Losing a spouse is the most stressful event in a woman’s life, with divorce and moving trailing close behind.
A widow does not just experience the loss of her husband but also her way of life. She may lose friends, financial security, companionship, parental support, sexual intimacy, plans for the future, etc. The list is long and devastating. Essentially, a widow is forced to rebuild a life from scratch.
She is often faced with deep personal reflection and is journeying to find a new way of life. When a widow comes to a place in her grief where she may be able to open her heart to someone new, she is often faced with scrutiny and judgment from those around her.
When my husband passed, I felt like I was living in a fishbowl as everyone around me watched my grief and was on the edge of their seats, waiting for my next move. Will she start dating? How long will it take for her to move on?
There is one thing for sure. A widow never gets over her late spouse. She will heal and begin to envision a life without him, but that does not mean she stops loving him.
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When I started dating, I faced many judgments from those who didn’t understand that I could open my heart to someone new but still love my late spouse. I often liken it to having a second child. You don’t push out your first child to make room for another. Your heart simply expands to make room for another baby in your life. It is the same with a widow getting remarried. She can place her late spouse in a different space in her heart. This takes time, intentionality, and many tears, but it is possible.
I prayed for the hearts of those around me to expand and accept the changes in my life, even as it made them wildly uncomfortable.
I had to intentionally let my late husband sit in a different space. After a decade, he is safely in my heart as my best friend and the father of my children. I no longer think of him romantically, and that is okay. I have been remarried for nearly nine years, and we have had to walk down many rough roads.
My new husband has learned to be patient with my unpredictable emotions when anniversaries roll around. He has had to process a lot within himself as a second husband and allow space for my late spouse to reside in our home in a small way.
When I remarried, I had two small boys. They were crushed when they lost their daddy but were excited to welcome a new man. Their little hearts hurt then, and they still do now, but we have healed miraculously. I understand that it can be more complex if you have older children, as getting remarried may be less well received. This may take more time to be accepted, and the guilt may take over, but if the Lord is leading a widow, He will support her.
If you know a widow and are struggling with her life choices, give her grace. She is only trying to rebuild a life that was shattered. She is not aiming to harm anyone or cause more heartache; she is simply trying to live.
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I am sorry for your loss. Losing a spouse guts you to the core and threatens everything you ever thought about life and everything you ever thought about yourself.
When you are ready to find love again, you may experience deep guilt. You may feel like you are cheating on your husband and breaking your vows. Those are all normal feelings. Embrace them, accept them as usual, and push through them. Ignore the judgment coming from all the voices around you. Your choice to get remarried is between you, God, your new spouse, and no one else.
Lift us your desire to be married again to Jesus and follow Him in His leading.
Biblically, it is a good thing for a widow to remarry. We read in 1 Timothy 5:14, “So I counsel younger widows to marry, to have children, to manage their homes and to give the enemy no opportunity for slander.” When your husband passes, you have fulfilled your vows until death do you part. You are free to love love again and free to marry again. Take a deep breath and rest in this truth.
God has a special place in his heart for you as a widow and is profoundly concerned for you.
God is “a father of the fatherless, a defender of widows…in his holy habitation.” (Psalm 68:5) Jesus cared for his widowed mother and condemned those who exploited widows.
Getting remarried after the death of a spouse can be complex and challenging. You will be bringing grief into a new marriage. There will be situations that arise that are difficult for your new spouse, especially on anniversary days or when a memory triggers you.
But it is all okay. It is possible to walk the narrow roads of remarriage with Jesus. He will be with you to help you navigate the rough waters and use them to bring you and your new spouse closer together.
Remember to keep God in the center of your marriage. Allow space for grief and memories to live in your home. Talk about your spouse, especially if your children lost a father. Expect to face guilt for loving again, but know that no matter how you lost your spouse or whether or not he gave you a blessing to love again, you are in a blessed space when you choose to walk down the aisle again.
It’s all okay. God knows the inner workings of your heart and your grief and will help you every step of the way.
It may seem unfair that you have to deal with the world watching you and making you feel guilty about your decisions, but that is, unfortunately, the life of a widow. God is keenly aware of the intricacies and hears your prayers for help. I pray blessings over you, sweet Widow. It is brave to love again. It is courageous to open up your heart.
“Draw near to Jesus, and He will draw near to you.” James 4:8
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Heidi Vegh is a writer, speaker, and ministry leader living in Gig Harbor, WA. She is a remarried mother of four, navigating the blended family life after the loss of her first husband to cancer in 2013. She longs to use her writing as a way to encourage others who have experienced loss and guide them on the road to healing. She contributes to her blog found at www.mrsheidivegh.com , sharing stories and devotionals of faith stemming from her loss and healing, mothering, and her blended and complex family. She graduated from Southern New Hampshire University with a degree in Creative Writing and English and is working on her first book. Heidi is the Women’s Ministry Director at Gig Harbor Foursquare and has a deep heart for sharing Jesus with women and encouraging them in their faith walk. When she is not writing she loves to travel, read, craft, and experiment in the kitchen. Visit her Facebook and Instagram (@mrsheidivegh) to learn more.
The views and opinions expressed in this podcast are those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of Salem Web Network and Salem Media Group.
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