FAQ: Should Christians Use Online Dating?
Question: “Should Christians use online dating?”
Among the things not specifically addressed in the Bible (mainly because it was written thousands of years ago) is the intriguing world of online dating. This brings us to a few questions: Should Christians use online dating? Does dating online mean I’m not “trusting God”? How do you navigate online dating?
Because it’s not specifically mentioned in the Bible, online dating, much like in-person dating, is something left for us to navigate within our relationship with God. To start to figure it out, you can ask yourself some good questions:
Am I ready to date? Am I ready to leave people better off than I found them, regardless of the outcome of our relationship?
Why do I want to use online dating?
What is the Holy Spirit saying about me using online dating?
I went through a period of time a while back where I was not meeting a lot of new people, specifically young men my age, and I felt powerless in my dating life. I felt like I was doing a lot of waiting around and nothing was happening. I was challenged by some of the ideas and thoughts I read in a book by Dr. Henry Cloud called, How to Get a Date Worth Keeping.
In this book, Dr. Cloud talks about how many Christians feel like they need to wait around for God to bring them the perfect person, while they’re not necessarily doing anything to meet new people. He suggests a few things to “change traffic patterns” and start meeting more people to potentially date, and online dating was on the list. I had never tried it before, but whatever I was doing wasn’t working, so I was happy to try something else.
I tried a couple different dating apps and websites, and for me, it was a great way to meet new people, create some movement in my dating life, and learn a lot about myself and what I was looking for in a potential spouse. I didn’t really expect the last one because I thought I already had a good idea of what I wanted, but it made me think about some things I hadn’t before. It also helped me work through some of the anxiety and fear I had around dating and gave me more confidence in my ability to communicate.
I met a couple of guys I connected with and went on a few good dates, but none of them turned into a long-term relationship. Eventually, I noticed a shift in the way I was using the app. I was depending on it and the number of dates I was going on more than I was on God, and I was getting exhausted. I didn’t feel like I was risking and trusting anymore, I felt like I was striving to make things work and going against what there was actually a grace for in my life. I ended up deleting my profile and taking a break for a while. I did have an overall positive experience with online dating, however, and I wouldn't be opposed to using it again in the future.
So for other people asking the question, “Should I use online dating?”, the answer I would give is a solid- “Maybe...” As believers, there are seasons where it's good for us to risk and take actions toward what we feel the Lord has put in our heart, and there are other seasons where the best thing for us to do is wait on Him. When we don't know when to do what, it's an opportunity to draw near to Him and ask.
So whether you’re thinking about online dating or real-life dating or not dating, bring God into your process. He knows if you need to take a risk or take a break. He knows what to do with all the feelings and difficulties that can go along with dating or not dating, and He cares about your life and your future. In fact, He has really great things planned for you. Trust Him to lead you in the right direction, and eventually in His timing, to the right person.