Suddenly Single: What To Do When You’re Thrown Back into the Dating Pool

Atlanta, Georgia, USA --- African American female teen with stone heart --- Image by © Ocean/Corbis

Atlanta, Georgia, USA — African American female teen with stone heart — Image by © Ocean/Corbis

When I got married in 2010, I was ecstatic that I’d finally found “the one.” I made it out of the murky depths of the dating pool with my heart intact and my spirit still full of expectation. I kissed a few frogs and made a few mistakes on the journey, but I escaped the major pitfalls and challenges of dating. In marriage, I felt I could finally let my walls down, stop guarding my heart, and start life anew with the man God prepared for me.

So, when my husband died suddenly after only three years of marriage, you can imagine the confusion, devastation, and heartbreak I experienced. I not only lost the man I thought I’d spend the rest of my life with and the father of my children, but I was forced back into life as a single person. As a woman in her mid-30s, I have the desire to marry again. However, I recognize there are some things God wants me to do as His daughter before I dive back into the dating scene. I know I’m not the only one who’s found themselves suddenly single. Whether your singleness resulted from the death of a spouse or divorce, many Christians find themselves contemplating the dating scene.

If this is you, here are a few things you can do to prepare yourself before you jump back out there.

1. Take time to grieve and heal.

 

Abraham found himself suddenly single after Sarah died in Genesis 23. Abraham eventually started a new life with Keturah (Genesis 25), but before he did, he took time to grieve for Sarah. Genesis 23:3 says Abraham went into Sarah’s tent to grieve and mourn for her. Afterward, he took care of her burial. In other words, he did what he needed to do ceremonially and spiritually to move forward. You should never jump into a new relationship after the end of an old one. The Bible says you can’t put new wine in old wineskins (Matthew 9:17). Take time for yourself to reflect and allow God to restore and renew you so you’re ready for the man or woman God wants to bring into your life.

2. Reflect, regroup, and reinvigorate your purpose.

 

When the husbands of Naomi, Ruth, and Orpah died, the women had to reflect and regroup. They had to figure out their next steps. Orpah decided to return to her homeland, while Ruth decided to stay with her mother-in-law, Naomi. As a newly single person, take time to reflect. Ask the Lord to search your heart (Psalm 139). Submit yourself to the Holy Spirit, and allow Him to develop you during this season of singleness. Take time to reflect on your journey, and ask the Lord the reveal your next steps. Paul admonished singles and widows to focus on the Lord (1 Corinthians 7:8; 1 Timothy 5:3-16). Use this time to reinvigorate your purpose in the Lord and map out how you will accomplish it as a single person.

3. Wait, worship, and watch.

 

The Bible admonishes us to wait on the Lord (Psalm 27:14; Isaiah 40:31). However, we are not waiting in vain. We know God will answer our prayers. God knows our thoughts from afar off, and He knows the desires of our hearts (Psalm 139:2). If you desire another spouse, God will give you the desire of your heart, but in His time. While you are waiting, focus on your purpose. Worship the Lord. Anna, the prophetess in Luke 2:36-38, was a widow who spent her time worshipping the Lord day and night in the temple. God may not call you to worship in the same manner as Anna, but we were all created to worship Him. God will speak to you and reveal things to you during worship. While you worship, watch for God to answer your prayers (Habakkuk 2:1). He will show you or lead you to the person who is worthy of your time and attention.

Lauren Jones (@revlaurelj) is an Itinerant Elder in the African Methodist Episcopal Church and serves in the Columbia, SC metropolitan area. As a widow, she balances ministry and motherhood to two rambunctious children. She blogs about her adventures at www.throwupandtheology.com. When she’s not preaching, writing, or changing diapers, she raises awareness about epilepsy and the devastating effects of drunk driving as a volunteer speaker for Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). She self-published “I’m Singing This Song to You,” a letter to her children in honor of her late husband available for purchase on Amazon.

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