January 2, 2018

Dating

Gary Thomas — 

Should singles date someone only if they think they would like to marry them?

One of the more common comments I get after a seminar, or after someone has read The Sacred Search, is this: “Should dating be reserved only for someone you think you want to marry?”

The following email excerpt is typical:

“My parents did not allow us to have boyfriends growing up unless we were sure we wanted to marry them. So I grew up with the mindset of viewing guys through the lens of marriage material. When you’re in your early 20s and men are all over the place, it was easier than it is now, being 28 years old, single, a professional, not very experienced and facing family and community pressure on not being married… I had started to lose hope that following Christian values was not working…”

I so wince at that leap in logic: “I had started to lose hope that following Christian values was not working…”

An entire generation of Christians has grown up with the thought that dating is dangerous at best, and many are now in their thirties re-thinking that strategy, fighting not to become bitter and even questioning their faith. Let’s not assume, however, that what they were taught necessarily constitutes “Christian values.”

Joshua Harris has made headlines admitting that he might be in the process of re-thinking his message from his popular 1997 book, I Kissed Dating Goodbye.  I actually quote from Joshua’s book in The Sacred Search and while I’m pleased he’s re-thinking certain aspects of it, I have to confess that my dating lifestyle was not healthy, and I can imagine I could have benefitted from drifting more toward Josh’s teaching. Yet many are now telling me that their “non-dating” lifestyle wasn’t healthy, either. I believe Josh tried to thoughtfully counter many abuses in his (and my) day, and I’m grateful for his heart and courage (both then and now). Attacks on books usually take a few provocative statements out of context, make leaps in logic the author never intended, and often try to extend the logic to points that are absurd, and I have no interest in doing that to Josh.

But it’s fair to raise the question: what’s “responsible dating?” How serious do you have to be about each other before you become “exclusive?”

I talk with an increasing number of singles who were so fearful of making a mistake in dating that they never really did, and now feel like they have fewer choices than ever. Beliefs have consequences. If you fear dating, you may be closing the door on a primary avenue of finding someone to marry.

I’d like to throw out a few observations, and let you all react as you think it’s appropriate. This blog is more about opening up a conversation than it is about providing answers. I’ve said much of what I thought in The Sacred Search: What If It’s Not About Who You Marry, but Why?

  • The cultural reality of the Old and New Testaments were so radically different than today’s environment of choosing whom to marry that trying to find an authoritative “biblical pattern of dating” is a fool’s errand. We can (and should) apply biblical principles about how to treat each other, but there is not a true biblical method to follow, and talking as if there is one is hubris.
  • The frequent, very emotionally-involved dating cycle with many women that I grew up with was unhealthy and not conducive to finding a mate. We became exclusive as soon as we had feelings for each other, and when the feelings faded, we broke up. This created much hurt and wasted much time. Removing dating from any thought of potential marriage took me away from a more productive use of those years. Joshua might have over-done it when writing about courtship; I certainly over-did it when, in practice, I dated exclusively as soon as I felt like it.
  • One of the limitations of “courtship” is that you get locked into a relationship and are determined to try to make it work (since it does seem more serious than dating) when it may not be a wise match. A pseudo-engagement may receive more effort than it deserves or more commitment than the relationship can support. I implore singles to be very cautious about the first use of those two famous words “love” and “marriage.” You can’t take those words back, and I’ve seen a premature expression of them sap the joy out of a couple getting to know each other.
  • It’s healthy for young people to spend time with the opposite sex; it can also be helpful for young people to spend time with the opposite sex in a one-on-one setting. But how can we do this in a way that protects our emotions and doesn’t lead to a series of sexual relationships?
  • A godly person will not be quick to declare their emotions when they know infatuation is intense and fleeting. They will want to protect their heart and the heart of the person they’re interested in, more than they’ll want the immediate satisfaction of having an infatuation returned.
  • The “process” of dating does matter, as it turns you into a certain kind of person—one who takes selfish advantage of others or one who learns to serve and protect others. My unhealthy attitudes toward dating carried on into my marriage and nearly destroyed it in the early years. I hadn’t exposed the lies and selfishness behind dating and wasn’t emotionally or spiritually prepared for marriage. Thank God for his grace and Lisa for her perseverance.

A lot of singles come to this blog when we raise topics like this, so if you’d like to add some of your reflections in the comments, feel free. And singles, please let us know what it’s like out there!

When you subscribe to Gary’s blog, you will receive blog posts directly to your e-mail inbox. You will be one of the first to learn about the latest in Gary’s writing.

62 responses to Dating

  1. I am 35 years old. Married for 6 1/2 years. And have three children.

    This is a very weighty subject. But in a nutshell, I think the modern and western practice of dating can be dangerous. I do believe many of the problems and challenges in finding a spouse are addressed in having a biblical view of marriage, family, manhood, womanhood, and being a new creation in our Lord Jesus Christ.

  2. Hi Gary,
    Thanks for this blog. Am a single lady aged 32 and with some good experience about dating. I honestly think we should make as many friends of the opposite sex as we can while still single. We should only start concentrating on one particular person if we sense God’s leading in that direction. I don’t think random dating is wise, however good the couple maybe at keeping the boundaries. We should date people we can marry.

  3. My husband and I got married at 36 (less than 2 years ago) and were recently talking about some of the hangups I had while dating. I grew up with the mindset I would only date guys I could marry. While I believe there to be some wisdom in that, I think I took it too far. Especially in my 30s where online dating was the only way for me to meet eligible bachelors (I was actively looking in my circles and visiting another church with a young adults group but not finding anyone), I put too much pressure on the idea that I had to know if he was marriage material before going on a date. I would scour a guy’s profile, and we would exchange lengthy messages, divulging our past histories and personal fears, hopes, and dreams. We would know so much about each other, then we would finally talk. Once, I knew after that first phone call it wouldn’t go anywhere because we couldn’t even hold a conversation. So much time invested for nothing. Yet, I let it happen two more times. I had to know if they were good enough to marry before the first date. One of the guys lasted three dates, but he wanted to see other people too, and I’m a person that prefers to date one person at a time.

    Then, I thought I found the guy I would marry. We lived states apart but got to know each other extensively before deciding to meet in person 3 months later. I had a catch in my spirit during that visit, but I ignored it because we had already invested so much time getting to know each other. We continued dating through Skype and saw each other in person every few weeks as time allowed. It eventually ended because we were not right for each other. We matched up beautifully on paper but were largely incompatible in person. I think we would have only lasted 3 or 4 weeks if we lived near each other, but instead I invested nearly a year of my precious emotional energy in it. I was really jaded after that. I spent time seeking counsel and healing after the difficult breakup. If I had it to do over again, I wouldn’t put so much of my heart out there at the beginning, and I would get to the first date much sooner.

    I guess I applied that to some extent with the guy I married. A mutual friend told us both we needed to date. I was reluctant. His persistence paid off. After 3 or 4 no’s, I finally said yes. I didn’t know if he was even a Christian. I barely knew him, but I gave it a chance. We spent our first date getting to know each other. I found out he was a Christian. I found out he was funny. We found out we had conversational chemistry. We decided to go on another date and never stopped after that. We married less than a year later.

    I believe there is prudence in being discerning. I think it is wise to set boundaries and to not put yourself in compromising situations. I have learned too that putting too much pressure on the first date can scare guys away or cause irrational thinking to rule the day. I encourage singles to go on a date with someone before pouring out their hearts and time getting to know only part of the whole package. If singles are looking for a less-pressure date, try meeting for coffee or lunch or mini golf. I also encourage singles to have wise people around who can speak into the relationships. I encourage everyone to listen to what God says to you through impressions and guy instincts. Check those impressions with the wise people around you. Lastly, relax and have fun. Sometimes I was way too uptight and neither of us had a good time. It is possible to have a good date and it end there. It’s hard to date these days, but it’s not impossible. There are still good people out there with strong values.

  4. I’ve observed that no matter the system, there are those who try to game it, and those who approach it sincerely. When I was in college I belonged to one of those no dating churches. Some young people took it to heart and pursued the Lord instead of a social life until they were ready to marry, some flirted carefully while staying inside the ‘rules’ of no dating, and some just ignored it and went ahead and dated. I would like to say one way worked out best, but after thinking about it, the situation was just too complicated. Personal maturity was definitely the most important factor, and there is no replacement for it. Some sincere people lacked maturity, and were therefore at the mercy of both extreme teachings in the church, and the influence of the world. The Christian Players, as I’ve come to call them, all ended up having a difficult time of it, as their strategy worked for awhile, but then became apparent. Overall, I think that the no dating teaching had the effect of young people specifically not learning about relationship dynamics directly, but waiting for ‘God’s perfect match,’ and then entering a serious relationship quickly with few tools other than alot of theoretic teaching. It isn’t a recipe for strong relationships in a changing world.

    • Kathleen, you capture the issue so well (that I unfortunately ignored) when you wrote, “Personal maturity was definitely the most important factor and there is no replacement for it.” I was so immature when I dated that any form of dating was likely to also be immature. And perhaps mature people can use any number of methods to date maturely. Very helpful addition to the discussion. Thank you!

  5. This is an interesting discussion. Thank you for your thoughts, Pastor Gary and responders. I am very disillusioned with the contemporary, mainstream dating scene, so I often define something different in how I “date” or am “courted” when I speak with my less churched or non-churched friends and acquaintances. I think dating God’s way as a believer in Jesus Christ is a little of both. In mainstream dating, physical affection is intended to occur earlier and prior to commitment to determine if the two want commitment. In courting as has been defined to me, church, friend and family input occurs earlier and precedes commitment. In courting, the commitment precedes physical affection in preparation for staying pure by making a marriage commitment before sexual intimacy. There might even be others who have different definitions. Since so many people define both differently, I think it is important to ask people to define what they mean by the terms. I do agree not be hasty to use the terms love and marriage. I know I personally don’t want to date a man exclusively I don’t think is marriage potential, and I do see great wisdom in involving others early in the process of dating/courting, depending on how it is defined. I really need God’s help daily in this. I am divorced and hoping to marry again someday. I was very vulnerable after my divorce, because I had been a victim of domestic violence. I knew I was vulnerable in wanting a tender, gentle, and strong man. I asked God for an army to help me stay pure until marriage again if He intended that for me, and He helped me. The pressure has been put on recently, and trusting God helped in a challenging situation. I agree with Pastor Gary and the other responders before me who defined aspects of dating. Some combination of courting and dating can be healthy, I think, depending on definition and intention.

  6. I am 65 and a widow of 3 years. It is so very different to date at this age after 32 years of marriage. I have not read the Sacred Search, but wonder if it could speak to my needs as I am perhaps in the 4th quarter of life….much more focused on living in the present rather than focused on future hopes, dreams, and having children.

    • Teresa, The Sacred Search wasn’t written with older adults in mind, but I do think many of the principles–the Matthew 6:33 imperative, looking for character over feelings, etc.–would be readily applicable. Given normal life spans, you could have, God willing, another two or three decades ahead of you, so making a wise choice on remarriage is still essential.

  7. I am female, age 56. I just went through dating a so-called “christian” man 20yrs older than me. That did not seem weird to me as my deceased husband was 20yrs older than me. The are that broke the relationship was when the male started bringing up every verse in the New Testament NIV Bible that had to do with man and wife.
    When he stated that the woman would no longer have any say in anything and definitely no right to make any decisions at all, that was one thing. However, when he said that this meant that a woman had no right to go out for a meeting or meal with another male, even tho it may be for business and most definitely that the woman was not to ever be on stage ie female minister etc., that was the breaking point for me.
    Tho I am disAbled, did you notice the A on Abled? That means that I am doing my best to use my God given Abilities in Writing, Public Speaking, Singing and Filmaking – all of these areas require me to have meetings, restaurant meeting, etc. with males.
    What is the truth on this are of man and woman whether in dating or in marriage?

  8. Reading other readers’ comment goes a long way to tell there is a lot of challenges going on regarding dating these days. Most of us don’t even know exactly what steps to take as it was mentioned on the blogpost.

    One thing is certain though, maintaining boundaries and keeping things clean with the opposite sex. With the world today, our jobs, commitments, ministry and life generally. It seems to be getting more arduous to meet a prospective partner with similar goals and aspirations for God, Life and relationships.

    We all have experienced various disappointments regarding dating even though we seek godly relationships. We just have to keep trusting God, not be overwhelmed by our challenge of not yet meeting the partner we seek. And that we maximize our single status to the glory of God doing all that we can to please Him. At the right time God will bring our path across the right person. We also have to be open and ready when that person comes, so we don’t shut the door to who we ought to actually open up to.

    In all we should do all to the glory of God. Reading this post and others’ comments have been comforting I must say. Thanks Gary and thanks to everyone for sharing. I’m a 32 year old male, never married, no kids, passionate about doing all to the pleasure and glory of my Master.

  9. As a guy, I was fortunate (or I thought otherwise!) to have very good platonic female friends that helped me understand and work through some of the emotions and gaffes that every guy has to face growing up. Not the physical attraction part of things, but the emotional cues and just plain nice behavior that a boy/man is supposed to have, and that girls/women would appreciate, notwithstanding that any advice from parents would be uncool at that time. Does it count as dating if I did hang around with them? There was no intention, in light of my perceived inadequacy, of ever being a good “boyfriend” to them. It did get real lonely as they moved on, had boyfriends and it became inappropriate to be hanging around together. Looking back, God used that downtime to prepare me to be good husband material, not boyfriend material , but I can say after 15 years of marriage, that it is still a work-in-progress. *grin*

  10. With our son, we’re planning on chaperoning (by the way, he’s only 4 right now, but thinking ahead). In this world, even if one’s own child is trustworthy, who’s to say the person they are with is also trustworthy. Also, there’s just too much temptation at the dating age, why risk it?

  11. In my experience (of dating in much the same way that Gary did), I found that oversharing in two major areas was the cause of all sorts of grief and shame which turned dating from a healthy experience into a destructive one:

    Emotional entanglement that happened too quickly and deeply, and

    Sexual entanglement that happened too quickly and deeply.

    I believe that these two issues are basically the sole reasons that dating became “dangerous” rather than a healthy experience for me and the young men I became involved with.

    When we caution young people against dating because of these two things, i believe we’re throwing the baby out with the bath water. Therefore, if young people can date while avoiding these pitfalls, I believe it can be a very good experience for both parties, allowing them to hold onto a bit of sanity while navigating the overwhelming waters of infatuation as they get to know each other.

    Thank you for this post, Gary. Forwarding it to my daughters!

  12. Thanks for this post. We have five kids between 14-22 and this is relevant. I agree that “trying to find an authoritative “biblical pattern of dating” is a fool’s errand.” That said, a post like this should reference something from God’s Word – which is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path. May I suggest simply including the beginning of I Tim 5? ‘Treat younger men as brothers, older women as mothers and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity.’

    I would also suggest that most singles can have fun and serve one another and learn about one another in group outings. My encouragement to the young men is to learn to initiate these gatherings and invite your ‘sisters’ to join you.

  13. Although initial attraction may be present, observing people as they digest the Word and interact with others as well as yourself can give you a good indication of their character and where their priorities are. You can relax, have fun and be yourself without any pressure to meet the expectations one often feels on a date. Recreational activities in groups can also give you feedback on character and compatibility. Watch how he/she treats others, what their sense of humor is like, if they are more concerned about others or themselves. There is much to learn without the pressure of a one on one situation. Our group actually went through the book, Sacred Search as a small group and then as a larger group through our church. I recommend it to everyone, from teen to those who are single again!

  14. Christopher Black January 2, 2018 at 7:57 am

    Every generation seems to have an ongoing dialogue on how to approach relationships with the opposite sex. In my Christian circles growing up, all of the “discussions” (to be fair, at least in the way I remember them) were thriller playwrights intended to scare a teen away from the dangers of sex…of very limited value in actually traversing and embracing Godly relationships.

    I too have greatly appreciated Harris’s thoughts on dating, and wish I had been exposed to his Biblical reasoning while I was embarking upon this stage of my life. My take away from his “I kissed dating goodbye” book, was not an instruction for all to avoid dating, but his personal journey of stopping dating to figure out a better approach. His conclusions amounted to a strong encouragement to keep the romance out of relationships, and simply embrace friendships until time to pursue a marriage. Then only allow romance in proportion to the commitment (“the joy of intimacy is the reward of commitment”). I believe this is not a Biblical mandate, or direct command, but certainly a very Biblical sentiment in order to not even have a hint of sexual immorality, and to treat each other as sisters and brothers.

    His second book, “Boy Meets Girl” fumbles through a way of purposefully starting the marriage approach. I think more thoughts and effort would be valuable in navigating the best way to broach this step of relationships–I think “Sacred Search” certainly helps with many of the practical concerns and reasoning at this stage.

    I am teaching my children to pursue friendships, but avoid all romance (holding hands, kissing, excessive emotional intimacy, etc.) until the point where that intimacy is protected in marriage. My first of 10 kids is just entering this phase of her life, so maybe I’ll have more wisdom to add in a few years.

    Thanks for the thoughts, even though I don’t usually comment, I regularly appreciate and am encouraged by your counsel.

  15. As a father of 9 daughters (and 3 sons), this current climate of relationships concerns me. Sometimes it feels like as a father, I’m driving up a narrow winding mountain road with a deadly sheer drop and if I take an eye off the road or a hand off the wheel, it’s devastation. We’re also living in a time when marriage isn’t necessarily being hailed as a relevant institution, with nearly 50% of children in the US being born to unmarried parents. This is the result of many factors, not the least of which is poor examples set by today’s Christian homes. So what’s a family to do when it comes to dating or what’s a single to do if you’re out on your own? Are we in a place where we can purposefully and meaningfully reverse the trends, or are we looking at rapids we must simply learn to navigate to survive?

    While I agree that we are far removed from the culture and time of the Old and New Testaments (and from every other seemingly easier environment in the last 2000 years for pure and honorable relationships to exist), and I agree that every relationship can’t just be fully on toward marriage or fully off towards it, I do believe there are boundaries and moral wisdom that can and must come into play. Today’s highly sexualized culture seeks to diminish the importance of purity and exclusivity by a try it before you buy it mentality. I remember Robert Lewis (author of Raising a Modern Day Knight) in his book the New Eve (written 10 years ago) quoting a Fox News article where an ad agency polled 500 men and 500 women asking at what point in the relationship it was okay to have sex. The majority of men said on the 4th or 5th date. Shockingly, the women said between the first and second. So if that’s where secular culture is, we have got to make an effort to set a new standard for normal.

    I think it has to begin by first gracefully recognizing that every person’s path to ”today” is different. Their historical background is different, their present spiritual ability to walk out relationships and purity is different, and their support system and convictions are different. That’s going to require much grace to synchronize two individuals into what we know one day will become “one”.

    Then we have to recognize that everyone is the same. The apostle Paul in 1Corinthians Chapter 7:1-2 says that it’s good for man not to touch a woman that’s not their wife because it will lead to immorality. (This is a good practice for those who are married, like my wife and I have been for 27 years.) You cannot escape the reality that God designed us in such a way so that when physical contact begins to take place in relationships it leads to temptation. Solomon asks “can a man take fire into his bosom and his clothes not be burned?”

    It’s also a very difficult environment for young women, given the typical way men are wired and the real competition they face from today’s pornography epidemic. Believe me, my daughters aren’t locked in a tower, but I’m tempted to build, ha ha.

    I’m not a Christian prude either, my wife and I dated for nearly 2 years before getting married. That dating relationship was marked by immoral behavior and resulted in a child conceived out of wedlock. We got married, and God wrote a beautiful story. But sadly, that is not often how the story goes.

    For our family (and that’s as far as I’m willing to say anyone should take this statement), we have determined that it makes the most sense and is in line with the Word, to walk beside our children in their relationships (at least as far as they’re willing to let us) and offer accountability and counsel throughout the process. This is easier, of course, if they live within the home. The further away they are, the more difficult it becomes. This requires humility on the part of those who are dating, because if they are outside of the convenience of regular interaction, they’ll need to find people they trust who will hold them accountable to moral purity and help keep them on track. I remember you saying in Sacred Marriage “that marriage is not about happiness, it’s about holiness”. That means that Christians who choose to date need to consider one another in the light of whether or not they can help us reach that goal. That means casual interactions and cultural dating can’t be taken lightly. I’ve come to believe that God places people in our path and allows us to walk beside them in friendship and/or ministry so that we can observe those characteristics that would benefit our Christian walks together. With accountability, and some Biblical wisdom relative to physical interaction, I think one can navigate these treacherous waters. But if you take your eye off the road, or if you take one hand off the wheel, the scars and devastation can be deep and long lasting.

  16. Thanks.again Gary. for.your blog. Its aslways thought provoking and fun to read. Included in wanting to find a guy who truly demonstrated his faith through is character and behavoirs there are things on an interpersonal level that may make it easier to see if he’s marraiage material. Does he listen to your complaints with an eagerness in heart to understand you and meet to half way or at times all the way if it is more important to you then it is to him? Is he willing to put selfish justifications aside in order to build up the relationship and without feeling as though he cant be happy finding joy in participating in what you both enjoy. Or does he act defensively nearly every time you attempt to go deep about your preferences. Does he remember the details as you express what you like and don’t like. Does that attentiveness to detail come out in random acts of kindness or in acts of mutual reciprocity? Or does he dismiss your clues and use “I don’t have a good memory” to conractly take himself off the hook.
    Those are a few patterns to look out for.
    Blessings to you singles on the lookout for a great partner!
    Annette

  17. Good thoughts.
    I believe dating needs to be defined in a healthy way and then, within those confines, it is a wonderful way to get to know people of the opposite sex before you are married.
    Physical purity would be a huge and important part of healthy dating. The rule: treat the person as though they were your sibling or cousin.
    Saving emotions and declarations of exclusivity for engagement (or very close to) is healthy in my opinion.
    Thank you for brining up this topic. I believe it is necessary to discuss.

    • Hi Joanna, You nailed it. This is the counsel that Paul gave to Timothy in I Timothy 5; “Treat younger men like brothers…… younger women as sisters, in absolute purity.

  18. I am 25 years old and have dated two men seriously in my life. Each relationship lasted a few months…and each one was emotionally toxic. Marriage was brought up way too early and wisdom/discernment were tossed aside. It was very painful discovering major sin addictions in both guys. I learned the hard way that rushing things is not a good idea.

    However, now I struggle to figure out how to meet local men that I’m interested in (& who would be interested in me). All the guys who show interest online live far away and it makes it much harder to build a friendship. I have a very mobile job that makes me work on weekends, so meeting people at church is almost impossible.

    I am called to the mission field, so I decided that I’m going to pursue that and pray for God to bring a partner in ministry into my life…I will Run after Him, trusting that He will provide a husband if He wills that I marry. I desire a husband and children greatly…but Jesus must be my first desire and only Hope.

    • Hi Amelia, your heart is gold. My concern is for the hours of your present occupation and how it limits your opportunity to be involved in ‘missional community’ right here and now. Where you live is a mission field and engaging in outreach and service where you are right now would seem to be the next step before what sounds like cross cultural missions. Christ centered missional men are out there – maybe right in your community?

    • Amelia, yours is a common complaint. It’s not easy to meet quality people out there. One of my daughters met her now boyfriend while both were doing short-term missions work in India. If you’re called to the mission field, the mission field is a great place to look for a mate. Find someone who has the same passion and is already doing what you believe you are called to do.

  19. Thank you Gary, I very much enjoy your blogs as well as the book & dvd of Sacred Search.
    In response to today’s blog: I’m 53, single, never married, no children and like others had ship wreck dating. As a committed Christian, growing & maturing according to a new creation in Christ, a lot of baggage is dropping–changing the mindset. However, the desire to marry has somewhat faded but not all:). Fears from what I’ve seen & heard about marriage enter my thoughts .
    I’m challenged by: dating more than one person or “the one”. I’ll keep working on me to uproot unrealistic expectations so I can bring wholeness to the relationship. It’s a challenge to freely open the door to allow someone into my life. I do know it’s not ALL about me BUT serving the other person.

  20. I am 25 year old single Christian woman who has had to wrestle through all of these teachings, books, and philosophies. Just this year, I kissed NOT dating goodbye and joined EHarmony. I get judged by most of my Christian friends (sp. female). They say “I am not trusting the Lord.” Most of these women are my age and have never even been on a date and are hoping to marry soon. It’s sad. We need to start openly addressing the need to date. It’s not an unholy thing to date. We need wisdom (and tons of prayer) in doing it. I hate how so many Christians are putting God on their singleness. I try to get most of my friends to listen to Dr. Henry Cloud’s teachings on dating. I think he has a solid balance of trusting God and yet pursuing dating.

    • Hi Heather,
      God bless you. It sounds like you are in a community of believers with similar values. Is there service that your friends and you can do together? Can you invite others, including young Christian men, to join you in this service? This may be a platform to meet and engage Christ centered men who value serving others and do this in a missional community.

    • Heather, I hope you are encouraged by Prov 18:22: “He who FINDS a wife finds a good thing….” (emphasis mine) I believe this verse suggests that we are justified in intentionally LOOKING for a spouse, and that doing so is a response to the God-desire to find one. Blessings to you!

    • Heather, I believe the “passive approach” to finding a mate is one of the worst teachings in the church today, and I try to take it on in The Sacred Search. You’re doing a good thing and chasing a good thing, and I believe God will honor that. “Wisdom is proved right by her actions.” Beliefs have consequences, and I think you’ll be pleased with your choice.

    • I think that being proactive about finding a spouse is a wonderful thing and I don’t believe that it shows lack of faith in God. Dating sites don’t find you a spouse, they just give you more changes to meet someone, especially someone with your same values.