Wed. July 17
From Hashtags to Holy Matrimony
It’s not every day you meet a future spouse on Twitter. In fact, it’s probably close to zero days that anyone has ever met their future spouse on Twitter. With little more than 140 characters to wield, and visions of Manti ‘Teo-sized catfish dancing in one’s head, the chances that you’ll be able to–that you’d even actually want to–woo that flirty social media crush of yours are slim to “you’re gonna end up as celibate as a nun.”
But just like my record of wearing shorts to school every single day in 8th grade to win a bet (despite the arctic temperatures of a cold, Chicago winter), I beat the social media odds and now live to blog about it.
I met my beautiful wife because of two proper nouns: Twitter and Dennis Prager.
In the spring of 2012, I moved to Los Angeles from the Windy City to begin working for my hero (and nationally-syndicated radio show host) Dennis Prager. One of my duties for DP has been to help grow the size and scope of his social media reach. Dennis has very loyal fans, and I had secretly been hoping for years–even before coming to work for him–that I could meet a girl who appreciated the wisdom of Mr. Prager as much as I do.
My job, my boss, and the girl of my dreams collided in the form of a few innocent Tweets in August of last summer. I began noticing that some chick named Whitney Hunt kept Tweeting at Dennis pictures of herself reading his newest book Still The Best Hope and throwing up quotes from the text. As I’m always on the lookout for young people who are interested in Dennis’s work so we can highlight their interactions on Twitter and Facebook, I sent Whitney a Tweet from my personal account telling her that it was nice to see someone under the age of 60 taking the time to read DP’s book.
One thing led to another and a few Re-Tweets (from Dennis’s account) of my own writings later, Whitney and I were now Facebook friends as well. This meant I got to see pictures of this mystery girl from Georgia, which, if we’re all being honest, is 90% of the reason people go on Facebook anyway, right?
After liking (and “Liking”) what I saw on her profile, I decided that Ms. Hunt was someone worth getting to know. Of course, at no point here did I think I that I was embarking on a relationship that would end in holy matrimony. But as we began to interact further–starting with dozens of engaging emails and culminating with a phone call in early October that changed my life–I realized that while no one should put all of their hopes for finding a compatible significant other in someone’s list of favorite quotes or movies on their social media profile, human beings of certain ages who are drawn to certain things are going to find each other. One way or another.
It has become a tired cliché to comment on “just how different things are today,” but it’s true. Whitney is from small-town, horse-country Georgia and has been working in the equestrian/dressage racket for over a decade. I’m a blogger, podcast host, and events coordinator from Chicago–living in Los Angeles with my Rottweiler–whose focus is making the moral and theological case for free enterprise and limited government. We have all of the same core values politically and spiritually, but we needed an extra step to bring us into each other’s air space. We both had to have a desire to share those values with others. And ultimately, we would never have “met” had it not been for our mutual affection for a tall, white-haired Jew from New York who broadcasts a popular show out of Glendale, CA.
We met on the Twitter timeline of this same radio show host and ended up getting married 10 months later. I would have paid money to watch someone try to explain all of that to my late grandpa, Homer Moeller.
Within a few Tweets back-and-forth about the ironic admiration we young evangelicals of a certain age have for Christian bands like DC Talk, within a few clicks on her Facebook profile where I saw things like Bible verses that also meant a lot to me and pictures of a big family like my own, I obviously didn’t know Whitney–but I knew I wanted to. Not immediately in a “we’re soooo dating someday” kind of way, but in a “this is a pretty, single girl with a similar worldview who listens to (and loves) my boss and thinks I’m funny so I’d be a fool not to at least see if she’s crazy” kind of way.
As the weeks went on and the emails between us piled up, I decided I would float an idea that meant a lot to me, but that I knew would scare away most modern girls in their 20’s.
Another of my biggest intellectual influences is the late, great C.S. Lewis. His lesser-known Space Trilogy is my favorite of his works. I had wanted to initiate a “Twitter Book Club” for some time and decided that I would ask Whitney to read and Tweet her way through these three books with me, using different hashtags for each story with the intent of enticing other participants.
In all honesty, I just wanted an excuse to keep talking to her and I wanted to see how far I could push my luck with this awesome girl. She didn’t know it was a test, but neither do most of the people I’m constantly testing and (figuratively) probing for worthiness to be allowed into RJ’s inner-circle.
Long story short: Whitney said yes, we spent hours upon hours on the phone (talking very little about The Space Trilogy itself), and within a month, I had booked a flight to go meet Whitney and what ended up being my future in-laws.
Of course there are plenty of other fun tidbits and anecdotes from our relationship over the past year, many of which we’ll save for ourselves and our grandkids. But the fact remains that we found each other not just because we happened to both use Twitter–we found each other because we had the same values and interests (and then took those values and interests to the electronic streets). The mechanisms and delivery systems connected to how eligible bachelors and bachelorettes meet will continue to change (for better or worse), but if any of your goals include the desire to one day establish a healthy relationship, you cannot escape the time-tested necessity to seek out someone who shares your own views on things like God, family, and country.
Dating in the 21st century is said to be difficult, and I can appreciate that sentiment. But often I find this is the case because people are looking in the wrong places, for the wrong sorts of people. Or because they’re not really looking.
Or because they don’t yet help to run the Twitter account of their favorite radio show host.