There’s no denying that technology has opened a new door for social introductions. Statistics show that upwards of 60 percent of singles have tried online dating – and many of those people have found lasting love in the process.
One reason why the number of people online dating continues to grow has to do with the word “dating” and not so much the “online” part. Aren’t we all looking to make that special connection with someone? But in spite of this natural desire, many Christians are embarrassed to say they are online dating.
Whether meeting someone takes place through a personal introduction, a random incident or on a dating website, the important thing is the connection. More people are realizing that these days, but for those concerned friends and family members who might not have this understanding of the viability of online dating, here are four ways to respond to them question your online dating strategy.
1. “I’m Reaching Out.”
Most friends and family would agree that it’s good to be sociable and enjoy healthy, safe dates where you explore compatibility and even the potential of marriage. ChristianMingle provides just that experience; the number of people that you can meet is almost unlimited due to the worldwide component and the fact that new people join every day.
Share with concerned friends and family that you are trying to broaden your social horizons and enjoy meaningful online conversations that might lead to a date or social experience. For those considering dating long distance, let your loved ones know that you’re prayerfully reaching out to a wider social network in order to dig deeper into finding a potential relationship based on spiritual compatibility, common lifestyles and shared dreams.
2. “I’m Focusing In.”
Online dating allows you to focus on key attributes and physical factors that are important to you. With ChristianMingle, you can search faith components that you’re looking for as well. Tell your family that you are focusing on the character traits and key attributes that you feel would be a good match for you. You might want to even survey your trusted friends and family members and ask them these questions to help you focus in on potential matches:
Do you see me with an active, extroverted type, or the opposite?
Would you pray that I find a committed Christian who will attend church and ministry events with me on a regular basis?
Can you picture me traveling extensively or moving beyond my hometown?
Would you share with me your experiences with long-distance dating?
3. “I’m Stepping Out.”
Online dating is not for the faint of heart, that’s for sure. But it’s actually a great place for those battling fear to learn to take a step of faith. Scripture tells us that “God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” (2 Timothy 1:7)
Tell your loved ones that you want to grow in this area and learn how to take appropriate social risks. You can let concerned family members know that you want to do this safely and with wisdom, but that you will have to take steps of faith.
When your loved ones know that you are aware of the risk and safety factors, you will ease their minds a bit. But you’ll also have to tell them that as you step out into the world of online dating, those steps of faith might become literal steps as you walk into a coffee shop for your first date with someone you’ve met online.
4. “I’m Looking Up.”
Most importantly, you’ll want to let friends and family know that you are looking up to the Lord at all points in this journey. This includes letting the Lord comfort you when a date goes badly, or taking good counsel when a potential relationship gets rocky.
When people love you, it’s hard for them to see you disappointed or feeling rejected. They might anticipate these potential experiences and counsel you to not expose yourself to these negative possibilities. The truth is, any interpersonal connection we make is full of wonderful possibilities as well as the potential for pain.
Let your loved ones know that you are “counting the cost” of online dating and doing it with God as your source of wisdom and comfort. It allows them to feel better about all the ups and downs that you might possibly face while also erasing some of that stigma that comes with online dating. They may soon even have the joy of seeing you make a beautiful, lasting connection.