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!