A Christian’s View of Online Dating: 3 Tips to Making it Work

In Dating, Relationships, Uncategorized by Debra Fileta18 Comments

I’ve noticed that people tend to have a minor panic attack when they entertain the idea of a online dating. 

It’s as though “online” is code for “Dating someone who lives far away and is actually living a double life while I am over here clueless”.  Fears of cheating, dishonesty, and vulnerability begin to creep into the picture.  Insecurities, worries, and doubts begin filling the imagination; paranoia that you’re being played like an episode of Katfish.

Online relationships.  Are they worth it?  Do they work?  Or are you just setting yourself up for heart-break?   With the rise of social media and technology-driven interactions, I get a lot of questions concerning the topic of online dating relationships.

Additionally, there is a trend in the Christian culture that says trying to find love online is somehow not “waiting on God”, but often, this philosophy comes with a double-standard.  The very same people that would encourage you to pursue a job opportunity by surfing the net, or looking into colleges by way of the internet, might forbid you from using the online world as a means to finding love.

Statistics show that almost 1/3 of couples getting married in this generation have met their significant other by way of the internet.  There is no denying that our world has changed drastically over the past decade, and we are now immersed in a culture that is rooted in the internet and social media.  One couple I recently read about even exchanged their vows via the web.  Though I’m not advocating for extreme uses of the internet and social media such as the aforementioned, I am saying that times have changed- and it’s okay for Christians to keep up!

Just as God used the cultural components of ancient biblical days to guide people to finding love (dowries, arranged marriages, and the like), He uses our cultural context to work out his will in our lives today.  So let go of your apprehension about “not waiting on God” if that’s your hang up.  But as you enter the world of online dating, here are a few things you must always bring with you:

1.      Bring honesty:  When it comes to online dating, there is an element of risk because of the ease and draw of re-creating one’s self.  Behind the screen of a computer, you can be anyone you want to be.  From your physical attributes to your description of yourself-you can custom design who you are.  If you’re going to use the internet as a way to meet others and put yourself out there- do yourself the favor of being honest.  Masking your true self may snag you a date, but ultimately, with someone who shows interest in the self you’ve created, not in who you actually are. Relationships founded in facade are never worth keeping, because they are rooted in exaggeration and ultimately in deceit.  If you’re going to enter the world of online dating- always leave your genuineness and honesty fully intact.

2.      Bring wisdom:  The second most important thing to honesty, is the idea of wisdom.  When it comes to online dating, always be a skeptic. Remember that things are not as they seem to be- but rather, as they actually are.  Don’t believe the claims of others to be tall, dark and handsome, a follower of Christ, or a gentleman and a scholar- until you see those things actually played out in their life.  Whether in real life or online, always remember that talk is cheap.  A person’s actions can always be better trusted than their words.  So go ahead and get to know someone online, but don’t take things too seriously until you come face to face with the reality of who they actually are.  Which brings us to the final point:

3.      Bring it into real life:  Online is a great place to start a relationship, but it’s NOT a great place to maintain a relationship.  If you’ve been getting to know someone for months at a time but haven’t met or interacted face to face- then there is a good chance that something is not as it should be.  At some point, a real relationship needs to mature within the context of real life- where physical appearance is clear, emotional temperament can’t be hidden, and habits and personality come to life.  If you are in an online relationship with someone who makes excuses for bringing it into real life, than you are not in a real relationship.  Don’t get me wrong, I think online relationships need to be kept online until you’ve gotten to know someone and assessed their level of health to the best of your ability.  But there is a time and a place to bring the relationship to the real world for nourishment, maturity, and growth.  With that in mind, always use caution and discernment by meeting in public places or in groups of friends for the first series of face-to-face interactions.

As with anything in life, it’s not necessarily what we do- but HOW we do it that is a measure of our intimacy and relationship with God.  We are called to glorify him in all things- including how we act and interact with the world around us (1 Corinthians 10:31).  Online dating can be done in a God-honoring way if it’s wrapped with wisdom, honesty, and discernment- and then brought into the context of real life.  Remember those truths…and happy dating.

Have a relationship question you’d like me to answer? Check out my new Relationship Consultations! (Limited number)

 Debra Fileta is a Professional Counselor, speaker, and author of the book True Love Dates: Your Indispensable Guide to Finding the Love of Your Life, where she writes candidly about dating, relationships, and how to find true love. She’s also the creator of this True Love Dates Blog Connect with her on Facebook or Twitter

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18 Comments on "A Christian’s View of Online Dating: 3 Tips to Making it Work"

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Claire
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Per your intro and people think online dating isn’t “waiting on God” – I wrote a blog about trying Tinder. I’m a Christian, I realize it’s got a bad rap, but I wanted to give it a shot. Plus I got matched with someone that enjoys LARP-ing, or Live Action Role Play for those of you unfamiliar, on eHarmony which was a last straw, and I got kicked off of Match.com (no idea why – My Mom is more upset about it then I am) and there is no way I’m doing Christian Mingle, so it was basically a last… Read more »
A-Rob
Guest

Not to sound like a cheesy guy trying to talk my way into a date but I think a girl like you is very interesting to be around. I’ve never tried LARPing before but it sounds really fun! I hope that you’re able to find the right guy one day and that God will be with you!

Frank
Guest
I was going to ask Deb (and feel free to weigh in if you have any knowledge here, Deb), but since you seem to have tried multiple sites, Claire, what exactly are the pros and cons of each, and which is your best recommendation? I wasted $150 on eHarmony for a year, and as you can tell, that went well! What exactly is Tinder, and why would you recommend it (if that’s what you are doing)? Why would you never try Christian Mingle? What were your thoughts about Match? Is it best to go to a Christian dating site? Or… Read more »
MJ
Guest

Thanks for sharing your wisdom on this tricky topic. Will be sharing this post with the Future Marriage University (FMU) community.

A-Rob
Guest

Your insight on online dating has given me a better view of dating but for me, I’m still slightly skeptical. The reason why I’m uncomfortable with online dating is because it doesn’t guarantee that my relationship will be successful and I have to literally pay to get my heart broken or for someone else’s heart broken and that’s not fun. When I can afford it, maybe I’ll give it a try!

T
Guest

Good comments. I prefer to meet a match in person sooner rather than later. We can meet for a coffee date and see if there is some general and genuine interest before investing emotionally. If the guy isn’t who he says he is, or one or both of us just aren’t attracted, we haven’t wasted anyone’s time.

Ganise
Guest

Yes. Yes. Yes. YES! I AGREE. 200%

Ganise
Guest

This ^ is a reply to T’s comment. T, I like your comment. Very concise and true.

Emily Rachelle
Guest

You’ve talked about online dating a lot on this site, and I agree with much of what you’ve said. As someone who was in a long distance relationship for a while and might be getting into one again, I’m curious what advice you’d have for that? Hopefully you could write a post on that too 🙂 The guy I’m interested in and I met in person and know each other really well already – long story – but he lives in North Carolina, and I’ll be a college student in Indiana come August.

Ganise
Guest
This subject has always made me cringe. I’ll try to say the following carefully. I understand your thoughts, Debra, but, with all due respect, I’m not comfortable with the idea of dating online. I’ve never tried it so my opinion may come across as naive and I might not eventually find myself O.K with online dating. It’s a bit hard to ”verbalize” why. To me, physical presence makes an enormous difference. I don’t think we can compare dating to, for example, looking for a job — there’s something more intimate and considerable about looking for love. Granted, you shouldn’t have… Read more »
Joe Rowland
Guest

Hey guys great article.

Marie
Guest

Careful even with Christian dating sites. I was stalked by a guy BEFORE I even met him. Scary!

Alyx
Guest
I always cringe a little bit when people say they’re (literally) “waiting on God” to find love. I realize that God does have a way of putting people into our lives when we least expect it, but I also think a lot of that has to do with being in community, meeting people and getting to know them. And just because you go on a dating site doesn’t mean you’ll necessarily meet someone you want to have a relationship with. I’ve tried OKCupid, Match, and even Tinder; while I did go out on dates, nothing really developed out of them.… Read more »
Kairon William
Guest

Worthier information regarding Christian dates. Through your post most of the confusions of Christian teens may be easily avoided. When I was in such a state I found Christians Online and they had provided me a better mental support to enjoy my first date. Thanks to Christians Online from the bottom of my heart.

Paris
Guest

Perfect! Just what I needed! I think I read this before but just forgot. But I love it. And I love YOU!

Thanks so much!

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