‘The Bachelor’: Does Matt James’ Wife Have to Be Christian?

Last night, Matt James made history as the first Black male lead on The Bachelor. Though the night was historic, there typically isn’t much variation in night one, no matter which season of The Bachelor it is. But this year, James did shake things up by opening the cocktail party with a pretty lengthy prayer. Most of the Bachelors have been at least vaguely Christian, but James was one of the first to pray so publicly and intently. Will this be an issue if he falls in love with a woman who isn’t Christian?

Matt James
Matt James | Craig Sjodin via Getty Images

Matt James’ opening prayer

Most of the men open up the cocktail party on night one speaking of how excited they are to find love and how they, in particular, are ready for love now more than ever.

James, on the other hand, led with prayer.

“I’ve had so long to think about what I’m going to say to you all, and I’m going to take a different approach,” he said.

“Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for bringing us all together healthy. Give these women the courage to get through these next few months,” he continued with his eyes closed. “You say that you work all things for the good of those who love you and are called according to your purpose, Father God. And I feel like that’s why I’m here and I feel like that’s why these women are here, Lord.”

His prayer moved some of the women to the verge of tears and confirmed in some of their hearts that something could really happen between them and James.

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Why did Matt open with prayer?

James could have chosen to open with a prayer for a number of different reasons, one being that it makes his religious affiliations pretty clear from the beginning. But he recently revealed that he just did it to calm his own nerves.

“First and foremost, I was extremely nervous,” he said in an interview with Entertainment Tonight. “I was shaking walking up there. I wanted Chris to walk me inside and he left me. So, I’m just walking in there and whenever I’m feeling that type of way or anxious I’m just like, ‘Man, let me pray about this.’ And that’s what I did.

“It put me at ease, and I’m hoping that the women saw that,” he continued. “I just wanted them to see where I go to in my times of anguish and when I’m stressed out, so that’s what that was.” 

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Does Matt James’ wife have to be Christian?

Religious differences can cause huge problems for relationships. Last season of The Bachelorette, Tayshia Adams sent finalist Ivan Hall home after they had a conversation about religion. But James is apparently open to dating someone of a different religion.

“My views are my own and I would never force that on somebody, especially with those views being different within my family,” he said. “My brother and I have completely different religious beliefs, and I don’t love him any less. I would never want that to be something that kept me from being with somebody.”