Dating, Faith, Surviving Adultery and Divorce, temptation

Is It Time to Date?

One of the questions I am asked most frequently is, “When can I start dating after my divorce?”

There are multiple variations: Can I date during the divorce process, even if my divorce isn’t final? Divorce Care says not to date for at least a year. Is that true?

I have to be honest: I don’t have a lot of dating experience, partially by choice, partially not. I would love to have someone right now. It’s been over six years since divorce proceedings began, and I am really tired of this season. I keep trying to convince God that it has to be his time by now. But, the truth is, I have a full-time job, a growing ministry, three teen/pre-teen kids who are with me almost 100% of the time. It simply doesn’t leave much time for meeting and building a relationship.

But, there’s more to it. If I just wanted someone, I could get on an online dating site and find someone. I was on a dating site for a very short period about three years ago, and I had plenty of opportunities to meet men.

I don’t just want someone. I want God to bring the man he has planned for me. I want God’s best for me. I want a man who is as committed to God as I am. A man who will step into ministry with me. A man who will lead me closer to God. A man who will love me as Christ loved the church. A man who will be a father to my children. A man who will love my kids as his own.

I want God to bring me my Boaz.

I’m not willing to limit God in bringing that man to me. If he directs me to a dating site, then I will follow. I don’t like dating sites, to be honest, but if God says to join one I will. Until he does, I will simply continue following the last command he gave me: write your book.

That’s my story. That’s the path God has laid out for me. Perhaps he will direct you differently. Perhaps he will direct you to simply wait as he has directed me. Regardless, you simply need to get so close to God that you hear his specific directions to you.

I do believe I can offer some simple tips on when to start dating, however. These thoughts have been tested and tried. I’ve done some things right and some things wrong. I offer these words of advice to save you heartache and despair, to help you find God’s best.

Is it wise? So often, we ask, “Is it permissible?” Instead, we should be looking for the wise decision. Is it permissible to date during the divorce process—before the final divorce decree? Some people would say it’s absolutely not right. You are still married in the eyes of the law and therefore it is adultery. I don’t necessarily feel that way. My marriage was over long before the final decree was signed. My husband left the covenant years before. My marriage was a covenant with God and me, not the government. Getting the final divorce decree was simply a formality.

However, is it wise to date before the final decree? Speaking from experience, absolutely not! You see, I did get involved with someone before the final decree (but after separation), and it has been the basis for accusations of adultery against me ever since. Had I chosen a different path, perhaps there would be no accusations. Ultimately, I know the truth and stand before God with a pure heart. But, I could have saved myself a lot of heartache by waiting.

Am I settling? I’ve had opportunities to date, and they are tempting. It’s tempting to go out with someone for companionship, simply because I’m lonely.  It’s tempting to look at outward appearances, to date someone who is a marginal Christian…or not a Christian at all. But God has so much more for us than just companionship. He has plans far beyond our greatest imagination.

Last summer, I had a gentleman show interest in me. He was a nice guy. Christian (he says). But, the fruit wasn’t there. He didn’t attend church regularly. I saw hints of behaviors that were less than God-glorifying. But I longed for companionship. One day I so clearly remember hearing God whisper, “You can choose him, but you will sacrifice the ministry I have planned for you.”

Please, whatever you do, hold out for God’s best. It may take longer, but he will make the wait worthwhile. Don’t settle for anything less than his best.

Are you completely satisfied? Are you content with your life? Are you living a full and satisfying life? Have you established such a strong relationship with God that you are walking in his perfect peace every single day? Have you allowed him to heal your heart completely? Have you learned to trust him so you can trust him in a man?

If you are dissatisfied with your life. If you spend more time pining away for a man than for God. If you are discontent in your current situation. If you are still fighting anger and bitterness toward your ex. If you haven’t learned to trust God with every single piece of your broken heart. You might want to think twice about dating. Take the time to let God heal you so you are a healthy, whole individual. Only then can you have a healthy relationship.

Are you firmly established in God’s purpose for your life? I don’t know about you, but I lost myself in marriage. I gave up my dreams to support and encourage him. My plans to pursue a masters degree? Not fulfilled. My dreams of writing a book? Put on hold until his education was finished and the kids were older. My plans to be a speaker? Never once pursued.

I had a friend a couple years ago. A male friend. We became close, and I really thought something would eventually come of it. What I noticed is that I was giving myself to him, but I wasn’t following my heart. I was giving up my interests, my dreams, my hopes, to support him.

While I have no doubt that, as a wife, I am to be a helpmate to my husband, I also know God has plans for me as an individual. He has a purpose for my life, and it extends beyond supporting my husband. I have since come to understand that God will not fulfill my desires to have a husband until I am firmly established in the purpose he has for me. (I hear God saying, “Write your book.”)

Can you model a godly dating relationship for your kids? My kids are now 11, 13, and 16 years old. They are entering a period where peer pressure about dating relationships is mounting. I want nothing more than for my kids to honor God in this time of their lives, to date as God would have them to and not as the world tells them to. I want them to walk in purity all of their lives. I want my boys to treat ladies as gentlemen should. I want my daughter to be strong enough to withstand the pressure of a man who might use her.

And guess what? I have the privilege of modeling for my kids a proper way of dating. I am setting the standard for them. They know I am selective about who I date. They know God is first and foremost in every relationship. They know I don’t tolerate being treated as an object. They know I don’t allow myself to be in situations where I might compromise my morals. They know dating is only one aspect of my life, and they know I trust God to bring the right one along in his time.

I hold myself to the highest standards because I want my children to have an example they can follow.

Do you have a firm commitment to purity? I wrote an article a several weeks ago on why I choose purity. I’ve been the victim of sexual sins. I know the pain and heartache of being betrayed in the most intimate way. I never want to walk through it again. And, the best way to avoid it in the future is to find someone as committed to living God’s way as I am. That includes a commitment to purity at every level.

Let’s be honest: the desire to be held and touched can be overwhelming some days. I’ve found myself standing next to a male friend (one I’m not even interested in beyond friendship) and just longed to have him hold my hand, put his arm around my shoulder. God created us with a desire for affection. He put a longing in our hearts for tenderness and touch. It’s completely normal. But, can you be with someone without compromising your standards?

Do not date until you have firmly set boundaries in your mind, until you know how you will react when temptation hits. Make sure you are mentally and emotionally prepared and have a battle plan in place. Then, with God by your side, you can march confidently into your future.

 

 

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38 thoughts on “Is It Time to Date?”

  1. This post just came in time. My husband has seperated with me for three years,but he hasn’t filed a divorce yer. I am still defending for my marriage and looking for reconciliation. We are keeping in touch daily and see each other weekly because we have a child. I still regard him as my husband and i am bound to him. I want to keep myself pure during this battle until he really proceeds with the filings.

    Today,my mum suggested me to start looking for someone now when i am still relatively young. It shoke my stance n i thought about it may be a sound suggestion.

    Your post just told me that it is not wise. It reconfirms my initial stance to keep myself pure during this waiting period. I dont know how long it will take my husband to return to me. Perphaps ten years if he is willing to not to proceed with divorce. Others may find me silly to keep myself for him for such a long time. But your post just reaffirms my view.

    1. Get so close to God that he gives you wisdom and direction. He will never lead you astray. And don’t let others pressure you into something you feel is not right. Stand firm. Hugs and prayers!

  2. Good morning
    I would like to thank you for taking the time to write these messages inspired by God. They have really helped me to see clearly that life is full of everyday challenges and things brought to us by satan. He is always on the prowl trying to mess up our lives as you stated. I know that I must cling to the Iron Rod of God’s word. Thank you again.

  3. From experience as a busy, full time working, divorced mother of teens: focus on your children rather than a newcomer until they are raised. You don’t want any regrets that you did not give them your best attention. Did my girls get into serious troubles because I didn’t give them enough of me outside of working to support us? I’ll never know because I dated and had several relationships during their teen years. My daughters were resentful.

    1. I do agree. My kids are my priority. However, they are just as ready to have a man in the house as I am. They are ready to selflessly give me some time and space for myself. They’ve seen my sacrifices over the years. Pretty amazing kids!

  4. I have not been a Christian as long as you have by far, so I cannot talk about God’s route that was laid out for me because in my early to Mid life although I was a Catholic I was non practicing mostly because I did not understand or did not want to understand what God was till I changed the what to who. In my later years I met a lady not with anything in mind who showed me the way. I have been through two divorces, again because of my ignorance and now finally I am a devout Christian and follow what the Lord tells me to do. Divorce is a very painful experience and I would not wish it on to anyone. Again I made a third mistake before I became a Christian and though I am still married I have been separated from my wife for quite a long time. Now I have found the peace that I so longed for when I was married. I admit that living alone makes one lonesome and long for that tender touch but after seeing what it has done to my children and how they think about married life I would prefer to stay in my present position than go through the pain of yet another divorce. You people, who unlike me at the time, have God to ask for advice and as I now know He is always very willing to give it. I would much rather be lonesome and in the way I am now leading life that go through what I went through before. An old mans advice to you Dena or better still sister,if I am allowed to call you that, is to still bide your time, do what the Lord is telling you what he wants you to do and finally he will bring someone out of the blue who will be what you are looking for and will fit you like a glove. He made us in his image and in his image he wants us to be happy and content in our life as we continue to serve him with all our hearts. I know what you divorced people feel because I am one of you. Loneliness comes and go when it is there it hurts but it is not as bad as the loneliness you feel after you make repeated mistakes. May God bless you and look after you for all you are doing for Him. You are among those nameless people I pray for who are in this awful position made by ourselves because we did not know or would not listen to God

    1. You have been through so much, and yet finally found his peace. What a testimony! I agree completely. As much as I hate the loneliness, I would rather wait for God’s perfect match, the love he has been planning for me, than to get into something that would steal me away from his purposes. That’s why I choose to wait, because I know his plan is for my good and is a story worth telling! Praying for you, that God continues to give you strength and peace and wisdom on this journey! God bless!

    2. I have been picturing what i should do with regards to my love life,after my husband divorces me. I am so keen to have another child and my time is running out. My biological clock is tickling. I have an urge to want to immediately reconcile with my husband or i should go out to seek someone else,though it is not my preferred option.

      I very much do not want to rock my boat and having a remarriage is not in my plan. I am a very reserved person. I am supposed to be settling down at this age,rather than going out into the dating scene and start all this process. I cannot take risk of finding a not suitable person and go through the heartbreak again. I would rather remain single for the rest of my life to keep things simple. This is one of the voices i have in mind. Yet,i want to have a stable relationship. So i choose to keep status quo (i.e. seperated but not yet divorced) if my husband dont proceed with the divorce. I pray that he wont do it. I dont mind to stay in this less than optimal status,yet it is better for me to go out in the dating scene.

      Your sharing of experience sort of reconfirms me this may be my best option at this stage.

      1. Just get so close to Jesus that he leads you day by day, step by step into the future he has for you. It’s very scary to let the walls down, to trust again. But, when we let God have his way, he puts our broken hearts back together and shows how … And who …. To trust. Hang in there! He has great plans for you!!

  5. From your experience,is it better to co-parent the children together?
    I am pretty happy when i am with my husband,though he seperated with me (but not yet divorced) . i feel that i still have support from him and do not feel lonely because of such. Is this a healthy bonding? I am worried that i still consider him as my anchor and safe harbour would make me hard to let go if he really exit the relationship.

    1. Honestly, I’ve never been given a true co-parenting relationship. It’s all been left to me. Is it better for the kids to have both parents involved? Yes. Absolutely. But, yes, you run the risk of still clinging to him, if not letting him go. It’s a fine line.

      1. Thanks for your feedback. If it is good for our child,i will work with my husband as much as possible.

        While i may run the risk to cling to him,i would rather be this way as i feel safe with him and trust him. We met up today and i had a good time with him. It is to my benefit to have him around.

        But after he divorces with me,then i am not sure how i should position myself and not to cling on to him,given we will have continuous interaction?

      2. Maintaining a working relationship is important, but it almost needs to become a business relationship. You must cling to God. He is your security, your provider, your everything…not your former spouse. I will email you when I have more time. Prayers!!

  6. I can’t tell you how much I needed this post yesterday. I am doing the things you talked about, but have been a bit discouraged lately waiting for my “Boaz”. This really confirmed to me that what I’m doing is the best thing and to keep on. Thanks for sharing your heart with us. I’m looking forward to your book and hoping one day to meet you in person to swap “war” stories. I’m wanting to share my journey thus far with you soon through email. Just need to find the time to sit down and right it out. Hope you have a good weekend.

    Much love, Mindy Seekford

    1. It’s so hard to wait for Boaz without taking matters into our own hands! So many times I’m tempted to try to manipulate circumstances. Fortunately, God has saved me from myself on more than one occasion. We are in this fight together! He has great plans, and I refuse to settle for anyone less than my Boaz! If you’re ever in Oklahoma City area, let me know! I’d love to meet you!!

  7. You could almost be telling my story! “Someone” is definitely not good enough if he is not from GOD and more in love with Jesus than me and the kids! I have to watch out for one-sided attraction scenarios though too …. where I am interested and whoever has caught my attention is by all appearances, intents and purposes, not even seeing me as a human being or at all or is otherwise either clueless or completely uninterested or not ready or whatever. I have to remember to be patient and let GOD make the one happen that is supposed to happen and not try to manipulate things to happen the way I think I want them because it never turns out to be what I actually want anyway if I have to force the matter. Some days are easier than others and some are downright excruciating and part of me wants to just throw in the towel and say “what’s the point?” I have to remind myself that purity takes precedence regardless of how loud my emotions and hormones are screaming — and start praying for God to intervene before I do something stupid that I don’t really want to do anyway when I am in my right mind! 😀

    1. So thankful for all the times God has saved me from myself, from my attempts to manipulate circumstances! Been at the “throwing in the towel” point more times than I care to admit! But, I cling to him, trusting him to fulfill my heart’s desire…in his time.

  8. Thankfully, I have never been in this situation. I am praying for everyone who is struggling with this type of issue. Stay strong ladies and gentlemen. God has beautiful things planned!

    🙂

  9. Beautiful. Words of wisdom spoken.
    I have been divorced for 4 years. I desire that as the bride, I will prepare the table for my bridegroom . He is bringing restoration and wholeness to my life. I want to serve Him the rest of the days of my life. I hear Him speaking to my heart to grow and deepen my intimacy And relationship with Him.
    Looking back at my past two failed marriages, I was not healed from my past wounds and carried in heavy baggage into each of the marriages.
    Now that they are over, I feel set free. The chains of bondage tied to my brutal past have been brokenbecuase I look to Him for my everything, and not man.
    I am grateful . I sit at His feet and sometimes weep and sometimes soak in His joy and peace.
    I am becoming what the Lord has designed me to be. A woman of faith, trust, loving, and very passionate about walking in the way of obedience and righteousness. Praise you Abba Father for helping me not only walk in the light but be a light for others.

    1. It has taken me over 19 years to be able to come to my senses and bring my life back on track. The Lord taught me that one cannot rectify mistakes when one feels in the past, and cannot understand what is and why is what is happening toe and my partners. The Lord made, in my opinion, one partner for each of us andwill let it become apperant when we leave things to him. Kust because our heart goes rickety boom it does not mean we have found our right partner it more than likely means that our hormones at working overtime. Do not go by what we feel go by what the Lord tells us and I can assure you when the right person comes along the Lord will let you know clearly enough.

      1. So absolutely true! Take your time. Seek God and not a partner. Let him be your security, your strength. Then, in his time, he will bring full redemption! So glad God brought you back. He promises to redeem the years the locusts have eaten.

    2. Amen and amen! I am so cautious about relationships because I have enough baggage already. I don’t need any more. Your words could not ring any more true. Baggage impacts relationships. But, God sets us free! Hang in there, sweet friend! God has great plans…plans that will be revealed as you sit at the feet of Jesus!

      1. I echo your statement “seek God & not a partner!!” Fear not for I have plans for you….We must trust Him!

  10. You are so awesome, I wish you had been in my path 10 yrs ago when I was newly divorced maybe I would not have made the choices I made then but you are still a wonderful blessing to me in everything I read that you have written. God bless you, Sister…

  11. Excellent. There is so much wisdom in what you shared. I was married for 13 years until my wife passed almost 5 years ago from cancer. I had a brief relationship about 3 yrs ago but it was a disaster because I didn’t listen to God in that situation to begin with (I shouldn’t have gotten involved romantically). Now I’m closer to the Lord than I’ve ever been and am totally at peace with my life. For sure I want to get married again but only if God is in the center of it. The freedom and solitude a single person has in God is a precious thing but so many believers squander that opportunity pinning away their years, bemoaning their singleness. As far as we know, Paul was never married and had no children but look at how powerfully God used him. While Paul was quite content being single many singles have a tendency to see it as a curse. The way I see it, what I have in my singleness with God is so precious, I’m not sacrificing that for just anyone. Conversley, it sets the bar very high for the kind of Godly husband I want to be for my future wife. It’s about being “the right one” instead of endlessly searching for “the right one”.

    1. Love your attitude! What I have is precious, and I won’t sacrifice it for anyone. God is preparing someone who will truly love me as Christ loved the church, and I will settle for nothing less.

  12. I love your post! I was in an abusive relationship for 12 years . We have a son, who is 11, that I felt needed his father more than I needed happiness. I prayed and prayed for a Godly man to be sent. Out of the blue, an old friend messaged me that he had a “nudge” from God to contact me! He did not know my situation nor did he know because of my boyfriend’s infidelity, I finally had the courage to leave. Whether God sent my friend to continue to help me pull away from that destruction and get closer to Him, or if it is to be that my friend and I eventually have a relationship, I am a blessed child of God! Please keep my son and I in your prayers. I am still torn about tearing up “the family unit.”

    1. I would rather see a “family unit” broken up than to see a child learn the abusive ways of their father. Although there are scars, my kids came to life after getting out of the unhealthy environment. They are healthy and happy. They have great faith. And, I truly believe it is largely because we escaped when we did. Hold tight to the Father. Let Him lead you into the future He has for you. You will never regret it!

  13. It occurred to me today that same as I don’t want “just someone,” I don’t want to BE “just someone” for anyone else to scratch those pesky emotional and physical itches (sexual or otherwise). All in for GOD, me and the kids or I’m all out! His way or NO WAY! I am NOT “someone” to fill up the time and the gaps until “something better” comes along! I am the beloved Daughter of the Most High GOD!

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