Showing posts with label Dating/Remarriage. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dating/Remarriage. Show all posts

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Red Flags In Dating (part 2) -- What If They're Preferences Instead?

Please be sure to read yesterday's post which started this conversation. We continue today. Each different colored font is a different person. Join in with your comments either day. It's always worthwhile to hear from more!

Reading and thinking through things here, I do think that we need to be careful about what is a red flag and what is something that you don't prefer. Some one mentioned being late all the time. My dearly departed was always running late, always. It was simply because he just didn't have that internal clock, he didn't mark the passage of time well. 29 years together and he was always late. But oh what a wonderful, kind, humble loving man he was. I hate to think what I would have missed if I dropped him because he was late for every single date.

When you're not sure, time is an amazing clarifier; as are background checks, health history, and financials!

Not all of the above are automatic deal-breakers. God's grace is deep. Time does reveal. Of course this guy did not show all of these character traits at was a gradual process, like a frog in a pot of boiling water. The phrase it took to wake me was this: "I don't know whoever told you red is your color. It's not." My response: "Ummmm...everybody's told me that for my entire life? So when you finally hear something you know to be a lie, you begin to look at things differently. And yes, I'm in counseling to make sure this never happens again!

Here's my two cents worth. One or two of these things alone do not signal run, they are only red flags if there are many of them! Let's face it, we all have red flags in our lives! So, particularly in a long distance relationship where you have never met, these are some "scammer" red flags: *His phone does not have a name on the caller ID, rather says "unknown" or something similar (not to be confused with blocked, which I ALWAYS did the first conversation or two). *Googling his number shows a city/area different from his stated residence. 
*Often questions of a personal nature are slow to be answered or he suddenly has to run and will answer them later, but never does. When pushed he asks you to be patient because he's so busy or flies off the handle and accuses you of not trusting him. 
*He pushes that you should trust him right out the gate. 
*He starts talking about his finances. Even if he doesn't mention yours at first. 
*He says he wants to meet, but something always comes up and he can't. 
*He has no one in the whole world. Parents deceased, no siblings, no children, no relatives, no one. 
*The name of the church he said he attends doesn't exist. 
*He will not give you information on anyone who can be a reference for him or he is all alone and doesn't know anyone. 
*Never provides an address where he lives and a google search of his city doesn't come up with anything. 
*He is a widower or divorced, but a public records search for his ex or deceased wife reveals nothing, no marriage, divorce, or death records. 
*He is self-employed but a public records search for his licensing through his city, county, or state comes up empty. 
*He is unavailable on week-ends for one reason or another, always! 
Just a few that I ran across. And one dude met almost every single one of these criteria. When I asked about them, he disappeared. LOL (Readers, I love how she used public records to try to verify his information. You don't need to be a detective to do this, try it! ~ferree)

Now for red flags when you have met. 
*He's resistant to you knowing where he goes to church or tells you he does not want you to go there. 
*He assures you that he would never treat you, your children, or grandchildren "like that!" but he treats others that way 
*He pushes you to more than you are comfortable with physically or emotionally. 
*He expects far more than he is willing to give. 
*He is never wrong. (This one is true with scammers too. A disagreement is always your fault, you are always unreasonable.) 
*He begins asking you to pay for dates or asks for loans or your specific financial information (Also scammers! RUN!!!!!) Remember, some scammers operate face-to-face. 
*He has multiple divorces. 
*He has only had short-term relationships. 
*You do all the pursuing. 
*He is inordinately interested in or affectionate with your children or grandchildren. 
*You are always "over-reacting" or taking something the wrong way. 
*Others in his life warn you that he can be difficult or that you should be careful. 
I guess some of these could be simply a matter of taste, but basically, if being around him makes you feel "less" during dating, remember, he's on his best behavior now!

There's no such thing as a perfect man. We all have faults. What you have to really look out for as a red flag once you are actually seeing someone is this: are you a better you around him? If not, then maybe that's a red flag.

The quote "know that God will not call you into a dysfunctional relationship while he heals someone---" I can't think of any scriptural support for it, but it makes great sense. I wonder if this is where women can get into trouble by giving too much grace and thinking God is calling them to help some man. Sure, we all have our baggage and imperfections, but if you have an overnight bag while he needs a tractor-trailer, it's time to move on.

(Reply) "...that's exactly why i stayed so long. i knew he was a wounded bear. i thought i could love him while God healed him. But then i realized he was hurting me (verbally, emotionally) and i had to get out. i do not want my daughter to grow up thinking that's how women should be treated.

You know, I think that's a good way to help determine whether these are concerns are imperfections we can live with or serious red flags: is this the person we want our children to hang out with, be influenced by, for the rest of our lives as a family? Again, it doesn't have to be all perfect, because no one is, but there should be a gut feeling that the kids are going to be blessed by this (or have potential to, as they warm up to the situation).

Monday, May 15, 2017

A Widow's Group Talks About Red Flags They Should Have Seen

A few weeks ago I asked a group of widows who've started dating to tell about "red flags" of a bad date or relationship. Wow!-- did they ever tell!!! Their identities will remain anonymous but they all want YOU to take these warning signs seriously so you can avoid what they experienced. Many spoke of how they ignored the warning signs (or thought they didn't apply to widows), but another factor was that no one had ever warned them. They wished someone would have! So here, my friends, are some the warning signs. I think this is going to take a few days... 

 One at the top of the list should say "just because you meet him in church doesn't mean he's a Christian. Or a good person. Or even mentally stable."

1.They never ask you questions about yourself, but are happy to tell you all about themselves. 
2. They interrupt you frequently. 
3.They tell you about their divorce/last relationship, and nothing was their fault---absolutely nothing! 
4. They say, "You should _______like sushi, or not think that, or do this, or do that, etc..." (Maybe later in the relationship, after they know you, know the facts, but NOT on a first date). 
5. They are habitually late, and are known for being habitually late by all friends and family. It shows selfishness and lack of thought for others. 
6. While on the date they are less than kind to the waitstaff.

Red flags would be--willing to do anything for you, constant showering of gifts and compliments. Tells how he's done every trade there is, owned his own business and how he was always helping people out but then complains he's been used and cheated by everyone he's ever helped. He has to always be the center of the conversation. Talks down about his father with crude remarks, talks about previous women he's dated and what he expects and why they didn't work out. During the relationship he wants constant PDA (public display of affection). Doesn't allow you to talk about your deceased when it's appropriate but he can talk about his anytime. Says holidays are not important. Always has a sarcastic remark about any given profession, including people in your family. Tells you to shut up as he doesn't need your opinion. Claims church isn't necessary nor is God-- he claims he can get to heaven by his good works and deeds. He's always asking you if he looks good when he's dressed up, constantly bragging about his abs and exercise program and suggests you need exercise!

If he has animals be sure to see how important they are--if they are more important than you. Ask about his kids, because if he talks ill of them and says they're worthless even though they have successful careers it tells me he's jealous of their accomplished successes. What's his take on grandkids? Does he have any? Does he enjoy being around them? 

Please tell your readers if they have one red flag or their gut is saying to run.... THEN RUN AND DON'T LOOK BACK!!!! Listen to your closest friends, ask for their honest opinions. You may not like it, but they're seeing red flags outside the blinders you're wearing. I hope this helps.

Some of the main things that I learned from my failed relationship are:
1. If he tries to take you away from church, run.
2. If he refuses to meet your friends or family, run.
3. If he belittles you, publicly or privately, run.
4. If he tries to control you, manipulate you, or convince you that he is the only one that you need, run.
5. If he is verbally or physically abusive, run, run, RUN. Don't put up with it like I did. I was so desperate to be loved that I allowed him to do all of the above. That's not love.

It's funny/odd, because being married for almost 28 years I think I assumed that the first man that I dated would be "The one." He was the one all right… The one to run away from. LOL. Sometimes the best lessons are the hardest ones learned.

To remember all the red flags, I re-read the last few months of my journal. There are so many, you will think I lost my mind for having dated him for four months. The truth is, I know God can and does change people. I know our past does not always look pretty. And I know that by the time one gets to my age, baggage is there and can be ugly. HOWEVER, please trust your instincts (I didn't), know that God will not call you into a dysfunctional relationship while he heals someone (God doesn't need your help and you'll only be a distraction/excuse/scapegoat), and believe that you are who God says you are (redeemed, forgiven, priceless, of great value, loved...).

Red flags:
*You have trouble trusting him (but no concrete reason)
*You are afraid of him (again, even with no specific reason)
*If he cheated on his ex-wife while married
*Doesn't take responsibility for his actions or show any sign of remorse/repentance
*Has an arrest record, including a felony
*Becomes defensive/angry when asked about above (Including stating, "Where's the proof?")
*Declared bankruptcy
*Ex-wife tried to sever parental rights (What does/did she know that I'm not seeing?)
*Turns his phone away so you can't see what he's texting
*No respect for his mother and/or all women
*Rude and insulting
*Would have you think it's all your problem
*You feel pushed away emotionally, physically, mentally
*You feel like you are losing "you"
*You argue a lot about anything/everything
*He has difficulty with boundaries with others (his kids....)
*Thinks he can dictate your behavior now or later ("When we get married, you will be up every day by 7 am.")
*If he tells you to "stop trying to figure him out."
*If he says to not trust your friends because "friends give bad advice"
*If he's cheap (not frugal. Frugal I can understand. I mean CHEAP.)
*If he's rigid (diet, schedule...); no room for spontaneity
*If he tells you not to talk about him with anyone if he's not there "to defend himself"

And finally for today...
Turn to someone who you trust and who you know loves you; tell them your concerns and LISTEN to them. If they say get out, do it!

Please watch for tomorrow's post where the conversation asks if some of these "flags" aren't "preferences" instead...  

Monday, April 3, 2017

A Prayer for Widows Who Want to Be Remarried

Lord God,
     I pray today for widows who want to remarry---for those who yearn once again for the companionship, touch and presence of a husband's love.
     May they use this desire to call upon You for refuge and strength. May they be thankfully open and honest before You, expressing all their dreams, fears, and daily struggles. May they receive help in time of need. May You open their eyes to the sources of help You've already placed around them.
     And Lord, as the widow Naomi prayed for Ruth and Orpah, I pray for each of these widows today: 
May the Lord show kindness to you, as you have shown to others. May the Lord grant that each of you will find rest in the home of another husband.
     As they struggle moment by moment to trust You again, may they each "be richly rewarded by the Lord, under whose wings they have come to take refuge," as Ruth did.
     In this process, Lord, gently lead them, reveal Yourself and Your will, and help them be restored and growing in You. Grant them contentment!
     Protect and watch over these beloved ones, Lord, and draw them close to You.
     In Jesus' Name,

A woman is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to marry anyone she wishes, but he must belong to the Lord. In my judgment, she is happier if she stays as she is---and I think that I too have the Spirit of God.  I Corinthians 7:8

May you rest in the Lord this week,
♥ ferree

Monday, November 21, 2016

On Line Dating: WARNING! bRoKeN Hearts and Busted Wallets Ahead!

I had the privilege of meeting Terrie several years ago, and she was kind enough to contact me about the important things she has learned regarding safety and caution when dating. Although I met my husband Tom online, it was many years ago, and there were so many people at our wedding who knew each other it was obvious that the Lord would have had us meet even outside of the Internet. There were online stalking and identity theft problems back then, but there are even more today.I do not recommend online dating sites, especially not the free ones. Terrie's post is a must read.

On Line Dating: WARNING!
bRoKeN Hearts and Busted Wallets Ahead!
by Terrie Krumal

Losing a spouse can be a debilitating event that can affect us for weeks, months or even years (honestly, I don’t think we ever get over it or get used to it).  We all react so differently to that life event, but one trait is very common.  Until the “fog” clears, our  brains don’t quite connect, analyze or warn us when there is eminent danger.  This is such a well known fact that the dating scammers and con men specifically target widows.  The cons know just what to say and in such a caring way, that it catches a person off guard (just check with the BBB regarding door to door sales).   If we are not analyzing all information the scammer/con men have shared with us, we become easy prey.

Let me pause here for just a moment and explain that I thought I would be writing these words to caution women regarding online dating, but after talking to several people, this information needs to apply to ALL ways of meeting men.

There are ways to meet men--at church, at exercise class, at the grocery store or at stained glass workshops and we assume that they are harmless and are the safest way to go. But that's not necessarily the case. They are maybe a little safer than online meetings, but those areas noted above still have con artists and scammers and not-so-nice guys.  We must keep in mind that scammers/con men are out there in great numbers and are getting very sophisticated in their relationships.  It behooves us to educate ourselves in preparation for meeting ANY man and steel our resolves on how we  connect with them and what we share with them.

Several celebrities such as Dr. Phil have previously covered the topic of online dating pointing out the perils of most of the websites. When Dr. Phil presented the facts of the scam, some women refused to believe him. This was even when faced with the truth!

Many dating websites give alerts to the dangers that may lurk in their website and how to avoid them. The Federal Trade Commission devotes a large segment on their website to the scams of dating websites This is a great indicator of how elevated this issue has become.  The victims are now in the tens of thousands. 

But when you watch TV or talk to others who have had a good online experience, it’s hard to keep in mind the dangers that may lie ahead.  We may become so desperate that we ignore those dangers even when we sense something inside us warning us to run the other way!! 

So with all that in mind (and my previous employment experience as a consumer credit counselor who cautioned people on many scams), I felt I was educated enough to come up against the scammers and not fall for their tricks.  I felt I could sort the good from the bad and the ugly!!

Boy was I wrong!  

So right now I want to stop and say if you have been scammed or in a relationship that may be a scam please STOP and talk to a friend, a pastor, or a trusted counselor.  Please don’t be embarrassed or hesitant to talk to someone now.  You need to seek the wisdom and discernment of a trusted individual.

How do these people break down our barriers and succeed in taking advantage of us?

They shower you with loving words, they desire to meet you soon and they aspire to “lay the world at your feet.”(Sorry. but when you are a widow and you haven’t heard those words or felt that way for some time its very easy to fall for their approach).  They build up the relationship and your trust in them.  Then they ask for money. Oh, not for themselves (of course!), but for a “sick child,” or gifts for orphans (really!), or a struggling business.

Or they ask for your address so they can send you gifts and flowers. But what comes are delinquent bills, money laundering scams, the transfer of stolen goods, or even bank fraud.  If you start to question them they usually get defiant and angry, or try to turn it around and make you the problem.

Protect Yourself

The Federal Trade Commission has a wonderful website ( with information regarding the scams, what to do if you have become a victim, and many more details. You can file a complaint and if given enough time and details they can catch the thieves. Unfortunately most women are so embarrassed that they never step forward and file a complaint and the scammer is free to prey upon another widow.

The very first piece of advice is NEVER EVER go offsite.  Once they convince you to go off the dating website, the scam starts.  If you remain on the website, most companies track certain “buzz words” and will advise you of a problem and then block the culprit.  You are safer there than offsite but you still have to remain diligent and cautious in your contacts.  Be very careful with the information that you share with others.  You don’t need to share everything with them no matter what they say (I actually made details up when someone was asking too much information—another warning sign).

In conclusion, put your life in Gods hands and He will guide you. He has a plan for your life, and if there is another man for you, He will make it happen. I hope that doesn’t sound trite, but being in your same situation I have come to the conclusion that it will happen in God's time. I just have to stop what I am doing and trust Him.  After all he is a Good God and He loves us.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

A Widow's Story: More Than She Ever Dreamed...

Here's a letter from a reader that I've been granted permission to share with you. Are you ready to read about her long-awaited love story? I think you'll enjoy it.  ferree

Hi Ferree,
Been awhile since I’ve written you, but felt that I would share and hopefully convey to some of the widows that there is life after our beloved ones pass.

I’m sure you’ve seen that I’m engaged and I couldn’t be happier. But it took a while to get to this point…

I first met my now beloved just three months after Wayne passed away in 2012. We went to dinner a couple of times, but I knew I wasn’t ready and that I was still mourning my Wayne. It didn't seem fair to me to take up his time and rob him of meeting other women, perhaps even his future wife! So I made a covenant with God that I would stay single until He introduced me to His choice. I had seen a picture captioned, “Dance with God and He will allow the right one to cut in.” Well, that’s exactly what I've done. I’ve kept to the motto and obedience to dance with God until He brought the perfect one.
Come January of this year, John contacted me again out of the blue, and asked if I’d like to go to dinner. We went and it was as if God had already ordained this relationship to bloom. We'd talk for hours on the phone; he’d come over and we’d talk until 2 o’clock in the morning. We’d take long walks holding hands, laughing, sharing about our childhoods (neither one of us had an easy one), and talking about losing his wife to cancer. They were married 42 years, and Wayne and I were married 20 years. He lost his wife exactly one month prior to me losing Wayne. We talked about how it was hard to helplessly watch them die a little bit every day.
There were so many similarities in losing our spouses, and I think that’s why we could cry in front of each other. One day as we were sitting on a park bench sharing these similarities it was as if God had planned it perfectly: we looked up and saw two hummingbirds flitting above us! They'd disappear and then return, looking at us as if to say, "It’s okay, time to live, time to love again and enjoy God’s blessings!" Little did either one of us know that both our spouses loved hummingbirds! She had collected them and mine had photographed them. Only God knew……He’s so good.

I shared with him my covenant with God to remain pure until I married again because I felt it was the greatest gift I could ever give to a new husband. Ferree, he was so moved by my covenant with God that he cried! He explained that he had tried dating other women after me, and although he had some enjoyable dates, he said it was the women who came on to him for pure physical pleasure. He said he told them "no," and they would say “What are you, gay?” and other hurtful things. He said he told them that intimacy was reserved for the wedding night and not to be handed out like a piece of sweet candy. Then I cried too! Who would have thought he had made the same covenant as I had? God did!
On April 22nd he called me and asked if I could be dressed and ready to go by 8:00 the next morning? Of course, I could! I awoke early that morning to get ready. I have to admit I was nervous because I had no clue what was planned for the day. Right on time a knock came at the door and when I opened it there he stood, smiling. He asked if I was ready and when I stepped outside there was a black limo, a red carpet rolled up to my door, and a chauffer waiting to open the door and help me into the limo! And of course there were neighbors outside watching (LOL!!) I got in and now I really started getting nervous! I asked where were we going and he said, "Well you said you've always wanted to visit the winery that's the same as your maiden namesake, so I thought we’d go and do it in style."

The drive took about 2 hours to get to the winery, and of course, when a limo pulls up anywhere everyone is curious. The chauffer opened the door and helped me out and as we approached the door to the winery, he opened that one too! Behind it there stood three young ladies, each with a single red rose and they asked, "Are you Deborah?" I’m giggling, and blushing, but I said "Yes," and they gave me each of their roses. Then, the owner of the winery took us on a private tour! Come to find out after talking with him, we actually are related by six generations ago! Who would have thought!
We left that winery and proceeded to drive to two others. Each time I was greeted with three red roses. I looked at my beloved and said, "What’s going on?" He said, "I just want to make today special, as you deserve it."

I remember asking God, Is this real? Am I dreaming? How was I blessed to get a such a romantic gentleman? I looked up and said thank you, Lord. Our last stop was by a lush green meadow with trees. This time when the limo door opened there was a red blanket, a bottle of champagne, two glasses and strawberries.
He led me to the blanket to sit down. He opened the champagne and then said, "I need to read something to you. I wrote it down so I wouldn’t mess up." He read to me all that he'd been looking for in his next spouse; that I had all the traits, plus more he hadn’t even counted on; and that for the last three years he had been praying that if it was the Lord’s will that He would let us reconnect again. He had fallen in love me on our first date in January shortly after my Wayne died. He told me he knew I was the one for him, but he was afraid to share for fear that I didn’t feel the same way, and other sentimental and deep heart emotions. He then laid the paper down and reached inside the basket and brought out a box. He opened the lid and asked if I would marry him! Tears just flowed and I hugged him for the longest time. He said, "Is that a yes? I said "Yes, a thousand times yes!" and then when I saw the ring (band was in the box as well) I about fainted! I looked at him and said "Oh My!" My hand was shaking so badly that he had to lay it flat on the blanket to put the ring on. LOL!!! I have yet to come down from the clouds of that special day and I just praise the Lord every day for this wonderful man He brought into my life.
So I guess what I want to say to other widows who doubt they’ll ever find someone as wonderful as their passed beloved--- if you trust God, He will allow you to have that fairytale ending. So keep your eyes on the Lord, stay obedient and trust Him to select the right one to cut in on your dance. God will truly give you the desires of your heart.

Yes, I had many nights that were lonely, many times where I’d be out and seeing other couples interact. Many times I'd say
Lord, I’m ready to have someone special, I’m ready to be a wife again. I don’t want to be alone forever. I know You’re my husband and I praise You for providing, protecting and comforting me during these hard times. But Lord, I need the physical touch, someone who can hold me tightly when things are off balance, someone to share the joy you’ve placed in me--someone I can live out the rest of my life with while giving YOU praise. But I trust you, Lord, and I will wait for however long it takes.
Anyway, just wanted to share and hoping this might help others. (((HUGS))) Deb B.

Monday, May 26, 2014

What I Remember This Memorial Day

My life changed forever in an instant on Feb. 15, 2000 when my first husband Bruce breathed his last of this world and entered Heaven's rest. He was weight-lifting in our basement when I heard him yell. And when I went to see what was up I was a little annoyed because he was lying flat on the floor and I thought he was playing a joke on me. Wow, that's a strong memory, and its caught me off guard and I'm tearing up as I write this... But I take a deep breath... the emotion rolls on like an ocean wave... I don't mind the tears anymore. They no longer suffocate me. I treasure them because what would really be sad would be to not feel anything...

My life changed again, forever in an instant on this date--May 26-- two years after Bruce died, when Tom Hardy and I, both widowed, vowed another 'til death do us part. It was a Sunday, and we went to our church's Sunday morning service which was packed with many friends and relatives who'd sped their way by cars or planes to Ohio for our big day.

It was a usual church service, perfectly normal, until the end when the pastor dismissed everyone and no one went home! They were all waiting. The church lights dimmed, candles were lit, and a video streamed photos of our histories and loves ---my Bruce, Tom's Marilyn, our kids, our homes, our entirely separate lives until this day.... A widower and a widow who amazingly meet and fall in love online, and knit the 500 mile gap between them with a marriage.

So today I will remember both the present and the past. The present--- which is so blessedly average that Tom and his son are at the Indy 500 and we'll celebrate our wedding anniversary when he gets back home. And the past--- which can still knock the wind out of me every once in a while.

But most of all, I'll remember that life is precious. There are no guarantees it will ever be the same after my next heartbeat. Those changed-forever instances come without warning. So I will hang on tight as I can for now, and when it's time to let go I'll do so with gratitude and glory for each moment I was granted. And I'll remember you, for it's an honor to serve you and hear your stories of love and loss, and life again.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Pray for Widows Who Want to Remarry

Lord God,
      I pray today for widows who want to remarry---for those who yearn once again for the companionship, touch and presence of a husband's love.
      May they use this desire to call upon You for refuge and strength.
     May they be thankfully open and honest before You, expressing all their dreams, fears, and daily struggles.
     May they receive help in time of need.
     May You open their eyes to the sources of help You've already placed around them.
      And Lord, as the widow Naomi prayed for Ruth and Orpah, I pray for each of these widows today:
May the Lord show kindness to you, as you have shown to others. May the Lord grant that each of you will find rest in the home of another husband.
      As they struggle moment by moment to trust You again, may they each "be richly rewarded by the Lord," just as Ruth and Naomi both were rewarded with redemption---Ruth through a husband, and Naomi through an heir.
      In this process, Lord, gently lead them, reveal Yourself and Your will, and help them be restored and growing in You. Grant them contentment!
      Protect and watch over these beloved ones, Lord, and draw them close to You.
      In Jesus' Name,

A woman is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to marry anyone she wishes, but he must belong to the Lord. In my judgment, she is happier if she stays as she is---and I think that I too have the Spirit of God. I Corinthians 7:8

May you rest in the Lord this weekend,

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Dating vs. Children

Cindy, Jessica, & Nicole
Cindy and her daughters
Here's a thought-provoking post from Cindy at Widow's Pursuits: Dating vs. Children---What's A Widow's Priority?
Cindy has lived this out, being widowed at age 34 with two little girls to raise. Click on the link to see how she made it through and had to make some difficult decisions. It'll be valuable experience to draw from!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

A Prayer for Widows Who Want to Remarry

This is the second in a 12-part series of prayers for widows, and concludes this two-week series on dating and remarriage.
Lord God,
     I pray today for widows who want to remarry---for those who yearn once again for the companionship, touch and presence of a husband's love.
     May they use this desire to call upon You for refuge and strength. May they be thankfully open and honest before You, expressing all their dreams, fears, and daily struggles. May they receive help in time of need. May You open their eyes to the sources of help You've already placed around them.
     And Lord, as the widow Naomi prayed for Ruth and Orpah, I pray for each of these widows today:
May the Lord show kindness to you, as you have shown to others. May the Lord grant that each of you will find rest in the home of another husband.
     As they struggle moment by moment to trust You again, may they each "be richly rewarded by the Lord, under whose wings they have come to take refuge," as Ruth did.
     In this process, Lord, gently lead them, reveal Yourself and Your will, and help them be restored and growing in You. Grant them contentment!
     Protect and watch over these beloved ones, Lord, and draw them close to You.
     In Jesus' Name,

A woman is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to marry anyone she wishes, but he must belong to the Lord. In my judgment, she is happier if she stays as she is---and I think that I too have the Spirit of God.  I Corinthians 7:8

May you rest in the Lord this weekend,

Friday, March 2, 2012

Gentle Reminders

The picture below was just too perfect for this series on dating and remarriage! Even though it was up last Friday, I've got to run it again. Thanks, Leslie!

Another great thought came from a comment by Industrious Debbie. She wrote in, "I'll never forget what my Mother said after she was widowed and people started asking her the "will you ever remarry?" question. She said she was not going to go around "looking" for a man, rather she would say, "God knows my address and in His good time."

Thanks for sticking with me on this difficult topic. If it's not something you're ready to even think about yet, I hope I've conveyed the perfect normalcy and blessedness of that state. And if it's something you've decided totally against, I'd certainly never encourage you otherwise. But for those who struggle with this topic, I hope I've provided questions to consider, wise counsel, some good resources and biblical guidance. You might not be able to use it today, but if you ever need it in the future it's only a click away: Click Dating/Remarriage in the cloud of labels in the sidebar. 

Come back tomorrow for "A Prayer For Widows Who Want to Remarry."

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Considering Remarriage? Look Before You Leap

Here are two very throrough articles on things to ask before marrying again.
I'd say consider these questions before you even date, and especially read the comments on the first link to guard yourself against additional grief others have experienced.
You'll see why it's wise to let yourself heal before entering into a relationship again.

1).  For Widows and Widowers Who Are Considering Remarriage

This next article provides a lenthy list of questions that might be used for pre-marital counselling sessions. Don't let it scare you off, but rather keep these questions in mind when you start dating. They'll help you discern where the relationship will go and can save you from problems in the future. However, DO NOT take these on your first date and turn it into a interrogation! Just keep them in mind before things get serious.

2).  Questions To Ask When Preparing for Marriage


Wednesday, February 29, 2012

How Close To A Man Is Too Close?

Today my blogger friend, Cindy from Widows Pursuits opens up about her struggles in the early days of widowhood.

What I Couldn't Have---My Best Friends' Husbands

I sense there are other widows that felt vulnerable after their spouses died just as I did. In my denial of grief, about the 3 to 4 month marker, I admit I started to yearn for a male's touch. If I didn't hold such high morals, and if my husband didn't have such good friends that held the same morals as I did, I could have easily gone down the wrong path and committed adultery with my best friends' husbands. They were hurting, and I was hurting, which makes for a very dangerous situation.

My daughters' school counselor had warned me before I began experiencing these feelings. "Don't be alarmed if some of your married girlfriends drift away from you," she said. "They may feel jealous that their husbands' attention is focused more on you than on them." "How sad," I replied. "I hadn't thought about that". She smiled and stood up. "I've known of that happening, so just a warning." We hugged good-by and I thanked her for the advice. I guess that meant...proceed with caution.

I soon yearned to be in the arms of the men that also loved Nelson. I wanted their attention and their hugs. No, I didn't want sex, but I wanted to be closer than what was acceptable as a grieving widow. One night . . .

 . . . click here for the rest of the story on Cindy's blog, Widow's Pursuits. Be sure to add a comment and say "Hi" from your Widows Christian Place. Thank you for so honestly sharing your story, Cindy.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Temptation in 'Camp Celibacy'

Monday's topic is about dealing with grief. The process, the twists and turns, the questions, the hope, and sometimes the downright awful. Today's topic is a tough one--very personal, and not talked about too much. Maybe I'm stepping over the taboo line, but let's try to bring this out in the open.

There are run-of-the mill temptations--to lash out in anger when hurt, to lie to protect yourself, to covet your neighbor's belongings, to be selfish and unloving when tired. They're almost as familiar as the air we breathe. And so is the temptation of sexual immorality.

Widowhood is hard. All of the sudden you're in Camp Celibacy, and you didn't sign up to go there!  It's not a fun place when memories of intimacy with your husband, suggestive pictures from our sex-saturated culture, or undeniable physical urges rise up from you know where and parade through the mind.

Guilty feelings pin us down as we expect the imaginary camp counsellor to come barging through the door at any minute. What can we do with this closet full of desire and adult needs?

Understand the fine line between temptation and sin.

Temptation happens; we live in a fallen and polluted world. Temptation's fruit hangs in front of us as clearly as it did for Eve (Gen. 3) and Jesus (Matt. 4). Temptation also arises from our appetites, cleverly disguised as needs and yearnings. They're so deceptive and secretive. Part of the attraction is "No one will ever know." Because this happens in the greatest sex organ of all--the mind, so who would know, right? But when temptation gives way to sin, whether the affair happens in a bed or in our head, it's wrong. Matt. 5:28

Sexual temptation promises satisfaction, fullfillment and entitlement: "You're only human; you owe it to yourself."
It advertises a small cost compared to the supposed benefit--"give in just this once to the romance novel, the lingering touch, the suggestive movie and you'll never have to think about it again."
It's the ultimate in false advertising!
These onslaughts, whether loud and blatant or anonymous and seductive--these thoughts, yearnings and bargainings that haven't yet carried out the act--these are temptations. Do you see the difference?

Sin, on the other hand, is born from temptation when we don't immediately look away, resist, or even flee. Start to toy with the scenarios in your mind, fantasize the next step closer to that man, breathe in another smell of aftershave--and the hook of sin is set, the trap has sprung, the seed has sprouted. (James 1:13-15)

Yet, like Jesus, it's possible to be tempted and not give in to the situation. So we need to call on Him; He can give us the strength and wisdom to resist.

No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it. (I Corinthians 10:13 NIV)

Hang in there, dear one, this won't last forever, but heaven will.  ferree

Friday, February 24, 2012

Dating & God's Time Table

Isn't this a great thought?
Leslie's a widow friend on Lifeboat, but she's now helping with a singles ministry in Denver, too.  If you visit their website you'll find some great help and some videos about dealing with the many challenges of single life.
Plus, you'll see you're not alone. The percentage of single adults in America is huge! 
and TGIF!
P.S. My private Facebook group, Lifeboat, picks up new survivors all the time. If you're a widow, would you like to climb aboard, too? Simply friend me, Ferree Hardy, on Facebook and mention Lifeboat. I'll add you to the group. If you find it's not what you need, you just opt out. But I'd venture to say you'll agree with others who say, "I've been looking for something like this!"

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Five Ways for Widows to Avoid Sexual Immorality

Strengthen yourself with these five ways to counteract sexual immorality.

1. Understand that sex outside of marriage is sin. Our culture laughs at that thought. We used to think hippies were counter-culture; now the sexually pure woman is counter-culture! Understand God's view of sex by understanding what God's Word says so you don't conform to the world's attitude. (Romans 12:2) God invented sex; He thinks its great. God condones the pleasures of sex in marriage but God did not intend the body for sexual immorality. (I Cor. 6:13) Learn what God has to say about Christians taking part in the sexual sins of fornication or adultery.

2. Practice confession and receive forgiveness if you stumble (I John 1:9); put off the old self and put on the new (Gal. 4:17-5:20). Mourn over your loss of this physical ability, and then press on to the new lifestyle and new adventures God has in store for you.

3. Find a female accountability partner--but NOT someone who wants to play "Matchmaker." She should have respect for single women and understand the privileges and challenges of being single. This woman can pray for you and help you walk through dating situations. You should have her cell phone number and permission to call her 24/7. This won't last forever, but she should be willing to be available. If she is single, too, it should be a mutual accountability. If you can't find anyone near you, email me and I'll give you my number.

4. Take thoughts captive. (II Cor. 10:5) Run to Jesus in prayer with the temptations you face. Show him plainly, say, "Lord! Look at this!" Such tempting thoughts evaporate under the truth of God's gaze. You'll find they weren't worth the attention for which they clamored when you pray about them.

5. Don't worry. There will be battles, but they will diminish and you will be surprised at how quickly freedom arrives and the struggles get less frequent. If you don't feed the sexual appetite within you it will lie down and rest. It won't die. If you enter into marriage again it will wake up with prime vigor and the joyous freedom of a clear conscience. Of course, feel free to check with your doctor beforehand if you're menopausal or have any other questions or concerns. There are exercises and herbal supplements that can help with aging and health-related sexual issues.

This is just a quick snapshot of how God can help us deal with celibacy. Be sure to look into Scripture for yourself and find other resources to help you overcome. God doesn't give us more than we can bear. We can depend on Him for strength and help today!
Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted. Hebrews 2:18 (NIV)

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Guidelines for Before You Date

I'm no expert, but here are some guidelines I discovered were really helpful.

§         You've allowed yourself a respectable length of time to grieve and you can recognize the ins and outs, ups and downs of your own grief experience. (Notice I'm not telling you how many months---this is different for everyone. You're ready when you're ready, but you must be honest with yourself).

§         You've established relationships with godly and wise women and/or married couples who will helpfully hold you accountable for dating behavior and boundaries. For example, a friend of mine dated a man for three years before they married. They lived hundreds of miles apart, so their visits always required an overnite---and he became a regular houseguest at members of her church, not at her house. BUT BEWARE of anyone who believes they have the inside track on God's will for your life--if you should marry, and who you should date! Also, beware of friends who urge you into romance so they can vicariously experience it with you. Run like the wind from both these types of nut cases!

§         Decide if you want platonic/friendship-only dates, or if you're actually seeking a husband. You may not be able to tell, such is the cloudy state of grief. So guard your heart. Set your boundaries. Understand that you've been in the habit of loving a man for however many years, and even if you won't admit it, you're very vulnerable.

§         Seek contentment in yourself and your relationship with God; a man cannot provide this for you. Honestly pray for contentment in singleness. Honestly journal to see evidence of God's answer to this request. Ask God for wisdom to determine if He has given you contentment, OR if He's holding out to motivate you to seek His will about some sort of change in attitude, location or job that you might need to make.

§         Learn how to deal with loneliness. You don't have to like it, but you can develop skills to live with it and glean its wisdom. God's cure for loneliness is not marriage, its ministry. The loneliest place in the world can be in a bad marriage. If you think widowhood is bad, marrying the wrong person will make widowhood look like a blessed relief! But real ministry, giving of yourself, brings you a sense of purpose and belonging. As you meet others' needs, God sees that your own are fulfilled. Bottom line, if you want to get married so you don't feel so lonely, you're not ready to date. I know that sounds harsh, but loneliness is a pathetic reason to get married.

§         And finally, since for many people dating is a precursor to marriage, here are some very unromantic realities to deal with. Times have changed since you were a blushing bride, and you have changed, too. If you get married again, your new husband will likely be entirely different from your first husband, and that's a really strange thing to wrap your mind around. But you're entirely different, too--you've been through a whole new set of experiences, you're in an entirely different season of life, you probably have children or other dependent family members to consider, and you have, ahem, your own set of faults and idiosyncrisies to consider, a.k.a. "baggage." Love, romance, goosebumps and thrills await in a new relationship, but it won't be the Princess and Prince Charming this time around. The good news is it can be richer and deeper because you are wiser and more mature.

§       So, for this second chance at love, take care of these preliminaries right away:     Know what you're comfortable with and/or willing to put up with for lifestyle and finances. For example, can you really live with a night owl if you're an early bird, or vice versa? Are you a neat freak or a totally-don't-care kind of housekeeper? Does a man have to have a certain income or profession for you to really respect him? etc. Be willing to ask the tough personal questions of him. I'm serious! Do a background check. Know him long enough to discover health and mental health issues, STD's, addictions, and what the rest of his family is like--his kids, his parents, etc. Marriage is for a life-time, so deal with these questions now, and the lifetime ahead of you will be much sweeter!

What guidelines for dating would you suggest? I'd love to hear from you.

Monday, February 20, 2012

How Do You Know When You're Ready To Date?

WARNING: All this week we'll be talking about dating and remarriage. I want to be very sensitive since everyone is at different points. I know some readers are ready and interested, others will groan with pain, some will throw their PC monitor through the window with anger and frustration!
If this topic isn't for you, I understand. Please get to know the other good parts of this blog: visit the Memorial Wall and other tabs at the top of the blog, check out the Archives and Labels, or visit the great blogs on the blogroll. (And please click on the pink circle on the right to vote for Widows Christian Place every day, this is really important!) 
      For sure, most widows have to come to terms with dating sooner or later. For me, the night before the funeral my son asked if I was going to get married again!
      "No!" I exclaimed. But I was wrong. Much to my surprise.
      To start off topic, let me share with you an email I recently received. I'll reply, and I hope you'll add your comments, too.

Hi Ferree!
     I was curious to know if you have any advice for widows and widowers to help determine if they might be ready to consider dating?
     This issue, of opening oneself to the possibility of letting another person into their lives again, is an area that invites lots of concern and anxiety. Since you have remarried, I thought you might have some words of wisdom for us.
     I am struggling with this a bit, not even sure if this is what I want. I suppose that in itself should tell me a lot! I loved my husband so much and he loved me so well and unconditionally, I find it hard to believe I could be so blessed again.
     And then, there is the reality of the beautiful freedom I now enjoy, although I never would have chosen this path for myself, of course.
     I miss my husband terribly, but thankfully, I am not lonely. I have to say that I enjoy my solitude. It has contributed greatly in my growing intimacy with the Lord.
     Your website has been so helpful, I am just curious how you personally knew you were ready. Thanks so much for listening to my thinking out loud, so to speak. 
Call Me "Just Wondering"

Dear Just Wondering,
     What a good question, "How did I know when I was ready to date?"
     I've been asked how Tom and I met, and how I knew Tom was "the one," but your question is a first, and its very thought provoking. And maybe my points will help you gauge your own readiness, right?
     First of all, let me give a disclaimer and say this was just my experience; it's not doctrine or anything I'd stake my life on. But maybe it's good for something, or good food for thought.
      I feel fortunate that I heard positive attitudes about dating both before and after I was widowed. My first husband, Bruce, and I joked about it ocassionally before he died. He always made it very clear that I was his "one and only," but if the Lord took me home first, I had made him love being married and he would want to get married again. My response was that I'd rather die than live without him, but I never followed through with that. (smile) The point is, Bruce left me with the tremendous gift of knowing he'd want me to date and remarry. After he died, random people came across my path who would say things like, "Getting married again is a tribute to the happy marriage you had." Their words always stuck to me like a permission slip. Not every widow feels like she has that positive spin on dating nor that feeling of freedom to date, but that's where I was coming from.
     Although society around me and the words of Bruce gave me freedom to date, I sure wasn't ready to date. Two things were against me. Dating was like putting me in the pilots seat of flying airplane. And by the way, I don't know how to fly!
     I was too vulnerable. And too blind or stupid to admit I was vulnerable! I also thought I was very independent and could/would/should make it on my own. It took a couple of schoolgirl-like crushes on some penpals to admit how vulnerable I was. And it was a huge blow to my pride to realize that men were fascinating! I needed them! I found their views and opinions so different from my own; it was like putting on a different kind of eyeglasses and finding out I could see through them, too. The world through a man's eyes was really interesting! I loved my girlfriends, and they were so great and supportive, but to hear a man's viewpoint and voice really fed my mind and spirit in a different way.
     These things started to snowball after my first year of widowhood and a huge discontentment set in upon me. Also, my grief was coming to a head with all sorts of questions I couldn't verbalize--I just knew they were there. The discontent leeched the life out of me, it was always there with its hollow yearning. I prayed and prayed about it, but it seemed like God was stone silent, and it was an awful time. The loneliness was almost a physical pain. I kept on with my plans for a future and enrolled in grad school; it looked like I was "moving along." But it was really hard. One thing I did do though was to keep on praying/whining/lamenting/crying to God even though I wasn't sure He was there or that He cared. I won't say I was as noble as Jacob in the Bible when he wrestled with the angel of the Lord and said, "I will not let go until you bless me," but I do look back at that time as just hanging on and mechanically following God's ways without feeling any of God's love or comfort. I was miserable! Then something really good happened that gave me a glimmer of hope--but that's another story.
     And after THAT, my friends figured out I needed to start dating just for fun. My girlfriend Laura took my picture and helped me sign up on a singles site. Michelle set me up with a blind date. I met another wonderful penpal on the singles site, and I dated three men I met on it. (One looked like Kevin Costner in his picture, but he smelled like mothballs when I met him in person--for the first and last time. I broke up with the other one after about two months, and the third one was Tom).
     All that to say, dear Wondering, that I did NOT know when I was ready to date until after I started dating. GOD SPARED ME and kept my plane from crashing. I wasn't ready to date and could have really made my life miserable with some huge dating mistakes. But shortly after meeting mothball man was when it happened--when I finally knew I was ready to date. I had learned something very important on that date. Mothball man liked me, they all liked me. And I hope this doesn't sound horribly arrogant or ignorant, but this is what I learned:
I realized that I had been a great wife. And I realized that I would be a great wife for just about any man, but here's the part that made me ready to date---this is really good---drumroll please---NOT just any man would be a great husband for me!
      What relief! I determined to not "settle" for just anyone. The contentment came. I became. Me. Just me. And in the process I met Tom, and he wasn't just any man. He was good, he was righteous, he was generous, he wanted the very best for me . . .
      I hope that wasn't a big let down and everyone thinks I was really stupid. I hate how much my answer sounds like pop psychology! But it answers the question-- if I ever knew I was ready to date again, it was when I realized what a valuable person I was, and that if a man were to come into my life he would have to be someone who was the best for me. So I have to honest with you no matter what you think of me. And I believe honesty is foundational to dating readiness.
      From the first I should have admitted I had a lot to learn, but I didn't know widowhood could be so complicated! I wasn't intentionally lying to myself, but I was avoiding having to think things through.
And you know what? When I was widowed, there wasn't a blog like this to help me out and open my eyes to this junk. I was pretty isolated and didn't reach out to anyone for help. I wanted to be invisible, I was very raw and wounded and didn't know where to turn. It was so hard, but in the big picture, God was there. He was faithful. And I'm eternally grateful I survived.
     That's why I do this blog. I know many widows are fighting for their lives and gasping for hope. There's no one to talk to, no one who "gets it," especially if they're young. But here's a safe place where under the cloak of anonymity they can start to get a foothold and some sanity, learning from my stupidity and my successes, and from others' as well. So please chime in with your experiences and comments. You're comments will mean a lot to everyone, too!
      Well, I'm sorry how long this grew today! Tomorrow, we'll look at some checkpoints to consider before starting to date, Wednesday will be about avoiding sexual immorality, Thursday some internet dating sites, and so on. We'll be talking about dating all this week! I'll be spouting off my opinions, experience, and take on Scripture, so feel free to join in with your own.
     I look forward to lots of comments this week, and thanks again to "Just Wondering."

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Dating In Widow World

We can learn so much from other widows, listening to what they say about their experiences, observing how they handle the challenges thrown in their path . . . I encourage you to visit the blogs listed in the sidebar here, and then visit their blogrolls, too. An entire network of help and friends who understand is available!

Here's a great post about dating that I came across the other day. If the topic is at all intriguing, now or maybe in the future, be sure to click on this and pick up some tips on dating websites and what it's like to start an entirely new relationship. Plus some pointers on praying for about this waaaay ahead of time, and setting some standards.

Did She Say "Dating Again?"

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Widows: Dating & Remarriage, Part 3

And the romantic stuff: how did you know Tom was the one? How did he propose? What was your wedding like?
     How did I know Tom was the one? Well, I'd say because I knew he had good character and I respected him. He was a widower, he knew how to love his wife, he was a Christian and pursued a walk with God, he's extremely intelligent, and a hard worker, and we had similar backgrounds as far as parents and growing up. Plus, he spent lots of money on me and bought me great gifts! And there was good chemistry. Have you heard of the five love languages? I wanted them all!
     His proposal was a first-class surprise. He came to visit me over my birthday, and that Sunday afternoon, before leaving to catch his flight home, in cahoots with my daughter Lisa, he proposed to me right in front of my kids! Is he a prince, or what?!!!

     Our wedding was very simple. A dear friend had told me years before about her Quaker wedding--where the bride and groom attend church that morning and at the end of the regular service they are called up in front of the pastor and he marries them. I'm not Quaker, but I loved the simplicity of that. So that's pretty much what we did. No bridesmaids, no bouquets, no long white wedding dress, but I did have beautiful invitations, gorgeous flowers and a lot of fun! After our quick but very touching ceremony, the church ladies had a magnificent carry-in dinner for everyone. Then all the relatives came back to my house for more visiting, and then Tom and I headed out for our honeymoon to Asheville and Hilton Head, SC.

What has been most surprising about being married again? 
     Love was the most surprising thing to me. I recognized emotions I thought had died with Bruce. This time I was ready to relish them and really engage in the experience, whereas the first time everything was new and unfamiliar. Love came alive again and it was wonderful.
     I was also surprised that marriage did not solve all my problems. Darn! I was still the same. The same issues I had with Bruce, the same arguments occurred with Tom. I had the same exact baggage with two entirely different men. Hmmm. . . . That's hard because now there's no one to blame or change but myself.

How are things different?
     Tom is very different from Bruce. I haven't figured out why I would end up with such very different men, but I did. And I love them both. Before we got married Tom explained how he thought it would work; he asked me if I loved all my children. Well, yes, of course! He asked, did I love the first one a little less when the second one came along? And of course the answer is no. So, in his opinion, it would work the same way with husbands. And he was right. We did promise, though, to never compare each other to our first spouse.
     And I'm very different from the young bride I was in the 1970's. This time I dated with the confidence that since I had come out of a very good marriage and was a very valuable and competent wife, (thank you, Bruce, for instilling me with that love and respect)---I knew that I would be one of the best things that could happen to any man. But not just any man would be the best thing that could happen to me. Marriage to some men could be worse than being widowed; I wanted a man that would be the best thing that could happen to me. Bruce was the best for my first marriage, but the second marriage was more intentional than falling in love. I don't know how else to explain it.
     Mid-life marriage is different. Tom and I will never have children together; it's nice to marry young and grow up together, build a family and a home. Tom and I will never have what Bruce and I had; Bruce and I will never become the cute little old folks Tom and I will, so I get a little wistful about that.

Have you discovered that what you wanted/needed in a husband the first time around is different from what you want/need now?
     I think the basics, the essentials of what I want and need in a husband have remained the same, but what has changed is my perception that I don't need to look for "the one." If Tom hadn't come along, I'd have been OK. I'm glad he's in my life, I love him dearly and his companionship, but if he weren't here, I'd feel complete because of maturing in my relationship with Christ.

And, backing up, since you told me I could ask... was it hard to avoid sexual temptation as a widow dating again?
Not only hard, I'd say IMPOSSIBLE!
But let me quickly qualify that--There's a difference between temptation and sin. Read James 1:13-15 very carefully. If you have desire, you'll likely have temptation. It's what you do with temptation that leads to sin. 
Tom set boundaries for us right away. He wanted to honor God by avoiding pre-marital sex, and I agreed. With that goal in mind, we needed to avoid the temptation as well as the sin, and it wasn't easy.  It's extremely hard to not give in to that desire. Living 500 miles apart helped a lot. Not sharing hotel rooms, or housing helped. Being accountable helped. Cold showers helped! Exercise helped each of us burn off some of that extra energy. We made it to the wedding day.
I'm not bragging about that. I'd rather keep my private life private. But I want you to know that it's possible to keep the marriage bed for marriage. If you're dating a man who thinks he needs his sex immediately, or needs to try you out before marriage, he needs to be gently educated that he's not respecting you and he's not obeying God's Word. Show him this blog and let him know that Tom and I made it, and we have perfectly normal, healthy sex drives! OK, so that's too much information, but I want to encourage you to face this issue and decide ahead of time the important part it will play in your dating life. (And by the way, Tom wanted me to add that contrary to popular opinion, abstinence before marriage does not cause any physical damage--good news for the guys).
This post is getting too long, but let me ask, should we talk about this some more? Perhaps privately? I know it's hard to sleep alone. Please let me know if you have other questions, too. When you lose your husband, you also lose your sexual expression, and that needs to be acknowledged and legitimately grieved, so let me know if that's an issue you want to discuss.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Widows: Dating & Remarriage, Part 2

Welcome to our discussion today. We're picking up where we left off yesterday. Just scroll down to the  post below if you missed it.

How did you deal with the worries that you would might love this man and end up losing him too?
I did worry a bit about that. I never want to be widowed again, you know? As I said yesterday, I was praying for contentment and planning to remain widowed. But God gave me Tom instead. My outlook changed, and life and love became gifts that were too precious to push away because I didn't want to get hurt again. Plus, I told Tom he HAD TO stay married to me for at least forty years. If he died on me, I'd kill him. (a little widow humor there).

How did you tell Bruce's family and how did they respond?
My in-laws lived in Michigan, so I didn't see them very often and they weren't very familiar with my daily life. At my daughter Brooke's wedding, a month before Tom and I met online, I had a male friend attend and help me through it, so they met him at the wedding. I don't think they liked him. No one on my side of the family liked him either. Just me. And two months later when he sent me an email saying, "Guess what? I got married!" I was crushed. But maybe his presence at the wedding helped my in-laws, my own parents and my church wake up to the idea that I would date.
After that, when Tom was introduced, everyone was very pleased and impressed with him. Bruce's parents were back to their usual, loving and gracious selves. I'm very fortunate--Tom and I are accepted and loved as part of their family, even now.

How did your kids respond?
My kids were very accepting and happy for me. The youngest had turned 16, and we all had agreed that at that age, no one was going to replace their dad. We're "Mom & Tom." Tom's son refers to me as his mom, like "My mom's coming to pick me up," but he addresses me by my name. His choice.
I'm thankful the kids were very compliant and cooperative. We had it easy, it seemed at the time, but blending a family is not at all easy. It's not The Brady Bunch. The kids are all out of the house at the moment, but they struggle, and I wonder if we did enough.

What were some challenges you faced as a widow dating again?
1). Who to date? I remember listening to some Christian counsellors keep saying, "the people you choose," and I wanted to choke them! I didn't have men to choose from! But now, as I look back, I see that I did. Once my friend at the wedding broke the ice, one of my girlfriends set me up on a blind date, and I went out with two other men from the singles website before I met Tom.
2). I felt really weird dating again. But this, too, put a choice in front of me. I was flooded with old highschool awkwardness; I chose to tell myself to stop it, and grow up, and enjoy myself.
3). The world has changed a lot since my first dating days. It was bad back then, but it's a lot worse now. My daughters had to tell me that if I was ever at a party I should never put my drink down because someone could drug it. So there's a lot of safety savvy to be aware of. However, if you're careful about how you dress, avoid alchohol, and don't go home with the guy, I was delighted to discover men still know how to be gentlemen and treat you like a lady.
4). My own vulnerability was a huge challenge. After 22 years of marriage I was in the habit of loving a man. It was very easy for me to emotionally attach to anyone with testosterone. I came close to making some horrible decisions. I think it's important to listen to your family and friends' opinions of your dates and your behaviors. Sometimes they see things you can't see because your pain of widowhood is too thick.

We'll wrap up with the rest of the questions tomorrow, so be sure to check back for the following:
  • The romantic stuff: how did you know Tom was the one? How did he propose? What was your wedding like?
  • What has been most surprising about being married again? How are things different?
  • Have you discovered that what you wanted/needed in a husband the first time around is different from what you want/need now?
  • And, backing up, since you told me I could ask... was it hard to avoid sexual temptation as a widow dating again?
If you have other questions add them to the comment line, e-mail me or friend me on Facebook and I'll add you to our exclusive "Lifeboat" group where we can privately discuss this stuff.