Thinking about dating after going through the trauma of a broken relationship is not an easy step. Maybe you’re at the point where enough time has passed and you’ve been asking yourself, “How do I even know I’m ready to date?” After being in a marriage for 26 years I never thought I would be asking myself this question. This is not an area I took lightly, it’s sobering. Before I ventured out into this new territory I wanted to prepare myself. I wanted to be a WHOLE package, with a healed heart, EMOTIONALLY and SPIRITUALLY. A great place to start was by doing some self-examination. I asked myself some hard questions.
Let’s just start with, “Am I the kind of person I want to attract?” I had in mind the kind of man I wanted to attract but was I that person who would be attractive to him? This is where the years of hard work and character building come into play. If I’m not willing to make myself who I want to be I can’t expect someone else to make me better. (I said these were hard questions)
Do I love and respect myself? Jesus sums up the commandments in Matthew 22:37-39 with,
“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”
.You can’t love your neighbor unless you first love yourself.
In practical terms, I have nothing to give anyone else if I’m not taking care of myself.
Do I know who I am? I needed to rediscover my identity. Maybe like me, you were married for a long time and had really given up my identity for being just a mother or wife. God created individuals in Adam and Eve. Individuals get married. That’s right, we’re still are individuals even in relationships. We don’t give up our identity for another person. I am, first and foremost, a child of God. I invite you to spend some time on this list of who we are in Christ. I have found my identity in Him and knowing Him.
Have I let go of the Past? As we go through life it’s like our brains are backpacks holding all of the memories, thoughts, feelings, and hurts from the past. It’s all tucked into our DNA and shapes how we respond to life. Do I have any bitterness and forgiveness towards my ex? This is a biggie. If not dealt with, you’ll be dragging the old relationship with you. Wherever you go there you are. This is a good area to do a self-exam to see if there’s anything in yourself that caused the failure in your previous relationship.
Psalm 139:23-24- “Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me.
I can trust my heavenly Father to test my heart and see what I need to own up to. None of us is perfect, we all have areas that can use improvement. I’m sure we would all agree we would not like to repeat our failures so let’s do everything we can to be honest with ourselves and make changes if we need to.
Another question I had for myself is how in touch am I with my own emotions? Emotional intelligence (EQ) is a buzz word I’ve heard a lot about lately. It’s simply defined by these attributes:
Lastly, Have I made the most of my singleness? Develop your singleness first and make the most of it. Vacations, mission trips, living out your dreams, pressing into God in an extravagant way, you’ll never get that time back when married. Be content with your singleness.
Here’s a truth bomb- If you can’t be happy in your singleness you won’t be happy in marriage.
I heard a saying years ago that marriage is only good as your singleness. Marriage doesn’t take away your aloneness, it exposes who you really are. I had to overcome this area of lost identity and get ME back.
Are you embracing who you are in Him and allowing yourself to just be? Just be uniquely you? Cultivate who you are.
I am not an expert in dating by any means. I was just lead to ask myself the hard questions. Are you at a place where you feel lead to ask the hard questions? Ask the Father to help you with the tough questions. Invite a trusted friend out for coffee and ask them to weigh in on the questions too.
Let’s pray: Lord, thank you for your leadership in my life. Thank you that you have created me just as I am and I am good. I am complete in you. I am made uniquely in your image and I have a unique purpose on this earth. Examine my heart and show me the areas where I need wisdom and understanding. Show me any unforgiveness and bitterness I’m carrying. Prepare me for my future spouse. Build me and shape me into the person you have created me to be. Show me how to be content and filled with joy in you first. Let me be a gift to the person you have chosen for me.