Valentine's Day may be a day of romance and love for those who are happily married or in a relationship, but the holiday serves another important purpose as well -- it's a wake-up call to singles.
Luckily, the Internet can help all the lonely hearts around this time of year. This multifaith guide to Internet dating offers the best of religion-based matchmaking sites, whether you're looking for your orthodox Jewish bashert (intended), your perfect Muslim marriage partner, or a Catholic who thinks just like you do about the Eucharist.
Choose your religion to see who's out there for you, or browse through all the categories:
These dating sites are not geared toward members of a specific religion, but they do include religion among members' search criteria.
American Singles, a division of Matchnet.com, boasts more than 1.3 million members. The site offers extensive search criteria, including religion and ethnicity.
For: All (American) singles. Matchnet also owns other sites geared to users in Australia and Europe.
Success stories: Many engagements and marriages.
Fees: Free registration and three complimentary tokens, which allow users to contact up to three members. Membership starts at $19.95 a month.
Goal: Relationships and marriage.
Special feature: American Singles has cornered the market on religious-singles web domain names. It hosts a slew of religious-based singles sites, including Amishsingles.com, Russianorthodoxsingles.com, and Zoroastriansingles.com. The catch: All the profiles are part of the same American Singles database. When visiting Amishsingles.com, make sure your match is really Amish.
eHarmony is a matching service based on the relationship principles of Neil Clark Warren. The site asks more thought-provoking questions than is typical of singles sites. Users must fill out a long, detailed profile, rating themselves on many different personality traits.
For: All singles.
Fees: Filling out the questionnaire is free, but membership is necessary in order to actually communicate with another member. Membership starts at $49.95 a month.
Goal: Long-term relationships and marriage.
Special feature: eHarmony's guided communication feature is designed to "reduce the intimidation" of getting to know a new person. eHarmony doesn't just let its users communicate with one another as they please--they suggest a controlled set of questions, which get increasingly more involved as users get to know each other better.
Kiss.com is one of the oldest Internet dating sites. It was founded in 1994 and now claims more than 1.5 million registered members.
For: All singles.
Fees: Registration is free. Membership begins at $19.95 a month.
Success stories: Many relationships and marriages.
Goal: Dating and romance.
Special feature: Claims the largest number of member photos of any personals site.
For: All singles. Matchmaker has individual systems for some religions, including Catholic, Jewish, and LDS, as well as for other communities, such as "Nudist" and "Swingers and Couples."
Fees: Free two-week trial. Membership starts at $24.95 a month.
Goal: Anything from friendship to marriage.Success stories: The site boasts several relationships and marriages in its "Success Stories" section.
Special feature: The questionnaire, at least for the religion-based systems, allows users to explain the role of religion in their life, in great detail. Matchmaker also features a "matching percentage" so members can know just how compatible they are with other users.