Dating Tips -Single Parent Plus 4


“I’ve decided not to tell the men I date that I have kids. What do you think about that?”

My husband and I were wrapping up a teaching series on love, sex and dating at a local Christian singles group when the woman approached me with her question. 

My mouth dropped open in shock.  “How many kids do you have?”

“Four,” the woman replied.  “But I make a lot of money and I can keep the kids in a separate residence if I have too.”

I shook my head back and forth (and tried to hide the vomit curling in my throat).  “Listen, I’m not sure you want to hear what I have to say about this, but here I go…”


Never conceal your family from someone.  Children are not a fun surprise in an established relationship.  It’s pure deception if you choose not to tell this to a potential date.  And dishonesty is no way to build a solid relationship.

If a guy or gal is turned off by kids then move on.  It only takes one person –the right person who adores you AND your kids.

You are a package deal not à la carte!

Now, if your kids are so difficult they scare all potential suitors away, it might be time for an honest parenting assessment.  Maybe your kids need you more now then you need to date.  I know that’s hard to hear, but it might be true.

There are some seasons where your kids might need to be the priority and dating needs to take a backseat until your family is back on track.  Seek counseling.  Find healing. Get in a support group.  You only have one shot with your kids and divorce is devastating to them.  Do not minimize their hurt or be so self-absorbed you put your desires above theirs.

I shared this all with the woman and she squinted her eyes at me and looked mad (probably because I didn’t agree with her twisted scheming). “I think my way is the best,” she mumbled and stomped off. 

I felt sorry for next poor man sucked into her web of deception.  I also felt sorry for her kids. 

There is HOPE

Single parents looking for love are tasked with a far greater responsibility than most –but the right person will treasure you even more because you are a loving and genuine parent.

Be proud of the blessings God gave you choose to steward their hearts (and yours) well.


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Should a Christian Date Outside Their Faith?

I was browsing through Google updates searching for newsworthy items on Christian dating when I came across a “Yahoo Ask” that piqued my interest.

Should Christians date outside their faith inquired a weary male dater. 

Apparently this guy was having better luck with girls of an Eastern religion than Christian girls. 

And now he is crying out to the Internet for guidance…

But I have to wonder if his Yahoo Ask isn’t really an excuse to justify his actions. 

Is he searching for truth or is he merely trying to get non-believers and Christian-haters to back him on his decision? Because the last time I checked, Yahoo isn’t known as a real Christian friendly hangout.

So, back to his question…can a Christian date someone outside their faith? 


But the question here isn’t CAN they… it’s SHOULD they?

There are plenty of things you can do but it doesn’t mean it go well for you.

You can drink Diet Coke.  It certainly tastes good.  It also causes depression and obesity.  If that’s idea of FUN, then go ahead and drink your sweet poison.  No one will stop you. 

But there are consequences.

You can date an unbeliever.  God won’t stop you. 

But there are consequences.

The Bible suggests you don’t take this decision lightly because the issues you will face dating an unbeliever will be far greater than the benefit.  Paul puts it this way, “Do not be yoked together with an unbeliever for what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? (2 Cor. 6:14) NIV

If you are a fully devoted follower of Christ, someone of another faith will inevitably pull you away from your relationship with God.

It will be little things at first.  You end up going to church alone on Sunday.  You stop meeting with other believers to fellowship.  You don’t hang out with and do life with Christians anymore.  You lose accountability.  You lose fellowship and you lose the desire to share your faith with others.

You can’t talk about the one thing in your life that is most important with your partner.  This creates a slowly growing divided heart. 

The Bible says a man cannot serve two masters.  You will love one and hate the other.  So, eventually you will have to choose. 

King Solomon learned this the hard way.  His Eastern Religious wives got in the way of his devotion to God too.

Doesn’t sound fun to me.  God or spouse?  Why put yourself in that place?

God gives us his Word to help us live the best life possible.

I think the real issue with the guy wanting to date women of another faith is that he has lost hope that God will provide a Christian woman for him to love.

And hopelessness causes us to try to do things on our own and take matters into our hands.

I know this to be true.  After my divorce, I ended up dating an unbeliever.  He was a non-practicing Jew who agreed to go to church with me on the weekends.  We tried to make it work but after a while we had very little to talk about.  One of his friends nastily pointed this out and although I was offended at the time, deep down I knew the relationship was doomed.

My faith defines me.  It’s who I am and it bubbles out of me.  And to not share who I am with someone was painfully unfulfilling.

If to live is Christ and die is gain than to live with a spouse who doesn’t have Christ is to live a partial life.

Have you tried dating a non-Christian?  How did it work out for you?

Source: via John on Pinterest

Is it Ever Ok to Date a Friend’s Ex?

I remember the day well.  I was standing on the side of the football field watching my seven old son battle it out on the first day of hitting at football practice.

My girlfriend (a single mom) looked over at my brand new ex-husband who was coaching the boys, then glanced at me at me and sighed wistfully.  “You know, if he wasn’t your ex-husband I wouldn’t mind going out with him.”

Huh?  Awkward!

I gave her “the look” and my friend wisely chose to zip it and never bring it up again.

But in a world of broken marriages and relationships, these questions come up all too often.

Is it ever acceptable to date a friend’s ex?

Every situation is different, but here are some considerations to keep in mind…

  • How close is your relationship with the friend?  Are you willing to risk tension?  Good friends have each other’s back… they don’t blind side them with a secret relationship.  Having a conversation with your friend before pursuing the ex shows respect for the friendship and consideration of their feelings.  It also shows maturity.
  • How long has the relationship been over?  If it’s been years (like a high school relationship) it may not be a big deal, but if the divorce or break-up is painfully fresh, you may want to reconsider opening this can of worms.
  • Did the relationship with the ex end on good terms?  If your friend dated in an honorable fashion and the pain of the breakup is minimal, they might even recommend their ex to you as a better personality fit. 
  • How healthy is the ex?  What were the reasons they decided to end the relationship?  Do your homework.  If addictions, abuse, adultery or serious character defects caused the breakup, then stay far away from the charming train-wreck.  You were warned.
  • Would your friend cringe if you got married?  Could you hang out with your friend without it being too uncomfortable? Would she poison his popcorn if you came over for a Super Bowl shindig?
  • Ask yourself why you want to date them?  Is it because there is a true relational spark (beyond the physical) and you can’t help yourself, or is it possible you are passively getting back at your friend for an unspoken hurt or disappointment? Search your heart, pray about it and make sure YOUR intentions are above-board.

In more recent years, two of my girlfriends chose to date an ex-boyfriend of mine(strangely enough…the same guy).  But because we were all on good terms, it never became an issue and the friendships have stayed strong even though both of the women ultimately decided to end the relationship. 

What do you think about dating a friend’s ex?

Photo Source: via Lisa on Pinterest



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?

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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: via Judith 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, “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

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