Monday, January 24, 2011

Dating after the death of a spouse ...

We admit that we haven't done much research on this topic (although I did find there is a book titled "Grieving for Dummies"). Cache' Connections has several members who have been widowed for a few or several years, and we've heard from them that although they feel ready to move forward, their children, family and friends don't feel they should. This has got to be a tough situation all the way around.

A few scriptures come to mind:
Ecclesiastes 3: 1 There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: ... 4 a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance.

Philippians 3: 12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

1 Corinthians 7:39 A wife is bound to her husband as long as he lives. If her husband dies, she is free to marry anyone she wishes, but only if he loves the Lord.

1 Timothy 5:14-16 NLT says: 14 So I advise these younger widows to marry again, have children, and take care of their own homes.

And remember Ruth who was widowed and later remarried Boaz? We love how her mother-in-law served as a matchmaker, along with the fact that Ruth is part of the lineage of Jesus Christ!

After a proper time of grieving, it is time to move forward. Of course, one should never "forget" their former spouse. He or she no doubt holds a very special place in the widow's heart and history. The dominating question seems to be, however, what is a proper time of grieving? I'm sure everyone has a different opinion on this, and depending on how close they were to the deceased, their answers will vary. What it boils down to, IMHO (in my humble opinion), is that it is really the choice of the one who was left behind. He or she is the one who is left with a gaping hole in their life. He or she is the one who had established a way of life that very much included a partner. He or she in no way (hopefully!) created this circumstance. And alas, this person obviously is not suddenly blessed with the gift of singleness. Friends and family members should be respectful of the tender position the widow is left in, while realizing that harsh as it may sound, life is for the living.

Your thoughts?

~ Linda
Cache' Connections


Anonymous said...

Great topic to discuss.
As a widow at the age of 45 years old I can relate to much of what you have said in your post.

I was with my spouse a total of 30 years. We met at the age of 9 and dated from the age of 15 years old. The comfort of a life partner is that of knowing where you are and where you are going in life (God willing) Communities, called our immediate and extended families, are built with the solid foundation that stems from the union of the two that God has joined together and bestowed His blessings upon. When this foundation is gone, all members of that family(community) seek peace again in all things that bring familiarity back into their lives.
Unfortunately, the surviving spouse(widow/widower) has two choices, act as if all is the same and hold the community of family together so this community feels safe and comfortable once again, as life for them returns to what they know and which brings them a feeling of security; or the widow/widower can realize that they have left a land that can never be returned to again. As Ruth and Naomi ventured back to Bethlehem, Naomi recognized that she was returning to a land not "full" as she was when she had Elimelech(her husband)and two sons by her side; no she would not even call herself Naomi, her given birth name as she no longer saw herself in that light. Naomi now called returned stating that she was now to be called, Mara,a name meaning "empty". Naomi knew that she would never be able to return to the land of fullness as it were before.
I believe there is no designated length of time that governs when and if a widow/widower date.

What I have discovered is that each person is unique and their journey will be unique. Start dating if you are ready and don't if you have no desire. Live the life God has intended you to live. Get to know God so you can hear Him and trust Him to lead the way through new lands.
Blessings for fullness of life!

Pastor John Vaughn said...

I have been called to officiate at far too many funerals where a man or woman is in deep grief from the loss of their companion of sometimes decades of years, and in others only a short time. For some, the grief lasts a long time, and for others, they can move on quickly to recapture some of the life that has be taken away so abruptly. Soon, they will find that grief doesn't affect them nearly as much as maybe it did last spring, or last fall, or winter, or maybe even a few years after their spouse died. But, the grief is still there. It's not gone. Will they ever stop being widowed? I think that in certain ways, no. Even after getting remarried, or many anniversary celebrations past their loss, it likely will always be there. It's a part of their past, their history, and it's a vital part of the person they have now become. But, every day, and every new friendship that is nurtured…they become less of a widow or widower, than they were months or years ago.

My take is that people should be given plenty of time to work through their emotions after such a huge loss. They shouldn't feel forced to mourn for an excessive amount of time and should not feel guilty about naturally developing feelings for someone they get to know as they work through their grief.

Dave said...


This is a good topic, although most of the Cache members seem to be divorced or never-married. Many of those who are married will likely be widows/widowers at some point.

I was widowed almost a year-and-a-half ago, and life will never be the same as it once was, but I have to go on and make the most of the rest of my life. I don't know what my future holds, but I want to be open to what God has for me, whether remarried or single. I don't want to limit my possibilities by secluding myself, and it is good to get out and be involved in things. I want to be content in all circumstances, as Paul was, and, remarriage to the right person would be a blessing, if that is God's plan.

I don't think that anyone should tell a widow/widower how long they should wait before dating or make judgements about it. Our departed spouses are in paradise with Jesus if they were believers, and they would not want us to be in perpetual mourning. If a widow/widower were to meet someone very shortly after the death of their spouse, there is nothing wrong with that, but they should probably proceed slowly. It is nice to get family approval, but I don't think children should impose their views on their father or mother. In my case, my children at first wouldn't discuss the issue, but have now given their okay, and my late wife's mother has told me I should date, which was appreciated. My late wife will always have a place in my heart, but I have to go on without her now, whatever that will look like.

I would say that widows/widowers should do what they are comfortable with, but they should be careful not to sink into perpetual grief because they will be of no use to God or anyone else if that happens. Many resources are available for dealing with grief, and widows/widowers should avail themselves of whatever they need to move on. Pursing a new relationship or not is a personal choice that others should respect, but I don't think that people should close themselves off to possibilities, either.

Anonymous said...

I totally agree that no two widows/widowers are the same. Everyone deals with their loss differently and no one should be judged as to how long their grieving process is.
I am a widow in my 4th year of the loss of my husband and I feel I am ready to find love again. I think this is true of most widows/widowers that had a wonderful, happy, Christ- filled marriage. I want the same again, however, I too notice that most of the connections on Cache are either divorced 1, 2 or even 3 times or some never married. Not too many widows.widowers. I have to wonder why that is.
I know that God has a plan for my life and I am trying so hard to be patient. But I have so much love that I want to share that I have to sometimes slow down and take a deep breath and ask God to hover me with patience and His love.
I am sure that someday, somewhere there is a man that is for me! I love your Blogs and look forward to reading them..

Anonymous said...

Hi Kim & Linda. I am 54 years old, and have been a widower for 6 years. My wife died suddenly at age 48, and I have raised 2 teenagers through college. I think that a widower should wait some time, as though not to immediately replace feelings of companionship, intimacy, etc. If I do remarry, it will be to the right person. My children want me to be happy, but realize that nobody will ever take the place of their mother. The holidays are especially stressful for me, and sorry to say, not a time of rejoycing. I feel more at ease once January rolls around. As a widower, I feel as though I know what it takes to make a marriage work, and am committed to the marriage. I am a little taken with the number of people divorced 2 & 3 times. My marriage had its trials, but I stuck with my wife till death, and pride myself in doing so. All said, I think that it is time to remarry, and would really treat my wife well in all ways, not taking her, or our life together for granted. I would not try to replace my deceased wife, and thank the Lord for the time we had together on this earth. I will repect my new spouse's unique idenity. God did not make man to live alone, and a good woman is a gift from God. Thank you, Bob Kolton.

Linda said...

Bob again ... I meant to also say that it was good for me not to remarry right away. God had some work to do on me, as I was a casual Christian, and a bit too prideful. I've grown in my faith over the past few years. Perhaps I still have a few more notches down to go since I haven't found another wife yet!