Textamacy – How Social Media is Accelerating Relational Intimacy


Our 14-year-old son wanted only one thing for Christmas this year.

And I am sure that we weren’t the only parents who acquiesced to our child’s desire for an iPhone.

Apple sold 125 million of them in 2012.

Until now, kids didn’t have access to instant communication with their friends. Yes, they could call people on the phone, but for this generation, it isn’t fast or wide-ranging enough. Kids today want to communicate through text messages or broadcast their thoughts to an ever-listening world.

We live in a social media age.

In fact, this generation might be coined the “Social Media Generation” not unlike the Baby Boomers and Gen-Xers of the past. Texting, Smart Phones, Facebook and Twitter have changed communication in our world forever.

When something big happens around us, we no longer wait to see it on the evening news; we reach for our iPhone/Pad or our Android device of choice to check in on what’s happening. This cultural shift hasn’t just altered the way we get our information; it has radically changed the way we communicate with one another.

This brings us to the world of dating and our desire for immediate gratification. We are now conditioned by smart phones and social media outlets to seek instant intimacy.  It’s no big deal to spill personal details on Facebook to an audience of thousands.

Now when I was a kid in the midst of puberty, I wanted to engage in intimate conversations with women too, I just didn’t have the opportunity.

I had to use the home telephone (remember the push-button dial-up attached to the wall?) and ask the girl’s parents if I could engage in conversation with their daughter.
And none of those conversations were private, so getting intimate wasn’t an option. Not so today.

We-my wife and I, began to look into the texting patterns of our first-born, to see what was happening in this new social media paradigm. What we found was alarming, and very telling about how intimacy is building in our modern culture.

We inadvertently stumbled upon a conversation (ok we snooped…) that had happened for all of eleven days. The first text was innocent… the girl responded “who is this?”

Eleven days and over 1,000 texts later, they were talking about how they wanted to spend the rest of their lives together.

Until day nine, the two had never spent a minute alone together. But on day nine, they attended a friend’s fifteenth birthday party at Laser Quest, a laser tag facility at the local mall. And it was on day nine that the two found themselves in a lip-lock inside the dimly lit maze illuminated by black lights and fluorescent bulbs.

Shocking, I know… from zero to intimate in nine days.

When we found out what was happening and unpacked the past eleven days, our son admitted the conversation just kind of went out of control. He said it was easy to say things he never would have said in person or with other people around. The conversation became provocative and arousing and he couldn’t help himself.

An interesting thing happened in the aftermath. When the conversation came to light and the texting stopped, the two found themselves in an awkward position.

They had a lot of enticing conversations, but they really didn’t know each other. They knew little things about each other, but they didn’t know each other. They fell for the image the other person expressed and their own imagination filled in any blanks.

This created a false reality that seemed flawless.

But when they actually began interacting with each other in person, they soon realized the image they portrayed in the texting relationship didn’t match reality. They found they didn’t have much in common and their personalities weren’t a good match.

They still see each other at school, but the enticement is gone and the relationship is over. And this intrigued me…

In a society where social media and texting are the primary ways of communication and a majority of singles have tried online dating, are we really getting to know the people we date, or are we just getting to see the online persona they want to portray?

And do we really want to know the person we date or are we content pursuing someone’s false image because it’s uncomplicated and desirable?
And we wonder why so many of our dating relationships end in disappointment?

Many of these disappointments are inevitable because we cross the threshold of sexual intimacy before we know the person we are with.

As social media and texting have propelled our access to intimacy, it seems as though we are becoming content with false intimacy.

We settle for crumbs instead of a real relationship.

I imagine Manti Te’o would admit he fell hook, line and sinker for this idea of false intimacy.

Have you?

Photo Source: Rodale.com

Why You Should Let Him Open the Door


It’s not easy for the modern gal to let a man lead.

Women today bring home the bacon, cook it up in the pan and have no problem asking men out.  They are capable and competent.  Ladies can successfully manage and control their own lives and careers, so letting anyone -other than their boss take charge is downright painful.

But men have no desire to woo a women who doesn’t need them.  Dudes like to lead and they really like a woman who allows them to exercise this muscle.

But how does an assertive single woman let a man take the lead in dating?

According to Hayley and Michael Dimarco, authors of Cupidity some simple steps are all it takes:

  • Letting Him Plan and Pay for Dates

By giving a guy some space to initiate, a woman may be doing herself a favor in the long run.  Guys tend to get passive when women take over, so unless a woman wants to coordinate all of her dates in the future, allowing a guy to make reservations and plan their outings benefits her too.

  • Let Him Control the Speed of the Relationship

Unless a guy is proposing on the third date, let him set the pace so you can relax and enjoy the ride of getting to know each other.  Occasionally, a DTR(T) talk may be necessary (define the relationship-timeframe) if it’s been over a year of dating, or a quick pump of the brakes if he ‘s moving too fast…but generally speaking, let the guy keep his foot on the pedal and don’t be a backseat driver.

  • Let Him Get the Door

What?  Is opening the door a big deal?  Well, in a way…yes!  Letting a guy feel useful and necessary in the little things can pay big dividends in the overall relationship.  Men have a protective instinct.  Allow them to use it.

These are some small tips to allow a guy to take the lead when dating.

What do you think? 




Text Me, Maybe?


Smartphones are supposed to make our lives easier, right?

We can work and socialize 24/7. It’s instant access all the time.

But in the dating realm this idea of non-stop “availability” backfires.

They need to add a warning label to the little white Apple box.

*Although communication at the speed of light may be beneficial it can also be harmful to relationships. Text and post with caution*

The truth is, humans aren’t meant to know and pursue each at the speed of Facebook and instant messaging.

Here’s the challenge of texting in the first stage of a relationship.

Men love a chase. Women love to talk. Add in texting and it’s a recipe for disaster.

Scenario 1: A guy messages a gal. Within two seconds she responds with a series of three dings, because her response has exceeded the data limits for any one message.

The guy texts back, using all the words he has to communicate in a day on her, and she responds back instantly with another five-paragraph essay.

After a few days or weeks of this text exchange, the guy starts getting carpal tunnel syndrome in his thumbs and then begins to lose interest in the woman, feeling bogged down by all the emotional effort upfront.

“She” can’t understand why all of a sudden after a week or two of heated pursuit he now seems distant and the messages are becoming more sporadic. So she responds even faster to his messages until they run dry and then stop altogether.

And then she scratches her head and wonders “what went wrong?”

But if she played her Smartphone cards a little more strategically, she might get a different response.

Scenario 2: A guy messages a gal. Four hours later she responds. During that four hours the guy thinks about her and wonders what she is doing. He can’t keep his mind on his work and he is now intrigued with her even more. Repeat…

When she does respond to his text, it is both sincere and concise. And while she certainly doesn’t play games, she knows that “too available” is not desirable.

The man falls for her hook, line and sinker and a year later she can text her girlfriends all she wants of her preferences for neon pink bridesmaids dresses.

Why being “too available” is not a good thing.

Imagine trying to play a game of hide and seek and the person hiding stands right behind the seeker shouting “here I am” every time they play the game. After a while the seeker would give up because the person hiding is no fun to play with. In fact, they are downright annoying. There is no suspense, no investment and ultimately “no finding” which is always the best part of the game.

But this is what women do with technology. We over-do it by being constantly available and destroy a budding relationship when its fragile and without roots. We “oh so covertly” cyber-stalk and linger on his Facebook Page wondering who he is talking to and freaking out about every girl who posts on his timeline.

Insecurity is not pretty, but it’s really unattractive when the world reads it on Instagram.

Men can fall into this trap too. If a woman feels stalked by too many posts or text messages, she will pull back and retreat. On the other hand a man might not communicate at all, thus leaving the gal feeling ignored. Finding the right balance of interest towards a woman without obsession or negligence is generally the best option.

FYI…Texting a girl after the second date, “where are you?” and “who are you with?” is a bad idea guys.

So, keep in mind the netiquette of dating well: text intentionally, turn off your “find me anywhere” button, become a good “hider” and play smarter than the average dater with your mobile device.

Have you had any bad texting experiences when dating someone new?

The Male Happy-o-Meter

One thing I have learned about men –they like their women happy. In fact, to some degree they feel personally responsible for making their girlfriends and wives happy.

It’s a guy thing.

When a romance is new and shiny a guy will go to great lengths to please his woman. He will talk and cuddle and buy her things. When she is happy he is happy.

And since women love to chat, the man will listen. But here is where it gets tricky and women often shoot themselves in the foot.

All too often we OVER COMMUNICATE.

Telling Him EVERYTHING is No Bueno

A woman feels so good after she verbally vomits all her emotions.

Chicks call it dumping. We dump our frustrations out on our besty and then she dumps in return and we listen and sigh and hug and feel soooo connected.

But when we do it with our men it backfires. A guy wants to fix and please and make his woman happy, but if the dumping is negative (and when is dumping ever positive?) the gal moves on feeling significantly better, but the man is left to sort out and process all her toxic emotions.

For every bundle of negativity a woman unloads, a man gets knocked down off of his happy horse. (Because guys take responsibility for their woman’s happiness, remember?).

When a woman criticizes a man or complains about something that might even have nothing to do with him, he feels responsible.


The Bible puts it this way, “Too much talk leads to sin. Be sensible and keep your mouth shut.” Prov. 10:19 NLV

Understanding that women and men are designed differently will go a long way towards fostering peace in a relationship. Women need to be self-aware of their tendency to over-share and take their burdens to other women whom they can (safely) vent their emotions to, saving the truly fixable needs for their men.

The wise woman holds back her constructive criticism and is simply grateful for what her man actually does –thus upping his happy-o-meter and ultimately her own.

(Oh boy, do I sometimes get this wrong but I continue to repent after I blunder and try, try, try again…)

How to crank up the Happy-o-Meter

If my husband thinks I am happy then he is happy and free to go out and conquer the world, secure that his own little kingdom is running smoothly.

It gives a man great confidence to have a happy girlfriend or wife and that confidence will enable him operate at his full potential–thus blessing the very woman who helped him succeed–namely the woman.

And if a woman really needs to talk –giving her guy a warning with a “please could you just give me your ear for five minutes and I don’t need a solution” is highly recommended.


Do you agree or disagree?

Photo Source: bit.ly via Judith on Pinterest

8 Ways to HoliDATE


What if you could take a second look at the holidays this year, refocus the crank-o-meter and adjust your lenses to a merry red glow. 

Instead of entering this Christmas by chalking off another year alone or as stressful season filled with family obligations and work parties, what if you saw this season as a once in a lifetime opportunity?

An opportunity for new dates and relationships…

Why Holidate?

The holidays usher in party after party –parties just waiting for you to meet and greet someone unfamiliar (in a good way) and intriguing. 

Christmas parties are also generally filled with happy people in a warm and benevolent moods thanks to bonus checks, sugar cookies and eggnog. (Just avoid the red-flag folks who camp near the eggnog)

So what are you waiting for?

8 Ways to Maximize the Holidays and Find New Dates

  1. Volunteer to take your niece or nephew (or any kids you can wrangle up) to meet Santa.  You never know who might be standing in line?  Strike up a conversation.
  2. Attend a Christmas tree lighting with a friend and put a big smile on your face. Wear an elf hat.
  3. Volunteer to serve families in need in the community.
  4. Buy a cute Christmas outfit and see just how many parties you can wear it to.  Guys –rock your charisma (women love a man with confidence) and Ladies -smile, throw back those shoulders and sparkle like the jewel you are!
  5. Ask friends about friend’s holiday gatherings and tag along.  Cousin Joe might be a hottie!
  6. Join a holiday run or 5k.  Wear a Santa hat.
  7. Volunteer to wrap Christmas presents at a bookstore. Introduce yourself to someone.
  8. Grab some friends and go caroling.  Just wait and see who opens the door.

Anything can happen under the Mistletoe if you get out and meet this season with a generous and positive attitude!

Source: myvintagemending.blogspot.com via Simply on Pinterest

The Gap Between Marriage and Men


It’s not a big surprise.  We’ve all seen the signs.  The gap between men and women’s belief about marriage is widening at an alarming rate.

A recent study by Pew Research Center revealed the amount of women ages eighteen to thirty-four who say having a successful marriage is one of the most important things in their lives rose nine percentage points since 1997 – from 28 percent to 37 percent. For men, the opposite occurred. The share voicing this opinion dropped, from 35 percent to 29 percent.

Here’s the facts…Women want to get married.  Men don’t.

Even in the church.

When I delve into the guys heads to understand their perspetive…here is what I’ve discovered.  Men are frustrated with women but they can’t articulate why.

And it holds them back from asking them out and moving towards marriage.

It’s this unseen intangible that’s very real and it creates distance between men and women.

This is what I hear men say…

“The women around here want to see your W-2 before they even consider going on a date with you.”

“Women are angry and bitter.”

“If a girl never gets asked out there is often something else to that, as hard as it is for me to even type that. I don’t want to type it. I just feel like it’s true.”

“Women will have sex outside of marriage (or even a relationship) so why bother?”

“If a woman can take care of herself so well, why does she even need a guy?”

“I have asked out multiple girls who have said “yes”, only to play dozens of tricks with setting the date, rescheduling, cancelling, going silent, saying yes when they mean no, going unresponsive on the day, and overall flakiness.”

A friend sent me an article the other day –The War on Men and I wanted to add it to the conversation.  The writer suggests this unseen gap or ‘X factor” is due to the feminist movement.

 “Contrary to what feminists like Hanna Rosin, author of The End of Men, say, the so-called rise of women has not threatened men. It has pissed them off. It has also undermined their ability to become self-sufficient in the hopes of someday supporting a family. Men want to love women, not compete with them. They want to provide for and protect their families – it’s in their DNA. But modern women won’t let them.
It’s all so unfortunate – for women, not men. Feminism serves men very well: they can have sex at hello and even live with their girlfriends with no responsibilities whatsoever.
It’s the women who lose. Not only are they saddled with the consequences of sex, by dismissing male nature they’re forever seeking a balanced life. The fact is, women need men’s linear career goals – they need men to pick up the slack at the office – in order to live the balanced life they seek.
So if men today are slackers, and if they’re retreating from marriage en masse, women should look in the mirror and ask themselves what role they’ve played to bring about this transformation.”

So what do you think?  Is feminism creating a big dark hole of resentment between men and women?

Are women shooting themselves in the foot by becoming equal with men only to lose relationship with them?

Guys…does this resonate with you?

Knows the Playbook -Reason #3 to Date a Single Parent

Reason 3: They Know the Marriage Playbook

A Single Parent knows what it takes to be married

A single mom or dad knows marriage is hard work.  They understand there is give and take and even if they were the reason the marriage ended, they will probably have a good idea where they went wrong.

I (Samantha) was a single mom.  After my divorce, I read every book on marriage I could get my hands on.  I went to counseling, seminars, and divorce recovery. I dragged my kids to single parent retreats.  We hung out at Monday Night Solutions and gosh, dang, darn it…we got healthy!

Many times a single parent will do the hard work to develop emotional strength, strong boundaries and health.  They don’t want to make the same mistakes again and they are willing to go the distance to make sure the next relationship is a keeper.

I see this play out now in my relationship with my husband Tim.  In my previous marriage, I was used to being coddled.  After being alone with two kids (and financially struggling) I learned to grow up and wear the big girl pants.  Before, I would often hold a grudge too long and play the wounded victim for days.  Now,  I tend to move on and am much quicker to apologize.  I take more responsibility for my actions and don’t sweat the small stuff. 

Single parents go the extra mile and bury their innate selfishness, knowing certain small efforts will go a long way in making a relationship last.  

I know I try harder the second time around…in all areas.

I learned all these valuable marriage tools simply by screwing them up the first time.  I don’t recommend divorce, but I certainly learned what not to do!  My second marriage is much richer because of the lessons learned through real and gritty experience.

Photo credit: pinmarklet

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

10 Reasons to Consider Dating a Single Parent

It wasn’t too long ago when I was a single mom.  Let me restate that.  I was a Christian single mom.

The “Christian” moniker alone made me pickier than most gals because I wanted more than an attractive warm body with a job, I wanted an attractive warm body with a heart for Jesus and a job. 

(And yes I am OVERSIMPLIFYING on what I wanted in a man because honesty, intelligence, passion, generosity, love of family, etc… were all on my list of must-haves as well)

It’s not an easy gig being a single parent.  I went on dates every other weekend.  I didn’t sleep much and I was an extreme Starbucks addict.  In between caring for my kiddos and football and ballet and cheer and keyboard, and the million other activities my kids love, I looked for dating candidates.  I searched at lunch break via Match.com, networked at Christian singles events and on Sunday’s at church. 

I had one eye on my kids and the other eye roving for a suitable Christian male.  I searched long and hard for the good ones because quite frankly, there was a lot at stake -namely my darling munchkins.

After a few years in the dating scene, I noticed how certain guys backed off as soon as I mentioned I had kids.  Eventually, it came to the point where after I shook hands and stated my name, I blurted out my single mama status.  If a guy was going to run, it was better to have him flee after a breif meeting over coffee then waste both our time and effort on an evening out.

I met my pastor husband at church.  And even though he didn’t have kids he was willing to take a risk on a single mom and love my kids as his own.  (Thank you Jesus!)

Now happily remarried, I often hear the plight of single moms and dads who feel like they get discriminated against as a single parent. 

I know, I know…it’s lame!  I remember all too well.

So, I decided to write a series on the benefits of dating a single parent and champion our cause.

Because I think single parents are a hidden treasure! And I know there are Christian singles without kids, who with a little encouragement could change a FAMILY for good.

Yes, the kids are around ALL the time.  But these little monkeys might surprise you if you give them a chance! 

Reason 1: Depth of Life Experiences

A Single Parent Has Seen a Few Things

A single parent has navigated a far rockier terrain than the average young man or woman.  From sleepless nights, to dealing with a cranky ex, to juggling a career and kids and dating –a single parent has an easier time putting things in perspective.  If the worst thing that ever happened to a guy or gal is not getting into their “A” List law school or losing a few Z’s to wake up for the Nordstrom’s half-yearly sale,  they might also have a tendency to freak out if their significant other loses his job or some other devastating but non-life threatening occurrence.

A single parent has already been through a sizable amount of suffering and trauma.  They know what is worth crying about and what is spilled milk because their toddler does it on daily basis at meal-time.  They have a PhD in the school of hard knocks and they have learned how to survive and thrive on their own and yet still be responsible for little Jr. 

A single parent won’t waste their time on trivial matters.  They have a sharp compass and wisdom tucked away in their pocket.  They have empathy and development of character which can only be learned through trial and conflict.  A single parent has seen pain and joy and experienced life on a deeper level.

Hellen Keller said it best…”Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved. ”

Sounds like a good reason to consider dating a single parent!  But wait…I’ve got nine more.  Stay tuned for reason #2 in my next post.


Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/h/helenkelle101340.html#exxzyKA42f1HkzD6.99

Becoming One

Hi friends!  We want to invite you to a retreat we are speaking at in November up in Lake Arrowhead.

Please join us to meet new friends, laugh, and hang out with us in the nice cool mountains! (don’t we need a break from this heat?)

We are teaching on building a strong foundation for a dating relationship.


Christian Singles Fall Retreat “Becoming ONE” November 9-11 (Veteran’s 3-day holiday weekend) in forest-covered mountains at Thousand Pines Christian Retreat Center.

Relax & give yourself a weekend to enjoy God’s creation!

Comedy with Retreat MC Nick Arnette
Relationship Building Activities Offered – Campfire, 3 Group Hikes, Ping Pong, Foos Ball & Pool Table Tourney, Ropes Course, Climbing Wall, Zip Line, 1 Hour Mountain Bike Tour, Paintball, Skatepark, Frisbee Golf, Lake Gregory (mile away), much more.

Awesome Teaching – Tim & Samantha Keller, Brynn Taylor Ashford, Kim Cummins Caskey, Jim Eagon, Skits & Fun Surprises.

Inspired Worship – The Jim Gray Band & Special Musical Guest Artist Jesica Specht

Don’t wait…spots are reserved for 50 MEN & 50 WOMEN at the retreat center!

Register, payments and view photos at the retreat website http://www.GodsLoveFinder.com/.

Looking forward to seeing you there!

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