Dating apps: To use or not to use?

Samantha Chin // February 12, 2019, 3:59 pm

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Photo by The Verge

“Can a Christian use dating apps? And would you consider using one?”

Though dating apps have been around for years, I didn’t think about using them. That is, until friends started asking me these questions, and I discovered more people — whom I never thought would do so — were using the apps.

I needed to search my heart, surrender my deep desires, and seek God’s wisdom. 

The simple answer to the first question is: Yes, Christians can use dating apps.

However, as Paul says in 1 Corinthians 10:23: “’All things are lawful’, but not all things are helpful.”

Using a dating app may not be a sin, but would doing so draw me closer to God? This leads me to the second question, but let me share my thought process and hopefully that will help you come to a decision for yourself.

What is my heart’s condition?

I am nearly 30, single, and have never been in a relationship (there, I’ve said it). I have watched friends my age get engaged, marry and have children.

The desire to finally find a partner – that someone special – and to know what it’s like to be loved by a guy who I love can get overwhelming. That, coupled with the fear of being “left on the shelf”, puts me in a potentially risky position. With the ease of meeting new guys, can I be so sure that I won’t jump into a relationship just to fulfil that deep longing?

I needed God to search my heart first (Psalm 139:23-24), surrender my deep desires, and seek His wisdom in deciding if dating apps were for me. 

What are my values?

Dating apps are mostly free, and creating an account is almost effortless. Yet its accessibility is also an inherent risk. Here, we have a pool of eligible and available people, but how many of them are merely looking for hook-ups, or are of a different faith?

The Bible doesn’t dictate how to search for a life partner, but it does exhort us to surrender our plans to Him (Proverbs 3:5-6). 

If the only person who “super likes” my profile is not a believer, and keeping in mind that I am looking for a life partner, would I be able to resist the temptation to swipe right on his profile (or indicate my interest)?

If I decide to have a chat with this match, and then discover that he is almost everything I want in a guy, would I possess the willpower to keep things platonic?

Though dating apps open up the possibility of meeting more people, they also lead to possible temptations. I had to be sure of what I believe in, so that I would not be found wanting if I started using these platforms.

What would my reasons be?

The most common reason for using dating apps has to be that there are no eligible singles in our social circle, and we simply have no time to make new friends by signing up for classes (SkillsFuture anyone?) or attending matchmaking events.

That is certainly true for some, but for the rest of us, are we choosing what is convenient and quick? Do we lack the social skills to make friends in real life, or have we become too comfortable hiding behind a screen? Are we being too choosy about the people we meet in church or ministry, writing them off without giving them a chance? These are honest questions I had to ask myself.

What am I comfortable with?

For me, though I ascertained that I had surrendered my heart and was willing to seek God’s guidance in using dating apps, I finally decided that it was not something I was comfortable with. I still prefer meeting and interacting with new friends face-to-face.

In fact, a friend who tried using one of these apps observed that meeting someone online doesn’t give us the opportunity to see them in their “natural habitat” because the perception of each person can be carefully constructed. Though I am just as likely to base my first judgements on appearance, interacting in person gives me an opportunity to observe their character and personality too.

What if I were to use dating apps?

If you have answered the questions above and found peace in using dating apps, ask God for wisdom to discern the truth from the lies, and be committed to conduct yourself in a worthy and authentic manner (James 1:5, Philippians 1:27).

Lisa Anderson, the director of Boundless, a Focus on the Family ministry which focuses on dating and marriage, advises that while these apps may facilitate conversations, actual dating only begins when you meet face to face.

  • Don’t act like a couple before meeting for the first time.
  • Involve your family and trusted friends in the process – that allows you to observe how the other person interacts with people and also hear honest opinions about him or her.
  • Finally, continue to keep your eyes and heart open in your church or ministry – don’t restrict your search to the online world.

These are just some principles I would keep in mind if I were to use dating apps.

The Bible doesn’t dictate what method to use in our search for a life partner, but it does exhort us to surrender our desires and plans to Him (Proverbs 3:5-6). We can trust that He will guide our search, whether online or off.

This was written for and first published by Focus on the Family Singapore and is republished with permission.

About the author

Samantha Chin

Samantha finds great meaning in her work and has a desire to impact lives. Serving in the youth development initiative, FamChamps, she is passionate about equipping youth to champion for Family from young. She enjoys spending quality time with her family and friends, and finds walking her dog highly therapeutic.