Living In the Past?

4 20150912_183714Both my wife and I were blessed with good previous marriages, each lasting over 50 years. Our love for our deceased spouses was a forever kind of commitment. That will never change.

I have found the same commitment or similar feelings among others who had been widowed after a lengthy marriage.

After three and a half years since losing my wife and five years since Bonnie lost her husband, I can tell you without reservation that we still love them and we still treasure the lives that we had with them. With that being said, we are so grateful that God has allowed us to move forward into a beautiful new life.

Remarriage is a reality for many who are widowed. In particular it impacts seniors who have adult children who have their own families.

Seeing online “postings” and actually meeting and getting acquainted with other widowed friends over the past three and one half years has been an excellent opportunity for me to learn many interesting facts regarding remarriage after a period of widowhood.

Some who are widowed feel it is their calling from God to remain single.  In fact, the ability to stay single and serve God apart from marriage is a gift from God, I Corinthians 7:32 – 39. The Apostle Paul and some other Bible characters had this gift.

Singleness is a biblical position, as long as they don’t continue longing for a life that is no longer there to live, which is to say in reality they do not have the gift of singleness.

Whether called to singleness or choosing remarriage we should be thankful to God in “all things,” as is taught in Scripture, while trusting Him to guide our future one day at a time.

My wife and I know beyond doubt that the love that came into our hearts during our courtship came as a gift from God. We feel that even our meeting each other was in God’s plan for us.

Some widoweds seem to feel they are simply living an unhappy destiny they did not choose . . . how sad.

Another interesting discovery occurred when some friends and family members expressed surprise upon learning that my wife and I talk about our late spouse to each other.

Since when does remarriage equals loss of memory?

That kind of surprise implies that they feel once remarried, the life previously lived somehow fades into oblivion, because the widowed has now found new life with new love in it. Because of this new life, the remarried widowed is apparently never again sad or wistful because their late beloved is no longer here. Nothing could be farther from reality.

Both sets of our adult married children and grandchildren are constant reminders of the wonderful life we both enjoyed. How are we NOT going to have conversations about our late spouse?

1 All D&B Wedding-Fams-23Even in a wonderful new life, things like holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, “annual remembrances”  (the date of a late spouse’s death) and children realizing various life milestones can all serve as painful reminders that someone, who a widowed loves without measure, is no longer here to celebrate, witness and in general, be a part of a life that was built with love

It has been helpful for us both to learn about each others previous spouse and the kind of life lived with them.

We have known each other a little over one year. We quickly learned to face the reality of spousal loss. A reality that is so important for both the widowed and those who surround them to understand.

In the recent past we came across the following and liked it:

You can honor your past
You can treasure your past
You can and should love your past
You do not have to live in your past.

 – Carole Brody Fleet

When it comes to love, our hearts are truly without capacity or limits — if this were not the case, we would each have only one child …how could our hearts possibly expand to love more than one?IMG_3526

We all have an infinite capacity to love. Should finding love in a new life become a widowed’s choice, it is and should absolutely be part of their overall character.

Loving again does not mean that the love for a late beloved somehow goes away. It doesn’t. Furthermore, loving again does not dishonor or disrespect the person who is no longer here, nor does it disrespect the memory of that person.

This is a concept that can create a fair amount of discord (especially within families) when a widowed finds companionship or love once again.

To any widowed considering remarriage, serious consideration should be given to the response of family members about their decision. While their responses should not determine your ultimate decision regarding marriage, be careful of your expectations of their acceptance.

Family members will have varying degrees of acceptance of your new life.

You and they should be ready and willing to cope with the reality that /Dad/Mom/ or Grandpa/Grandma has begun a new life.

To any family member whose parents are considering remarriage or have already gotten remarried, proper consideration and respect should be shown to your parent’s decision to remarry and begin a new life.D&B Wedding-A-7 (1) (1)

By the fact that we are enjoying this incredible new life, it does not mean that we have forgotten about or betrayed our past life. Absolutely not.

Bonnie and I are honoring Joan and Tim’s legacies of love and service by continuing to move forward; by modeling the best example that we can for our children and grandchildren; by serving and being faithful in our local church.

By doing these things, we are indeed honoring the legacies of love and service that they left to us to carry forward. We are hoping and praying that each of our family members and friends will do the same.

In summary, remarriage does not equal forgetting — let no one tell you otherwise.

Loving again does not imply lack of nor the end of love for the past.

However, families who have lost a loved one are not destined to remain in mourning forever …that is not why they were left behind.

Along that same line of thought, the widowed are not destined to remain in mourning forever. That is not why God separated them from their spouse.

IMG_2286 (1) (1)Embrace and carry forward the legacies that were entrusted to you by your late beloved. If you choose it, living your new life can include companionship …and love.

If it is not what God has for you then you must remain true to the leading of the Lord in your life.

With help from Almighty God, we must choose carefully, choose wisely – and in God’s will love again abundantly, while remembering the loved ones who have gone on before us.

(Many thanks to my wife, Bonnie and to speaker and writer Carol Brody Fleet for many thoughts and ideas. Positive feedback is necessary to any writer. We will be so grateful for yours in “Comments” at the bottom.)

3 thoughts on “Living In the Past?

  1. Dear Dan and Bonnie,

    Your posting really touched my heart. I have had the privilege of briefly knowing Joan and Tim and know by your testimonies the devotion of love you had for one another. We were so blessed to be at your Wedding as well and rejoiced with your happiness too.
    Audy and I have talked at length about “what if” (especially the last few years of some health crisis). Neither one of us can imagine living life with anyone else (43 years) and after reading your post it became very clear. God is the one who chooses our journey and when we allow Him to be in our lives he walks along with us and with his directions beautiful remarriages do happen. You guys are a good example of that happiness!
    Thank you Dan for making it so clear and I really pray this post reaches and touches those that are “holding on to the past” and they can begin to enjoy life as God intends for them.
    God Bless you both
    Deanna Newman

  2. Well written and very practical! Love seeing you both so happy ! I’d love to find my second partner lol!

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