Hookups Leaving Many Young People Unfufilled


Walking into the gym, I glanced over at the Today Show and noticed the topic –Postmodern Dating.  Of course, I immediately dropped my workout gear and ran to the sofa to hear what they had to say.

The interview was with Donna Freitas, author of “The End of Sex –How a Hookup Culture is Leaving a Generation Unhappy, Sexually Unfulfilled, and Confused About Intimacy.”

Donna delves into the life of college students and examines how in the current, feverish sexual climate where the hookup is all important, an entire generation has become completely adrift from the concepts of meaningful, emotional intimacy.

Freitas interviewed hundreds of young people to determine not only what defines a “hookup” but also what was taken from the experience –both in positive and negative terms.

What she discovered was a group of young people disillusioned by a social practice that leaves little room for more traditional dating.  She found many women and men who wanted to disengage from the casual hookup but lacked the essential tools to date and foster true intimacy. 

Dead End Hookups

And here is where I believe she hit pay dirt.  Our culture –both Christians and non-believers do not know how to establish healthy relationship and so hookups SEEM like the only entry way into a dating relationship.  But unfortunately, by introducing sex so quickly and making it meaningless, we have removed the ability to truly know each other and create lasting intimacy; as well as overlooked the necessary investment of time and trust to build a solid relationship.

Singles, young and old alike are floundering in the dating realm and they don’t understand why it’s so disheartening. 

Hooking up is not getting us what we want. 

Freitas found that many young people yearn to go out a real date and be honored with intentional pursuit but they believe they are the only ones out there who feel this way. 

But there is another way…

Try Dating With Purpose

Treat your “date” like your neighbor.  Few people would ever go next door and rip out their neighbor’s trees and drive their car on the lawn.  And yet, our hookups do exactly this with people’s hearts.

We use hookups as a conquest instead of an opportunity to care for others.  We avoid any responsibility the day after.  As soon as sex is exchanged, we flee instead of growing closer.  We rip apart our souls over and over and then can’t understand why it’s difficult to connect with people. 

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, 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.

1 Cor. 13:4-7

When was the last time your hookup encapsulated any one of these loving acts?

Isn’t it time we thought about dating differently?


Evaluating the “Rate a Male App” -Lulu


I was driving to work when I first heard the news about a new dating app called Lulu. 

And I almost crashed.

Lulu, if you haven’t heard, is an iPhone and Android application that allows women to review the men they date through Facebook.  Let’s just say it’s an overall evaluation of their assets. 

Think “Angie’s List” and then let your mind wander straight into the gutter.

The creator, Alexandra Chong came up with the idea at a post-Valentine’s Brunch two years ago as she sat with her girlfriends and dished on men and relationships. 

Chong claims she identified a need –to create a forum for women to talk about the men in their lives.

Here is what concerns me:

  1. It dehumanizes men.  Women hate to be objectified and yet this is exactly what they are doing to men.
  2. Women need REAL relationships with other women to process male/female interaction.  They do not need another app on Facebook to isolate even more.  Relationships and people are complicated and they cannot be numerically staticized.
  3. No man deserves to have his relational immaturity advertised.  We all make mistakes and it’s simply unfair and extremely immature to exploit another person’s faults –even if they are legitimate.
  4. If a guy has a bad reputation –it will get around.  Trust me.  Facebook can’t compete with how much women love to gossip.
  5. It could cause lasting emotional damage in the wrong hands.  One vindictive young woman could destroy a man’s online reputation. A bitter woman with this app in hand is a recipe for disaster. 
  6. It’s snarky.

The only possible good I see in this app is that a few guys might clean up their act when held accountable by a posse of young women.  Because this app is targeted for college kids in a campus environment, unless a guy plans on changing schools he might want to reconsider treating women poorly if they are all comparing notes.

Chong said women answer a series of questions and then anonymously or privately share the information about the male. Once ratings from the quiz are calculated, Lulu gives the male an overall ranking on a scale from one to ten.

The female-only application is available to students at the University of Florida and Florida State University because Chong wanted to launch Lulu at schools that have strong Greek life, social environment and academic culture.

“We thought those were some good schools,” she stated. “It certainly has been a big success so far, and we’re really happy we came here.”

 “We had a lot of guys trying to get into the Lulu app,” she said. “We decided we wanted to make sure to give them a voice on the app as well. It’s called LuluDude.”

Chong said the mobile Web application, LuluDude, which is yet to be released, will allow men to manage their Lulu profile and see their ratings.

The Bible gives it own warning in Matthew 7:1, “Judge not, lest ye be judged.”

Ladies, I imagine a male version of this app is already in the works -so tread lightly before you critique.  Only God knows our heart and no app or program could ever quantify a changed life.

What do you think about Lulu?  Would you use it if it were available?

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: examiner.com via John on Pinterest

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? 




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

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!

Breaking up is Hard to do

How to Break up

One of the questions we often get at our dating seminars is “how do I break up with someone who isn’t a good fit?” Many daters find themselves in relationships of convenience with no commitment and no end in sight. It’s hard to end a relationship that is comfortable, but not God’s best for a long-term commitment.

Because being alone is scary (and breaking up is hard to do) we stall and stall and wait and hope for something to change.

I (Samantha) ended one particularly bad relationship in an unconventional way.

A Different Approach?

And it’s no magic formula.

I simply prayed for God to give me a way out.

The relationship wasn’t going well. He wanted marriage and I wasn’t even sure I liked him, but I felt trapped because of some ill-advised financial intermingling. I knew God needed to intervene to get me to move on.

Within twenty-four hours of my prayer, the guy was gone thanks to a divine miracle. A misunderstanding turned into a fiasco and instead of trying to fix it, I let it rip the relationship apart –exactly what I had prayed for.

It needed to be his idea for me to recoup the money I had loaned him. (By the way…never lend money to a new boyfriend or girlfriend unless you plan on kissing it goodbye)

Sometimes having the courage to break up is the hardest part. But I believe God will give us the strength if we ask for it.

And even when we are a big wuss, like I was, God offered me an opportunity to get out. And that was all I needed.

Here are some more ways, but we still recommend starting with prayer.

Tips to end a bad relationship:

  1. Find a neutral place to meet. Do not meet at his or her home.
  2. This means you have to meet in person! Texting or calling is for Jr. High.
  3. Schedule a meeting with a friend about an hour later so you have an excuse to leave and the conversation doesn’t drag on.
  4. Repeat over and over like a broken record. “It’s just not going to work out. “
  5. Do not use blame or shame.
  6. Be empathetic but do not try to fix the pain. Walk away.
  7. Un-friend on social media after the break up.
  8. Do not kiss goodbye or be close physically.
  9. Avoid the old places you both frequented for a time.

Do you have any good advice for making a break up less painful?

Phot Credit: Dian Waskita

Should Women Ask Men Out?

The cards filled up the podium –stacks of yellow flash cards with questions for the two of us.  My husband and I were speaking at a conference on love, sex and dating and we were wrapping up our session with some Q &A. 

One of the piles was larger than the rest and I realized about ten people had asked the same question. Curious, I pointed at the cards for Tim to read next.

Tim picked up the cards, flipped through them, and then read aloud, “Can a woman ask a man out?”

His deep voice boomed out into the audience and all the women in the room looked up at us in anticipation.

Tim began to share his opinion while I perched up on my stool and articulated my thoughts.

My husband recommended that if a man has indicated some interest in a woman then she can confidently suggest “you should ask me out.” 

So the woman is making her interest clear to a man and making it known she is available.

But if the guy say’s no and shows zero interest in arranging another time or place to meet, it’s time for the woman to move on.


But I think this holds true for both men and women.  If a guy asks a girl out and she says no, and then he asks again and again, and she still says no, then the guy needs to move on.

We tend to take “NO” so personally but if we tweaked our model just a bit, and looked  at asking someone out (or encouraging someone to ask us out) as more of an interview process and less of an emotional minefield, it would take a great deal of the pressure off.

When you go out on more dates than less…each individual date takes on less significance making it easier to act like yourself. 

It’s the whole idea of putting all your eggs in one basket.  When it comes to first dates, spread the eggs around and try MANY baskets. 

I want to be clear here, I’m talking about FIRST DATES and doing things like taking a walk and getting an ice cream cone, or meeting at a coffee shop.  I am not referring to hooking up and being the Easter Bunny hoochie or poochie (if you are a guy).

So ladies…BE BOLD and be ENCOURAGING.

And help guys ask you out.  Maybe this isn’t as easy as directly asking them out, but it is certainly more honoring and respectful to a man.

When I was single, if I was interested in a guy I usually invited him to a group event.  If he said yes and showed up, I gauged his interest.  Usually, with a little encouragement, a guy will then make the leap to asking a woman out.

Chivalry is not dead; we simply need to re-train our men to become the hero’s they were designed to be.

What do you think?  Is it ok for women to ask men out?


Further reference: A great book to read is Neil Clark Warren’s Date or Soul Mate for more on the interview process.

Photo Credit: From creativejuicephotography.blogspot.com

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



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