Dating After A Divorce
I am 34- year old Christian single female. I was divorced 7 months ago after five years of a very troubled marriage. I have 2 children, a 4-year old son from my marriage and a thirteen year old from a previous relationship. My 13-year old son is glad about the divorce because he did not get along with my ex-husband and my four year old seems to be making the adjustment. His Father sees him once a month and pays child support some time.
The problem that is most significant for me right now is the amount of loneliness I have to deal with. My children and job fill the void sometime, but sometimes I just want the companionship of the opposite sex, someone to spend time with maybe dinner and a movie 2-3 times a month. I don't think I am ready for a serious relationship but I do desire companionship. Besides that, I think an occasional date would help me with the healing of my divorce.
My concern is that I have heard that people should not consider dating for at least two years after a divorce particularly if children are involved. In my situation with my children adjusting to the divorce so well, I am wandering if you think I can be an exception to this rule, after all I don't want marriage just companionship? I would appreciate your advice in this matter.
Divorce definitely leaves us with pain that needs to be healed, voids that need to be filled, children that need to be raised with one parent and many other complications such as debt and depression. Godly counsel and wisdom is essential if you are going to successfully address these complications and avoid the pitfalls that add to the devastation of divorce.
What instruction does the Word of God provide us about your situation? First and foremost as a single parent, the Word of God admonishes you to always put your children first. The first single parent in the scripture was Hagar. We discover God's will for the single parent as we evaluate God's dealings with her. (Genesis 21:14-20) Hagar's focus as a single parent was on the welfare of her child and as she cried out to God on her child's behalf, the scripture says God heard the voice of the child - not Hagar's voice - the voice of the child (verse 17). I believe this is of extreme significance to every single parent. God's response to you is first and foremost directed to the needs of your children and not your own. Keeping this in mind you must prayerfully and honestly consider the impact an occasional date would have on your children, because your primary responsibility as a single parent is to raise your children, not pursue your own needs at the expense of the well being of your children. You must discern with accuracy whether dating another man would create feelings of insecurity for your sons. Would your thirteen year old feel threatened by you spending time with another man, particularly since he never bonded with your ex-husband? Would your four-year old feel insecure since he no longer has his Father in the home. Children process our decisions and actions different than we do and they may not understand your void, only their needs. An occasional date may not be what is best for your children and ignoring this to fill a void that God can take care of in other ways could prove to be very damaging to your children. Threatened insecure children many times develop unhealthy self-esteems, struggle to achieve in school, display behavior problems and have difficulty establishing relationships. That is why God wisely instructed single parents to put the needs of their children first before meeting their own needs.
Secondly dating is not God's prescription for emotional healing. Dating may temporarily take care of the pain but once the date is over the pain usually surfaces again. Dating provides temporary relief of the symptoms and not a permanent cure. God himself is the healer of broken hearts. The Word of God says in Psalms 147:3: He heals the broken-hearted and binds up their wounds, cures their pain and sorrows (Amplified Bible). Psalms 107:20 says: He sent His Word and healed them. Time in the presence of God with the Word of God is the only thing that will bring about permanent healing of the emotional pain associated with your divorce, not dating.
One of the greatest challenges to the single life is loneliness. New divorcees have tremendous struggles with loneliness. In order to effectively deal with loneliness and the feeling of emptiness that typically accompanies divorce you must begin to draw close to God in intimate relationship and fellowship. There is no date that can bring you the fulfillment that being in the presence of God provides. A date (if you are fortunate) may provide some companionship and conversation but God's presence according to Psalms 16:11 brings fullness of joy and the pleasures of His right hand. As you discover the place of God's presence, the void, the emptiness, the loneliness will be alleviated. Actually one of God's specialties is filling the voids in our life and restoring us to wholeness. Before you try a date with a man, I recommend you to try a date with the Holy Spirit. (Visit our online store and order our teaching series "Lord I Am So Tired Of Being Lonely" and "The Love Life of The Single Adult" for in-depth teachings on how to establish intimacy with the Holy Spirit.)
Lastly from a practical standpoint ask God to provide you with fellowship that is safe for you and your children through your local church, neighborhood associations and possibly at your place of employment. Churches with small group ministries and single adult ministries may be helpful in helping you meet your relationship needs. If your church does not yet have this type of ministry maybe out of your pain and need the Spirit of God will speak to you and have you start a ministry that helps new divorcees through this process. Proverbs 3:5-6 tells you how to ensure that God will provide you with what He wants you to have in terms of relationships for this season of your life. It says: Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not to your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. As you with total trust acknowledge God in this matter and don't trust in earthly wisdom and the leading of your selfish desires He will direct your path and provide you with healing, Godly children and relationships that are satisfying and safe.
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