“Should I date while I am separated?” How many times have I heard that question? And, how many times have I given a hard answer? “If you are not free to marry, you are not free to date!” I first read that statement in Britton Wood’s book, Singles Want to Be the Church, Too. Mr. Wood has worked with singles and separated persons longer than anyone in his denomination.
After several years of counseling the separated, I am more convinced than ever that Britton Wood is right. When you start dating someone else while you are separated, you make reconciliation more difficult. The more you date, the muddier the water becomes.
I know that you have needs; you are lonely. Sometimes the load seems unbearable. I know that dating while separated is accepted, even encouraged, in our society. But most of those who are dating will never be reconciled. They will be divorced.
Dating is a prelude to remarriage, not therapy for reconciliation. Certainly you need friends. You need a listening ear. You need people who care and help bear the load, but the dating context is not the best place to find such help.
Vulnerable While Separated
You are extremely vulnerable during these days of separation. Unfortunately there are those of the opposite sex who would like to take advantage of your vulnerability. Although pretending to be concerned about you, they are busy satisfying their own desires.
I have seen many men and women devastated by such an experience. Your own emotions are erratic, and it would be easy for you to get infatuated with anyone who treats you with dignity, respect, and warmth.
Have you noticed the number of people who get married the day after they are divorced? Obviously they have been dating during separation. If the separation period is a time to seek reconciliation, why spend energy in an activity that leads to divorce and remarriage? Separation is not tantamount to divorce. We are still married while we are separated, and we ought to so live, whether or not our spouse complies.
Don’t Date While Separated
I know this is difficult to accept, but I believe the present trend of open dating immediately after separation must be deterred. Such activity encourages and contributes to the increasing divorce rate.
If you believe in the power of human choice, then you must concede that your estranged spouse may well turn from his or her estrangement and seek reconciliation. You want to be prepared for that day if it comes. Dating someone else in not the way to be prepared. Develop friends, but refuse romantic involvement until the fate of your marriage is determined.
The above article comes from the book, Hope For the Separated: Wounded Marriages Can Be Healed, written by Dr Gary Chapman, published by Moody Publishers. This book deals with the question of dating while separated, how to relate to your children during this time, and ways to improve communication. It’s a practical book for both the separated husband and wife.
— ADDITIONALLY —
Here’s a statement from Pastor Ted Cunningham that gives further insights into this issue of dating while you are separated. We encourage you to prayerfully read:
I am sick and tired of fighting for a marriage only to find out that one of the spouses is already dating someone new. Come on! How in the world are we going to save a marriage and protect the future of your children when you are so stinking selfish with a boyfriend or girlfriend waiting in the wings? Your children deserve better.
I’m not a stalker, but I do check out Facebook from time to time. It absolutely shocks me when I see the photos of the new boyfriend or girlfriend before the divorce is even final. It says to me, “I never really tried. I know we met with Ted and tried to get help. But it just didn’t work.” Hogwash! Bologna! You didn’t try. You had your options lined up. Fight for your marriage. Be a man! Be a woman! Give your children a fighting chance. O how the enemy eats this up.
Last April, I ate breakfast with Dr. Scott Stanley, a professor and researcher at the University of Denver. He gave me the definition of commitment that I absolutely love. “Commitment is making a choice to give up all other choices.” That is the opposite of what we are brought up to believe. We are taught to keep our options open. This is why some marriage counselors drive me insane. They just sit down with a couple, hear their marriage story, and assess, “I don’t think there is any hope. This marriage is over.”
Jesus breathes life into dead marriages! There is hope no matter how stuck you are!
Make the commitment to do ALL you can to give this marriage a fighting chance. Invest in the process of trying to save your marriage. Don’t date while you are separated!
The above statement comes from Ted Cunningham’s book, Fun Loving You, published by David C Cook. We highly recommend this book to everyone who is married.
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Filed under: Separation and Divorce