Love me Tinder? The struggle of dating in a digital age
Let’s just be perfectly honest: Dating isn’t easy. Honestly, I would argue that it’s not even fun. Technology has tried to make dating easier with the addition of online dating and dating apps. On the other hand, I would also argue that technology has taken away from what dating is all about — getting to know the person on more than a surface level.
I’m currently in my early 30s. Let me translate that: I’m currently in the I’m-not-married-yet-so something-must-be-wrong-with-me age group. And yes, that stigma still exists.
The fact that most of my friends are married and have started their families — I have the bridesmaids dresses to prove it — leave me amazed. I’m not amazed they are married and happy. I’m amazed they were able to find their person in this dating environment.
Dating Is Different Today
Dating has definitely changed since my parents got married. During their day, dating meant something. Dating had a point: marriage.
Today, there is no end goal for dating. This shift puts the emphasis on getting attention now, not building a relationship forever. As a female, my pre-date anxieties include a mix of the following:
Am I pretty enough?
Does he like my body?
Am I wearing the right clothes that are a mix of sexy and modest?
Is my makeup perfect?
What does he think about me?
When my mom was dating, her thoughts were totally different. She wanted to know the type of man my father was. She wanted to know his family. She wanted to know if he was going to be able to provide for his family. Most important, she want to know if he was going to be able to lead his family in a godly manner. See the difference?
Without technology, there were deeper things to worry about other than snapping a photo at the perfect angle and editing the photo to add perfect eyebrows.
Psalm 139:14 reminds me that “I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” God already thinks we are pretty enough. He likes our bodies because He made our bodies. God thinks the world of us. In fact, He thinks so much of us that He has every single item in our lives in order — including us finding the person we are supposed to be with.
The Problem With Swiping Right
Today, we live in a gimme world. We are even this way when it comes to God. We tell God gimme a good mate, but we are not doing the work needed to become a good mate. We tell God gimme a great life, but we are not doing the work needed to be good in life.
So when we don’t feel like we are getting what we asked for in our dating lives, we look for a quick solution.
Let’s be honest: If you’re on Tinder, you’re probably not asking your date to meet you at church so you can sit together. More than likely, you’ve had the opposite experience. You meet at a restaurant or bar, have a few drinks, and get some food. One thing leads to another, and you end up knowing the person before you get to actually know the person.
We chase what feels good in the moment but we are chronically dissatisfied, discovering the same emptiness Solomon describes in Ecclesiastes:
“I denied myself nothing my eyes desired;
I refused my heart no pleasure.
My heart took delight in all my labor,
and this was the reward for all my toil.
Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done
and what I had toiled to achieve,
everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind;
nothing was gained under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 2:10-11).
God wants something greater for us than fleeting romance. In marriage, God allows us to experience His sacrificial, everlasting love in a way no other relationship comes close to (Ephesians 5:21-33).
A hook-up is about filling a physical desire, but marriage is about making a covenant. If you considered, “This could be my husband” or “This could be my wife,” would it change how you are dating? What would change if you start looking at marriage as the end game instead of a few fun nights out?
Dating in the Digital World Without Losing Your Soul
God gives us the ability to discern what’s from Him and what is from our flesh (1 Corinthians 2:14, Philippians 1:9-10). And if we aren’t sure, we can ask for help knowing He promises to guide us along the way (James 1:5, Proverbs 2:1-5).
Remember who you are in Christ. Remember you are His child. Remember He wants nothing but the best for you. Remember God’s timing is always perfect. Remember God loves you.
Stop spending your days longing for a mate, and instead focus on the fact God is preparing the perfect mate for you and remember this is a perfect time to work on yourself. You are God’s child, and as we find our joy in Him, He fulfills the desires of our hearts (Psalm 37:4).
You’re going to get the absolute best of what God has to offer you, so it’s OK to slow down and wait for Him. And most important, when it seems like no one is loving you, remember God has and always will.