Meeting people. Online dating sites were born to facilitate exactly that. And theyre good at it. But meeting the spouse God has planned for you? Now, that raises the bar a bit. Yes, finding a spouse who will share your most treasured values and beliefs can involve navigating some pretty choppy watersand, simply put, you should not dive in impulsively.
Should Catholics Use Catholic Dating Sites?
The online dating world is filled today with many choices for singles. But are mainstream dating sites like Match.com, eHarmony.com or even ChristianMingle.com going to do the job for singles in search of a true Catholic match?
Maybe so, but before signing up, its important for Catholics to wade in carefully and compare the breadth of services. Key to success with any online dating site is determining up front what steps are needed to connect with other like-minded people. So much time and energy can be wasted treading water in the wrong placeand no one needs that.
So, read on for a bit of insight in navigating the various online dating sites. Because its time to ask yourself the big questions about what youre looking for and what is the best way to get there. If your goal is faith-focused dating that may one day lead to marriage, well, you might find that not all sites are the same after all.
Faith-focused Dating IS Different
To meet other like-minded members on a mainstream dating site like Match.com or eHarmony.com, you have to set up your profile specifically to show that faith and values are one of your top priorities. Your results are largely dependent on the way you construct your profile and the types of searches that you do. And even after this extra effort, faith and values are not easily identifiable in other members. Sounds like very little return on investment.
On ChristianMingle.com, members can use a single field to identify themselves as Catholic, but even that can be ambiguous. Is the person a practicing Catholic? What are the persons worldviews in terms of faith and values?
Catholic Match caters specifically to Catholics who value their faith. You know that going in. Just by the fact that a person is creating a profile at CatholicMatch signals the importance of faith to him or her.
Catholic Match also has a protocol that emphasizes faith-based dating by asking specific questions about what each member believes in regards to Church teachings. The construction of the profile helps members identify particular things about the faith that interest themsuch as favorite saints, thoughts on prayer life, and how faith plays a role in their daily lives. Exploring this level of detail is time well spent. It allows members to make more informed decisions about the things that matter mostsomething that simply cannot happen on broad-based dating sites.
Can One Size Really Fit All?
Mainstream dating sites like Match.com or eHarmony.com are large corporations with ample marketing resources, broad terms of the service, and dating opportunities based on religion, race, age, and even sexual orientation. This, of course, leads to a large member base.
The downside, however, is that, as a one-size-fits-all type of website, the community aspect is naturally going to reflect that. And, hey, one size doesnt fit all. Even the experience on ChristianMingle.com will be different than with a community of Catholics. Catholic Match spends money on marketing to Catholics who are interested in dating and marriage. If thats what youre looking for, too, then right from the start you are ahead of the game.
When you connect with people who value their faith, even the initial communication process is going to be different, CatholicMatch.com gives an opportunity to interact with other members on a friendship level, and many members are active on the community forums or in commenting on articles and organizing events.
Good Values, Good Value
Many of the larger secular websites hit you up front with a big cost, and then try different ways to later get you back. They dont operate in an ongoing, comprehensive way that can provide a continual companion service while you’re single. Lets face it, you simply dont know when that special person will come into your life no matter if it is online or some other way. In the meantime singles can enjoy community, friendship and dont have to just wait around for for the perfect profile to pop-up.
In terms of valuewhat you pay and what you get in returnCatholicMatch has one of the highest values of any religious-based site. Catholic Match also rewards loyal customers by providing them with deep discounts.
And, like Match.com and eHarmoney.com, Catholic Match has a guarantee for those who honestly put in an effort during the first six months being active on the site. If, after six months, a member still has not met anyone, Catholic Match will offer another six months of service at no charge. The heartfelt goal is for more holy and healthy Catholic marriages.
Tools vs. Principles
Particular features and tools on some sitessuch as eHarmonys scientific matching systemcan assist you in the process of narrowing profiles and finding people with whom you are compatible. But an over-emphasis on the science often de-emphasizes the role God should play.
While dating should be fun, it should also orient people towards marriage. A core principle for CatholicMatch is to educate members to focus on dating with the purpose of marriage and to pursue what they believe is their vocation. In this, Catholic Match stands apart. Many dating sites are also not focused on dating with an eye towards marriage, but focused on so called casual dating or hook-ups.
Online dating itself is a tool to provide you with the opportunity to meet people that you otherwise would not likely meet. But in the grand scheme of things, the meeting is merely a tiny part. You still have to put in the work. You still have to do all the communicating. The tool can be essential in introducing you to like-minded people, but what you do with those introductions is up to you. If you are interested in dating for marriage and see marriage as a vocation, then the dating site you choose should match that in principle.
Catholic Identity, Through and Through
Even if mainstream dating sites provide a niche platform for religious-based dating, the main corporation may also dabble in practices that could be contrary to the teachings of the Church.
Be assured, every detail on the CatholicMatch site is consistent with being Catholic. Values of the faith are displayed across board: in the way the customer service department is run, in the way content is reviewed, in the type of photos that are allowed, and in the rules that are enforced on the site. How important this is for the members overall Catholic experience! Even small details of the CatholicMatch site, like trivia and events, promote the Catholic faith and values.
Events: Quantity or Quality?
Since mainstream dating sites have a significant number of members, they will also have more local events. But again, are those events even focused on the people you are trying to meet?
CatholicMatch also provides online tools for members who want to post events for Catholics. And, most importantly, they sponsor and promote events that fit with the mission of CatholicMatch.
Safety Isnt Just About the Technology
Technology today can allow people to use a wide range of online dating sitesboth large and smallwith safety and security. Where the differences comes into play is within the community itself. Those in the CatholicMatch community feel a protective responsibility to each other and are more likely to contribute to a positive experience for other Catholic users. CatholicMatch also gives safety advice to members and timely support through the customer service team.
Are You Ready?
So, whats your goal? Meeting people? Great! Meeting the spouse God has planned for you? Also greatbut different. How you answer that question will determine where you begin on this journey of online dating. Yes, the waters may feel uncharted, but theres help. You just need to decide where you want to swim.
This article was originally featured on Catholic Match