Is it wrong to use dating apps? For me, the short answer would be “No.” After all, that’s how I met my husband!
Dating apps and I go a long way back — but not in a good sense. You might call me a reluctant dating app user. Unlike most people, I never really seemed to care much about dating. As I got older, my mother, who used to say, “Study hard, don’t date,” would instead say, “Stop working, go meet people”! It wasn’t just her. My sisters were doing it too. You can imagine my horror when they discovered dating apps. They created profiles for me and started looking for “suitable” guys, even striking up conservations with them on my behalf. That marked my entry into the online dating world.
HOW YOU MEET IS NOT AS IMPORTANT AS WHO YOU MARRY.
In days of old, the only way that you could meet a potential marriage partner was through personal connections, such as friends and family. Technology has opened things up, allowing you to meet people you previously would not have been able to. There’s nothing wrong with dating apps in themselves. But at the end of the day, how you meet is not as important as who you marry. Just as with anything in life, wisdom and discernment is required.
During my stint with dating apps, I learned that while they can be effective, there are things we should be mindful of. If you’re thinking about using them, check your readiness below:
Know why you are on the app.
If you are not ready to get into a relationship with marriage as the end goal, maybe it is not the right time to use dating apps (or to date at all!). In the Song of Solomon, this phrase is repeated three times: “Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires” (2:7, 3:5, 8:4). If you are not ready to date seriously or mature enough to discern a worthy spouse, then be patient! Whether online or offline, dating in a godly manner requires us to carefully consider Who, Why, and When we date.
I’ll be honest. I never really used the apps properly until it struck me that if I continued as I was, I would probably remain single, and I wasn’t yet sure if that was what I really wanted. It became clear that I had to make an active decision about singlehood, and so my Why was to meet single Christian guys to assess if I wanted to stay single or pursue marriage. Once my Why was clear, it was easy to talk to the guys and I even got a chance to encourage some of them as brothers in the faith.
Use the app safely.
There are all types of online dating apps, and some are safer than others.
While I started out using both OKCupid and Coffee Meets Bagel (CMB), I quickly abandoned OKCupid. There were far too many weird messages coming from older men. I felt preyed on. CMB was far better as it allowed me to message and get to know someone on the platform first before I gave them my phone number. Some apps even allow you to set filters such that only you (the female) can initiate a conversation, preventing you from receiving unwanted advances from men. Do your research, and choose apps that keep you safe.
THE MORE LIKES ON MY PROFILE, THE MORE ATTRACTIVE I MUST BE? THAT WAS FAR FROM THE TRUTH.
The other way to stay on safe ground is through your profile. I decided to be very upfront about my faith, because I believed that someone who would ‘swipe right’ on such a girl was unlikely to be weird or bad. I also decided to only swipe right on guys who were not shy about declaring their love for God.
Finally, assuming that you are a teenager, never meet someone you met on a dating app without your parents’ knowledge. Avoid disclosing personal information like your home address or school until you are certain that this is a person who is worthy of your trust. Keep yourself accountable to a trusted church leader and wise friends. Think about how you can keep yourself safe!
To go back to the question on whether it is okay to use dating apps, you now have my long answer. There is nothing inherently wrong with them, but I would encourage you to first examine your motivation for using them, determine your readiness to date before jumping in, and always prioritise your safety. Whether you meet your future spouse on an app or bump into him on the street is really not the important thing — what matters most is that you have sought the Lord, and found the right person in His right time. Trust in His timing, and let Him lead you!