What is God’s will for your relationship? Dr. Jim shows why you shouldn’t rush into a relationship while on an online dating service. God will reveal His will over time; you just need to listen to Him.
Dear Jim: How can I be sure that the relationship I have started is one that is in God’s will?
As I relate to Christian singles, I often receive an email that includes something about God’s will in it. Perhaps the person says, “We met last week/month on a Christian dating site and it has become evident to each of us that our relationship is God’s will.” Or it will surface in a question “What’s is God’s will that I do about?”
I certainly believe in God’s will and know that Christ says that we should be busy doing the will of His/our Father. However the other words that follow in the emails often reflect a ‘rushing’ toward a desired victory.
Other emails are received with a heartbreaking story sharing how they just knew the relationship was God’s will, but the marriage, sex, or rejection is tearing them apart and they are very confused.
Allow me to share some thoughts as they relate to God’s will and dating – especially as they relate to online dating:
If you find yourself discussing marriage after only a few emails and you have never met face-to-face, I do not believe that God’s will could be known at this stage. Slow down and let a thorough process reveal if this is the right/best relationship for you.
God uses others in our lives to confirm His will for us. No, they will not be perfect but they can give you some great insights. Do not ask someone who you think will just say, ‘Go for it!’ Pray and think about who in your family and close friends are Christians and will pray with you about the developing relationship.
Always seek the counsel of a licensed marriage counselor or a Pastor trained in counseling. They can bring spiritual and practical applications to your understanding that are very important for success. Do not go once and think that is enough. It will be a process over many sessions.
Step back from the relationship and ask yourself some hard questions:
- “What is it about this person that I cannot live without?”
- “What is it about this person that would be very annoying after marriage?”
Make a list of the pluses and minuses and look at them long and hard. You do not know enough about them to make a list – especially on the negative side? You need to give the relationship a lot more time. Everyone has negatives and if you do not see any, then I suggest that you are not seeing ALL of them. Check more tips on our post: Relationship Advice.
It is wonderful to find someone with whom you can pray and discuss things of God. This is an essential ingredient to a strong and successful Christian relationship. Long distance prayers via phone and Internet are not the same as doing so in person over an extended period of time.
Caution: Prayer develops intimacy and I suggest that this level of praying should not be done at the initial stage of a relationship. The intimacy might mask other things that you should be observing.
What are your motivations in using the Internet to find a relationship?
You are both ‘hunters’ – which is not a bad thing – but you must recognize the forces involved. TAKE TIME and let God confirm to you, over and over, in a variety of ways that this is the relationship for you.
One final thought that comes to mind. Is your relationship a partnership or is something out of balance with the give and take of the relationship? Are your discussions primarily focused on what satisfies each other? Is the other person self-centered and turns the conversations to themselves frequently? Relationships should be a healthy sharing and caring and not just doing what makes each other feel good.
God will reveal His will over time.
Online dating is a wonderful vehicle to meet new singles. It also expedites expectations – and they too often get ahead of reality. God can use Christian dating sites to bring someone into your life. He has used it for others and this could be the way He will do it for you. But do not rush into anything too quickly when a great person begins to relate to you. Do your ‘DUE DILIGENCE’. Allow time and enjoy the building of a healthy and deep relationship. See how the other person is around family and friends. God will reveal His will over time to each of you.
May He guide you as you relate to others and build wonderful friendships. Great friendship will develop the opportunity for the one you are seeking.