I am not the only single Mom and some of my single Mom friends are thinking about whether it is worth it to begin to date once more. Dating does not mean sex and it doesn’t mean marriage it just means to spend time with another adult and have fun. The problem is that dating has changed so much since I last dated that I hardly know whether it is worth trying! I have single friends who have no children at home and they are wondering the same thing, to date or not to date and if we date how to go about navigating the new dating rules! Ugh!
As in everything in life I turned to the Bible for help on this subject and in order to talk about dating we have to discuss divorce and remarriage because dating often means looking for a compatible possible marriage material person. So let’s begin with divorce.
“For I hate divorce,” says the LORD, the God of Israel, “and him who covers his garment with wrong,” says the LORD of hosts. “So take heed to your spirit, that you do not deal treacherously.” Malachi 2:16, (New American Standard Bible or NASB).
Well God I agree with you, I hate divorce too but unfortunately I had no control over being divorced and so I am stuck with it! I am glad to know that God hates divorce because of all the destruction to the innocent, the children, the friends, the co-workers, the church family, the parents and so on and so forth. So what next?
“It was said, ‘WHOEVER SENDS HIS WIFE AWAY, LET HIM GIVE HER A CERTIFICATE OF DIVORCE’; but I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except for the reason of unchastity, makes her commit adultery; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery. Matthew 5:31-32, (NASB).
Some Pharisees came to Jesus, testing Him and asking, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any reason at all?” And He answered and said, “Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning MADE THEM MALE AND FEMALE, and said, ‘FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER AND BE JOINED TO HIS WIFE, AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH’? “So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.” They said to Him, “Why then did Moses command to GIVE HER A CERTIFICATE OF DIVORCE AND SEND her AWAY?” He said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart Moses permitted you to divorce your wives; but from the beginning it has not been this way. “And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.” The disciples said to Him, “If the relationship of the man with his wife is like this, it is better not to marry.” But He said to them, “Not all men can accept this statement, but only those to whom it has been given. “For there are eunuchs who were born that way from their mother’s womb; and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men; and there are also eunuchs who made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. He who is able to accept this, let him accept it.” Matthew 19:3-12, (NASB).
But I say to the unmarried and to widows that it is good for them if they remain even as I. But if they do not have self-control, let them marry; for it is better to marry than to burn with passion. But to the married I give instructions, not I, but the Lord, that the wife should not leave her husband (but if she does leave, she must remain unmarried, or else be reconciled to her husband), and that the husband should not divorce his wife. I Corinthians 7:8-11, (NASB).
This is pretty much all the scriptures on divorce and remarrying in the New Testament. There are some duplicate scriptures to these but basically this is all that I have found that address the issues. As you can see Jesus didn’t approve of divorce and gave only one exception, sexually immorality or adultery. I am not an expert but for my own case I would be allowed Biblically to remarry as long as the man I would marry was also either single, a widow or had a cheating wife. Each person reading this will need to pray about the reason for their divorce and make their own conclusion on their situation. I will say this, though, even if the ex-spouse did not cheat but beat you and you left under fear of more beatings, then I think God would agree that you can divorce. As to remarriage, search your own heart because you have the answer within you. There is one more scripture to look at about remarriage.
A widow is to be put on the list only if she is not less than sixty years old, having been the wife of one man, having a reputation for good works; and if she has brought up children, if she has shown hospitality to strangers, if she has washed the saints’ feet, if she has assisted those in distress, and if she has devoted herself to every good work. But refuse to put younger widows on the list, for when they feel sensual desires in disregard of Christ, they want to get married, thus incurring condemnation, because they have set aside their previous pledge. At the same time they also learn to be idle, as they go around from house to house; and not merely idle, but also gossips and busybodies, talking about things not proper to mention. Therefore, I want younger widows to get married, bear children, keep house, and give the enemy no occasion for reproach; for some have already turned aside to follow Satan. If any woman who is a believer has dependent widows, she must assist them and the church must not be burdened, so that it may assist those who are widows indeed. 1 Timothy 5: 9-16, (NASB).
We can see that the Apostle Paul had a practical guideline for Timothy to use. I am past the cut-off age of sixty so Paul’s opinion is that I should stay single unless I choose not to. For some of my friends, though, who are much younger than me Paul’s advice is that they remarry and raise a family. He felt that the younger women would benefit from marriage and not becoming a burden upon the local body of Christ the church. I can see his logic and I think that he had some insight worth listening to as well but it is not a word from God, this section of scripture is clearly Paul’s opinion and practical guidance for a young pastor establishing and teaching a new church.
Now that we have a clearer understanding of divorce and who is eligible for remarriage we can move on to whether to date or not. Boy oh boy! I have read books and thought about this in-depth. Some of the Christian books on dating and remarriage bring up the idea that when you have children to never introduce the children to the person you are dating unless you are really becoming serious about getting married. I think it is a valid point to keep the children out of the loop so that they aren’t traumatized further in case the relationship doesn’t work out. Children of divorce are vulnerable and they will act out in some way their pain so why bring further pain into their lives! My suggestion is to trust your heart after bringing your concerns to the Lord in prayer and allow God to guide you in this area.
A second problem that I have seen for me as well as some of my single friends is how to meet someone to be in the position to be asked out on a date. My social circle is rather small, home, church, grocery store, and family. Where do I meet men near my age who are decent and single? My younger friends are having the same question. We don’t want to be considered easy and available but we aren’t prudes either. We want to be available but don’t hang out in bars so how do we meet some decent Christian single men? Good question.
Some of my friends have used on-line dating sites and have met some nice men. A few have actually gotten married and are very happy with the on-line service. For those who live in rural areas this can be an option. But for every one that was successful I know two or three that were unsuccessful and the services aren’t free of charge. Some other friends have been fortunate to have a friend that introduced them to a good guy and they found love and remarriage through the good friends network. Unfortunately I have had no success with the friend network because most of my friends are married and have only other married friends! Those that are single don’t have single brothers interested in dating! Bummer!
One thing I want to mention is that you need time to heal after a breakup and divorce. I think that time is so important to not repeat the same mistakes. I can’t tell you when you are ready to date and I don’t think anyone really can, but trust your heart to God to heal before looking for another relationship. I have waited five and a half years since the divorce trial and I don’t feel ready just yet. I am getting there and I probably would not turn down a date if I was interested but God hasn’t brought that about for me yet. I personally believe that you should be praying about dating again and asking God to bring you the right person.
It has been difficult for me to even think about beginning to start over with dating. I always think about what My Mom told be a few years before she passed away. I had written an unpublished novel based upon my marriage years as a way to work through why my marriage ended in divorce. She had read this book and told me that she wanted me to have a better ending to my life story. She said that she felt I deserved to know what it was like to be cherished and loved the way God intended a husband to love a wife. I have thought a lot about her words and my assessment of my marriage is that I was loved for a while.
Because I married someone who was not from my country and not from my culture I knew from the beginning there would be many great difficulties. Not only had he been a foreigner in my country but he didn’t have a heritage of Christian values and principles like I had. His view of love and marriage was vastly different from mine. It took me years to understand the differences. His definition of love was filled with such things as honor and duty and loyalty. My view was to be cherished and appreciated. In his own way I know he loved me but his way of loving was not what I expected nor was it as deep as I felt love. Toward the end of our marriage we had more of a business partnership and the distance between he and I had grown greatly as he worked all the time and was not really interested in a family life. I don’t blame him any longer nor do I blame me but I understand why my Mom said what she did to me.
I also remember something else she often said. She was widowed at age eighty after being married nearly sixty-three years. She said she got lonely but had no desire to have another relationship. Whenever she got lonely she picked up a good book and began to read. She always had books to read! I inherited her library and now I have many books to read as well. I like her viewpoint, books rather than dating relationships!
I made a list several years ago and prayed about the kind of man I would want to date. It really helped me to think through some issues that I didn’t want as well as the kind of man I do want. I also realized after looking at my list that I had some work to do on myself. For instance, if I want someone in good physical shape then shouldn’t I also be in good physical shape? Ouch! I think Jesus Christ would meet my criteria but not King David, he cheated!
I hope this helps you and gets you thinking about the kind of person you want to date. If you have any ideas or tips about getting back into the swing of dating please share them with me because there are many of us who are interested in dating again. I will write another article based upon feedback to this post if you would be so kind as to share!
Until next time…Katherine