Even though online dating was invented many moons ago, there is still controversy in the Church about whether or not Christians should engage in it. Though I’m quite certain of my answer, I am very open to other views on the subject. So, if you have some thoughts on what I’m about to say, or disagreements, feel free to comment below!
Is Online Dating Biblical?
Since the internet came along a few thousand years after the Bible was completed, it is no surprise that Scripture does not speak to this subject specifically. However, in my opinion, online dating – just like any other kind of dating – is Biblical, if it is handled in a God-honoring way.
Meeting someone through the internet is just another way of meeting someone. Though I think wisdom is extremely important here (i.e., only go to trustworthy sites), beginning a relationship online can take some of the awkwardness and drama out of getting to know someone. When you go through dating sites, you can see information about the other person from the get go. Plus, some sites send you profiles of people who match you in several ways. This is nice so you don’t have to go on several dates before knowing if you have anything in common. Don’t you like the idea of knowing a good bit about a person before ever officially meeting him or her?
Isn’t Online Dating Rushing the Process?
The answer to this depends heavily on the attitude of the individual. If Kevin goes through a Christian online dating site to meet women because he is too busy to mess with traditional dating, then he is likely to be disappointed. Online dating sites are a way to meet people; so, once you have met someone, you still have to give him or her the same attention and regard you would a man or woman you met in person.
If you choose to use online dating sites as another way of meeting people, that is fine. But, if you are trying to push through the dating/courting process quickly because you “just need a spouse and fast,” you need to step back and reevaluate your priorities and expectations.
Can Everyone Benefit from Online Dating?
In a word… no. Online dating is not meant for everyone. A dear friend of mine has attempted to join a dating site twice, but both times she felt the Holy Spirit telling her to stop. For whatever reason, God has other plans for her. She may meet her husband overseas? He may have something else for her to do before she gets married. On the other side of the coin, a dear friend of Eric’s met his wife on Christian Café and they have a terrific marriage and four beautiful girls.
Online dating sites are not for everyone and, as Christians, we need to rely on the leading of the Holy Spirit. If you’re considering this, pray about joining a dating site. Pray for Him to lead you to the right site(s). Ask Him to make it clear to you whether you should join, or wait. Don’t act too quickly. Show patience. I recently heard someone say that God wants to lead His people more than they want to be led. I loved hearing that because so often we think God is holding back His guidance from us. But, in reality, it could be that we have so many distractions in the way (e.g., idols, sin in our hearts, outside activities, etc.) that they drown out His still small voice.
What Online Dating Sites Are Not…
- They are not “dating help” for losers.
- They are not places for introverts to flirt with other introverts (i.e., they should not be used to avoid real emotional connections).
- They are not mystical matchmaking services that guarantee your happiness. (If they guarantee you will find the love of your life, they are lying to you.)
What Online Dating Sites Are…
- Places where people can meet other like-minded people.
- Places where people can learn a lot about each other before taking the next step.
- Places where people who are new to an area can reach out and connect with other locals.
What Happens After We “Meet” Online?
After finding someone(s) online you would like to meet, you should take the next step and meet him or her in person. If you live in the same area, meet in a public place. If not, consider talking on the phone, texting, or Facebooking for starters. It is important to remember that if you start a relationship online, you should not keep it online. It may be fun for a time, but it is not fair to keep someone’s heart hanging in the balance. If you are not local to each other, it is important to Skype or Google Hangout so you can see the other person and interact as if you were face-to-face. If you are not ready for a serious relationship, stay away from dating sites. The dating site acts as the “place” to meet someone, but the rest of the relationship follows the same pattern as traditional dating.
So, there you have it. I don’t believe online dating is completely Biblical or unbiblical in and of itself, but all men and women who consider it need to be sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit as to whether or not it is the right move for them. A couple at our church met online, and they are happily married. As time marches on, I think we will meet more and more people who met their spouse over the internet.
This may fly in the face of some people’s theology, or at least what they have been taught along the way, but it’s helpful to understand that there is more than one suitable mate for each person. And furthermore, there are better matches and worse matches. When we go into the dating process expecting to find that one person God created especially for us, it adds considerable anxiety to our plates – and not only that – when some people discover that they married the “wrong” person, they feel as though they should abandon ship and find the “right” one (who may already be married to someone else). This way of thinking can cause considerable damage to many relationships. (And if one person marries the “wrong” person early in the chain, that really does mess it up for the rest of humanity, doesn’t it? “The one” type thinking is destructive.)
However, once you find that suitable mate and commit to him or her for the rest of your life, then he or she becomes the one for you.
And if you didn’t know, Eric and I do all of our pre-engagement counseling and premarital counseling via internet webcam (from couples who live in our city to couples around the world). So, if you are in an online dating relationship and want to go through a quality pre-engagement and/or premarital counseling program, we’d be happy to serve you!
Do I Dare?
So, if you feel at peace about trying a dating site, step out and try it. You may meet someone there, or you may meet your life mate at your local grocery store. Only God knows for sure. ~smile~
“In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” (Proverbs 3:6, ESV)
A few years ago, Eric put up a couple of links with Christian dating site reviews, and you can find them here. The two links probably contradict each other in some areas, but pay attention to the facts each reviewer found and decide for yourself which ones you will try and which ones you will avoid.
What are your thoughts and beliefs about online dating?