Have you experienced the loss of a beloved spouse? Instead, maybe you’re a relative or friend of someone who has experienced that type of loss. If so, you know that navigating that road can be challenging -for all parties involved.
Being a life-coach for nearly two decades, I’ve watched many people struggle to move forward after such a devastating loss. However, in helping others to make this transition, I’ve discovered a couple of key factors that might be helpful.
First, we are wired for companionship. God created us to need one another, for He knows that two are better than one. (Ecclesiastes 4:9) He sent His disciples out in twos, for he knew that when one falls, the other can help him up. Therefore, it’s natural to desire companionship. For those who enjoyed good marriages, it can even further increase the desire for that type of relationship. And that desire to love again actually honors their first love.
Second, many people waste time worrying about what other people will think about them dating again. When is it too soon? How long are you supposed to wait? Three months, six months or a year? When is it okay to stop wearing your wedding ring? If you do will it appear that you’re finished grieving and you no longer miss your loved one?
You might be surprised, but there’s not a rulebook for this situation. However, if you spend time worrying about others’ opinions, you’ll eventually find how little time others have spent thinking about you, as they’re wrapped up with their own relationships.
Those that genuinely care about you and your future happiness, will be compassionate and supportive, as you find your way in unknown territory; desiring nothing but the best for you, they’ll be encouraging and supportive.
You likely have a container of baking powder in your kitchen cabinet. You can easily see that is has an expiration date on it; there’s a date that indicates when to discard the old baking soda and replace it with a new one.
Fortunately, the same is NOT true for finding love after loss. In fact, it’s just the opposite. Rather than replacing a previous love, your capacity to love increases; while fondly remembering your previous love, you find new space for a subsequent love relationship.
It’s no different than when you had your first child and then welcomed a second child into the family. Although it’s a common fear of mothers, your love for the second child does not replace or diminish the love you have for your first-born. Instead, your love multiplies; your heart expands to accommodate equal love for both of your children.
In healthy relationships, one can easily speak of their previous spouse, without fear of jealousy. The new partner doesn’t try to erase your previous love, but rather, encourages a healthy, positive memory of him or her.
Ultimately, God commands each one of us to live wholeheartedly. (Matthew 22:37-39) To do so, under these circumstances, only one thing needs to be considered: Is your new relationship in alignment with God’s Word; is it healthy, honorable and good for your heart? Is it an example of loving God, yourself and others with all your heart? If so, proceed with emotional “Teflon” – pursue new love and don’t allow others’ comments to stick.
– Alicia Economos, Founder and Director of Wholehearted Living Ministries
P.S. I can’t help but reflect upon the fact that baking powder helps baked goods to rise. Maybe this article can be a reminder to rise above your grief and welcome new love.