less-committed relationships, you can make it clear that marriage is your goal from the very start. That way, you’ll only match with those interested in the same thing. “There isn’t a lot of investment in creating a profile like some of the online dating sites that shall remain nameless. People are used to swiping at this point, and that’s what you do… swipe,” she continues. “It’s a more upscale version of Tinder.” Consider this the laid-back approach to husband-or-wife shopping.
Take advantage of Profile Badges to show potential matches what matters most to you. For example, add a Voter Badge to show others that exercising your civic duty is very important to you and whoever you end up with.
Made With Single Seniors in Mind: OurTime
You’ve hit 50 and are still single, so what? Download OurTime to find love that lasts. With an estimated one million active 50, 60, an d70-something hopefuls on the dating app, it’s become a great place for people to settle down and get married, even if they’ve experienced loss, divorce, or heartbreak earlier on in life.
It doesn’t have as many bells and whistles as other dating apps because it’s made with seniors in mind. Up your chances at finding a solid match by making a more robust profile with up to 10 photos, opened-ended answers, multiple choice questions, and more. “OurTime allows for its members to specify who they are and the kind of person they are looking for, along with ranking some interests, such as cooking, movies, reading, and live theater,” Dr. Thomas explains. Included in the questionnaire, you’ll answer about how romantic and patient you are, as well as what kind of person you are in a relationship.”If these are all answered honestly, a member can see how compatible he or she may be to another member.”
Use ConnectMe to keep the conversation going offline with a phone call or text messages, all while keeping your phone number completely hidden.
Read our full OurTime Review
Best Marriage Minded Dating App For Jewish Men and Women: JDate
Let’s talk numbers: A 2011 study revealed that JDate is more responsible for Jewish marriage than any other dating site. Even though some singles may prefer to sample everything that’s out there, if your Jewish faith is a priority — albeit, a non-negotiable — in your future marriage, then JDate is the best dating site for you.
Along with covering all the basics, JDate asks you several questions about your religious background, like how often you visit synagogue in present day. Once you’re signed up (it takes 3 minutes tops), you can fill out your profile with as much information as you’d like, including photos of all your best angles and a written introduction.
“Secret Admirer” gives you the option to secretly rate others, voting whether or not you’d want to date them. It will only notify the other person if you both say “yes.”
Read our full JDate Review
How to Find Success on Dating Sites for Marriage
If you’re successful, then you’ll find your soulmate, delete your dating app of choice, and get married. Getting there, however, is the hardest part. That’s why we’ve rounded up the best tips and tricks from the pros.
Be honest about what you want.
Most of the sites on this list are for all types of relationships — occasional hookups, something casual, marriage-minded, and more — so it’s up to you to make sure that anyone you match with knows your intentions. When you’re creating your profile, be open and honest since oftentimes you can’t make any edits after the fact. Then as you engage with your matches, cut straight to the chase.
Answer messages promptly.
Nobody likes to wait, especially when they already feel like they’ve been waiting their whole life to find love. Try your best to promptly respond to the messages that you receive, especially when you’re interested in the person. That way, they won’t lose interest and move on to someone new.
Choose your photos wisely.
Sure, your words may be the way to their heart, but photos help, too. Pick photos that show off your best angles — literally and figuratively. Include as many photos as the dating site lets you, so you can really capture your personality, interests, and good side.