Dating. Oh dating.
Now I will not even pretend for a minute that I am any type of expert when it comes to dating.
I have been divorced for almost a year and a half and I have gone on like 5 dates total.
And all but one didn't go past the initial first date experience.
I often feel like a nerdy school girl trying to figure out this dating thing.... except I have two toddlers, a full-time job, a home to maintain, stretch marks, and about 3 seconds of spare time.
It. Is. Rough.
Not only are we processing feelings, managing past hurts/rejections/lies, but we have these little lives to consider.
I have some basic guidelines I am trying to hold while I walk through this new territory of dating as a single Christian mom.
It’s okay to wait
Wait? what?? I thought we were talking about DATING... not waiting! And we are! But it’s okay to not rush. It’s okay to listen to the Holy Spirit and respond when He says to wait a little longer. I know that there are counselors, forums, websites, DivorceCare, and many others that will tell you WHEN you should start to date after a divorce. I have seen that the general rule is a year after the divorce is final. BUT what if you were never married? What happens when the divorce process lasts 3 years but you were separated that whole time? What if your divorce process was super quick (like in my case)? So many questions.
But I would say.... ask the Lord. And ask yourself tough questions.
Listen to your heart, listen to Godly council, and don't be afraid to take some time for you and rest in the wait.
Fiercely protect your kids
My boys are my world.
I fiercely protect them while I am venturing out in the dating world. My boys are young enough to not really realize what is going on but I still don't talk to a guy on the phone in their presence. I don't introduce men to my boys and I won’t until there is REAL commitment. My heart will be able to recover but I don't want my boys to experience any more heart break or even heart confusion. I make it a priority.
Cling to Purity
Ladies, this is huge! And so hard to do. The world tells us that it is old fashioned, not important, out dated, unrealistic, and judgmental.
I say no!
It is Holy.
'How can a young person stay on the path of purity?
By living according to your word.' - Psalm 119:9
Just because we have done it before (even if it was last week) does not mean we cannot stop and start again fresh and new.
Sex complicates things, creates false attachment, and confuses our feelings. The Lord desires for us to remain pure. (Hebrews 13:4, 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5, 1 Corinthians 6:18)
Find friends to be accountable to. Let them into your world and be open to answering tough questions.
Make boundaries early...
If you wait until the heat of the moment....
It’s a little late.
Enjoy the process
Dating is not a pass or fail situation (fail if it doesn't work out, pass if it does), it’s about learning and growing. Learning about what we want and don't want. Growing into the woman God has made us. I want to be a Godly wife... that means I need to LEARN what it means to be a Godly wife. I need to be a GODLY WOMAN first! Learn. Grow. Pray. Hope.
Choose to be content in the Lord and maintain a desire to remarry.
I struggled with this for a loooooonnnngggggg time. I was being told that I needed to be content in the Lord; the end. I became so discouraged that I was still had a deep desire to be a wife again and to have more children. Somewhere in my wait (see how good the wait can be?) God reminded me that He placed this desire in my heart. Furthermore, He longs to give me the desires of my heart as I take delight in Him. (Psalm 37:4)
I LOVE my life. I love my house, my children, my independence, my job, and that He is pursuing me. But I still have that underlying feeling of wanting to be a Godly wife to a Godly husband.
Now, if I never get married again... my life will still be great! I will still do amazing things for God. I will still raise great boys!
My hope is in the Lord NOT in getting married.
I have learned that there is this sweet balance with being content in the present situation while maintaining hope for something else. My marital status does not define me.
I will choose to give up what I think I want in exchange for what God has for me.
Because it could be bigger and better and sweeter then what I have ever imagined.
What are your dating guidelines and how have you developed them?