Christians and Internet Dating

“1000s of Pictures of Beautiful Single Christians,” that’s what one Christian dating website advertises. I don’t know about you, but that description kind of gives me the heebie jeebies.

How about this one: “All Single. Only Christian. Amazing Selection: Come & See.” It reminds me of an advertisement for some seedy massage parlor.

Christians and internet dating services are on the rise. More and more believers are choosing to sign up, fill out a profile, and upload a pic, in the hopes of finding their one true love.

I wonder though:  Is Jesus in the internet dating business, guaranteeing some a happily ever after, or is Christian internet dating a way of circumventing God’s will and taking matters into your own hands?

It used to be that internet dating was a social taboo, one that was perhaps participated in, but never admitted. Over the years, thanks to mammoth dating sites like and eHarmony, Christian internet dating shifted from the embarrassing to the fairly acceptable.

The words, “We met online,” once social suicide, are now nothing more than an everyday occurrence. We all know someone who has met a boyfriend or girlfriend online–perhaps even a spouse.

I do not find it remarkable that Christians are flocking to dating sites (especially the Evangelical-focused eHarmony). I mean, Christians like to be married. Part of that is because many of us (hopefully) wait until we say, “I do” before we “do it”.

Marriage then takes on a whole new meaning: sex. Not to mention the fact that, within many Evangelical circles, marriage is seen as the ultimate goal–whether right or wrong.

The Christian culture is not particularly single-friendly, despite the fact that many believers are told to look for a spouse. Churches that do offer “singles groups” are often overrun with those foaming at the mouth to find a spouse–the marriage hungry and matrimony-crazed.

Church, which is meant to edify the body and make disciples (who make disciples) becomes a battleground for dating, a virtual high school with Bibles and a Sunday sermon. It can be very unappealing to navigate the waters of singledom, to say the very least.

So, while there are those trying to seek a spouse in a healthy way within the church, doing so can be difficult given those making it a sport.

On the flip side, I have known quite a few single people who believe that God will just magically bring them a spouse. Somehow, they have interpreted the scriptures to mean that, if they sit in their house drinking Vitamin Water, watching The Office while picking their noses, God will wave a magic wand and “gift” them a husband or wife.

Hmmm…in my experience, God does not work that way. Which leads us to Christian internet dating. (Which, by the way, can Calvinists even use online dating in good conscience? If God has pre-ordained everything, why bother signing up? I’m just asking.)

Many Christians enter the internet dating scene in an attempt to be proactive and “do something” instead of just sit there. They desire to “take the bull by the horns” and make marriage happen.

However, where is the line between trusting God for your future spouse and attempting to control your own future? Can a single Christian sign up for an on-line dating service and then fully submit that process to God?

I believe they can.

I suspect that many people using Christian dating services are not doing so with the best or most holy intentions. However, that does negate the fact that some are doing so for the right reasons, seeking God as they begin their Christian exploration of internet dating.

Sure, it sounds a little weird to me. It doesn’t seem like the most natural way to get married, but who says it has to be one way or another. If you love Christ and can find a compatible person who loves Jesus and makes your heart go pitter-patter, who cares if you met in cyberspace?

In my estimation, it’s better than having never met at all.

What do you think about Christian internet dating? Do you know people who have found true-love online? Why is there still a taboo about the process?

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27 thoughts on “Christians and Internet Dating”

  1. My sweet 73 year old dad has found the new love of his life on the internet and we all love her.

    And we all thought he didn’t know how to use the computer ! ! !

  2. Is online dating really any different than the WWII/Korean and Vietnam pen pal relationships that ended in marriage? My husband’s parents met while they were pen pals during the Vietnam war. I think the cyber aspect is all that has changed.
    That being said, I feel the Lord can use any dating “venue” to His purpose. It is all about the heart attitude of the prospective daters. If you go into it with a heart following after the Lord and are willing to listen to wise counsel from family and friends, I think that you can be blessed by it.

    1. Hrm, Heidi, I’m not sure I would compare Christian internet dating to pen pal dating. Here’s why:

      Like Nicole expressed in many of the advertisements that are bombarding websites, they all focus on the “seeing” and the “1000s of pictures” of “beautiful” potential mates. While pen pals were forced to write and begin relationships based upon their character, intelligence, value systems, and creativity, internet dating has largely (not fully!) turned the focus to attraction before the relationship. Now, I’m not one to believe that you can form a last marriage with someone you’re not physically attracted to and that it’s *only* “what’s inside that counts,” but I would prefer that the relationship be the focus before the attraction. I think that, in many cases, like Nicole pointed out, God can use internet dating for His purposes, no doubt. He’s God, after all. But I wouldn’t go so far as to liken internet dating to pen pals. That’s my take, at least.

        1. Can tell you right now I woudln’t sign up for it. It’s not about being shallow, it’s about being honest. Know how many “christian” women use their senior photo despite being 31 or have their “hot” friend pose for the picture? More than you think, and then the guy gets trapped with “oh, but you’re supposed to like me for what I am on the inside.” I of course reply with “what you are on the inside is an insecure liar.” With that said I did get a date with a really cute redhead having never seen the photo, so I guess it’s a crap shoot…

        2. Can you imagine? People pretend like they want that, but in reality…um, no.

          Physical attraction is crucial too. It irks me when Christians act like it’s only character/personality that count.

          God made us sexual too and I like that I’m attracted to my husband in more ways than one.

          Sorry if I’ve said too much…

          1. That’s simply confirmation that taking care of yourself and making yourself appealing to the opposite sex is a priority when you consider advertising your likeness online for the purpose of attraction.

            No offense to those who are on-line, but if you look like you’re unhealthy, you need to get healthy before you start advertising yourself as available…and don’t put those lame pictures of your cat as your primary photo.

    2. Heidi,

      I think that’s an interesting comparison. I never would have thought of that.

      Although, pen pals writing in the 1940’s and 50’s signifies a certain level of romance and innocence. I think the Internet, has in some respects, killed romance and has certainly damaged the idea of innocence.

      But, I agree with you that, just like anything, it is how we approach something before the Lord. Where is our heart and what are our intentions? To please ourselves or please God?

  3. I have so many thoughts that I am not sure where to start. You hit on just about every thought I have had about internet dating and on how the “church” approaches singles.
    I am single and I have chosen not to venture into the world of internet dating for many reasons. One reason is that I don’t feel like it suits my personality to meet someone this way. Maybe that will change one day but for now that is how I feel.
    However, I get the suggestion a lot from others along with the statement “how else are you going to meet somebody?”. Now I have learned to take those suggestions while keeping in mind that mostly they are coming from loving intentions but it still feels like a jab sometimes. Now I am not one who thinks I can hole up in my house eating pints of ice cream and watching tv and then expect the love of my life to just knock on my door either but I also don’t like the thought that my singleness is my fault or a flaw.
    Again I know most suggestions come from a place of love but I think it speaks to a overall misunderstanding of what it means for someone to be single. I often feel others are more uncomfortable with me being single than I ever am about that fact. I agree with the statement you make that “within many Evangelical circles, marriage is seen as the ultimate goal–whether right or wrong”. I think I struggle more with this than I do with the issue of internet dating.
    So much more I could say but I will save that rant for another day.
    Overall, I guess if someone has been seeking God’s will for finding a mate and that happens to occur through the internet then that is wonderful. I think, as you elude to, that a person’s reasons behind finding a mate are more important than the way they go about finding them.
    Thanks for another interesting post!

    1. Phoebe,

      Wow, you said so much great stuff. As I set out to write this post, I didn’t realize there was so much to say on the issue of being single.

      I really want to do some more posts on the topic, discussing some of the very issues you raised.

      Man, I cringed and shook my head knowing it’s true when you said it seems as if other people are more uncomfortable with you being single than you are. It’s true, that happens in the Church and I hate it!

      I too could go off on a rant right now, joining you in frustration, but I won’t. I’ll save it for another post.

      Thank you for getting me thinking and bringing forth some great ideas for future discussion!

    2. Phoebe,

      Eloquently written response. I’m still young (33) and choosing to be single. I also run into people who say things like, “Oh, you have plenty of time” and “When you meet the right guy, you’ll change your mind.” Okay. Maybe that’s true. But I still feel they dismiss my choice as me being somehow ignorant of what is best for me and my life. It’s like they are patting me on the head, saying “Bless your heart” and not in a good way, if you know what I mean. To me, there are so many more important things in my life than marriage. I’m still continuing my education (starting my PhD this year) and working hard to build my career. I’m happy, I’m healthy, and I’m content to keep things the way they are. Yes, I totally agree that in most Evangelical churches, marriage is the ultimate goal, especially for a woman. But to choose not to marry, especially as a woman, you can be treated like a pariah. It can get old and irritating to feel like I’m the only person satisfied with my life and my relationship status. It’s like everyone else is waiting for something better to happen to me, when things are already awesome. Forgive a ranting question, but why can’t I just be okay the way I am? Why do I have to be attached to a man in order to be seen as happy and content? Forget *actually* being happy and content. I know plenty of married couples who are miserable. I wish I could be able to express my contentment at being single without someone sighing and dismissing my happiness by “encouraging” me to hang in there and wait for the right man. I’m already the right woman, and that’s all I need. I might add, I never, EVER have to pick up anybody’s else’s laundry. Just saying. ;)

      1. Thanks Heather! I loved your comment about the “Bless your heart” sentiment. So very true.
        Another one of my favorites is “God is using this time to shape you and make you what He wants you to be.”
        Nicole, maybe one of your “favorite list” posts could be about the dumb comments people make to single people. =)

  4. Great post, dating, love, and the treatment of singles is probably my biggest gripe with church & Christians in America.

    First, if the Calvinists are right, then God ordained me to sit at my computer and sign up for the account (and then sit here and type a reply to your blog).

    Second(and this is merely my opinion and I do deeply apologize to anyone who is offended by this, I do not mean to alienate anyone); the idea of waiting passively for God to make your mate magically teleport into your world is a cop out. Sit that person down in a psychologists office and you’d probably have a textbook case of insecurity, social anxiety, and a lack of confidence. It sounds harsh, but this is how I equate it:

    God will take care of me. He puts clothing on my back, a roof over my head, and food on my table. I believe that fully, but the last time I checked, I had to go out and earn a living for that. Yes, God provided that living, but I had to break a little sweat, shed a little blood, and get a sore back in the process. For 95% of the human population, a mate is needed for love, companionship, healthy sexual release, and in the end, a good friend to spend the rest of your mortal life with (we were not meant to do this thing solo). Therefore, just as with being clothed and being fed, God will provide but he expects me to get off of my butt, clean up, and put myself out there. The internet is a powerful tool. I’ve met amazing women off of it. I’ve met disasters as well. It’s not taboo anymore and it pretty much works like any other social setting.

    Finally, the whole advent of Christian online dating is a monster created by the American evangelical church itself. I don’t know if I have the answer, but this is what I see:

    Single Christians are second class citizens in the church. If the church hates internet dating, then they need to look in the mirror and acknowledge that they created this monster. Churches want to avoid drama and I get it, but single people who are genuinely looking for someone don’t want to be patronized, they don’t want to be lectured on the virtues of celibacy, they want to meet someone. One wouldn’t fly to Africa, eat two Double-Doubles (ha, a plug for my favorite burger) in front of a starving child, and then tell the child “you really don’t want to eat, starving is such a pleasant and simple life” but this is exactly how a lot of singles get treated.

    End of rant.

    1. Joey,

      Your rant was so eloquent and well said, pretty good for a rant.

      I agree with your comparison. We don’t get to sit on our bums in regards to anything else, so why would finding a spouse be any different?

      Although, in regards to singles being starving children and married folks being carniverous In-N-Out lovers…I will say, I think one of the biggest mistakes the church makes is assuming that all single people want to be married.

      Single is not a plague or a mistake or limbo. Some people are called to be single or choose to single, or even enjoy being single. Go figure.

      I desire to see married people and the Church as a whole treat marriage as some kind of prize to be won. God grants marriage when and how He chooses. Our job remains being faithful, obedient, and content right where He has us.

      Great comment Joey. Thanks and you gave me some great ideas for a future post.

      P.S. How is the process going on leaving the country? Still in the works?

    2. Well said. I’m an older single believer and I can’t tell you the stupid things people tell me when I tell them I want to be married.

  5. Oh, the can of worms has been opened. I would encourage thinking around the “choice” to marry or to remain single. It seems scripture has a fair amount to say on the matter. What is the calling of the “married” and the calling of the “single”. Is prolonged singleness for the purpose of fulfilling my personal pursuits? Is marriage for fulfilling my baser, yet godly desires? Me thinks not.

    1. Donna,
      That is exactly the conversation Jonathan and I had as I was writing this post. I become frustrated when people assume that singlesness is a lesser-calling or that single people have less impact on the Kingdom. Look at Paul!

      You said it so well! Thank you for taking the time to read and comment here. Blessings!

    1. Dorian,

      On Youtube!? So cool. I have never heard of two people meeting on Youtube and not only that, you guys are perfect for each other. You prove the case right there!

  6. i like this post.
    and for the simple sake of thought, i am just wondering.

    you pose the question: where is the line between trusting God for your future spouse and attempting to control your own future? Can a single Christian sign up for an on-line dating service and then fully submit that process to God?

    and im curious what the significant difference is between on-line dating, in this example, and just dating? what i mean to say is, if i am meeting people and dating them in person, could that not also be seen as “attempting to control my own future?” just the same as on-line?

    or is this to say that by going on-line a person could be circumventing the “real world” which is the one in which God exclusively works? as if internet is a short-cut that ought not to be played?

    or is it that the “real world” is in fact more real, and we need to keep our heads and hearts present where we are and with whomever we are?

    (haha, and i’ll even note a disclaimer that i would never ‘stoop’ to on-line dating sites… not that it is a stoop, but yeah. you already addressed the stigma there…) !

    1. Jesse,

      i am so sorry that I am responding to your comment so late. It slipped past me! I apologize.

      You raise a great question…

      I would say that, for whatever reason, in person dating is considered acceptable. So much of the online world is still new/taboo.

      Online dating still holds a significant stigma. I suppose it’s because for many of us, we think of seedy shady interactions taking place online and thus in-person.

      Whereas real life dating is the norm. I guess anything out of the norm could be seen as trying to circumvent God’s plan or take the reins.

      great question! Thanks for commenting.

  7. It depends on the Calvinist. If he or she believes in double predestination you have an argument except for the fact that how do you know they were not predestined to go to the internet dating site. In the spirit of fairness I have a single predestination leaning on my theological bent. To be absolutely clear it is Christ death and resurrection and a relationship with him that matters not theological leanings.

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