I'm not against online dating/matchmaker sites. Over a decade ago I met a girl on one such site, and that girl and I are about to celebrate our ninth year of marriage! Back then meeting this way was something of a rarity, but now I know lots of people who have met, or are trying to meet, a mate this way. As this trend gains steam it's worth considering the impact this technology might be having on the way we view love, dating and marriage.
A recent Christianity Today article has some interesting critical interaction:
Wheaton College media ecologist Read Schuchardt is concerned about the implicit messages that dating sites send, especially those like eHarmony that claim to find your "ideal match." These sites feed the illusion, Schuchardt said, "that the perfect one is 'out there' and all you have to do is find them through this fine-toothed comb called online dating. The reality is just the opposite — no matter who you find, it will take a lifetime of sacrifice and accommodation to learn how to tolerate living with the other while they attempt to learn how to tolerate living with you."
Beth Felker Jones, a theologian at Wheaton College, expresses similar worries about dating websites' claims to help an individual find the "right person" with freedom to be more "picky."
"Marriage is not about being fulfilled by the right person but about joined service to the kingdom of God," Jones says. Matching formulas or even personal lists of must-haves in a spouse, "really blinds us to the wonderful strangeness of people."
Jones also cautions that the underlying messages of dating websites can perpetuate the unhealthy Christian mythology of marriage, especially for women.
"'You should open yourself up to this medium, because marriage is what you're for,' is the implicit logic that some site creators employ to get people over the hurdle of trying online dating," Felker says. "But marriage is not the purpose of our life. Relationship with God is."
Read the rest of the article here.