After your spouse has been deceased for a period of time, you may think about the possibility of remarriage. In practically every interview we conducted with widows and widowers, remarriage was a common topic of conversation.
…This [article] is designed to give helpful information to you who are presently planning a remarriage. Or it may be something you are open to in the future. If you ever think of remarrying, read this material carefully. Even if you feel it is God’ will to follow this goal, there are numerous practical aspects to keep in mind.
Surround yourself scripture and prayer.
Whatever you do, be sure you’re guided by the Scriptures in your pursuits. Surround yourself with prayer to help you follow God’s will. We believe that God is Master of every facet of life. If you believe in his Word, every major step you take —including remarriage —will be directed by him.
As part of the research for writing this [article], we interviewed survivors who have married so we could list criteria to consider before remarrying. Examine each item carefully. If you have difficulty resolving any of the questions posed, you need to examine your reasons for remarriage and your overall goals. The questions below are not listed in any order of importance. Each question is vital to the success of your new marriage.
How long should you wait before you remarry?
The answer depends on a number of circumstances. Some authorities say that it should be at least a year after the death of your mate before you make any major decision. This certainly includes marriage. If the death of your mate was sudden, the resolution of your grief may be particularly difficult. You may find it best to wait several years before even considering the idea of remarriage. Conversely, if your mate had a lingering illness and you went through a partial process of grief before his or her death, you may be comfortable in remarrying in less than a year. If this is true, the timing of your marriage may be of secondary importance. We are convinced, however, that resolving the answers to the next questions could take several months. It may even take years, for some individuals.
If there are children, how do they feel about your remarrying?
This issue was a serious one for Rita and me. That is because she had four adult children and I had three. At first my children had only a slight acquaintance with Rita. Her children did not know me at all. After studying this question carefully and consulting counselors and trusted friends, we took a path that has been reasonably successful. It has helped us establish a harmonious family relationship. We recommend the following guidelines for your consideration:
1. Introduce your prospective spouse to your children as early as possible.
Much of any initial negative reaction is because the individuals really do not know each other. If possible, let all the children in both families get acquainted before any marriage plans are announced. When you meet the children of your intended, be as natural as possible. Do not try to be someone you are not. They might not accept you completely, but if you show yourself to be a “phony,” they will be even more suspicious. Especially if the children are young, respect them for who they are. Be sensitive to their grief over the loss of the deceased parent. It may still be very painful to them.
Avoid recommendations about child-rearing to your intended at this stage. If his or her children make you uneasy for any major reason, have a serious conversation about your feelings. Even though it may be hard to accept, you will not only become involved with his or her children but other family members as well.
2. The final decision to remarry must be made by both of you.
Although the feelings of adult children regarding your remarrying must be considered, the final decision must be made by both of you for the best interests of all. Some children may be negative toward any relationship you enter. They may still be economically and emotionally dependent on you as a parent. And they may feel neglected if you remarry. A few people find it difficult to make adjustments in their life and always prefer the status quo. On the other hand, if your children are opposed because of some specific loving concerns, consider these aspects carefully. While you should be concerned about the feelings of your children, you need to take charge of your life and do what you believe is best.
The most logical step is to discuss your children’s reactions with your pastor, a counselor, and trusted friends who will keep the children’s misgivings confidential. You need the opinions of persons who are somewhat detached from your situation. They can best give you objective advice about your relationship.
Once you’re comfortable with the decision you have made, announce your intentions to your children privately. Ask for their love, prayers, and goodwill. After you decide to remarry, most loving children will want your marriage to succeed. They will be supportive. If not, the passage of time usually helps people adjust to new situation.
3. Absorbing young children into a new marriage may be a major source of conflict for both of you.
The stepfather’s or stepmother’s role may be demanding and traumatic, when young children are involved. We have observed that a husband and wife may agree on nearly everything except how to raise children, their own or someone else’s! It’s nearly impossible to remain detached from such problems once a couple is united in a remarriage.
Often the family situation is still more challenging when you marry a divorced person and bring a child who has been living with the ex-spouse into your new home. Some children of divorced parents are very troubled. They have a great capacity to spread discord wherever they go. Consider these possibilities seriously before remarrying.
Before you enter into a marriage where young children are involved, it would be advisable to air your concerns with your pastor and/or trusted friends. Don’t let the present grief of your mate’s death cause you to enter into a new marriage that is risky for all involved.
What is the financial status of each of you?
Of all the issues that may imperil a marriage, the subject of money can be the most deadly. The issues below must be studied and resolved before the marriage takes place.
An agreement must be reached if one of you has much more money than the other. There must be a clear understanding of how finances will be divided. There probably would not be a 50-50 split of assets in this circumstance. If this is a potential trouble spot, identify it early in a relationship.
A definite plan must be established with regard to spending money. Decide how much will be spent for yourselves, your children’s needs, recreation, vacations, or eating away from home. If you are planning to establish a joint checking account, there should be a clear understanding about which expenditures will be made from that source. Unless such a decision is reached, there is considerable potential for disagreement and stress.
A program must be agreed on with regard to checking, savings, and various investment accounts. The exact ownership and plans for these accounts should be described in detail in a prenuptial agreement. This is especially true if either of you has children. Normally it is recommended that each of you keep your own name on any savings or investments that were yours before the remarriage. Decide whether the beneficiaries of the accounts will be your new mate or certain children. Sometimes joint checking accounts are established with the understanding that both parties will contribute agreed-on amounts each month. For your mutual protection, property bought jointly after marriage should be stated on the title as “joint tenants with right of survivorship.”
Should you have a prenuptial agreement and new wills?
The establishment of a prenuptial agreement before a second marriage is advisable. This is especially true if there are children involved and either of you have various financial holdings. In the event of a divorce or death of one of you, each mate needs to have a clear understanding of his or her legal rights.
New wills are an absolute must so that each of you will know which possessions will be yours on the death of the other. Also, make sure you formalize your wishes regarding any other separate or joint heirs. Be sure it is mentioned within your will that a prenuptial agreement has been made. If it does not, there can be considerable heartache for all concerned. Your county’s legal society can recommend local lawyers who specialize in premarital agreements and wills.
Are you sexually compatible?
One of the most important aspects of any marriage is the degree of sexual satisfaction attained by each of you. Your need for sexual gratification probably did not terminate at the death of your mate. There is a lot of research data to show that a majority of healthy persons remain sexually active up to age eighty and beyond.
If you intend to remarry, discuss your degree of sexual interest in this area with your prospective mate. There is potential for a great amount of stress if a person who has previously had an active sex life marries someone who has little interest in sexual intimacy. The same is true if they have different ideas of how to express that intimacy. One of the most authoritative books regarding this matter is Sex over 40 by Saul H. Rosenthal, M.D. Another interesting publication is Common Sense Christianity by Gerald Mann, who devotes an entire chapter to “great Sex for Christians.”
What are your religious beliefs?
Of all the questions cited so far, this one may have the greatest potential for trouble between a couple. Resolve this issue before you pursue a relationship to any great depth. Our studies of this question have led us to some rather firm beliefs about related concerns.
Basic spiritual values:
If persons of any age (especially older) have never been interested in church attendance, tithing, prayer, etc, they may never be. There is a good prospect they won’t embrace all or even some of these aspects just because they marry. We hope that they will change their lives. However, they probably will not.
Evangelism in a marriage:
The Bible tells us not to be “unequally yoked” with a nonbeliever (2 Corinthians 6:14). To disobey this admonition may be an invitation to a stress-filled and unsuccessful marriage. Never enter a marriage with the expectation that your fervent witnessing will eventually lead your spouse to accept the gospel truths.
What will be your living arrangements?
There are many questions that need to be answered in this arena.
1. Will you live in the other’s home or your own?
2. Will you both sell your houses (or move from your apartments)? Or will you buy or rent a new dwelling place that is jointly “yours”?
3. Will you have his or her children (and/or your own) living with you?
4. Will you use some of the furniture of each mate or buy everything new?
5. How will you dispose of items not needed in the new home?
Our experience and survey data show that there are no clear-cut answers for each of the previous questions. Each situation has to be judged individually. It’s important to find a plan that will satisfy both of you. If either of you is unhappy about living in the other person’s house, make other living arrangements.
Do either of you have family or financial obligations?
Discuss these details completely before the marriage takes place. Jo and Linda were married sometime after the deaths of their mates. One month after the marriage ceremony, Linda discovered the following information about Joe’s commitments:
- He told his mother she could live with them for the next two years instead of going to a nursing home.
- Jo was giving about $200 a month to his unmarried (and usually unemployed) son, who lived in the next town.
- He had taken limited bankruptcy three years ago and still owed creditors over $20,000.
Obviously this information was most upsetting to Linda. These facts, along with Joe’s refusal to compromise on certain religious issues, caused their later divorce. There should be no secrets of this type between two persons contemplating marriage!
Will you avoid comparison of your deceased mate with your new one?
You will never find a mate exactly like your first. Your new husband or wife will have some good (and bad) qualities your first mate didn’t have, and vice versa. Do not place your former mate on a pedestal and challenge your new partner to be the same. Leaving the deceased’s picture on the wall and remarking that he or she “was so good” about doing such-and-so is not conducive to a harmonious second marriage. Conversely, there is no profit in amplifying all the faults of your former spouse. Be fair and objective about your first mate, without making direct or indirect comparisons to your new or intended partner. What happened in your first marriage is history. Let it go at that.
If you have grown children, what will be your contact with them after you marry?
Your marriage will be a major adjustment for your adult children. If you follow some rather simple guidelines, your new marriage can be very successful.
First of all, let your children know that you still love them. They should feel welcome to call you and see you within the bounds of common courtesy and good sense. Having a new spouse should not cause you to be isolated from your children, even if they have misgivings about the marriage.
Second, don’t go to your children with every problem or conflict that you have with your new spouse. It can be counterproductive to do so. In every disagreement have a private talk with your mate. Try to resolve conflict at that level. Playing “mind games” with each other’s children is a sure way of breeding major problems for a marriage.
How will you manage family traditions and holidays?
The first Thanksgiving and Christmas following a second marriage calls for much planning and discussion. There are many relatives to consider. A calm, well-developed plan can avoid much unneeded stress. Keep as many of your own family traditions as you can. But it’s good to be ready to compromise to include your new mate’s relatives. You may need to have two Thanksgiving meals —or one big one for all. Can your traditions and celebrations be exactly the same as with your first mate? Of course not. If both of you are willing to try new plans, family gatherings can be harmonious, and fun-loving for all.
To summarize, we want to emphasize that remarriage is not necessary or desirable for everyone whose mate has died. If you ask God’s blessings and are led to the proper person, however, a new marriage can be highly rewarding.
There were other valuable points made, that we weren’t able to include, from the book, Coping with Life after Your Mate Dies. Donald C. Cushenbery and Rita Crossley Cushenbery are the authors. It is published by Baker Books. Please consider obtaining this book because we believe you could find it very helpful. It is written to be read quickly, and easily.
For further insights on this topic, please read the following articles posted on the “I Do! Take Two” web site:
• 10 STEP GUIDE TO MARRYING A WIDOWER
• ADVICE FOR WIDOWS AND WIDOWERS CONSIDERING REMARRIAGE CATEGORY
More from Marriage Missions
Filed under: Remarriage
224 responses to “For Widows and Widowers Considering Remarriage”
Is there still sincerity now in the present marriage of today? For sincerity and true love I know to be the mother of happiness in any marriage or relationship. So I ask can we find true love here on the internet? Because those you meet on ground still fail after some times so tell what is the percentage of trust in relationship on the internet? The answers to this few question is all I want to know?
Williams, The short answer to your question is, “Yes, it is possible to find ‘sincerity and true love’ through the Internet,” but it can also be a VERY unsafe place to look for this kind of love. And because you live in Africa I would be very cautious when using any kind of Internet service to “match” you with someone. The best place to find a person who has the qualities you are looking for is in your church. Most often marriage relationships come from starting out as friends. In your church there must be some women whom you have known as friends. Start praying and asking God if one of these women (friends) would be the mate that He has chosen for you. Rarely do you find a life-mate with the qualities you want through an Internet dating/matching service.
I urge you not to lower your standards just because you haven’t been able to find someone and you are willing to settle for “less” because you are lonely
I’m a young widow who was a “doubting Christian” when I met my Atheist husband, who unsurprisingly, pulled me further away from Christ. Our 5 year marriage was filled with turmoil and he died unexpectedly only a few months ago. A wonderful Christian man who has been in the background of my life (an old friend) told me that he has always had feelings for me and would love to begin a courtship when I’m ready (with God as the center, no premarital sex, etc.).
I’m back in the Word. I’m attending church again. I’m praying. I feel really connected to the Lord. I also feel like this man is who I should be with, but those in my life say the “rule” is to wait at least 1 year before even starting a relationship. He’s never married, no children, but wants a family. I have very young children (babies) whom I would love to grow up with a father-figure, and just talking to him makes me very happy. The 1 year minimum seems arbitrary. So, could someone please enlighten me – why am I supposed to wait?
Dear Anonymous, I can see why you would be anxious to marry. From everything you’ve said, this sounds like a great situation. But I have to say that I have concerns too. It’s not because of a “one year rule” –although that seems that it should be a minimum. I have several great concerns. First, you are such a new widow, you haven’t really had a chance to put both feet on the ground. The sting from this last marriage HAS to have left you with some emotional baggage that really wouldn’t be good to drag into a marriage. Get your own feet on the ground spiritually, before you jump into a marriage with this man (or any). Your relationship with the Lord needs to be one-on-one first and grounded firmly. And THEN you are more ready to join hands with someone else spiritually. If your husband was able to pull you further from Christ… so can someone else. I’m not saying this man will, but it’s possible. Right now it seems like it will be the opposite, and perhaps it will be… but we’ve seen it over and over and over again where things happen and it goes in another direction. Get your feet planted firmly and a child of God and then go into a relationship in a healthy way.
Also, you have been married before… he hasn’t. Those are major things to get adjusted to. Go into the Preparing for Marriage tools and also the Remarriage ones to ask each other some very, very important questions you may never have considered before. And even if you’ve considered many of them, give him the chance to do so.
Another thing that is of concern is that you are bringing “babies” into the marriage. He has not been a father before. You won’t even have a honeymoon period (and I’m not just talking about a week or so) before you both get into the hard part of living together with a pre-made family. Slow it down. You have no idea what he’s like as a father. You haven’t had enough time to be together (dating) long enough to see how he and you do through conflict times… and then add onto this a pre-made family. What happens when you have a child (or more) together? Will he give his own children preferential treatment? Date for a while. Look at each other’s background. Worship together. Does he have an explosive temper and such? He would say, “no.” But you haven’t been together long enough to see if that is true.
We have seen some horror stories… many, many of them. The other person “seemed” perfect… but they didn’t take the time they needed to take to slow things down and get to know each other in ways that were strategic. Please, please, please slow this down. What’s the rush? It’s better to be careful than hasty when you’re talking about a lifetime commitment –for you and your children.
Also, on the radio ministry of Focus on the Family, they had a GREAT program on there as far as finding “Good and Godly Spouse.” You may have already thought you found one. Perhaps that is true. But please listen to the program and perhaps pick up the book that was discussed. The program (for a few weeks) can be found at: http://www.focusonthefamily.com/media/daily-broadcast/how-to-find-a-good-and-godly-spouse. The book can be found at: The Sacred Search: What If It’s Not about Who You Marry, But Why?. Please listen, read, and most of all pray without partiality. Also, go into the linked articles and Marriage Prep Tools (along with the Remarriage articles) to ask each other the important questions you NEED to ask each other. Slow this down. Waiting will help you to appreciate each other all the more, and will put you on a much wiser footing. That is my prayerful opinion.
Thank you for this encouragement, Cindy W. I am also a widow and I am blessed with your sharing. God bless.
I am 53 years old widower. Is it possible to have any widowed, sincere wife …from anywhere?
A man who treats his woman like a princess was no doubt raised by a queen.
Greetings Beloved! I am a 43 yr old Born Again Christian who was never married before with a 21 yr old teenager to be celebrated! I just got reunited with my old friend, who grew up on same street, same school though he was my Senior! This man has just lost the beautiful woman who was his wife since the year 2000 to 2016 on April. He is now having some relationship interests of which I do as well.
The challenge is He always talks about his wife. I even help him to create beautiful memories of her pictures and I feel so great to make him smile again. We play her music and I feel okay. I opened a room for him to just shoot me if he wants to say anything when thinking about my deceased sister. They were a great couple I must say. The last time I saw him it was on the day of his wedding but when my family went to give support, he asked of me and that’s when we started talking!
He has 2 beautiful boys, 11 & 8 yrs, while my daughter is a teacher and has her own apartment! Will it be okay to marry such a man? Will his family and friends we grew up with think it’s too soon? How long must we wait as I can’t date him without informing my Spiritual Parents about my courtship. I am Teens Ministry Coordinator and want to do things right. Thanks.
I have been dating a widower for the past two months. We initially met online and he was widowed five months ago. His wife died after a 26 month bout with cancer and they were married 30+ years.
I have also been widowed for 2 1/2 years. My husband had a four year battle with cancer and we were only married 10 Years. Previously I was married for 20 years to another man and that marriage ended in divorce.
My friend and his wife were active in a church and he refuses to take me to that church (at least not yet). The church members are telling him he should wait at least a year to date. We have expressed love for each other and he has asked me to marry him. But the fact that he wants to keep me away from the church bothers me. Should I just give it more time for him to take me to that church? Or should I consider this a red flag?
He has met my children and we recently did a vacation where he met the rest of my family. I am meeting his adult children and grandchildren within the next few weeks. Any guidance is appreciated.
Hi, Belinda. We wouldn’t say there’s a “red” flag here but definitely a “yellow/caution” flag. Because you’ve been widowed for 2.5 years you are farther down the road in dealing with your grief and loneliness. Your friend, on the other hand, is in the very beginning stages where wanting to fill his loneliness is a paramount concern to him. Men typically have a much harder time after losing their wives dealing with the grief and loneliness of the loss and often “feel” they are ready to move on much quicker than women do when they lose their husbands. [NOTE: This is even more true if they still have a rather high sex drive]
Cindy and I counsel widowed couples to not necessarily wait a year to START dating, but to wait a year before remarrying once they begin dating. You really want to get to know him and he you. New love is wonderful (remember when you were a teenager?) We were willing to overlook a lot of things when the endorphins are flowing through our brains, but once we get married those “little annoyances we ‘overlooked’ become MUCH bigger.” So, just like if you were preparing for marriage the first time we recommend you go into the section on our web site – Marriage Prep Tools – and start going through some of the items there. There’s even an article with suggestions for people who have been married before.
As for the part of him keeping you away from his church you can tell him that if he/you are talking about making that your church home after you’re married you want to experience it beforehand to make sure it’s a good fit for you. We also suggest that if you want to move toward marriage schedule an appointment with the pastor of his church to talk with him candidly about your relationship and ask him for reasons why they don’t feel your friend shouldn’t begin a new relationship for a year.
Now, we aren’t trying to scare you away from this man. He is probably a man of great character and integrity, and you could be the world’s best match for each other – but there’s wisdom in slowing the relationship down a bit and taking some time to make sure there are more areas that you are compatible than not. Just some food for thought.
Belinda, Please allow me to add “my two cents”. I agree with Steve and Cindy, and have a bit more to add.
In my life experience, my second wife died from cancer, after a several year struggle. I began casually dating after about 4 months, probably much because of the loneliness. There were many friends and relatives who were feeling that I was moving forward too soon, and I probably was in some ways. After a couple more months, I met my current wife online and we chatted for several weeks before we actually met face-to-face. We were married in the church I attended and was active in, and it was slightly less than a year after my late wife had passed on to be with Jesus. After our marriage, I moved to her location and to a new church. Fast forward to today: We have been married over 16 years now, have a great marriage, and spend a lot of time serving the Lord together. :>)
What I would like to add is this: 1) Your friend may have good reasons for not wanting to take you to visit his church. If his wife was very active there, he may be concerned that some of his/her well-meaning friends will offend you with their careless comments, or in the worst case may actually try to disrupt your relationship with him. I don’t want this to sound TOO bad, but he knows the people that you will come in contact with there, and he may be trying to protect you. 2) After you are married, I would suggest that the two of you find a different church that you can both become involved in together. I’m not saying that you have to ditch all of his current friendships at his current church, but having a new church where you both are making a fresh start on an equal footing will likely pay big dividends for your marriage relationship in the long run. If you stay at his current church, it will be really easy for all of the history and relationships there to become a bit of a “mental drag” on you over time, making you feel like the “odd person out”.
Those are my thoughts, Belinda. Hopefully they are of some help to you. May our Heavenly Father bless your future marriage in amazing ways that are beyond your wildest imagination! I ask this in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus, Amen!!!
Belinda, Maybe by now you are already married. My 2 cents about “his problem” of taking you to his church. It’s not about you or about him. Obviously he is ready for you. It’s about the congregation. He feels that the church people are not quite ready to see a new Mrs. “X” at his arm and basically he wants to protect you from potentially rude comments, questions etc. Men won’t introduce their woman to groups of people when they know those groups might hurt or offend their woman. Best to you!
Each widow and widower have their own time line of letting God to heal them. Our flesh desires will get in the way and it is between the believer and God to move on with their lives and purpose to serve the Lord here on earth. It is by God’s grace and believer to accept their loved one is with the Comforter now.
I know you talk about the children and that is understandable. However, how do you factor in the friends that were so wrapped around my life with my prior husband. After helping my deceased husband fight cancer for five years, many people thought I would be the single grieving widow for a long time. They never expected me to fall in love a few months after Mark’s passing. Heck, I didn’t even expect it. From this experience I have found people have become distant, angry and bitter. I’ve been called shallow and accused of being a different person. I try to tell them that I am different but I am saddened that my new life will not include friends who I have been close to for over 19 years. Should I just shrug it off and move on or try to reconcile with their own bitter grief. It breaks my heart that I have lost so much already…and losing my friends on top of my husband was even harder.
It was exactly 1:00 pm February 6, 2017, that my wife passed to the glory after the 9 months she was struggling with cancer. Brethren today I am very happy to go through your comments, views and the way out in any situation around us. Your views have really helped me to move forward and to overcome the fleshly desire rather to focus on God’s will and direction.
Though it is never my plan to marry again because of grief in my heart, with the question goes and comes around me that CAN I GET A PARTER LIKE HER? We got married in 2009 and have two kids a first daughter of 6 years and second born a boy of 3 years. My deceased wife was God fearing and was built on true Christian foundation that makes me doubt finding anyone even remotely like her. Now, I have changed my mind to remarry in either two years or more depending on God guiding me. Now what kind of partner will I go after, a widowed young lady? I am 35 years old.
I’m so sorry for your loss Jantuku. Your wife sounds like a lovely person. I am so sorry for your loss. We know that she is no longer suffering, but it is so very difficult to let go of someone on this sider of Heaven who is so very dear to us. I grieve with you.
I’m also glad this article has given you some perspective. I pray God ministers to your heart and to your situation as to whether or not to remarry in the future. This is a HUGE decision –especially when you have young children. As far as what kind of partner to “go after” my answer would be to live your life for God, asking Him to direct you. Sometimes someone looks like they will be the right person, and they are not. Someone else may appear not to be the right person, and yet they are. If you look at King David in the Bible you can see that the prophet Samuel, and others would have picked a different one of Jesse’s sons to be King. David did not appear to be the one they would have considered. But man looks at the outside appearance where God looks into the heart. King David became a man “after God’s heart.”
If you are to remarry, you want a woman “after God’s heart.” If she loves God above all, she will overcome any obstacle that comes her way to persevere in loving you and your children. Be patient… make sure you fully grieve the loss of your wife and the mother of your children. Don’t try to hurry that along. But then know that there is “a time for everything under heaven” where God gives His blessing to enter a different season of life. It may be within that season of more peace, that you find a wife who loves God and loves you.
I pray God’s peace for you and your family. “And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ —to the glory and praise of God.” (Philippians 1:9-11) Please know that: “The LORD is near to all who call on Him, to all who call on Him in truth.” (Psalm 145:18)
Greetings, Much Thanks for your work & The Article. I Found it informative & hope my comment will be as rewarding & encouraging as I found your Article to be. I shall, I’m sure consider these points on the subject when I share or meditate upon the Scriptural Insrtuctions : 1 Cor.7 Chp. ; 2 Tim.3.16,17. Thanks again, God Bless! Yours in Christ, E.P.
This comment is made in hopes that the previous comment made by me was not my choosing of the subject, whereby the word “moderation” is used, for I really did make no subject in conjunction with my initial comment at all. And I was really addressing my comment to the “Site” & not in response to any of the comments given by any of the posted comments of others. Thanks Much! Yours in Christ, E.P.
I am married to a widower. His late wife has been gone for over 5 years and my husband and I have been together for 4. She passed from cancer as did the man I was previously with. I am afraid this marriage is about to end as I can no longer take the disrespect his family has given me. Everytime we get together with his family I get to hear about my husband and his wife who passed away. They did this and they did that, and oh remember the time she? My mother in law visited for 2 weeks and I don’t think a day went by when she did not bring her up. The last thing was my mother in law told my husband she had pictures of the two of them to send, my husband asked her not to. (This was just a month ago and he did it after I told him how upset I was.) Lo and behold she sent them anyway. One of the two of them snuggled up on the couch together.
I have asked my husband repeatedly over the last few years to talk with them and tell them we are married and I am his wife now and that we would like to move forward without them constantly trying to bring his deceased wife into our marriage. He gets mad and says it’s my problem and I should be okay with it. I told him my family has always showed him respect and has never even once brought up my past relationship even tho they cared very much for my previous.
It’s very difficult for me to have to sit with a smile pasted on my face and listen to this talk as tho I have no feelings and am not even in the room. I expected this the first year as everyone was trying to adjust. But now I feel betrayed and feel as tho he doesn’t care about our marriage, but even more so I feel this behavior should not be okay with him either. She left me a message after he told her that the pictures she sent upset me and said oh I guess you don’t want to talk to me anymore so I’ll try not to bother you.
I told my husband about the message and he feels she is the victim because I don’t want to subject myself to her comments or her pictures any longer. I’m just so disgusted and feel so alone. I don’t have room in my marriage for another man (deceased or alive) and I feel that he should feel the same about another woman. The odd thing is he told me their marriage wasn’t all that great.
I have thought that maybe I should have a conversation with his mother but I think if she told him I said anything negative about what she has done that he will be upset with me. I feel it is his family and his responsibility to have taken care of it. I have lost respect for him for not standing up for us.
This issue was posed to us at Marriage Missions. We’re posting it here for others to prayerfully consider, as well:
“Dear Educators, I’m not sure if there are rules about what is appropriate after a widow remarries. I would like to know if a widow (who has remarried) expresses on social media that she misses her deceased husband every day, would that be disrespectful to her current living husband. Because you ‘reveal and reflect the heart of Christ’, I look forward to your response and appreciate prayer for a young widow and her husband.”
This is a tough one! And I have to say that we certainly aren’t the experts in this. But this is my prayerful opinion. You don’t say how long she was a widow before she married. But even if it was 5 or 10 years, I’m thinking that she hadn’t fully grieved through the loss of her deceased husband. She may have thought that she had, and she may have thought that once she married, the sting of losing her deceased husband would lessen and be overtaken by her love for her current husband. But once the shine of a new marriage wore off, and the reality of living with her current husband hit her (with all his flaws, just as we all have flaws that push to the forefront once we’ve been married for a while), she is now revisiting thoughts of her husband who is dead. This is unhealthy on many levels.
I truly feel bad for this woman. She is caught between two worlds and is in a prison of living in between them –her past life and her current life. I don’t know what her current husband is like to live with (no one other than God and the two of them know this). But I feel bad for him too (if he is aware of the feelings she is expressing on social media, which he probably does). This can sure chink away at your self-esteem and feelings of being loved by his wife.
Please try not to be too harsh on her. She is hurting right now. When you live in the world of, “How I wish…” and what you wish for can’t happen, it’s a terrible place to reside. She needs care and sympathy. But she also needs a friend (and/or relative) to encourage her to go to a grief counselor. She is a very confused, hurting woman right now. I hope her husband can realize this and encourage her, as well. This isn’t so much a rejection of him (although it must feel that way), but a stage of grief that she is stuck in, and needs to move beyond. She is now married this man. It is not his fault that her past husband died. He married her in good faith, thinking they would build a good life together. He needs for her to wake up to that fact.
They still can build a good marriage. But she needs to quit dwelling on her deceased husband with longing. And it seems that the only way she can get there is by having a grief counselor walk through this with her. But she must be careful to have one that is marriage-friendly. In other words, this counselor should not be one that tries to dump this woman’s current husband, and instead helps her to properly grieve her deceased husband and then works on building a good marriage with her present husband. If she weren’t married, then other options may have been open to her. But she IS married and mourning for her past husband in the way she has been doing it is hurtful to her current husband, and adds additional pain to his and her own life, as well.
Please reflect the heart of Christ and be someone who wraps your arms around this gal, and encourage her to get help A.S.A.P. If she doesn’t she will prolong her own pain, and inflict pain upon her current husband (which he doesn’t deserve). Plus, she will eventually ruin her marriage. She is separating what God has put together by putting her deceased husband in between her and her current husband. She needs loving encouragement to do the additional work she needs to do to properly grieve what is behind, and reach for the one that is with her now. I hope you can help her with this mission.
This article did not address the LAST NAME issue.
1) Should a woman have to change her last name to her new husband’s, after having had late husband name for 40 years and most her accomplishments and achievements happened under that name?
2) Should she use the hyphenated last name that most of the time can be very annoying?
3) Should she keep her late husband’s last name (since that name represents her identity) without appearing to be tacky, disrespectful toward the new husband or egoistic?
4) Is there such a thing like social last name versus official documents last name? Like for example, changing the last name to the new husband’s, but keep the former last name on Social security card, passport, drivers license, house papers etc.? Would it be illegal to marry under a name but keep all those documents unchanged?
Changing the last name after a life of living with that name is very hard and costly. Not changing it might be viewed by friends and family as not giving the same importance and significance to this second marriage.
Please write more on this subject.
Separate accounts after marriage? How does that fit in with biblical purpose of becoming ONE?
Bad advice here….spouses should trust each other or not marry.
If there are young children than they could make a trust account for them.
This is Hollywood style advice …..not Christian
If my widowed now wife had suggested that ….I’d have been very concerned and I’m sure likewise,
We were both widowed and have found happiness together now, thank God.
I wish this for all who seek. Your heart will know and God will guide.
I need help very bad. My wife of 59 years passed in April. She was 79 and I am 81 and we had a very kind of love. My question is why does God make you wait so long, sometimes 10 and 15 years to see your spouse? Neither my wife nor me have that much time left. Is there anyone that can help us, my wife nor I wanted to get remarried if one of us went first. We wanted to spend the rest of lives together. Thank you for any help you can give me.
I am SO, SO sorry for your loss. Having been married to, and madly in love with Cindy for 45 years, all I can do is imagine your pain. There are no easy answers to your questions…and everyone experiences loss and grief differently. It isn’t a “cookie cutter” situation. I remember after my dad lost my mom from cancer he was 65 years old. They had been married 43 years. He lived another 24 years. He grieved hard the first year but eventually came to realize all he could do is live his life the best he could for as long as God gave him. He eventually remarried. But, sadly, his second wife drown after they had been married for only 18 months. He didn’t remarry after that but had a woman friend that he spent a lot of time with just to have social connections. I know he missed my mom every day he lived. He often talked about her. But he also invested more time in me and my sister’s life and his grandsons. Cindy and my two sons had a great relationship and became very close to their “Potter” all the way up to his death when they were in their 30’s. They both gave very moving eulogies at his memorial service.
Don, there’s no way of knowing how long God has planned for you to live, but I can promise you He does have a plan for you, just like He has a plan for everyone of us. You might consider finding a grief support group (they often meet in churches). You can Google that and put in your city. If your church has a seniors group, consider getting involved there. Many who attend have experienced the same thing you are.
After you’ve had some time to heal and grieve you might want to consider investing in the life another young person by doing some mentoring. Your life experiences would be invaluable to another younger man. Talk to your pastor about this, too. I’m sure he has some suggestions of ways you might be able to find areas of ministry that would give your life new meaning while your waiting for your final promotion day to be able to be with your wife again.
I know that right now it’s hard to think that every day you live is a gift from God, but I pray that you will get to that point (sooner, rather than later). Don’t be afraid to unload your pain and anger on God. He already knows what you’re feeling and I believe He already has an idea of how to fill the emptiness and loneliness you are experiencing. But you will have to become willing to lean into the pain (this will take time) and allow our heavenly Father to wrap His arms around you to get you to the other side of your grief.
There’s help out there for you. We also have an article on our web site along with some suggested links and resources that may be a help to you as well. It was written by a good friend of ours, David Knapp, who also has a web site for those who grieve. Here’s the link: https://marriagemissions.com/when-death-parts-us/
I hope in some small way this is a comfort to you, Don. If we lived close enough I would want to meet with you and hear more about your wonderful wife to be able to celebrate her life and grieve with you. Just know I’m praying for you. My heart breaks with and for you. ~Steve Wright
I lost my husband to cancer 5 months ago. He was 44 and I am 41. We have 3 children 11, 10 and 5. Its been hard emotionally. I miss my husband. He was my world. Now I feel so empty. I keep hoping that God will show me something. I am soo afraid of the loneliness. People keep saying the kids will fill the void but I still miss my husband. And the kids can never be my soul mate. I love my kids soo much but I miss the love I shared with my husband. I feel like everything just stopped.
Lala, I’ve been thinking of you and have been praying for you. I wasn’t sure how to respond because your heartache is so deep. It’s so very understandable that you would be experiencing this… especially as you said that he was your “world.” Of course, you would miss your husband with every fiber of your being. When you have such a deep connection, when half of you get torn off… the depth of the hurt that comes afterward is devastating. And then the fact that this is such a new occurrence. Five months may seem like forever… but in the stages of grief, it is still new. Gary Roe (a grief counselor) points out: “The holidays surface our losses like nothing else can. We bump into a memory with every step.” I’m sure you bump into memories with every step, whether it’s Christmas, or not. But it’s especially heightened at this time of year.
Lala, I wish I could hug you and let you cry on my shoulder for as long as you need it (even for months, and years). But of course, that isn’t possible. However, please know that this would be the wish of my heart. If I can bring you one moment of relief, I’d give you as many of them as I could. My heart sincerely cries for you, and my heart goes out to you. I’m not sure, but we do have a few additional articles that may help you posted on this web site. One of them can be found at:
https://marriagemissions.com/when-your-spouse-dies/ and another can be found at: https://marriagemissions.com/when-death-parts-us/. Please read them (and the articles linked within them) to help you during this extraordinarily difficult time. I pray you will find at least little points of light, help, comfort, and hope within them.
Additionally, I read something just now from Dr Alan Wolfelt (a grief counselor) that may minister to you in some way. I hope so. He wrote (on his web site Centerforloss.com): “We’re sure you understand by now that love never ends. We continue to love those who have died. Because grief is love’s twin, grief never ends either. We don’t ‘recover from’ or ‘get over’ grief. Instead, we become reconciled to it. We learn to live with it and integrate it into our continued living. We come to reconciliation in our grief journeys when the full reality of the loss becomes a part of us. Healing is not returning to an old normal but rather creating a new normal.
“Our grief does soften, however. It we explore, embrace, and express it along the way, it eventually becomes less painful. The more actively we grieve, mourn, and meet our six needs of mourning, the more likely we are to live the rest of our days with meaning, love, and joy. What are the Six Needs of Mourning? “During our journey through grief and mourning, we all encounter six needs we must meet if we are to heal: (1) Acknowledge the reality of the death. (2) Embrace the pain of the loss. (3) Remember the person who died. (4) Develop a new self-identity. (5) Search for meaning. (6) Receive support from others.
Please realize: “There is darkness and pain in grief, but there is also hope. We have loved, and we must now muster the courage to mourn.” Dr Alan Wolfelt also goes on (in another article) to say, “Grief is powerful, but so is your capacity to help yourself heal.”
Lala, I can’t take your pain away from you. No one can. But lean into the help and hope to heal the best you can. You’re right in thinking that your children can never substitute for your husband. But they can help as you focus on getting through this together. You lost a wonderful husband and they lost a father. Every one of you is grieving in your own way. Be patient with yourself. And do the best you can, as you can. Grieve, mourn, and lean into the healing. I hope you can and pray for you as you do.
Hi. I am from Canada. I lost my wife 5 month ago. She was a heart patient all 43 years that we were married. She had 4 open heart surgeries and had valve replaced. She had a metal valve in her heart so she had to take blood thinner meds. When she had a vessel burst in her brain, she bled to death.
I am now after 5 months in a relationship with a 70 year old Christian lady. I am 66 years old. We both like to serve the Lord Jesus in volunteer missions. We have so many likes together and and we are introducing each other to our families. They are supportive of us getting married in about 6 months. We have arranged a meeting with our pastor. She, my love, is right now serving as volunteer in Texas and when she comes back to Manitoba we will meet and I will see her family there.
Can a couple find and file a prenup agreement without paying for an attorney? I can’t seem to locate any legal forms to fill out. Darlene
Darlene, All I did was enter “Free Prenuptial agreement” in a search engine and found a number of options. Here’s just one. Be sure to find an agreement that fits your state’s laws. https://www.lawdepot.com/contracts/prenuptial-agreement/#.WmVy3RiZMdU