Grief changes life. My world was put on hold. I called in sick…for about 6 months. The pieces of my life that I have managed to pull back together, with the Lord’s help, look kind of normal now. My routines are falling into place, my mind is not lost in a fog, and I am gaining strength emotionally. So…I decided to try dating.
I knew that I would want to find love again. As I looked over the years that Jana and I spent together, I realized the joy that I experienced in the marriage relationship. I loved being a husband. Of course, at the time, I loved being Jana’s husband. It was a complete joy to fulfill my calling to love my wife to the best of my ability.
This desire for a spouse still resides in my heart. There exists a love for the structure and institution of marriage. I long for the closeness of another. Having experienced this in wonderful fashion, I have faith that the Lord will be kind and lead me in this again. Will He?
Let me be clear, if a widowed person chooses to date they are making the decision for themselves based on what they believe they can handle emotionally. There is no rule, no timeline, no magic feeling that comes about… For me, it has been an intentional process. I have stepped slowly towards a point at which I felt comfortable dating.
It is possible to place oneself into the dating world too soon. And, if that happens, the self-aware will pull back and wait awhile longer before trying to bypass the crippling grief emotions. But, just because grief still exists, it will for a long time, doesn’t mean dating should be put on hold.
For the grieving dater, finding a partner who understands and is willing to help you address grief feelings when they arise is the key. “Understanding my grief” is a quality that I hold towards the top of the list in my girlfriend search! I will have painful moments, I will experience more “firsts”, and I will feel low and cry sometimes. My “match” will provide the bit of support that I need in working through those difficult times.
I am anxious about this new venture in my life. First, there existed an identity struggle, then I began working back into social structures, and now I am looking at spending time with another on an individual level. A clear progression was followed. It’s time.
Most of the decisions about what I do or don’t do resides on my comfort scale. I have asked myself questions like: Do I feel comfortable with doing this? Do I feel like running away? Am I far too conflicted, emotionally, to continue this situation? Going forward in dating should allow for answering the same types of questions. What is my comfort level in the situation that I find myself in? This will tell me whether to keep moving forward or stop.
God is good. He gives to His children. He gives far better gifts than we could give, and He knows exactly what we need. I promise not to rush myself. I want to take time, in the initial looking around and with one that I might date. I also want to have fun. I want to enjoy life. There has been plenty of low, and it still likes to pull me down at times, so I’m interested in some happy, some high times, some joy. Maybe, that will be experienced across the coffee shop table from another…