The internet: the great and bountiful frontier of modern life – it seems we cannot live without it. The stronghold of consumerism in modern world; after all with one double click or a touch of a tablet you can buy or see anything. It seems everything is available if you only think to look for it – even a husband.
Internet dating has been around for years and everyone – it seems – knows someone who met their partner or husband online. There are many solely Christian dating sites out there too, and why not? As a single Christian with a full-time vocation (and/or part-time church work) it is very difficult to find the time to meet someone (a Christian) because it always seems churches are full of married couples.
Is online dating biblical? Well that depends on how you use it; as a young single Christian woman I have studied and prayed over what the Bible teaches on looking for a husband.
First, the Bible is quite clear on how we should behave: 1 Thessalonians 4:4-6a (GWT) says: “Each of you should know that finding a husband or wife for yourself should be done in a holy and honourable way not in the passionate, lustful way of people who don’t know God. No one should take advantage of other believers in that way.”
It is very hard to look through profiles and behave in a holy and honourable way, not taking advantage; only concentrating on godly, and not human, factors. Does he look nice? Is he doing the right things in church? Does he have a good job? I know I would fall into that trap, treating these men like they are any other object that you can buy or sell online.
Second, what happened to trusting God? For me it seems like when we sign up for these things we are saying: ‘Ok God, all my friends are getting engaged and I am not – you’ve had your chance and haven’t delivered the goods so now it’s my turn.’ We become impatient. It’s not just Christian dating websites, it’s going on that Christian holiday or mission trip where everyone meets their husband.
The Bible tells us that God has our lives planned for us (Jeremiah 29:11-14), that he has everything under control. Waiting sucks – I know that as well as anyone else, as I’ve wanted a godly marriage since I was five, but if he is glorified in this season of singleness – however long it lasts – then I trust him. The things I have done in my strength in the past haven’t got me anywhere and have only led to heartache.
However, there are two qualifications to my observations. The first is that there are some people that can use internet dating in a holy and honourable way, they have the self-control and piety to use it as one of God’s tools. I am not one of them. The other is that if you re-read the Thessalonians passage carefully it does not condemn being active in looking for a husband or wife, “…finding a husband or wife for yourself…” I don’t think we should be idle in our searches or give up hope resigning ourselves to the single shelf, but neither should it consume our decisions or the ways in which we serve God. Trust Him that He knows our hearts and what He has planned for us, and behave in a holy and honourable way until the wedding day – spiritual or otherwise.