By Damien Nash
Finding Love After Divorce: 4 Things You Must Do Before You Start Dating Again
Dating is never easy. And I can only imagine what it’s like after a divorce nowadays. I have heard horror stories from close friends who have tried to date these days and you can only shake your head, place your face in the palm of your hand and respond, “You're lying?”
Even though you might have your own stories whether good or not so good, you are here for one reason and one reason only. You are ready to find love after your divorce. Question, do you feel this deep feeling that you are supposed to be in a relationship again or even marry? Or do you just want to test the waters to see if you can find love all over again? No matter what boat you are in, I felt that it is necessary to coach you on four critical things you must do before going on that first date and getting into another relationship.
Now, the very first thing you must do is to make sure you have forgiving your Ex. I know, I know, you are not thinking about him or her anymore but the truth is your actions will always tell on you. Forgiveness means releasing the debt. And my wife and I have worked with enough couples to know that saying we forgive someone and actually forgiving them from the heart is two different things. You must learn how to let them go of any judgment, revenge and even punishment that you might have against them or want them to suffer through.
In the 3rd chapter of Colossians verse 13 Apostle Paul instructs us to, “Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.” There is no such thing as a painless divorce. They all hurt. However, you do not want to bring that pain into your next relationship. If you don’t forgive them, the lens you will look through across the table on your first date will be altered. You won't be able to fully allow yourself to find love and better yet receive it. You have permission to forgive.
Secondly, you must learn how to re-establish boundaries. I am going to be very straightforward here. There are emotional, spiritual and physical boundaries that should be in place before going out on that date. Why? This will help weed out the unproductive and destructive relationships from the start. If you what to date based off Christian principles you should first seek people who believe in the same things you do. This is called equally yoked dating.
Additionally, one of the most important boundaries to established is the one surrounding intimacy especially physical touch. I know that you might be desiring closeness and intimacy but you must have self-control and avoid sex before marriage or in your case, remarriage.
Again, we have talked to many individuals who think it’s archaic to not have sex or even cohabit after divorce. Yes, even if you dating your Ex. The process starts over again. We are called to live at a higher standard and set apart. According to some statistics, divorce rates go up to 40% if you cohabit and decide to get married. Do yourself a favor and take your time. If God desires marriage for you, it will happen. Sit down with wise Godly counsel/ or your accountability and write down/establish healthy boundaries for yourself. This not only shows maturity but it also shows that you value yourself.
Thirdly, I would say please let your kids in on your plans. Yes, I know you are an adult and your kids might be upset because you're not with their bio-parent anymore, however, you must show respect to receive respect. You going out sneaking around like you are teenage again might be fun to you but you're creating a huge deficit for your parenting love bank.They will feel betrayed and I know that is not the way you want them to feel.
So I would suggest having a family meeting face to face. You don’t want your kids to catch you on social media with your date or hear it from their friends at school that, “my mom saw your “parent” with another person.” Even if they disagree your choice, you are the adult and they are the child or young adult. You can have a heart to heart discussion with them letting them know that you really feel it’s time for you to do this.
This leads me to my last and finally Must Do which is, take the risk. Listen, after you have forgiven your Ex, set up your boundaries with your counsel and talked to your family, I believe you are ready to put yourself out there. Now, one thing we must understand is when you should take the risk. What does the Bible say about remarriage after divorce?
The biblical exception to divorce falls under unfaithfulness to the marriage covenant. (Matthew 19:9 and 1 Corinthians 7:14-15) Three reasons we can pull from these scripture is adultery, abandonment and abuse. These are lawful reasons to get divorce. However, if one says, “the relationship just didn’t work out” biblically this is not a lawful reason to get divorce. In this case, Paul teaches that it’s better to stay unmarried and submit yourself fully to the Lord. I really hope this helps.
Now, if you are single because of a divorce and you believe God is calling you to remarry and you have no convictions after seeking Him with the scriptures I provided above or with your counsel, I would also suggest you change your language. Yes, I used the word dating in this piece but I actually want you to think about using the word courting.
Courting is a more intentionally way to date the opposite sex. I talk about this more extensively in the last chapter of my book #CompletelySingle: Learning How to Become the Right One Before Meeting the Right One. If you are a single desiring a Godly Marriage and would like more principles on how to prepare yourself for a courting relationship please check out #CompletelySingle >>>Here<<<.
I would love to here your feedback. Please comment below. Thank you!
Help! We Need A Relationship Counselor ASAP!
by Damien K. H. Nash
So how do you find the perfect Counselor near you?
If you are like most couples who are having difficulty in their relationship, one of the first places you may run to is google. As soon as you type the word "counseling" in the search engine no matter if it's marriage, relationship or couples counseling, what will almost automatically pop up is "counseling near me". Even though google is so kind as to suggest the top three ranked places within 5 to 10 miles radius of your current location, the question is which one do you choose?
Typically, if you are a man you want to make sure you are not wasting money and better yet your time because you are focused on still providing for your family. However, it’s different for women. Women want to really feel connected to the counselor and really want to be heard and listened too as well. Neither one is wrong, however, these factors can cause tremendous tension even before you sit in the comfy sofa chair.
So what are some key things you need to search for to find the best fit for you? Now before entering into the counselor's office, we suggest three things you should discuss with your significant other.
The first thing you should discuss and have conversation about is both of your values. Even though you might be seeking counseling because you are not on the same page, this is something you definitely can agree on. Take out a piece of paper or open up the notes app on your phone. Each of you should jot down 3 to 5 things you want to discuss with the counselor.
Then, share it with your significant other. You see, the majority of the time these items are different for both individuals. Why is this important? You want to see what the other person values. During conflict, we tend to not want to see the other side or perspective of our significant other. However, if you start seeing what they care about and what they value, you might resolve some of the conflict before even going to the counselor.
Now, if you still can’t resolve the conflict you can agree upon the top three values that you want to discuss with the counselor. This will help reduce the tension and give you a game plan as you prepare to mend the relationship. Remember love is always the goal.
The second important topic you should consider discussing is time. You want to discuss how much time you and your significant other want to dedicate to getting the help you both need. Now, again with men, they are usually thinking the more time they spend in counseling, the less time they have to work to provide for their family.
They do not want to waste too much of their time because time = money. The man has to realize that more time in counseling is a net investment into the relationship and the family long term, helping them to enjoy their time together.
These perspectives can be and should be shared maturely before deciding which counselor you choose. Also, travel time to the counselor is important to talk about if you two decide it will be better to safely do it in-person rather than over zoom or any video conference tool.
Lastly, you guessed it, you should definitely talk about the money. So how much is marriage counseling? I think we all can agree that no one wants cheap therapy but affordable counseling should be the goal. But how do you settle on a low cost option that you both are happy about? You talk about it. According to Jeff and Shaunti Feldhahn in their book Thrive in Love and Money, 77% of couples in their national survey struggled with having conversation surrounding money.
With that said we must learn how to get to the root of what the real issue is before you lose all the momentum. One thing we have learned is never really about the money. There are deeper values that you must flush out with your significant other before settling on an option.
So pull out another piece of paper and ask yourselves these questions to save your relationship: What do we have to spend on counseling? What luxury can we sacrifice to pay for counseling? Is there something we can do (e.g. get a part time job, sell some things, even RideShare) to pay for counseling. If you approach this as a team instead of enemies, you will both get to your desired goals.
Now with this focused list with the criteria you both agreed upon you can now successfully start your search on what relationship counseling, marriage counseling or couples counseling is best for you, near you.
If you need another resource on how to strengthen your commitment and relationship no matter what stage you are in me and my wife wrote a book called #CompletelyMarried: Journey to the Altar and Beyond. It provides practical tools to help in your relationship and also is a refresher for those who have been married for a long time. You can check it out>> Here.<<
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