The Season of Dating After Divorce
Since my divorce years ago, I’ve learned so much. I want to share with other teammates out there who may be anxious or unsure about what to expect when you begin to date again.
I really want to dispel some of the myths as well as offer encouragement. Most of what we’re told has to do with being patient while keeping God first, healing from hurt, taking enough time to become whole, and even how to spot that Ephesians 5 man or Proverbs 31 woman.
All of these topics are great and certainly do provide insight, but there is so much more mentally and interpersonally that you’ll be growing through.
I truly believe that every encounter should either teach us something about ourselves, inspire us, or give us the opportunity to teach or inspire others. God is intentional and every meeting has purpose – whether it turns into a relationship or not.
Let’s start with a few mythbusters around dating after divorce.
1. Fear (of dating after divorce) means your not ready.
In the Word, we find many examples of God giving instructions to His people and them being fearful of what He told them to do. Moses is a prime example of this, who in Exodus 3:11 says, “Who am I to go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?”. Verse 12 says, “So He (God) said, “I will certainly be with you…”
Confidence does not always confirm instruction. Jonah is another example of this truth. Most of the time we fear because we think past mistakes may repeat themselves. It’s not easy to trust after losing in love. Sometimes, being alone feels like an easier option. Often the best way to get over a fear is to actually face it head on and just put yourself out there. I say this all the time – discernment is key. Seek God to find out whether your fear is just nerves or an actual cause to pause.
2. Being whole means I’m perfect.
Not so. Perfection, as in maturity, is a lifelong goal that all of us work daily to achieve. But, there will still be some things that you learn about yourself and ways you’ll change even after you get into a relationship or marriage. This doesn’t mean you weren’t whole.
In fact, I believe there are some lessons you won’t be able to learn until you get into a relationship, especially marriage. There are some things that only a certain level of intimacy can reveal in you. Don’t let those things freak you out, but thank God that you are able to grow from it.
3. I met someone who has the total package – s/he must be the one.
I wish I could say that’s true, but it’s not. More than once I have met great men for whom God simply said “No.” It doesn’t mean that there’s anything wrong with them or you – they might check all the boxes and still not be the one.
As I said before, I believe every relationship has purpose. Furthermore, everything in our life – where we live, what we do, our upbringing – all those things were tailor-made to create the right climate for us to grow and produce the right character and spirit we need to become all God created us to be.
That great individual may not be the one to aid us in our journey to destiny and we have to accept that. For example, when the prophet looked at David’s brother, Eliab, and said, “surely this is the Lord’s anointed” – he wasn’t. The Lord chose David instead (1 Samuel 16:6-7). We have to submit ourselves to God in every decision to make sure we stay in His will for our lives.
So You’re Ready to Date After Divorce?
Okay Team, here are a few tips for those who are dating after divorce or considering a relationship or marriage.
1. Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water.
We have to acknowledge that our past may have lowered our tolerance level and made compromise and oneness difficult. This is especially true for anyone who has been single for a long time. Yes, we should learn from our mistakes, but we still have to be patient and give love time. This is a lot easier said than done, but if you lean on the Lord and acknowledge Him in all your ways, He will direct your path (Proverbs 3:6).
2. Love is not always pleasant, it’s simply a decision!
I can’t stress this enough. Love has little to do with feelings. There will be times that loving someone doesn’t feel good. This is across the board even with our children. Make the decision to commit and extend grace and mercy.
3. Trust yourself.
Simple, but not always easy. Remember the Holy Spirit is living in you and He will instruct you (John 14:26). Keep your heart and mind open to Him and don’t allow yourself to become jaded.
4. Remain true to you.
I see so many people get lost in love and forget their own passions and purpose. This is a surefire way to get burnt out. I heard Bishop Jakes say once, “Interests make you interesting”. Never forget that you are unique, fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of God.
So, What’s the Play Call?
Dating is exciting, so enjoy yourself as you begin meeting new people. I pray for true love and companionship for those who desire it. Remember:
- Don’t be afraid to date again. God has not given you the spirit of fear (2 Timothy 1:7)
- Don’t be discouraged in your single season. Get out and socialize, try new things and don’t let your heart become bitter.
- When you begin dating, keep God at the center of the relationship.