Should Christians Online Date?

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I felt the guilt rise up like bile the first time I logged onto eHarmony. I’m just looking, I told myself. There’s no harm in looking. But the truth is I felt like I was cheating on God. Wasn’t I supposed to be waiting for him to find my match?

If you’re a Christian single, you’re probably no stranger to this concept. Well-meaning moms and married friends drop the phrase into our laps along with a copy of Waiting for God to Write Your Love Story. But some of us have been waiting an awfully long time. Do we even know why? Your reason might depend on which type of Christian single you are.

THE WAITER
On the surface, you appear calm and patient. You are caring and love to serve. You can be found working in the church nursery, children’s Sunday school, or leading a Bible study, but you’ll shrug off any recognition. It isn’t that you’re shy; you’re just uncomfortable with attention. Though you’re busy hiding, you still believe God will plunk prince charming on your doorstep. Yet underneath your calm, waiting exterior, you’re growing increasingly discontented with your single status. You feel like a dateless casualty as your friends pair off and you’re, once again, left holding the discarded bouquet. You probably won’t say so, but you blame God.

Real talk: There’s nowhere in the Bible that supports this extreme kick-up-your-feet-and-wait mentality. Without examining the scriptures, we can let the Christian “I kissed dating goodbye” culture shape and misconstrue our idea of healthy, Christian relationship before we’ve even had our first kiss.

THE RAIDER
To call you “single” is a misnomer. You are a take-charge personality with an overdeveloped sense of responsibility and/or difficulty partitioning emotional boundaries. To you, “wait” is a four letter word. You believe if you don’t command your dating destiny, you will end up alone. So you plunder the dating market, armed with all the right moves, and rarely walk away without some booty. If you don’t cool your jets, you could find yourself reeling from a series of toxic relationships.

No one can blame you for trying. You’re a hot-blooded human, and your desire for companionship is God given. Your motivations are really not so different from the Waiter’s. At the core of your urge to take charge is the same thing that holds the Waiter passive: fear and distrust. When tested, our basic human instincts are “fight” or “flight.” Ironically, your headlong dash-and-swoop methods can push your date’s panic button, signaling the destination—rather than the damsel—is the real treasure. And you could find yourself standing confused, with the map to marriage yet sagging in your hands.

Both the Waiter and the Raider have strong convictions and believe they’re traveling the best road. But Proverbs 14:12 cautions, “There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death.” If your hard-lined principles do not require the kind of lifestyle changes that facilitate personal and spiritual growth, you should probably reexamine them. Is “waiting” attractive because it denies personal responsibility? Is “raiding” attractive because it does not require restraint? God’s direction often involves a balance of painful self-examination, surrender, and intentionality, which can mature, blend and polish the Waiter and the Raider into the ideal Christian single.

THE DELIBERATOR
You are the person everyone wants to date. Maybe it’s your openness and winsome smile. Maybe it’s your quiet confidence and approachability. You aren’t perfect, but you do accept responsibility for your faults and failures and use them to nourish personal growth. You may not always be patient or fearless, but you understand waiting (and dating) is as much about surrender as it is action, and as much about prayer as it is preparation.

So which Christian single are you? Maybe taking the electronic plunge is for you. Maybe it isn’t. The question isn’t whether we should or shouldn’t online date– we are free, digitally-savvy agents. Rather, do our dating (or non-dating) behaviors underlie a fundamental distrust in God with this area of our lives?

Don’t let Valentines Day be a time to wallow about your wait. Take responsibility for yourself, make changes where necessary, trust God, and go be awesome!

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