Online Dating Not for the Desperate Anymore

ONLINE DATING

My hubby (Pastor Tim) does a lot of weddings.  Back in the day, couples would come up with elaborate stories–let’s call them fibs–to cover up the REAL way they met, which was ONLINE.

But times are a changing.  In the last year, I’ve noticed many couples own their story and boldly proclaim, “We met on Christian Mingle or E-Harmony.”

Online dating is no longer taboo and a dark secret to hide in the back of the closet from Aunt Edna.  Online dating has reached social norm status. 

When I saw this study from CNN, I had to share.  The trend I’ve noticed from the wedding pews is spreading across the nation.

Enjoy…

(CNN) — If eHarmony or Match.com features more prominently in your “how we met” story than a smoky nightclub or the produce aisle, you’re probably not so reluctant to admit it.

Six out of 10 Americans now believe dating sites are a good way to meet people, according to a new report from the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project.

That’s up from 44% who felt that way in 2005, the last time Pew conducted a similar survey.  Read More

–Blessings.

Samantha Keller

Photo Credit and website

5 Signs It’s Time to Move On

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The beginning of a new relationship is often a whirlwind of euphoria, emotions and intensity.  The last thing you want to dwell on is the negative.

Why focus on the yucky stuff when the awesome part is so—well—awesome?

But you aren’t naive enough to think any relationship is problem free, right? 

Although, it’s strange how some relationships are easier from the get-go and others face strife right off the bat.

The big question we all face, at some point, in a new relationship is whether it’s worth it to invest in and work on the issues or move on to better prospects. 

When should you work through problems versus throwing up the flag and admitting the partnership simply isn’t meant to be?

(Remember, you are looking for your best match and it only takes one to reach your goal)

If your journey to finding the best relationship is plagued with skirmishes and battles, ask yourself these questions:

Does this person have the 8-10 top qualities I desire?  If the answer is yes, and they have everything you are looking for, then it might be worth it to continue on and get help to sort out the difficulties.  If the answer is no, then consider ending the relationship.

Is this person free from all the negative qualities I don’t want?  Now, we aren’t talking about a laundry list of nitpicky items you can’t stand, but a general list of the 8-10 things that you really don’t want in a mate; for example: dishonesty, stinginess, controlling behaviors, anger issues…Yes?  Move on to next question.  No?  Consider ending the relationship.

Are these minor bumps to work through or big mountainss that signal significant differences? Some problems come up because a couple doesn’t know each other well enough and haven’t figured out each other’s personality, communication style and baseline belief systems. These bumps in the road usually work themselves out over time with understanding and patience. More significant issues arise from distinct incompatibility and extreme contrasting beliefs. These kinds of difficulties mostly likely won’t go away and will only get worse.  If one of you is a follower of Christ and the other is not, these issues will more than likely drive a wedge between the two of you.  Do not expect people to change their fundamental beliefs.

Are your thoughts and opinions given credence? Are you in a safe listening environment where you both feel heard and understood?  You certainly don’t always have to agree with each other, but both partners must be willing to try.

Are you already feeling smothered, offended, frustrated and ready to explode? Generally speaking, if you can’t get along well now, it’s not going to get better.  If you’ve already reached your tipping point by month three, it’s probably time to move on.

All relationships take time to discover and discern if it’s a good fit, but once you know what you want and what you don’t want, there’s no reason to drag a relationship going nowhere on and on. 

What do you think?

How to Get Over a Bad Date

 

Angry-DateOn some date’s, the skies part and the angels sing and on other date’s –not so much.

Oh, the date started out well enough (before her head twirled around like the exorcist because you said you ate meat) but somewhere between the appetizer and dessert it skidded to AWFUL with a resounding thud.

Another face, another wasted night…bad dates can be so disheartening.

But they don’t have to derail you from staying confident and ready for the right date to come.

(Remember it only takes one great date to make all the bad ones obsolete)

Here are a few tips to keep bad dates in perspective:

Love Sets Itself Apart

From the very beginning of our relationship, I knew Tim was different from all the others I dated before. We laughed at the same jokes, enjoyed easy conversation and reveled in each other’s company. I didn’t want our first date to ever end.

This is the exact opposite of most of my previous dates.

If you find yourself replaying conversations and kicking yourself for something you did or didn’t say on a date, then it’s probably not the connection you truly desire. The right one WILL stand out from the rest and you will know because it will be AWESOME!

Your Identity is Not Based on a Random Stranger’s Approval

If we believe our behavior, appearance or attitude should be perfect on a date and vice versa for our date, we are only setting ourselves up for failure. Learn how to relax and be yourself on a date and if the other person doesn’t’ like what you have to offer, than it’s their issue.

(Now I’m not excusing bad manners, if that’s you than it’s time for a dating makeover)

God created each of us uniquely and we come in all different shapes and sizes, with gifts and talents and abilities crafted by the King. If you know and REMEMBER that you were made in the image of God, then a stranger’s approval or disapproval will not shake your core identity.

And truthfully, when you own who you are and accept yourself unconditionally, you will be the most attractive YOU because it allows others to be themselves too.

Watch for RED Flags

If something your date says sounds bizarre, ask a few more questions.

Here’s a few items that might need more information and further explanation:

“I haven’t seen my kids in a long time.”

“About five jobs ago…”

“Actually we are separated, but the divorce should be any day now.”

“I just broke up with my ex last week.”

Listen to your intuition and be willing to walk away from a date to protect yourself and your future. Do not play mental negotiations because they are “sooo’ pretty or drive a Porsche.

Just say no to a second date.

4. Play the Movie

If your date has an annoying habit that sends you reaching for the bottle of Advil, don’t make excuses. Put this baby relationship to bed and end it now. It could be something minor or something major, and quite possibly maybe its a quirk or issue you struggle with because you are mildly OCD, but if terrible table manners or an obnoxious laugh send you over the edge, the situation will not improve with time.

Play the movie forward and imagine how their laugh or open chomping mouth will drive you batty ten years from now. If the issue is a non-negotiable for you, then don’t compromise.

Enjoy the Experience

Every date, bad or good can go into your repertoire of life’s experiences. Maybe the bad date can be redeemed as a funny story to be told at a dinner party or in later years to encourage a friend. Maybe you learned a lesson about a personality type or more about yourself on the date.

As long as you act honorably and with respect on a date, then you can part ways at the end of the evening in a healthy manner and maybe the bad date will refer you to a friend who better suits your personality.

Dating is supposed to be fun, so keep it light and take the disappointments in stride as part of the journey!

The Pitfalls of Shacking Up

I listened in on –ok eavesdropped to a woman at a café the other day as she bemoaned her daughter moving in with a dude before marriage.  The woman had apparently discouraged her daughter but the girl rashly went ahead (as most young people do) and packed up her bags to shack up with her new man.

The girl claimed she wanted to “test” their compatibility before they invested the time and energy in marriage.

(Reminds me of test-driving a car)

But the problem with this popular view in culture is that relationships are not like buying or trying on a consumer product.  You generally don’t return a dress after you’ve worn it and laundered it for a year or two, right?

But that’s what we do in the “trying before buying” model of dating.

Relationships are built on a foundation of trust and security, so when you destroy the main foundation before you begin to build the structure –you end up with a house of cards just waiting to fall down.

According to research, a trial run before marriage is not the answer for couples who are considering exclusivity.

Nancy Pina –relationship expert and life coach said this, “In my experience as a Christian relationship coach, those who chose to live together experienced a decline in emotional intimacy instead of a strengthened bond.

A new study by World magazine measured feelings of commitment and intimacy for unmarried couples who live together, and found they never achieved the level of closeness married couples enjoy.”

Ouch…NEVER?

Nancy suggests that living together sets most couples up for probable failure, because at that point, at least one person in the relationship is unsure if it should lead to marriage. Instead of addressing their reservation with openness and honesty, the uncertain person agrees to a trial arrangement. As seen in the study, 52 percent of men are not “almost certain” their relationship will last. More than half had reservations about the longevity of the relationship.

(Remember that saying about “why buy the cow if you can get the milk for free?”)

Marriage brings security –a woman’s greatest need.  Marriage validates responsibilities and expectations within the relationship.

Shacking up is the opposite of commitment.  It is friends with benefits.  It’s an open door policy that allows for flight.  It’s “hey, I’m in as long as you meet all my needs…but if you don’t…there’s the door.”

In marriage, partners have more incentive to learn what pleases each other and they become good at it because they expect to stay together.

“Merely living together is an open question mark because the future is undecided. Cohabitation by its very nature does not promote the same deep connection of mutual trust and emotional vulnerability. Intimacy that is reserved for marriage is cheapened by this experience and cannot be replicated.” states Nancy.

What do you think?

First Date Red Flags

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Ever been on a first date where something seems a bit off?  Maybe your date started crying uncontrollably before the appetizer or licked his fingers at the table with a lusty grin.

And all of a sudden your gut instinct kicks into high gear and a nagging question is raised about their character or integrity.

When a red flag appears, take the time to ask clarifying questions, unless it’s an obvious physical  boundary issue in which case you should run! 

Ten first date red flags:

  • I’m recently divorced. 

This deserves a clarifying question.  “What is recent?”  If your date says, “two years or so,” breathe a sigh of relief, smile and move on in the conversation.  If they say “almost two months” or “actually we’re  separated, but the divorce is almost final” run for the hills.

  • “I’m not really looking for a relationship, just someone to have fun with.”

Newsflash!  You will not be the muse to make him change his ways and suddenly have a new appreciation for commitment.   If you are truly looking for a relationship that could lead to marriage, he or she is not the one.

  • “I’m in between jobs right now.”

While unemployment doesn’t have to mean throwing in the dating towel, generally during a stressful time of job transition, dating takes a back seat to finding a job.  Ask more questions in this scenario.  “How long have you been out of work? What industry are you in?  Do you change jobs often?” 

  • Constant ex talk…

If the main conversation is the ex-girlfriend or ex-husband then your date is still emotionally unavailable.  Move on to someone who is ready to pay attention to you.  Rebound dating stinks!

  • He looks at other women with obvious interest. 

If he’s checking out the options now, you can guarantee he’ll be looking later.  Flee!

  • He/she is mean to the server or tips stingily.

If your date doesn’t give common courtesy and operate with generosity to the people who wait on them, then expect similar treatment in a relationship.  Kind people are kind across the board –no exceptions.

  • They move towards sex on the first date. 

Anyone trying to get in your pants on the first date clearly isn’t thinking “long-term” relationship.  Just say “no thanks.”

  • She’s a diva. 

If she throws a tantrum, complains loudly or shows more drama than a stage production –move on.

  • They over-imbibe. 

Call it nerves (or possibly alcoholism) but if your date gets drunk on the first date they may lack self-control in stressful social situations.  Not a keeper…throw back!

  • Are they obnoxious?  Competitive?  Loud and attention-getting? 

Are you cringing in your seat tem minutes into the date?  It will not get better and unlike a pet that barks too loud, you will have to appear in public with this person (if you are in a relationship) and it will only get worse.

  • Other red flags? 

Depressed, clingy, lives with parents after age twenty-five, has small children that live in another state, works 24/7, takes calls during the date, and can’t remember your name.

Last tip…

Don’t ignore the flashing blinky signals your date is giving off –no matter how pretty she is or how wealthy he is. (We mean it!)

What are some of the RED FLAGS you watch out for?

 

 

Hiding Behind Textnology

We’ve talked a great deal about how texting is changing the dating game.  We’ve theorized on the “instant” and “false” intimacy created by social media relationships.  Well…now we have the research to back our suspicians.

Christian Mingle and JDate recently conducted a survey of 1500 smartphone users aged 21-50, who are dating or have been in a relationship less than two years and studied their texting behavior.

The results are surprising…

Among the findings from USA Today:

•Approximately one-third of men (31%) and women (33%) agree it’s less intimidating to ask for a date via text vs. a phone call.

•One in four say an hour is the longest acceptable response time to a text to someone you are dating or interested in dating; one in 10 expect a response instantly or within a few minutes.

•More men (44%) than women (37%) say mobile devices make it easier to flirt and get acquainted.

“Texting is kind of an ongoing conversation. It does make it easier to flirt. Maybe you’re talking every day,” says Alex Pulda, 27, who works in product research in San Francisco. “It’s not like text conveys a ton of emotion, but you are getting a little more comfortable with each other.”

READ MORE…

According to Ruthie Dean, co-author Real Men Don’t Text (published in September) guys use text messages to send the same message to multiple women. ‘Hey, do you want to hang out tonight.’ They’re kind of fishing for a response,” she says.

Dean, 28, notices that millenials— generally born 1982 to 2000 —have a “a huge handicap in communication. We have our heads down in our smartphones a lot. We don’t know how to express our emotions, and we tend to hide behind technology, computers and social media.”

“People are uncomfortable using the phone. A text message is easier. You can think exactly what you want to say and how to craft it. When they are face-to-face or over the phone, there’s this awkwardness,” she says.

She says telephone calls are often thought of as an intrusion, while texting affords a way of “controlling the volume,” a term she uses to describe the sense of control that text gives users that they can’t get with a voice conversation.

“We tell ourselves we don’t want to disturb someone. Sometimes it’s true, but more often, it’s because we can’t get them off the phone,” she says.

In texting, “we don’t have to talk to people or listen to what another person has to say. We decide how we want to encounter or whether we want to encounter other people. Technology gives us tools for controlling our relationships.”

How is texting changing the way you date?

Define “Christian?”

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One of the biggest complaints we hear from daters using Online Dating Services is how the category of “Christian” can mean so many different things to different people.

Jenna found this to be true. “My spiritual beliefs and values often make dating a very risky pursuit. I’ve been set up with guys—even ones who know I’m a Christian—who expect me to go along with their lifestyle choices: sex, drugs, excessive drinking, and the rest. Other times, guys find out I’m a Christian and automatically assume I’m uptight and judgmental. The stereotypes get old.” 

Brad chimed in…“I’ve heard Christian dating advice that assumes all Christians are exactly the same. But it’s not as if every believer fits a certain profile. There’s a broad spectrum of what it means for people to call themselves a Christian—from very liberal to very conservative and everything in between. Just because a woman calls herself a Christian doesn’t mean her beliefs or lifestyle choices are the same as mine.”

Truth?  Dating is a DAUNTING adventure.  And it’s confusing and awkward and complex…AND even more so with those who have spiritual beliefs they are not only trying to safeguard but to UNIFY with another.

In a culture of Post-Christian anything goes relativity…Christians need to be pro-active!

5 Tips to Help Christian Singles Navigate Online Dating:

  • Guard Your Heart

A key biblical principle says that what is in a person’s heart determines how that person acts—all the decisions he or she makes, for better or worse. We often focus on behavior—how far is too far physically, what a person of faith should or shouldn’t do in a dating relationship, and so on. But even more important is the recognition that conduct follows convictions and actions follow attitudes.

Solomon wrote, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it” Proverbs 4:23.

  • Define your standards BEFORE you date

The time to think through any potentially perilous situation is before it happens. Play the movie out in your mind of possible scenarios.  Think through what hazards lay in your path.  Purity is important, and if it is important to you, take the time to identify potential pitfalls before you start dating (alcohol, late nights, sleeping over).  Fortify your convictions in advance with firm intentions, accountability and a solid plan.

  • Stand Firm

Many Christian singles are hesitant to voice their convictions for fear of being labeled “old-fashioned” or “narrow-minded.” But it’s far better to be up-front about what is and is not acceptable to you in the beginning before you head down a path of compromise.  People respect people who know who they are and who have standards.  If your date disregards your efforts to hold firm to your beliefs, then they aren’t a good match to begin with.

  • Find a Team to Root for You

When facing any obstacle, it helps to know you have support. Invite others who share your commitment to moral integrity to encourage you and check in with you. Find advocates and ask them to watch your back and encourage you to hold firm to your convictions.  They can help you to keep you moving the direction you want to go.

  • Find a Dating Mentor

Search out someone—a pastor, mentor, teacher—whose perspectives and opinions you hold in high regard. Spend time with this person and glean all the wisdom you can. Again, it was Solomon who said, “He who walks with the wise grows wise” (Proverbs 13:20). Good counsel is available to you if you’ll ask for it.

Your Christian faith defines who you are and will play a vital role in any lasting relationship. Protect what matters most to you and date with intentionality.

 (some tips adapted from Neil Clark Warren’s Christian Dating Advice)

 

Dating Tip #1 How to Flee Like Joseph

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Ever meet a woman (or guy) who seems irresistible?

You are in a dating relationship with them and there is intense CHEMISTRY. Or maybe she lives down the hall and gives you “the look” every time you take out your trash. Maybe it’s your male trainer at the gym whose hands accidentally brush up your side when he adjusts your posture.

They put out the vibe that they are AVAILABLE. READY to RUMBLE. SEXUALLY OPEN.

And let’s be honest, it’s tempting.

But you want to follow Christ. You are committed to walking in purity. You know better, right?

I imagine Joseph felt this way too.

Potiphar’s wife was more than likely pretty hot.

She was a wealthy Egyptian woman and the wife of a high-ranking official. This gal probably had all the time in the world to primp, work out at the “Desert Sand’s” 24 Fitness, and practice the smoky eye with her Cleopatra line of makeup.

She certainly had time on her hands to lust after Joseph, her handsome and well built man-servant.

It would have been easy for Joseph to hook up with her when his boss wasn’t looking.

It’s always easy to say “yes” to pleasure.

When Tim and I were dating, there were many nights where our kisses on the sofa turned into lingering hugs and the temperature rose a notch in the room.

And choices had to be made.

Tim’s favorite method of recourse in those steamy situations?

FLEE LIKE JOSEPH!

He would excuse himself to go to the restroom and call me from the car ten minutes later.

Half the time I never even knew he was struggling. A smoldering kiss for a girl doesn’t have the same effect as it does for a dude.

But Tim knew his limits and sometimes running was his only option.

When Potiphar’s wife tried to seduce Joseph -Joseph ran. And the temptress had such a hold on him she ripped off part of his clothes.

Temptation is like that. It grabs on tight. It wants us to surrender.

But God will give us the strength to flee if we seek him.

It helps to have a plan to deal with these situations BEFORE they erupt.

Knowing your triggers and knowing HOW YOU WILL DEAL with the temptation before it arises will give you the tools to navigate sticky situations.

  • Maybe you don’t drink alcohol on a date with this person -until you make it down the aisle.
  • Maybe you have a group of guys or girls checking in with you and encouraging you to date differently.
  • Maybe you set a curfew and stick to it.
  • Maybe you get a same-sex trainer.
  • Maybe you take a longer route to take out the trash.

Tim and I made it down the aisle without sexual compromise. It wasn’t easy but the truly good things in life rarely are.

IT IS POSSIBLE and IT IS WORTH IT!

Dating Tip #1 -When the temperature get’s hot, FLEE like Joseph!

“It is God’s will that you should be sanctified:that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God; and that in this manner no one should wrong or take advantage of a brother or a sister.” –1 Thessalonians 4: 3-6

 

 

Technology and Dating

Working in ministry, we get to meet terrific Kingdom Minded people.  DJ Chuang is one of those guys -DJ is a strategy consultant, ideator and connector. 

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We ran into him at Catalyst this year and he asked Tim to contribute to a podcast on the effects of social media and relationships. 

Social media is affecting ALL RELATIONSHIPS –specifically DATING! 

Here is the podcast from DJ Chuang’s Social Media Church featuring Pastor Tim Keller. 

How Technology Will affect Your Ministry: Episode 44

This episode of Social Media Church features a caller’s comment, commentary, and presentation. You can listen to the episode for the comment and commentary. And, the presentation “9 Ministry Issues You’ll Face with Technology” is an audio excerpt of a Chapel message by John Dyer, courtesy of Dallas Theological Seminary – used by permission. 

Read More at Social Media Church

We hope you enjoy it!

–Tim and Samantha Keller

Dating Tips -Single Parent Plus 4

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“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…”

DO NOT HIDE THE FACT THAT YOU HAVE KIDS

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.

 

Photo Source: sydniewells.wordpress.com

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