Picture the scene: you’re on the train or the bus, thinking about joining a dating website, and contemplating which one to choose. Or perhaps you’re feeling disillusioned because you’ve been online for a while and you keep meeting people who look great in their profile, but turn out to be everything you don’t want in real life.
One of the things I hear more than I would like to are stories from Christians who say how upsetting their experience of dating a Christian was. While it’s true that no-one is perfect, some dating decisions in church cause a lot of hurt and are unloving. We need to talk about it, and we need to: Say It Isn’t Okay, Tell God We’re Angry, and Talk About Wider Fulfilments.
If I hadn’t managed to open my rather closed heart and mind, I wouldn’t be getting married in June. When I first began to date my fiancé, I found all manner of things about him to judge and criticise. I’d done the same with boyfriends in the past. If I’d have continued like that, I’d still be alone.
This is a question I received when speaking on dating the other day in a church in London. Online dating, to what extent is it ‘letting Gods plan work out’, and how much of it is ‘forcing things to happen’. It’s an interesting question! And a very ancient one. I’d say the underlying issue here is a theological debate of centuries. To what extent does God lead our lives and does he have a detailed plan on one side, on the other side, free will, how does that work? To what extent do we make our own choices regardless whether or not God is happy with those choices? Can he work with them nonetheless, does he make most of our flawed decision making or has he even calculated those decisions in when planning our lives?
‘I’ve got exciting news, HopefulGirl – I met an amazing woman on holiday,’ my pal told me over a drink. ‘We both think this could be the “big one”. There’s just one problem… she lives in the States.’ Oh, boy. Of course, I’ll be delighted if my friend has met Ms Right – he’s desperate to settle down and he’s been unlucky in love. But 4,000 miles is an awfully long way. I don’t envy him one bit.
Practice makes perfect, so the saying goes, and this maxim is just as true for dating as it is for other areas of life. You may be one of the lucky ones who falls in love with the first person they chat to online, but many of us need to go on a number of dates with different people so that we can become aware of what we truly want in a relationship and learn how to set and keep healthy boundaries.
Christian Connection is an award-winning Christian dating website in the UK, Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore, USA and Canada.
Since the UK launch in 2000, thousands of Christians have found friendship, love and marriage through the site.