10 Reasons to Date a Single Parent -Reason #2

Reason 2: Lower Expectations

She Knows Prince Charming is a Fairy Tale

A single mom is not as high maintenance as a woman still struggling with the princess syndrome.  She’s already worn the dress, taken a ride in the carriage that turned back into a pumpkin and lost her silver slipper.  She doesn’t want the illusion of a Prince Charming; she wants a real man who though imperfect is willing to give her his all.

Single moms play fewer games.  If she doesn’t like you she will tell you.  If she’s into money, she’ll let you know right off the bat.  When a woman only has every other weekend to date, she has to be efficient and get to the point.  She is done messing around.

According to AskMen.com, “The advantage to the single mother is that she has been through the game and is confident of her relationship needs.  Most men who need a translator to decipher female code can appreciate this: you may not need one with a single mother because she does not have the time or energy to be playful or mysterious. She will tell you upfront what she expects and wants from you.”

A single mom doesn’t care if you have all your hair.  She wants to know if your few strands of hair will be will around in ten years.  She seeks stability, honesty, and most importantly integrity.  Inner qualities become far more important to a woman with children than a flashy car or a big bank account. 

A single mom seeks less image management and more authentic character. 

Now let’s consider the guys.  A single dad knows CHARACTER matters.  He’s realized beauty fades but ugly goes all the way to the bone.  He’s learned the attributes of stability, honesty and integrity matter.  He understands a good woman is a true treasure and this time around he will search for the pearls not just the flashy gems. 

For Reason #1: Depth of Life Experiences

–Samantha and Tim

Counting the Cost

My friend Bob has an eye for beautiful women –beautiful and wounded women.

Not surprisingly, the woman he is currently dating is in the middle of a tough divorce.  Their relationship is intimate and this isn’t the first time he has found himself in this situation.

Once again, Bob finds himself racked with guilt, shame, and remorse.  Inevitably, it ends in a broken relationship with the woman feeling used and embittered.

Over and over, Bob ends up feeling distant from the God he loves and desires to serve, fully aware there is a better way to live.  I know he has seen the type of relationships he desires –one based on love and honesty where intimacy is appropriately saved until the day the wedding vows are exchanged.  And I know in the deepest part of his heart, godly intimacy and a loving marriage is what he desires.

So why does he continue to fall into the same rut every time?  Why does he put himself in this painful situation over and over?  Isn’t the reverberation of guilt and shame enough to cause him to move in a different direction?

It reminds me of the simple house fly.  Painfully, no matter how many times he smacks in to the window, he can’t get out.  And unless he finds another way, he will die on the windowsill.

I have some theories on this.

First, I don’t want to discount that patternistic disobedience can often be linked to addiction.  He may simply be a sex addict.  And he knows that he can get his sexual desires met by preying on hurting women looking for love in the aftermath of a broken relationship.  I won’t go into an in-depth analysis on addiction here, but there are some great resources for men and women dealing with sexual addiction and seeking sobriety at http://www.sa.org/.

Second, I also don’t want to overlook his broken past.  Having gone through a horrific divorce with his ex-wife, I know he has a hard time trusting women.  But clearly he can’t justify his behavior,  and he and I both know he needs to come to a place of forgiveness because the pain of resentment is destroying him.

So why doesn’t Bob get the help that he needs?  If he wants to honor God in his relationships and experience the trust and intimacy from a godly marriage, why doesn’t Bob pursue healing?  I think it’s possible it all stems from an innate, subconscious cost/benefit analysis that keeps many of us trapped in sin.

Let me lay it out for you.  My friend Bob knows he needs to kick his sexual addiction, and it will take some time.  Many Christian psychologists will tell you it takes a minimum of a year of hard work(often with multiple meetings each week).  And if he desires to gain the trust of a Godly woman, he needs to establish a track record of sexual purity.   He is going to need to put some time between his sexual promiscuity and his future dating life. Let’s say that all of this work takes about 1 ½ years.

Then, he is going to have to begin dating with the intent to find a suitable wife.  This is no easy search.  It is possible with his new mindset, the first person he dates might meet his criteria and he is off to the races.  But I have been around way too many relationships to know how unlikely this is.

Even with a plan to date with the intent to marry, it takes a lot of time to find someone suitable.  Let’s say that this search takes at least another year.  Then, if he is going to really get to know his new-found girlfriend, he will need time to build a relationship.  Because he has kids from his previous marriage, I imagine the woman he dates will probably also have kids.

I believe the best process to foster trust and prepare for all of life’s circumstances requires dating through the seasons.  And even if Bob asks her to marry him before the calendar year culminates, they are going to need to plan the wedding.  Even the most accelerated timetable requires a few months to execute.  So let’s say that from their first date to the wedding night will be between 12 and 18 months.

Now let’s do the math:

Breaking addiction, finding healing, establishing purity   1½ years
Search for a suitable partner                                           1 year
First date to marriage                                                      1 to 1½ year   
Total Time Elasped                                                         3½ to 4 years

It is my belief this simple time equation is what keeps people from pursuing God’s best for their life.

Discipline and life-change takes time, and it is hard work, and there are no shortcuts.

I am living proof that the benefit far outweighs the cost, but I can’t convince Bob of this.  He has struggled through his broken sexual relationships for eight years now.

I believe when he counts the cost of pursuing God’s will for his relational life, he believes it is just too high.

But is it?

If he would have started five years ago, his story could be so different.  He can’t imagine staying sexually pure for a month, let alone a couple of years.  So he throws in the towel and continues the pattern.  But what are his alternatives?

I wonder how long he will continue to fly into the window before he dies on the window sill.


Photo Credit: Pinterest

You’ve Lost that Loving Feeling…

As a pastor, part of my job is to give encouragement and hope to those in relational conflict.  Even though God created us as relational beings, most relationships at some point face a trial or obstacle that seems insurmountable.

I see people struggle with their dating lives, an upcoming engagement or marriage; not to mention the many difficulties that crop up with family members, friends, co-workers and classmates.

But the most common phrase I’ve heard over the years, from people hurtling towards relational demise, is some form of this: “We have fallen out of love.”

Sounds like the familiar song from Top Gun, (remember Maverick and Goose belting it out to the blonde beauty at the bar?) “You’ve lost that loving feeling, now it’s gone, gone gone…wooa wooa woah.”

But is love a feeling to be won, accidentally found or somehow lost?

A recent survey of divorce lawyers in England revealed that “falling out of love” is the number one reason marriages fail.

I have a close friend who got married soon after college. We had many long discussions about why he wanted to get married, and the simple truth was he felt she “deserved” it. She had stuck with him through some crazy times in college and they had been physically intimate for years. He wasn’t sure he wanted to get married, but felt like it would be inappropriate to dump her after she had put up with so much and given him everything, so he asked for her hand.

They did okay for a while, but their relationship was difficult at best. I’m not sure he ever had the feelings he thought he should for the woman he married. Eventually, after settling down in a home in the suburbs and having a couple of kids, my friend called me and confessed. “I think I have just fallen out of love with her,” he declared. “I just don’t feel it anymore.”

After a long discussion, I realized he was getting attention from a number of other women in his workplace, which led him down the path of questioning if he even wanted his marriage anymore.

Now I understand how it works when it comes to music or food. A song we “love” and listen to every day eventually becomes annoying and we say we don’t love it anymore.

We fall in love with the new Memphis BBQ Six Dollar Burger from Carl’s Jr. for a week or two, but when we can’t pull hard enough to clasp our belt on the last hole and we can’t get the BBQ stain out of our favorite t-shirt, we fall out of love just as quickly returning to the Lo Cal Tofu Caesar Wrap at the local health food restaurant.

But when we talk about real love, relational love, the type of love described in the Bible, it seems to me love isn’t something we “fall” into or out of.

For all the Greek scholars out there, there are a few different words for the English word love. There is a word for familial love (storge), a word for friendship or brotherly love (phileo), and another word for passionate love (eros); but the word I want to discuss is the type of love Jesus modeled for us and called us to have for one another. That word is agape, or unconditional love.

Our ability to love this way is thus initiated by God. John talks about this love in 1 John 4. He compels us to “…love (agape) one another, for love (agape) comes from God.” He goes on to say that “We love because he (God) first loved us.”

If this is true, it seems as though we are incapable of having this “agape” love unless we have received it first from God. And what this passage communicates is that true love is not a feeling at all, it is a choice. And as God chose us, we get to choose to love one another.

So when a married couple comes to me and declares they have “fallen out of love” I generally respond with this truth: they have CHOSEN to stop loving each other, and fallen out of nothing.

As a pastor, one of my duties is to officiate weddings.  During the ceremony, I often refer to the words of Paul as he describes this type of love. 1 Corinthians 13 states: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”

When I read this passage, I recognize I don’t fall in or out of any of these things! The last time I was in the express lane at the grocery store and the person in front of me piled thirty-seven items on the conveyor belt with a corresponding coupon for each item, I and only I, decide how to react (or overreact).  I  can choose to churn with frustration or move towards building patience.

Patience is difficult and elusive – something we must choose if we are going to love like Jesus loved us. All of the things on this list are choices. I have never once fallen into patience, humility, generosity, kindness or honesty.

This proves to me that LOVE IS A CHOICE!

After long conversations with my friend, he recognized that if he was going to save his marriage, he was going to have to begin choosing love. And I am happy to report that he did. He stopped listening to the tempting voices of other women, recognizing they were only attracted to his status and income.

He did the math on a future separated from his wife and kids, a life of child support, visiting rights and being alone. He played out the movie in his head and shuddered at the ending he was moving towards.

Then he began to make the difficult and daily decisions of kindness, protection, humility and truthfulness. And you know what happened? His feelings followed!

It didn’t take long for the passion in his marriage to return. Before long, the marriage of my friend who CHOSE to love his wife became a marriage others wanted. It was full of fun and joy, intimacy and excitement.

Do you believe that love is a choice?


Sources: http://www.guardian.co.uk/money/2011/aug/31/divorce-family-finances

8 Keys to Divorce Proof Marriage

I found an amusing article on a country music blog about divorce (not to say there is anything remotely fun about divorce), but this boot-scooting boogey website did a poll and asked their readers to send in their best tips to divorce proof a marriage.

Here are the tips they gave to unmarried’s…

* Don’t have a baby out-of-wedlock

* Finish high school

* Don’t marry until your 20s

* Know your partner for at least a year

* Don’t live with too many partners outside of marriage

* Get a decent job

While these are relevant suggestions, I think they forget a few biggies.

Research proves the single most effective element in preventing divorce in a marriage is PRAYER and strangely enough I don’t even see it on the list.


Couples who attend church and pray together have a much lower divorce rate then the current 51% divorce rate.

The University of Virginia’s Brad Wilcox found that church attendance on a regular basis reduces the likelihood of divorce by 30 percent to 35 percent. Wilcox’s research supports another study by Annette Mahoney of Bowling Green State University, which independently came to a similar conclusion.

But it’s not just going to church, when you insert prayer along with a lifestyle of faith, thoughts of divorce tumble.

A 1998 survey by the Georgia Family Council discovered that in marriages where couples prayed together weekly, only 7 percent had seriously considered divorce, compared to 65 percent of those who did not pray together.

So, maybe not having a kid outside of wedlock is a good idea and a great job never hurts, but when the cards are down and the struggles of marriage emerge, it’s the couples who get on their knees and cry out to God who tend to make it.

Do you have any tips to avoiding divorce?

Sources: Focus on the Family



Buddymoon or Honeymoon?

My husband and I always have the same conversation at weddings.

“Sex or purity?” my husband whispers.

I carefully examine the bride.  If she scowls or looks grumpy, it’s a no brainer-“sex.”  If she cries walking down the aisle, I know immediately –“sex.” But if she floats down on cloud nine, gallops down with a goofy grin, or smiles like a Cheshire cat it’s just as obvious –“no sex” I exclaim.

It’s a gift I have, this radar for purity and wantonness (possibly because I’ve worn both pairs of shoes).

I can always tell at weddings if the couple has already consummated the relationship.  In marriages where sex is as common as brushing teeth, or better yet –flossing, the wedding is the denouement or the culmination of the relationship. 

These are the “bridezillas” who display a freakish sense of control over every tiny detail.  And it has to be perfect because the big day is about as good as it gets for her.

But for the bride who has a honeymoon to look forward to, a real honeymoon with a slow deliberate unveiling, a full vacation of exploring her beloved’s body, and a once in a lifetime retreat to connect physically with a man she has yearned and waited for, the wedding is just a step towards a new life together.

All things are fresh and new to the couple who has waited to have sex. But I remember all too well, waking up the day after I married my first husband. 

My exorbitantly overpriced bridal frock was crumpled on the chair, the carriage carted off and the ice sculptures melted along with my enthusiasm.  I thought I would feel differently once married, and I did, somewhat, but the disparity was more of an anticlimactic disappointment.  

And so to compensate for the lack of awesomeness a honeymoon used to symbolize, the new trend according to the New York Times, is to take a “buddymoon “and bring the family and friends along.

W. Bradford Wilcox, a sociologist and the director of the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia notes…

“Today, when about 65 percent of couple’s cohabitate prior to marriage, the honeymoon is less likely to be a major turning point in their relationship,” said Professor Wilcox.  “For them, I think having friends come along is less of a big deal and in some ways makes it more of a special and exceptional occasion.”

By taking the “honey” out of honeymoon, couples enter marriage already bored enough with each other to need outside entertainment.  Thus they need “buddies” to get them through the hump of spending one week alone with the person they have just chosen to spend the rest of their lives with.

And this new trend makes me sad.

I think we –as a culture are losing a precious rite of passage by robbing OURSELVES of a once in a lifetime opportunity to revel in our spouse. 

Tim and I treasured our three-week honeymoon to the Mediterranean.  We loved, we laughed and we made new and amazing friends, who as fellow honeymooners shared our fledgling memories.

I believe in my heart that part of the reason my first relationship didn’t work out is because we didn’t hold our purity in high regard.  Because we had sex prior to marriage, it clearly made it easier for my ex-husband to have sex with someone else while we were married.  With God’s grace, I got a second chance to do it right and chose purity for my relationship with Tim…and it changed everything.

The second time around, I practically ran down the aisle (dragging my dad) to join my groom.  People commented they had never seen a smile as big and bright as my beam.  I didn’t notice the flower arch met an untimely crack, or the misplaced name cards or any of the other minor details that were far from perfect. 

All I saw was my honey.  And no offense to my buddies, but we did just fine without you.


Would you consider a buddymoon?

%d bloggers like this: