Sunday, April 1, 2012

First Date

Yesterday I had my "first" date. That is, my first date not only with a particular person, but my first date since becoming a widow.

It was fine. He was a nice guy, and I enjoyed the time we spent talking. At the end of the date, he asked if he could call me sometime, and I said yes.

But, I have to admit that later on I just felt ambivalent about the whole thing. I prayed about the situation, and I realized that it was more than ambivalence. I simply did not have peace of mind about spending any more time with that person. I'll have to take that as the Holy Spirit's prompting that he isn't the guy for me and Michaela. Because, the person I wind up with has to be the right man for us both. You know?


I'd love to hear from other widows who have dated and remarried. How did you meet your new beau/husband? After your first date, how did you feel?

I am not discouraged. I am committed to trusting the Lord with our future, and to letting Him lead me to the place He wants me to be. I have done it my way once before, and although I experienced a happy ending in that Michael and I married and were very happy together, there was a lot of unhappiness leading up to that. I'm ready to experience the blessings that come from trusting the Lord and walking in obedience.


  1. What a big step to take. Good for you. I'm still single, but encourage you to listen to the Spirit. While new at getting back into the dating game, give yourself a lot of time to meet a lot of different men in order to get a good baseline on your feelings about it all and to increase your chances of finding a man that will capture your heart.

    The wonderful thing about love is that we can love more and more and never run out. And, with every single person, it's a different feeling, but can still be just as deep.

  2. I have not remarried, and I'm not even dating anyone right now... It took me a really long time to get to the point where I wanted to date. And, when I did meet someone with whom I had a somewhat long term relationship (his choice to end it not mine)I often felt like I was cheating on Matt. I may not be the best person to consult... I will say, however, that right now, I am very content to be single with my two girls, and I don't feel as though my life is incomplete because there is no husband/father in our home.

  3. Joannah,

    Big steps! I realized I was ready to date again when I started looking for rings on men's fingers in the grocery line! I think I always knew I wanted to remarry. Marriage was precious and wonderful and I wanted that again!

    The first guy I dated I met through church. At dinner, I unloaded on him. All I did was talk about HeeJun and being a widow! So, I decided that I wouldn't talk about HeeJun or being a widow at all to the next guy. Poor guys. I was just trying to figure it all out and how to balance my grief with my hope for the future.

    When I started dating Chad, he already knew about HeeJun and had read my blog. I remember feeling so relieved that he already knew and when he told me he knew pain and grief, too.

    Chad and I have been married a year. I had to be very intentional on not comparing them. Dating again after knowing what it feels like to lose someone actually taught me so much. I was less selfish and remembered to enjoy every moment.

    I think the things I struggled with the most was thinking that people would assume I was "all better" once I started dating. It felt weird to talk about HeeJun to people who just wanted me to be happy and wanted to talk about Chad. It still does. Sometimes I feel like if I talk about HeeJun or my grief, it will take away from how wonderful Chad is. Some people talk about feeling like they were cheating on their late husbands by dating. I almost feel the opposite now as a remarried widow. If I talk about HeeJun, I'm cheating the joy Chad and I have.

    You know, God has it all planned out and worked out for your good. Big things are in store for you. I told Chad your story last night and told him you were a "hero in the widow community":).

  4. I am not a widow, as you know, so I can't imagine to know what this is like. But, I did do quite a lot of dating...of the wrong guys...before meeting my husband. It is just so hard, isn't it? I likened it to job interviewing. Yuck. My only advice is to maybe give each nice guy at least 2 dates before deciding not to pursue it. Many people will tell you that they were not very smitten on their first date with their eventual spouse, and some will even say they really weren't interested at all! But also, yes, follow your instincts and your inner voice and they will guide you well. It is very brave of you to be putting your heart out there again, and it should be a slow and hopefully pleasant process. You should check out one of my favorite friend Bridget's ( It is a really great story of finding love and marriage after the death of a spouse.

  5. You are brave and wonderful! I do have to say I love what JJ Frog's mom said...that she feels complete without a husband. That is something that I think has to happen before you go into a relationship! Being OK with being "alone" (although we are never alone with Christ!). I married so young...I was afraid of being parents had divorced and moved on and I was quite literally homeless. I rushed into marriage, and it was a big mistake, because my marriage has been a lot harder than I think it had to be. Anyway, I think you are already there (OK with being alone OR with another man), because you trust God's plans for your life! :)

  6. Erika, I guess I need to have my dates read my blog in the future. Ha! I didn't spend that much time talking about Michael, but of course he came up in conversation a bit. He is a big part of me, and where I am now probably wouldn't make sense without covering some of that. I'm glad the Lord led you and Chad to one another, and that you are so incredibly happy. That is encouraging to me.

    Sara, I will check out your friend's blog. Thanks for mentioning that.

    April, I understand, friend. But I've spent the majority of my adult life being single. Being married (to the right person) was WAY better for me. I had someone to do life with - share meals, travel, share my heart, share my bed, plan, dream, etc... I know the Lord knows my heart, and I'm trusting Him to lead me where He wants me to be. I do not want to strive for marriage, or anything else. I'm not afraid of being alone, but it's just not the way I prefer to live.

  7. Where should I start? After Paul died I was 25 years old and felt like life was over. I did not have children (very much wanted to!) and I was alone. I will say that for at least the first 18 months I couldn't even think about dating....I was in a really dark place with my grief. Thankfully, I was finally able to give it to the Lord and HE provided great counselors, medication and therapy to help me realize I was to go on living. Around year 3, I decided to take a risk and responded to a personal ad in the paper (before the days of online dating companies!) It was Kevin's ad. We met in a restaurant and ate and talked for 4 hours. It was interesting and intrigued me. We got together later in the week for supper again. I was having a hard time b/c I couldn't stop comparing him to Paul. And, of course, Kevin wasn't living up. I pulled back some. We did a few other things and I started to realize that I enjoyed the company. I thought of it more as someone to do things with rather than someone to love. We laughed and enjoyed doing simple things. I kept comparing. He knew all about Paul and I spoke freely about him to Kevin. My thought was that Paul was always going to be such a huge part of my heart that the person I would marry had better be strong enough to handle that. In that matter, Kevin was fantastic. He never seemed to feel threatened by Paul. We grew closer. Within a year we were married. It was 5 years after Paul had died. Kevin and I have now been married for 16 years. It is very different than my brief marriage to Paul. They are two totally different people and even today I stop myself as I compare. What I have with Kevin is friendship, companionship, trust, respect and love. It isn't the kind that gives me butterflies. It is more safe and just different. Every year Kevin goes to the cemetery and scrubs Paul's headstone and helps me with flowers, wreaths, etc.... To me, that shows his love for me. It also shows how strong he is with our relationship that he is willing and able to tend to the grave of my first husband. Of course, Kevin and I have been blessed to adopt Kyle and to be parents. My entire life was about wanting to be a mom and that gives me such great joy. Even today I miss Paul. I wish people would remember and speak of him more. They don't really any longer.....I think b/c they assume that Kevin and I are a couple and it would be "disrespectful" to Kevin if they did. But, he would be okay with it and it, at times, would actually help me. Anyway, this is all to say that YOU have to do whatever is right for YOU and the Lord will lead you and guide you and it will work out for good. HE led me through some not great dates to find Kevin. Please know that I love and respect Kevin and am so grateful he is in my life. I am just being brutally honest with you in saying it is different. It has to be as they are different people. One part of my love and heart is always for Paul. Another is for Kevin. My dear friend, I feel like I have known you my entire life. I just know that the Lord is preparing more great joys for you and more love to fill your heart. We don't know the who, when, where, or how.....but we do know, with conviction that it WILL happen. Much love and hugs to you.

  8. Hi sweet Joannah,

    My first dating experience after Jeff died felt a bit desperate. Our marriage had been very very difficult, and I had felt very lonely for a long time. So for me, it was easy to fall into a relationship with someone I already knew (I did not have to tell my story, he knew it), but it was also very important to me to be very separate. We saw each other once a week, sometimes twice, did not spend the night together.... it was good to have the company but it was also very hard. I think I ran away into it in some ways, and also could not commit to it in others.
    I am sure I would choose differently now, knowing what I know, and being who I am.

    We broke up badly because i wanted a baby. But really, it was not going to work anyway, and I know that now.

    Then, I met Doug.
    We met sort of via Match (2 of the worst weeks of my life, Match), but also in real life, it is a small town and he worked at a place I used to go to have dinner once a week.
    As luck would have it, he never read my profile (in which I said I wanted a baby and was a widow ...) so we did have to cover all of that when we met. And that did suck. I hate having to tell my history.

    But finally
    as I allowed myself to drop my guard (this was not instantaneous)
    I realized that being with Doug was like falling into an easy chair.
    A peaceful, warm, wonderful relief. I was still cautious, and very scared, and I know we would not be married because of my previous experience except for Della.

    The grief of losing a loved one stays almost like another shadow partner. It just is. New love masks some of the loss, but the loss is still there, the person is still missing, the love we feel for them is still real even if we are able to share it with them the way we want.

    Our situations are so different, your relationship with Michael was so solid, where mine with Jeff was so fraught.
    And the deaths were so very different too.

    But grief, yeah. Dating after loss, yeah.

    Trust yourself implicitly. You are the one who will know what is right, who, when, how, if...

    You are so brave.

    with big love,


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