Is it unethical or unwise to meet other Christian singles on Christian websites for online courtship to lead to marriage?
- CA from Memphis, Tennessee
Modern Matchmaking (Part 1)
I can see absolutely nothing unethical or wrong with meeting via singles websites. I happen to personally know of two marriages right now where the couples met that way. Both are quite successful and both are thoroughly based in Christ.
Christians particularly want to find the partner that God has for them and don't want to mess that up by sticking their own fingers in the pie. Ideally, everyone wants to meet their soul mate in some "chance" way planned by God - not themselves. Therefore, it is sometimes scary to take the initiative, fearful of being out of God's will. Fear not!
Society has always had structures for single people to meet and God has always used them all to bring together happy couples. He is, after all, the creator of romance. I'm aware of a Bible college often referred to as "Northeastern Bridal College" on the side because many attend more to find a marriage partner than to get an education. Is that any better than using a website?
Meeting online is not nearly as scary or chancy as the old Wild West days when men placed ads in papers back east for "Mail Order Brides" and women responded and met their husband to be on their wedding day.
Right now in American society marriage is tending to occur later than it used to. Men and women are extending their education and/or want a career before they settle down. Time and then circumstances may limit opportunity to meet "the right one." Therefore, when you feel you are ready to be married, what are you supposed to do?
God can use the Internet as well as anything else and I believe he is doing so based on all the testimonies. Still, there are safeguards that should be observed and we will talk about them tomorrow.
Next: How can I do this safely?
Using Wisdom (Part 2)
Make a decision in advance to strictly observe the rules of safety suggested by the website you use. Most sites want to maintain a good reputation and want you to have a good experience. They are very familiar with all the dos and don'ts. You will need to use a screen name and make sure you do not identify yourself or your location.
You mention Christian websites and that is great but I also don't see anything wrong with using secular websites as long as they allow you to state your spiritual criteria for dating. I believe most do that. You will simply have to be careful in screening responses because some will state "Christian" as their religious background but for them that is only a cultural definition. (The same thing can happen on a Christian matchmaking site.)
Try to read between the lines as you evaluate the profiles of those you may be interested in. Strong Christians will try to emphasize their faith and will often state that they are looking for someone with the same priority. I know of one site where the profile asks you to give your astrological sign and of course that would be very offensive to a Christian. A woman I know deleted all responders to herself that filled their sign in even if they said they were Christian.
Someone may be interested in you who you know does not share your faith but is attractive otherwise. Be very honest. Cut that short before the attraction grows to the point of compromise on your spiritual criteria. Final advice is to bathe the whole dating process in prayer. Pray for protection and for wisdom as you navigate hundreds and hundreds of potential dating partners. God is still in charge. He may bring you someone through a website or through some other more traditional method. Trust his hand no matter which way he chooses.
See "Where is my wife?" for another Straight Talk article related to dating and finding a marriage partner.