Many Christian singles are wondering how to find that special mate God has for them.
The topic has sparked much debate in churches across the nation.
While some say it takes effort to find the right soul mate, others suggest singles should wait for God's perfect timing.
The Internet has changed the way singles go about dating.
According to the online dating site Match.com, one in five new dating relationships begin online.
Today, 17 percent of married couples met through an online dating service. Only 4 percent of couples met at church or other places of worship.
Family therapist Dr. Linda Mintle said many Christians turn to online dating because they've found church singles groups are not the most successful place to meet someone.
"Instead of the traditional messages that we've had of going to church single groups or taking a class or doing a dating activity… this is one way to use the technology to be successful to meet people," Mintle told CBN News.
CBN News gathered a roundtable of experts and online daters to address the issue on CBN's Midday News, Aug. 18. Topics included:
Navigating the World of Online Dating
"Marriage is God's greatest sanctification tool," Janie Cheaney recently wrote in a column for World Magazine.
"If we're too intent on finding our soul mate we could miss his greater purpose in conforming every individual believer to the image of his Son," she cautioned.
Click below to hear more of Cheaney's concerns about online dating. Also, some of our panelists share their experiences with e-dating -- both good and bad.
While seeking a life partner marriage should not be taken lightly, she warned desire to marry becomes a form of idolatry when it displaces one's relationship with God.
So how do believers guard their hearts against such idolatry? Click below for our panelists response:
"The other would be anonymity and false profiles that people can post," she added. "The third one, which is a real concern, is that 30 percent of people who are online dating services are already married."
For more of Dr. Mintle's thoughts on the matter click below:
Choosing a spouse can be a daunting task -- especially in the world of e-dating. Mintle offered several tips on what single Christians should be looking for.
"When you're looking at matching characteristics -- which is what a lot of these online dating sites do -- that is not the most important thing in a marriage," Mintle said.
"Its important to have similar values and to be matched on certain domains," she acknowledged. "But really when we're looking at who makes a good marriage partner, we want to find someone who understands what a covenant is and will hold to a covenant and not just have it be a marriage contract."
"We want to find someone who puts God in the center of their lives," she added. "And then we want to find someone with good character and who knows how to accommodate someone else in their life and can work through the difficulties when life happens."
CBN News roundtable mediator Lee Webb shared some of his thoughts on marriage.
--Published Aug. 18, 2011.