Have you found your perfect match? No? Perhaps you are hoping that God will provide that mate at your church’s singles group or at a Christian dating Internet site such as ChristianMingle.com. If that’s the case, don’t let the Christian part of the “mingle” fool you. While God might use a dating site to provide that mate, Satan might use it to provide a nut case.
Online dating made its debut in 1995, when web sites such as Friendfinder.com and Match.com, the very first online dating avenues, became the pioneer of more than 1000 web sites available online at present. It seems such a short time ago, and now online dating is an everyday phrase.
Online dating has become more credible as a way of building relationships since there are now more security measures and match finding features in most web sites. They now contain more information than what the original dating web sites had to begin with. And they have actually gained the niche in making connections all over the world and in different languages.
But for all its popularity, much has been debated whether Christians should use online dating to find a mate or not. Some Christians feel that God is the best matchmaker there is and have found their perfect match made in heaven offline. They believe that if you “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, than all these things shall be added unto you,” [including a mate]. Other Christians have found their mates online and are now celebrating 12 to 15 years of marriage. Singles, on the other hand, are still debating the pros and cons.
A young Palm Beach County woman noted the following benefit with online dating. There can be “less awkwardness in conversations because you can think about what you’re going to say when you’re emailing them with less pressure,” she said.
Unfortunately, “you don’t know for sure to whom you’re talking,” she added. “And you don’t have the benefits of face to face communication either.”
How they work
For Christians considering using online dating sites, perhaps the focus should not be on the pros or cons, which may weigh someone’s decision to join or not the droves of “Johnnys seeking Susans” online, but rather on the validity and effectiveness of these sites.
Typically, when you join one of these online dating sites, you are asked to create a profile. The complete questionnaire may be as extensive as you want it to be. For all your troubles, you hope you will find a match, and this can go on for months. Meanwhile, the online dating site is charging you a monthly membership fee, anywhere from $9.99 to $29.99. They match you with other profilers, and with any luck you will begin to receive emails from people in your local area. More often than not, though, you will receive emails from people hundreds and thousands of miles away from you, asking you in their first email to you to contact them at their own personal email address on yahoo, hotmail or gmail.
Local or not, many people you find on these online dating sites are either still married or are looking for no strings attached sex. You would think that you’d find higher quality or godly people on a Christian online dating site, but that’s not always the case.
A few rules
Any online dating site, Christian or not, can be dangerous. The number one advice is to follow common-sense rules:
1.Don’t give out personal information like your first name and last name, phone number, home address, school, place of work, etc.
2.When you ultimately meet, always do it in a public place.
3.Never leave together, but find a way to leave in separate cars.
Always remember that people who go on Christian dating sites can pose as a Christian and lie about who they truly are. Not that offline dating is any safer or without complications, as some people who have gone on blind dates can attest to that.
“My friends set me up on a few blind dates and they were horrible,” said Cristian Garcia, from Hollywood, who after a few emotional “crashes and burns,” is now happily married to a nice Christian woman. And no, they did not meet online.
“Interestingly enough, I met my wife at church and I am so glad I did. I honestly knew right away that she was the one God had for me.”
Dating in the Bible?
The Bible doesn’t tell us how to “date.” In Bible times, dating didn’t exist in the same form that we see it today. Back then, families helped young women and men meet and become engaged and often chose their children’s mates for them. Today, singles are more on their own to find a mate. Some singles don’t bother to look for a spouse, believing God will bring the person to them, while others are forever on a feverish search, fearing they may miss him or her.
God gives us free will to choose our mate. And while he does not make the decision for us, he does give us wisdom, if we ask for it. He has a plan for everyone. And so, when God wants us to meet someone at the right time, it’ll happen. Offline or online, the fact is: God is bigger than any dating website.