Is Dot.Com Dating the Right Match for You?
Is it just me, or are online dating sites for Christians everywhere these days? And it’s not just eHarmony and Match.com – there’s ChristianSingles.com, SingleChristian.com, and most recently, ChristianMingle.com. Maybe you’ve heard their commercials: Sometimes we wait for God to make the next move, when God is saying, “It’s Your time to act – the next move is yours!” Find God’s Match for you at ChristianMingle.com!
Am I really still single because God is waiting on me to make the next move? And is that next move really online dating? In my need to discover the truth, this single female Christian checked out the Dot.Com Dating scene. That’s right, in a moment of bold investigative journalism, I signed up on a Christian dating site. And between you and me, the process was – shall we say – less than substantive. Aside from asking me what kind of church I attend or how often I pray, this soul-mate service wanted to know my height, eye color, hair color, and body type (options included “washboard,” “average” and “I should maybe lose a few.”) Not exactly the focus on inner-beauty I was hoping to find. Another site asked me to declare who was first in my life. My choices were work, family, myself, or Jesus. (What narcissist would I have been matched up with had I answered, “myself?” Would we end up fighting over the mirror?) Besides a few religiously based queries, I may as well have been signing up on any other dating site.
If you’re into the online dating scene, please know I’m not here to bash. I completely understand the reasoning. You’re frustrated by the lack of options. You’re fed up with waiting for something to change. And you’re fearful at the prospect of yet another Valentine’s season being jokingly, but oh so painfully, known as Single’s Awareness Day. What if happiness or love – or even hope – really is just a few preliminary questions and a click away? But I have to wonder:
Is Dot.Com Dating really the Best Match for You?
Dating vs. Direction
After perusing a few Christian dating sites I couldn’t help but notice that they all had one simple thing in common: everyone who signed up was actively pursuing a relationship. On some level, Dot.Com Dating involves taking matters into your own hands and changing the playing field. While God hasn’t given us a manual for dating, He does have a lot to say about our direction and desires. Psalm 138:8 promises that the Lord will fulfill His purpose for us, and Ephesians 1:11 says that He works everything according to the counsel of His will. If God ordains our days and directs our steps (Ps. 139:16, Prov. 16:9), then won’t He direct our steps when it comes to meeting Mr. Right?
Here’s another question: Does the nature of online dating set you up for a relationship wreck? Think about it – You’re looking for a real man, right? Well, real men initiate, pursue, and lead. It’s in their DNA (Gen 2:18-25, Eph. 5:22-33) Does online dating create a pattern where you take the initiating role – a pattern that, in a relationship, you’ll want him to fulfill? Like my newly engaged friend Susan, who is more than familiar with the frustration of singleness, shared: “If marriage is a representation of how Christ loves the church, then we should be passionately pursued by one man who comes after us, who sacrifices, who puts himself out there (in person) from the very beginning…not from behind a computer screen.” Is there anything inherently wrong with dating sites? Not necessarily. But I think the real question is:
Does Dot.Com Dating detract from trusting the Lord to direct your steps?
Pursuing Love vs. Pursuing Purpose
If you’re considering the Dot.Com Dating scene, chances are you’re frustrated with your surroundings. Unless something changes, you’re headed for more of the same. But before you start working through eHarmony’s 29 Dimensions of Compatibility, is it possible that God has something even bigger in store for your singleness than you’ve imagined? We tend to skip over the significance of Paul’s words to women about their singleness: It’s a gift! Use it for as long as you have it! (1 Cor. 7:34)
What would you dare to do for God if you were confident that He’d fulfill the desires of your heart? What great idea or big dream has He given you that you’re putting off out of the fear of venturing into them alone, prolonging the time before your married, or being so wrapped up in snagging a man that you’re too miserable to do anything of value for Christ? It could be spending the summer on mission in another country, going back to school, serving in your church or community, or starting a mentoring ministry. What if it’s that very thing that God uses to fulfill your purpose?
Leslie Ludy said it this way: “It’s true that you might find a decent partner by reading books on how to get noticed or by joining an Internet dating service. But what amazing heaven-scripted beauty we forgo when we try to write the story ourselves. When we rush ahead of God in search of a love story, we end up with less than God’s very best. The most God-honoring way to find a godly spouse is to stop hunting for one, and instead focus your entire life around Jesus Christ and his priorities.” Does Dot.Com Dating stir up a desire for what God hasn’t brought into your life? What starts out as dipping your toe into a new possibility can quickly have you wading in the stagnant pool of discontentment.
Pursue Jesus from right where you are. It may be the beginning of a greater story than any Dot.Com Dating site could ever write!
Our Story vs. God’s Story
Scripture has some beautiful stories of how God brought women to their husbands. Rebekah was singled out because of her character. Rachel’s husband was so in love that he worked 14 years to have her as his wife. And who could forget Ruth, who was led by the Lord to the exact location where her future husband would find her? But these stories all have something very significant in common: their marriages were about a bigger story than their own. Each of these women’s love stories moved God’s plan of redemption forward. They were part of the most intricate story of the most intimate love! Isn’t it interesting that when Scripture highlights how a woman met her husband, it’s to show how her story fit into His story? I’m not saying that our feelings and happiness are low on God’s list of concerns – He cares about our hearts more than we can comprehend! But He also knows us better than we know ourselves (something that I’m personally thankful for!). And He knows that the best love stories aren’t about the two people in a marriage, but the God who brings two people to marriage for a bigger purpose (Eph. 5:22-33).
And that, Ladies, is a kind of glory that no Dot.Com Dating algorithm can ever come close to achieving!
Does God work through dating sites? Sometimes…God can do anything. But here’s where He does His best work: through a woman who is so completely surrendered to Him that she’s waiting on Him to do something so good that only He could orchestrate it…Always!
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a Dot.Com Dating profile to delete!
Katie McCoy is the editor of BiblicalWoman.com and is pursuing a PhD in Systematic Theology at Southwestern Seminary. When she’s not reading for her classes (a rare occasion!), she loves hanging out with friends, eating sushi, learning new words and shopping with her mom. Connect with Katie on Facebook or Follow her Twitter!