Finding Love in the Digital Age: 4 Myths about Online Dating

by Abbi Woodworth

I was looking for love and feeling it would never come my way. Many of my friends were in relationships, and many others were engaged. I went to a small Christian university, and I thought that I would surely find my future husband there. When I graduated without dating a single guy from the school, I began to doubt that God had a plan for my love life. If I couldn’t find a husband—or even a boyfriend—in a place where nearly everyone was a kindhearted Christ-follower, what were the chances that I would find a guy anywhere else?

I had a friend who had recently downloaded a dating app, and she was bent on convincing me to try it too. I had never imagined meeting someone online and was quick to dismiss the app and the people on it. This was not an app where you might expect a Christian girl to look for a husband! Nevertheless, after a lot of persuasion and her creating a profile for me, I was swiping through a sea of faces and one-liners about all types of men.

Fast forward two years: I married my husband, Stanley, in December of 2017, and we met on that very dating app. If you are skeptical of online dating, like I was, I would like to set the record straight on a few myths I often hear in Christian circles.

1. People will judge me for dating online.

If friends or family are not supportive of online dating, maybe it’s time to ask them why. I must admit, while I didn’t look down on people for trying it, I never thought that I would try it, let alone gain a husband because of it. I always dreamed that I would meet my husband in some ridiculously romantic way, straight from the pages of a romance novel. I hoped that I would meet a dashing firefighter at a scheduled fire drill, a handsome doctor after a random brush in a hospital hallway, or a charming stranger in the produce section. Call me crazy, but dreaming and wishing for that seems a little sillier than meeting someone online.

2. Online dating cannot be a part of God’s plan.

Meeting a spouse online was never my intention. But God knew that I would choose to go on a less-than-wholesome app and that Stanley was on it as well. My radius wasn’t set large enough to match with my husband’s when I was on the app at home, but one day during my lunch at work, I decided to open it and do some browsing. I am confident that God worked everything together. That story praises God and shows that God is in all things—including dating apps and websites.

3. My family and friends would never support a relationship that started online.

If your friends and family are anything like mine, they love you and want you to be happy. If the person that you’ve met and started to date loves the Lord, makes you happy, and treats you well, then I would hope that friends and family would be supportive. If you think they will be hesitant to support a relationship forged online, wait for them get to know the person and grow to like them. Once your loved ones see all the great things you see in your boyfriend or girlfriend, they may not worry so much about the logistics of how you met.

4. Online dating is inherently superficial and cannot be God-honoring.

I think this all boils down to your mindset. You’re going to have a lot of people to look at, bios to read, and messages to respond to. You might love the extra attention, but I caution you to not become addicted to it. By nature, we love to feel admired and wanted. Being on a dating site, you can feel a whole lot of that. Remember that you are not there to collect as many admirers as possible. Focus your attention and energy on finding quality people. Look for the people who honor God in their words and actions. Give people a chance to talk to you; know when to end a conversation and move on.

Abbi with her husband Stanley at their wedding. Photo by Kara Gardner.

I can’t say that one site or app will work better than others, because I really think it is all up to God and His timing. Try a site or an app or two, and decide if you think it is worth it. Then give someone a chance. Maybe online dating won’t work for you, or maybe it will. Keep an open mind and a guarded heart.

You’ve probably heard this a million times, but it’s so true: Love comes when you least expect it. In your search for that special person, you may need to do something that makes you uncomfortable. Join the singles’ group at your church (or a neighboring church). Try online dating. Be open to friends and family setting you up with someone they know. Pray about God’s leading in your dating life, and trust that, in His timing and with His plan, your forever love will enter your life.

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