The following is a transcript of the audio.
A podcast listener named Nathan writes in to ask: “Is online Christian dating a good way to meet a future spouse if you don’t meet anyone through your church family?”
I say that the biblical issue here is not how you meet, but whom you marry. 1 Corinthians 7:39. Let’s just get this clear and then I will circle around to the other. A wife is bound to her husband as long as he lives, but if her husband dies she is free to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord. So a Christian is not free to marry outside the Lord. Or 2 Corinthians 6:14. Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. So biblically the bottom line for the follower of Christ is: Will you marry only a believer. And what saddens me, Tony, is how many believers get so entangled emotionally with unbelievers that they either throw away their convictions or they stand on their head to see the other person as a believer when he is not. So let me make it a little more precise. A mature believer will want his or her spouse not just to profess some kind of creed or be willing to go to church. What they will want is not just a marriage that is minimally Christian, but a Christian marriage. And a Christian marriage is described in Ephesians five like this. Wives, submit to your own husbands as to the Lord, for the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the Church. And husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the Church and gave himself for her.
Now what this means is a Christian woman won’t just look for a man who has a cross tattooed on his shoulder, but a man who is ready to die daily in the sacrificial calling of leading a home. Love as Christ loved the Church and gave himself for her. And a Christian man won’t just look for a woman who wears a cross around her neck, but is willing to die as she submits to his leadership in reliance upon Christ. Both husband and wife are engaged in constant self denial as they live out the beauty of the Christian marriage.
Jesus said no one can be his disciple unless they take up their cross and follow him. The Christian man or woman who wants to marry a follower of Jesus must look for a spouse who has learned what it is to die to self in allegiance to Jesus.
Now back to the Internet. You are circling around. If you know what you are looking for the way I have tried to describe it, I would think you could rule out a lot of losers by using the Internet. It won’t take long to learn from Facebook and Twitter and blogs if this man or woman is passionate for Jesus or if Jesus is an incidental mark on the shoulder or a trinket around the neck. Then, if contact happens there are great questions to ask. And I wrote 50 of them down. I don’t know, Tony, you might want to link to this document. I think it is at the Desiring God website, 50 questions that couples should ask. And they can be asked, you know, on the internet before you even meet the kind of things that really reveal what people are committed to.
So, answer. I am fine with meeting someone online and learning as much as possible about them. I have met numerous couples recently who said they met online and they are happily married. They are both mature Christians. I have got zero problem with that. The great question is: Are you mature enough to discern a worthy spouse? Put your energies into becoming that kind of person.
50 Questions to ask before you marry — its on our website, and actually it may be easier to find in the ebook. It’s there. desiringGod.org > books > title.