Online Dating and Match Making

Television advertisements about online dating and match making services abound in today’s world.  Singles, widows and widowers, those over 50 etc, have exclusive sites.  We hear stories about couples finding true love online, but I still wonder about the on-going validity of such match making.  Relationships may begin online, but they have to be cultivated face to face!  I know about one couple that met online and today are happily married.  It’s because what they began online was taken to the next all-important level.

Nothing beats relationship building one-on-one, person-to-person.  Talking to individuals in chat rooms is risky because a lot of people are masters at disguising their true identity and character.  I’ve personally dealt with two women who chose to go online looking for male companionship, and ended up in serious trouble–lawsuits, bodily threats and harassing calls.  I realize my comments may sound like a Lifetime Movie plot!  But still, be careful!

In addition, Facebook can be a wonderful tool to keep in touch with past and present friends; however, you need to be careful with whom you connect.  Sadly, the world is full of not-so-nice people.  Accordingly, online dating and match making websites may screen applicants, but that still does not insure your total safety.

Let me share several insights about online communication.  Take them or leave them!

1.  Online relationships do not allow for eye contact, voice inflections, accurate spiritual discernment, or body language in general.  You can’t REALLY get to know someone through cyberspace (even with Skype, Face Time or video chat).  The other party can still partially maintain his/her anonymity, or allow you to “see” an extremely edited version of him or herself. You could be addressing a serial killer and not know it!

2.  Unfortunately, the world is full of people who have hidden agendas, impure motives and con artists.  Too much information about you may prove harmful to your mental, emotional and even financial health.  Be careful.

3.  Cyber-connecting, online dating and even chatting can be dangerous when an individual relinquishes too much personal information.  Cyber voyeurs are looking for people on which to prey.  Misdirected, angry people all too easily obtain information that could lead to scary results.  Did you hear about the woman in California whose online chat partner learned where she lived, and later robbed and murdered her?  This of course, is the exception, but still such online practices beckon us to be very cautious.

When it comes to online dating sites, I guess they’re okay if the site is reputable.  From what I understand, these sites protect anonymity until correct “matches” have been found, and the individuals in question give approval (and credit card information!) before names and personal information are released.  I guess this method of connection is better than bar hopping!

Let me suggest Christian singles groups and even churches for singles looking for potential mates.  This of course, is after you have prayed for guidance and God’s will in this all-important aspect of your life.  I admit it.  I went to Evangel University for two reasons: (1) to get my degree, and (2) to assist Lori with her M.R.S. degree!  I just didn’t know her name when I arrived on campus!

Nothing outweighs the beauty and necessity of eye-to-eye contact.  The Holy Spirit gives us much needed discernment when we are able to look into someone’s eyes–in person.  Always be suspicious of someone who cannot look you in the eyes when he/she talks to you.  You may be dealing with shyness, but you could also be dealing with trouble. I’ve taught for years that the eyes are windows to the soul.  Emails, chat rooms, Facebook, and Twitter all have their place, but if you’re looking for a date or more important–a life’s mate, you need more than the impersonal venue of cyberspace.

God made us to connect!  We are “body” people and we need to exercise our senses.  I love what John writes about Jesus: “What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the Word of life (1 John 1:1).”  Cyberspace provides incomplete, even distorted views.  I know I’m old-fashioned, but I can’t imagine marriage proposals made online when two parties have never “heard, seen and touched” in the physical realm.  Yes, I’ve heard stories about couples finding love online, but I still value more personal venues.



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