Even if you’ve been married a long time, you’re undoubtedly aware that online dating has progressed well beyond fad status.
Singles trying to find alternatives to office romance scenarios, the bar scene or friends’ connections to find a date are increasingly turning to Internet services in the hopes of finding someone they’re compatible with.
Many of these sites let you identify your religious preferences and there are plenty of specifically Christian dating services in existence.
One new site, however, is taking a slightly different approach for Christian singles who aren’t shy to admit there more interested in finding a husband or wife then someone to just have fun with on a Saturday night.
Steve Watters has started Marry Well, a site that seeks to use more than traditional personality profiling for hookup strategies. Watters and his wife Candice have both written for the Focus on the Family relationship e-zine Boundless, but are attempting to take relationship advice to a different dimension.
Watters said his interest in relationship issues and guiding couples toward and in faith-based marriages began while studying for a Master’s degree in public policy. Mentoring from an older couple helped guide him in the direction of working with issues of family structure and lasting marriages.
With Marry Well, he hopes to tamp down what he views as the retail nature of most dating sites.
“Even though things have changed a great deal about dating sites over the years, there still is very much a consumer mindset where you are clicking on somebody to add them to your (online shopping) cart,” Watters said. “In doing the research before launching this site we felt there was a need to fill. In talking to personal friends and listening to some of their misadventures in dating, or hearing experiences from Christian dating services that lasted months only to find out that somebody wasn’t really as Christian as they played themselves off to be and weren’t serious about marriage, what was stated over and over was a need for more emphasis on marriage.”
The site, which launched in January, has a regularly updated blog which offers advice to singles from a Christian counseling perspective. In an interesting twist, folks who sign up at the site are also welcomed to bring friends, relatives and pastors into the process in guiding them toward a spiritually mature relationship building process.
“We hope people will come in and sign up for it on the meeting side and do hope people are willing to give it a chance to recognize it can help their next step and be as biblical as possible. With deeper faith dimensions and the involvement of local church communities, we hope to give people the gifts of spiritual applications and a much better sense what aptitude they have toward spiritual disciplines.”
Watters also takes a special interest in the faith development of young men attracted to the site, wanting to teach them that it’s still possible to pursue a woman in a God-honoring way.
“We want to help guys take the initiative,” he explained. “Men here are really the lynch pin. It’s not a matter for guys of a biological clock ticking or worrying if they weren’t intentional soon enough in a relationship.
“Single guys not as likely to be involved in a local church, especially actively. The problem is there are so many highly educated and highly committed women looking for these men is that encourages men to be a little more passive and just play the field. What we want to teach young men through our site is that it is their job to take the risk and show biblical leadership principles in approaching women with dignity.”