Author archives: JP Duffy

Where can we find eHarmony “Classic”?

by JP Duffy

April 2, 2009

Last November, eHarmony capitulated to the New Jersey Attorney General who demanded that eHarmony cater to homosexuals.  Despite an outcry from eHarmony success couples from across the country, eHarmony followed through this week on its promise to launch a same-sex matching service.

My wife and I met on eHarmony almost three years ago, and we quickly began recommending the service to our single friends who were also drawn to the company’s good reputation.  Last year, I told The Wall Street Journal, eHarmony’s success didn’t come from its slick advertising campaigns.  It was their high moral standards, because they rose above the ‘hook-up’ mentality of their competitors, and because they were openly helping people find marriage partners.  

eHarmony always asks new customers how they “heard” about the service.  At the top of the list is “word of mouth.”  Since the same-sex matching decision was announced, we have heard from a steady stream of other eHarmony couples who are closing their mouths shut.    Without this word-of-mouth campaign, fewer values-driven customers will pay for this service, resulting in a new eHarmony that bears little resemblance to the classic values matching service it once provided. 

It’s disappointing to watch eHarmony take this road because I believe there is a vital need for a values matching service.  With eHarmony getting out of this business, will we see another service step up to fill the void?  I know there are many Christian dating sites. I won’t need to use a values matching service again, but I know single friends who do.  For their sake, I will be looking out for an eHarmony “Classic” to rise again. 

Census: 6.4 Million Cohabitating Couples…

by JP Duffy

July 29, 2008

Census data released on Monday show that cohabitating couples now total 6.4 million - almost 10 percent of all couples, married and unmarried. Also released on Monday, a USA Today/Gallup Poll which finds that 49% of Americans believe that “living together makes divorce less likely” compared to 31% who said living together “makes divorce more likely.”

These disturbing numbers point to broad social acceptance of cohabitation despite studies showing that the mere act of cohabiting before marriage increases a couple’s chance of divorcing by 50 percent

It’s obvious that much work remains to be done to restore the place of marriage in our society. Marriage Savers is one organization that is leading the way to bring down cohabitation rates in many U.S. cities. Mike and Harriet McManus are Co-founders of Marriage Savers and recently published Living Together: Myths, Risks & Answers. Earlier this year, they gave a lecture at FRC to discuss their new book and ways in which the church can help cohabitating couples. I highly recommend watching the webcast of the lecture.

This posted authored by JP Duffy, Media Director for FRC.

Close ties to Planned Parenthood = Common Ground?

by JP Duffy

May 2, 2008

One of the participants in this recent Pew Forum interview is Jennifer Butler - the Executive Director for Faith in Public Life.  You may remember that this group organized the Compassion Forum  early last month.  Faith in Public Life said they would discuss the abortion issue at the forum and issued this statement: “We hope to get to the heart of the issue and why it’s so divisive. We hope to try to pry the door open to potential common ground and ask if the political labels we use when it come to abortion really capture where Americans are on the issue.”

However, in this Pew Forum interview,  Ms. Butler proudly points to her strong connections with Planned Parenthood and her speaking engagement at the “Planned Parenthood prayer breakfast”:

BUTLER: Yeah, well, it is interesting you asked that. I am

speaking at the Planned Parenthood prayer breakfast tomorrow. And

we have worked very closely with some think-tanks in

town with Third Way and with Center for American Progress. Many of these groups

are also very interested in connecting more strongly with faith communities. And

I’d say there has been a resurgence in their interest, an intensification since

2004. So I think it is extremely important to build those bridges there…

…There has been some recent progress in that arena because it has

been a point of tension. I mentioned earlier our work with Third Way. And they

worked with leading evangelicals and progressives to outline a strategy for

approaching the abortion issue which, interestingly enough, did not involve

compromise. And they were very clear that they didn’t want a

watered-down solution to the problem, nor did they want

people having to compromise on their ideals…

Butler should explain how working “closely” with Planned Parenthood helps achieve

common ground” to solve the “problem” of abortion.

eHarmony apologizes for “Navigating the One Night Stand”

by JP Duffy

April 22, 2008

Last week in its e-newsletter, eHarmony published an article promoting high-risk promiscuous behavior and “one night stands.” Over the weekend, my wife and I wrote an op-ed published by Worldnetdaily.com responding to “Navigating the One Night Stand.” We have received many supportive emails from other eHarmony couples hoping that eHarmony would issue an apology.

Last night, eHarmony released a statement retracting the article and apologizing to its readers. We fully accept the apology and are greatly encouraged that the statement calls the article “completely inconsistent” with the relationship service that they offer to their members.

After posting the Worldnetdaily.com op-ed, I did more research on Dr. Neil Clark Warren, founder of eHarmony. I found that he has made past statements opposing sex outside of marriage. An article from the May 18, 2005 edition of USA Today noted Dr. Warren’s opposition to premarital sex because it “clouds decisions” in dating relationships. I believe that eHarmony can continue to expand its market and maintain its brand name reputation by holding firm to the values that have made it so successful.

eHarmony’s members would further benefit by a conversation about why this behavior is “inconsistent” with the company’s mission statement. For example, Dr. Warren could explain his opposition to sex outside of marriage and engage in a dialogue with his readers about the dangers associated with pre-marital sex and cohabitation. Cohabitation has been a stealth killer of marriage on two levels. Cohabitation is a cancer at the front end by diverting tens of millions of people from getting married at all. There were 21 million never married Americans in 1970 but three times as many in 2006. Those who cohabit are 50% more likely to divorce than those who never live together. The “Navigating the One Night Stand” article encourages this pattern. However, thorough marriage preparation with an inventory test and mentorship by an older couple can provide an amazing 97% track record of success. Mike and Harriet McManus are a couple leading the way to reverse these troubling statistics. Mike and Harriet are founders of Marriage Savers and authors of the new book Living Together: Myths, Risks, and Answers. They would make excellent contributors to the eHarmony advice website.

Some of eHarmony’s readers may not agree with Dr. Warren’s stance on premarital sex - but I think they would appreciate and respect eHarmony for remaining grounded in its determination to fulfill its mission to “help couples achieve stronger, healthier and happier marriages.” Premarital sex does exactly the opposite by undermining - and yes - “clouding decisions.” Promoting the healthiest and most beneficial outcome which is abstinence until marriage would help eHarmony make great strides toward achieving the goals of their mission statement.

However, most importantly, I thank eHarmony for recognizing its mistake and making it clear that they wish to remain in the values-matching service business.

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