Question: "Should a Christian use a Christian dating service to find a spouse?"
Answer: The Bible doesn’t talk about dating services. In fact, it doesn’t even tell us how to “date” or “court,” or whatever term we use for the process we use to get to know a potential mate. In the Bible times, dating did not exist in the same form that we see it today. Back then, families helped young women and men meet and become engaged and often chose their children’s mates for them. Today, while familial involvement is still the norm in many cultures, in many others, singles are more on their own to find a mate. Some singles don’t bother to look for a spouse, believing God will bring the person to them, while others are forever on a search for one, fearing they may miss him or her. There should be a balance, as we remember that God is perfectly loving (Ephesians 3:18; 1 John 3:16-18) and perfectly sovereign over every situation, desire, and need (Psalm 109:21; Romans 8:38-39). God uses our choices, other people, and sometimes even modern technology, to bring about marriages.
Before a Christian single considers any of the “newer” methods of finding a spouse like using a Christian dating service, it’s helpful to consider whether we may be engaging in any self-defeating behavior. Is it possible we are being too picky, looking for the fairy-tale prince or princess, and by doing so, limiting the possibilities of what God may know is best for us and which we have not yet considered? Are we not being picky enough, forgetting that God calls all Christians to marry only other Christians (2 Corinthians 6:14), or are we considering someone who is stuck in a serious, life-altering sin that could endanger the marriage? A Christian man should take the lead in relationships and making sure their relationship glorifies Christ in all things. A Christian woman should let the man take the initiative as the leader God made him to be. And, finally, as believers, we should be able to stand on our own two feet, relying on the Lord to fulfill us rather than feeling a need to be married in order to be whole. Once we have these common struggles sorted out, we can begin to pursue a woman, or be pursued by a man, with an eye towards marriage.
As in all decisions, we should ask God to direct us clearly. It can be difficult to meet single Christian men and women, especially if most of our friends have already married. We can put ourselves in a position to meet other Christians by looking for a church singles group. We may want to volunteer for a cause we care about or join other groups, being sure that we are doing it because we enjoy it, not just because we want to meet as many potential mates as possible. Some people prefer to meet their spouse through friends, family, or in a chance meeting out in the world, and many do just that. But others believe they are limited in the people they meet because of their profession, the size of their city, or the nature of their activities. For these people, it may be wise to consider other methods. Some of the modern methods of finding a mate include internet or online dating, professional matchmaking services, and speed dating. Each has its pros and cons, and none is right for everyone. Before beginning any of these methods, we should begin in prayer, asking God whether it is the step He wants us to take.
Internet dating is currently the most popular alternative way to meet singles. There are several Christian dating services as well as secular services that allow users to limit their searches to Christians. (Please note that Got Questions Ministries does not endorse any particular Christian or secular dating service site).
One major downfall of internet dating is that you can never be sure who is being honest and who is pretending to be someone they’re not. The result of a deception can be humorous, but it may also be deadly. It’s a good idea to never answer any communication from someone from another country, unless you are able to conduct an extensive background check on him or her. Some of these people are trying to con the men and women they meet. Be careful about any personal details you share via online communication. It is also wise to meet the person face-to-face before becoming too emotionally intimate via email communication. When you do meet for the first time, do so in a public place—never allow them to drive you anywhere or take you somewhere where you will be alone. It is wise to plan a double date, so that a close friend can offer his or her opinion on this (let’s face it) complete stranger. Listen to your instincts and get away fast if you ever feel you are in any danger. Warnings aside, though, many happy Christian marriages have come out of internet dating.
Professional matchmaking services are usually safer than internet dating, but are less popular, and don’t always have a very large pool of people to choose from. They can also be more expensive, usually involve more extensive applications, and require some type of background check. But, if done safely and wisely, professional matchmaking can potentially lead to a successful Christian marriage.
Speed dating is where singles circulate systematically through a room of tables in order to assess a potential date in only a few minutes per rotation. At the end of the night, they turn in a card that indicates with whom they would be willing to be matched up. The couples who have mutual interest will receive each other’s contact information. Again, if done safely and wisely, this can potentially lead to a successful Christian marriage.
In all of the choices we make, though, it’s crucial to remember that it is God—not us—who brings us together with a spouse. As simple as it may sound, we shouldn’t have to work to find our spouse; we should be living out our lives with any desires for a spouse on the back burner and our desires for knowing God at the forefront of our hearts.
Seek God and He will fulfill (or change) your desires (Psalm 103:5; Romans 12:2) in His perfect way and His perfect time (Romans 5:6; Romans 8:26-27). Would we want it any other way? Look at the story of Isaac and Rebekah and how God brought them together (Genesis 24). It was sovereignly planned and controlled by God. God holds our every moment in His hands (Psalm 31:15), and He will not let us slip through the cracks of His gentle fingers. He cradles our lives and our hearts in His hands, and He will not forget His children. If God has intended marriage for you, He will bring it to fruition and will be faithful to guide you in your role in bringing it about. In the meantime, seek God in what He has for you now. God has a purpose for each of us, single or married, and it is a shame to miss living His purpose fully for you in whatever season you are in by becoming too focused on whatever season He has in store for you next.