How to find your better half in the digital era


Christian Life


A phone showing the dating application Bumble. Photo AFP, Eric Baradat

Life has gone online, and so has dating in modern times. Where people were dependent on possible matches in their surroundings at first, they can now meet a potential spouse on the other side of the world via the internet. What are the pros and cons of looking for a partner online?

According to research by the Swedish newspaper Dagen, one in seven Swedes who are living in a relationship has found their partners online. Tinder seems to be the most popular dating app in the country.

However, the app does not prove a good service to everyone, Dagen discovered. "In my profile, I was usually open about being a Christian. It was not just good", author Fanny Willman writes. She experienced many prejudices about Christianity from other users. "How do you view sex before marriage?" was the first question of several men before even introducing themselves.

When Willman removed Christianity from her profile description, she suddenly got many more matches. One thing became clear: Tinder is not the best dating option for Christians.


But that does not mean that online dating is entirely off the table for people with a Christian worldview. In Sweden, there is, for example, the website Kristen Date. About 7,000 Swedes joined the dating service. In addition, there is the app Valo, which is active in Finland and Sweden.

A user checks the dating app Tinder on a mobile phone. Christians have been disappointed in the app, because it does not give them good potential matches. Photo AFP, Aamir Quereshi

Mathias Öhlund is a user of Valo. He tells Dagen that he, as a Christian, gets more matches on the Christian dating website. At the same time, he notices that Christians are not automatically more committed than others. Sometimes, they stop responding out of the blue as well, as often happens on Tinder.

In addition, Christian dating apps are not free from malicious people. Some pretend to be serious, says Öhlund; however, once chatting, they do not seem to be as Christian as they say they are.

At the same time, Öhlund has found a girlfriend via the online dating service in the past. "But we lived far apart and had no common context. That made it hard to continue", he says.


In the Netherlands, several Christians also attempt to find the love of their life via dating websites. Two of them, Simon and Anne, have met online and are now engaged. They tell their story to the Dutch daily Reformatorisch Dagblad. Simon says that he did not meet many single people of his age. "And I felt that I needed someone." Anne explains her choice to resort to online dating by referring to the Covid crisis. "I met fewer people. In addition, I have an eye problem. That makes it more difficult to find a partner. One of my friends started using a dating website, so I thought, why not?"

Already a few hours after Anne makes a profile, Simon messages her. Even though they stopped talking because of a disagreement, the spark was already there, Simon remembers. "Anne saw that I visited her profile time and time again. Therefore, she restarted the conversation two months later."

The two decide to meet. Because of Anne's eye problem, she asks if she can put her arm through his. But that does not work, and the two end up walking hand in hand.

Even though online dating worked for them, Anne says it made her insecure. "Every time I was stressed about whether it would work for me. I almost could not eat anymore. I checked my messages every day, even after Simon and I stopped texting. I would not have been able to do that for a long time." But the other side is there too: "I know that Simon loves me because he accepts my disability."

The fact that they met online does not change their relationship. "Besides the fact that we probably would never have met without dating website", Simon points out. "We live far apart. On the other hand, you never know because God destined us to be together. Then it does not matter how that happens."


Christian dating websites are not free of abuse, as mentioned earlier. That is what the several moderators have seen. Aarti Zia-Brands from the Dutch website FunkyFish, Arno van Dijke from Opzoeknaarjou, and Rianne van Ballegooijen from Roots Dating acknowledge that some users violate boundaries.

Zia-Brands sometimes receives screenshots from members who say that someone went too far. "We interfere when someone sends sexual messages. We can ban these people from the website, but often we give a warning first."

Van Dijke notices that some users lie about their age. "If we can verify that, we remove someone's profile from our platform."

Van Ballegooijen advises users to meet at a public place for their first date. "That decreases the chance that things go wrong."

Dating well

Psychologist Aukelien van Abbema sees dating websites as good ways to find a spouse. Van Abbema says that they function the same way as the well in Biblical times, the Reformatorisch Dagblad reports. “In the Old Testament, almost every man met his wife at the well. That was the meeting place of the community. We also have wells, such as the church. But if you are older than 25 and single, it becomes harder and harder to find someone. Then a dating website can function as a well.”

Van Abbema pleads for responsible use of that “well.” “Don't behave differently online than in real life. It is anti-social to ignore messages. Be straight to the point.”

Online store

Pastor Arie Egas, from a Dutch Christian Reformed church, hears from more and more young people that they use dating websites. "I estimate that this group is about half of the young people that get married", he says to the Reformatorisch Dagblad.

The minister sees dating websites as a means for people to meet others and get a relationship, he says. "The Lord Himself says it is not good for man to be alone."

He notices that young people are most often serious about looking for a spouse on a dating website. "Some people call it an online store, but I wouldn't want to say that. By seeking a partner, people will look at someone's appearance. That was no different at youth meetings in the past."

At the same time, he pleads for honesty on dating websites. Online it is easier to pretend you are nicer than you are in reality, pastor Egas says. "If you have a bad temper, write it on your profile. That way, you prevent people from having too high expectations."



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