(Photo by Natalie Baugh featuring Debbie Savage)
Online Dating? A Firsthand Look at the Pros and Cons
By Jacqueline Napoli
Spoiler alert: I met my husband online, and our marriage completely rocks. But lest it seem I’m suggesting that online dating is the holy grail of meeting your match, let’s have a look at both sides.
The first con of online dating is just that: dating sites are teeming with wolves, catfishes, and con men. It’s so bad there’s a film and a TV show about it. Online, imposters can literally write their own persona and lure their victims with smooth words and empty promises. (And completely inaccurate photos, to boot.) Jesus warned his sheep regarding wolves, “Behold, I am sending you out like sheep in the midst of wolves; be wary and wise as serpents, and be innocent (harmless, guileless, and without falsity) as doves (Matthew 10:16 AMPC).” Take every red flag gravely, and give the fakers enough rope to “hang themselves” with. Ask a lot of questions. Let your candidates do most of the talking. Keep your standards high and biblical, and if they show dishonesty, unmercifulness, profanity, harshness, pressure, passive aggression, anything you know falls short of God’s standard, close the door then and there. They’ve shown you who they are.
Remember that you are royalty, and don’t put up with anything less than biblical conduct. These guys are on their very best behavior! This is as good as they can get! Jesus said the one way to identify a wolf is by being a fruit inspector. Is he displaying love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control? If yes, he might be a keeper.
Another con demonstrates the flip side–there’s a temptation to misrepresent yourself. Refuse to give in to the temptation to show too much or fit in with the world’s mold. When I searched for my mate online, one of the descriptors I used was that I am a sold-out Christian, living for Jesus, and staying sexually pure before marriage. That proved to be the coolest secret weapon of online dating possible. Not only does it weed out so many scammers, but it surprisingly creates an incredible witnessing platform. A lot of guys out there are hurting, too, and finding an honest, pure girl that might not be a fit but can share the reason she believes in Christ and lives so differently, without the agenda of just snagging a guy, is a powerful witness and a joy to partake in. Be bold, and the quality guys will get it.
The main pros are volume and screening. You can only encounter so many people when you are out and about. But with online dating, you not only access so many candidates, but you can filter them! You can pass on them without breaking their hearts (mostly). But–you need wisdom–profoundly. You must be prayerful and sensitive. “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith without any doubting (James 1:5-6, NASB).” Trust the Holy Spirit as your Guide. Let Jesus be your Lord (that means boss or master). He knows what you need far more than you do.
If you do not yet know His voice or live obediently, it’s non-negotiable that you nail that down before you date, or it will end in disaster. I know this from experience. Trust me. If you don’t know His voice, start reading your bible daily and prayerfully, sincerely asking God to speak to you, and then obeying what you read and hear. When the Holy Spirit shows you something wrong in your life, turn from it then and there and ask for strength to obey.
Use your single days to become the woman of God that any man would be hitting the jackpot to win. “A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies(Proverbs 31:10, NIV).” Acquire wisdom and noble, virtuous character. It’s the ultimate value-upper–not looks, not a rocking body. As they used to say on the playground, “It takes one to know one.” You will best identify the rock-solid people of character when you’re one yourself.