Beliefnet
Hi, Renita,
I have become a member of a safe online dating service, and that's a blessing to me. I had prayed before joining because I wasn't comfortable with the "Woman Seeking Man" thing. Everywhere in the Bible, if I remember correctly, the man is to supposed to seek the woman, not the other way around. But then I was reminded that God will never be "boxed-in" as to how He works in my life or others' lives. I view all my matches as an assignment from God, and I listen to their hearts when reading their messages. What do you think of my approach?
--Too Spiritual?

Dear "Too Spiritual,"

I'm glad to see that you got over your hang-ups about the whole "woman seeking man" thing.  I can understand why you might think that the Bible frowns on women who take the initiative in romance. Sermons about women who use their sexuality to trap or overpower men abound in every tradition. While it’s certainly true that our biblical ancestors were convinced that modesty was a virtue in a woman, there's nothing in the Bible that explicitly forbids a woman from showing interest in a man or taking the initiative to start up a romance. Don't think for a minute that the Shulammite maiden in the Song of Solomon was a wallflower. Anyone who declares, “I will rise now and go about the city, in the streets and in the squares; I will seek him whom my soul loves…” (Song of Solomon 3:3) can hardly be described as a woman sitting around waiting to be noticed. The Shulammite chased down the elusive shepherd who tormented her heart with his love, and admitted that she desired a relationship with him as much as he desired one with her.

I applaud you for being open to the many unexpected ways in which God can bring people into your life and make romantic partnerships available to you.

I admit, however, that I'm puzzled when you talk about viewing your matches as an "assignment from God." What exactly does that mean? Are you saying that once in a relationship you see yourself as on assignment from God to uphold certain values and standards in the relationship? Or are you saying that you feel that God wants you to "help" or "save" the men who respond to you online? If it's the former, you are correct to be selective about the type of mate you want. You deserve a mate who supports and shares the moral values that you hold dear. If, however, you are hinting at the kind of role you adopt in your relationships, I'm concerned. Please don't allow yourself to get into relationships that force you to put your own happiness on hold. If you're intrepid enough to get over the whole "woman seeking man" hang-up, be courageous enough not to let your needs and feelings take a back seat to any relationship in which you find yourself. Moreover, don't be misled into thinking that God has "assigned" you to evangelize men that you meet through your online dating service. Trust God to have safer and more effective ways for bringing religion and spirituality to these men.

Finally, if you've figured out a way to know what a man's heart is truly saying when he writes back to you through the online dating services you subscribe to, you've got a rare gift of clairvoyance. Other women (and men) would love to know your secret! In the meantime, the rest of us just have to use our God-given good sense, and take our time in getting to know the potential mates God brings into our lives.

Blessings,

Renita

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