You’ve Got A Friend (Post #31)

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“You’ve Got a Friend”   (Post #31) Lessons Learned by a Dating Widower

The last time I checked my gender, I’m still a male.  I don’t know how it is in your country’s culture, but here in the USA, with that gender comes certain expectations.   Certain traditions.  Certain behaviors.  Certain assumptions.

We’re tough.  We don’t need anyone’s help.  We can do ‘it’ by ourselves.  We’re independent.  And, last of all, we don’t cry.

Well, when you become a widower, you can flush all of that down the American Standard toilet!

As of next week, I will have been a widower for 3 years.  And if there’s one lesson I learned in that time, my gender is NOT tough.  We DO need help.  We CAN’T do ‘it’ by ourselves.  We are DEPENDENT.  And lastly, we DO cry.   Chuck all those cultural male qualities!

LESSON LEARNED:  While I simultaneously straddle the path of dating AND the path of grief, I need a male friend to share the joys and pains.  And that’s exactly what widowers experience when we start dating.  While we are enjoying the companionship of women and the possibilities of new relationships while dating, we’re also dealing with recurring issues of grief.  Talk about mixed emotions!

For me, it’s like eating Mexican food.  I absolutely love it.  But there are certain unpleasant digestive reminders that remind me that my stomach isn’t familiar with those spices.   And when those ‘digestive reminders’ are ‘released’ from my body, people in close proximity are offended.   I know, I know – it’s a crude word picture.

Enter the ‘antacid’ – ‘George’.

Thanks, ‘George’, for being my friend.  ‘George’ is also experiencing a journey of grief, and is also experiencing the struggles of dating.  We have bonded.  He KNOWS how I feel.  He’s traveled the same paths.  He calls me.  I call him.  He figuratively cries on my shoulder, and I reciprocate.  I share where I’ve screwed up with women, he reciprocates.  He encourages me when I’m ‘blue’.  I remind him of God’s hope for his life when he’s ‘down-in-the-mouth’.    When he’s tempted to ‘throw in the towel’ on dating, I’m there to commiserate.  And vice versa.

And something really, REALLY cool; we end up holding each other accountable!  When I’m tempted . . . tempted to give in to Satan’s temptations (you know – like the porn I talked about in post #29; or when I wanna date a woman for the wrong reasons), he’s there to listen, and then gently remind me of his confidence – his confidence that I will make the right decisions.  And knowing that I have to answer to ‘George’, I tweak my behavior.  And vice versa.

Thank you, God, for several ‘Georges’ that you have placed in my life.

Widowers, YOU NEED A BROTHER(s) LIKE THIS.  And if you look around you, I’m sure you’ll find that God has placed someone in your life; someone that needs you as much as you need him.

There’s no question in my mind – you CAN’T travel the path of dating OR grief without of the help of our Heavenly Father.  And I lean DAILY on His help.  But in our life He has strategically placed buttresses in human form.  Oh, that we could just step away from our convoluted cultural male expectations and lean on those buttresses.

Hey, ain’t it good to know that you’ve got a friend?  People can be so cold.
They’ll hurt you and desert you. Well, they’ll take your soul if you let them,
oh yeah, but don’t you let them.

You just call out my name, and you know where ever I am
I’ll come running to see you again.

Partial Lyrics from ‘You Got a Friend’  Carole King 1971

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Tightwad Wonder Women (Post #30)

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“Tightwad Wonder Women”   (Post #30) Lessons Learned by a Dating Widower

 

Early in our married life, ‘Ruby’ and I struggled to ‘make ends meet’, especially when we started raising our family.  Hot dogs, macaroni and cheese, Ramen noodles or shepherd’s pie were common entrees for dinner.  In fact, because our income was so low by our government’s standards, our children qualified for the subsidized school lunch program.  Let me put it this way, none of us were overweight.  And neither was our budget.

‘Ruby’ was the master budget keeper.  I’d bring home a meager pay check and she’d lose sleep wondering how we would pay all the bills.  But pay them she did. She could make a nickel take a 10-cent walk.  We were blessed.  Love was our ‘poor man’s food’, and we were blessed with beautiful loving children.  Life was good.

Oh, sorry.  Almost got sidetracked.  Need to get to a lesson learned by a dating widower.

Once my budget keeper died, I inherited the job.  No longer did I have to consult with my ‘Ruby’ to determine if “we” could afford a major purchase.  That was a problem!  All of a sudden, words like ‘frugal’, ‘tight’, ‘thrifty’, and ‘stewardship’ were absent in my vocabulary.

LESSON LEARNED: With my wife no longer in my life, I was more prone to impulsive spending.  Not healthy!   Not a wise steward of our my finances!  I learned that when I didn’t have my spouse to help make sound financial decisions, it could take a mere 30 days to spend a ‘nest egg’ which took 30 years to save.

Of course, it didn’t help that I was dating a woman that I was trying to impress.

LESSON LEARNED:  There are two kinds of women that you can choose to date; those who you feel compelled to spend money to have a good time, and those who you have a GREAT time without spending a cent.  Guess which kind my ‘Ruby’ was when we were dating back in 1970.  We had a FANTASTIC time just playing shuffleboard, Scrabble, or going on a walk.  For ‘Ruby’, no money spent meant closeness, communication, bonding, and mushrooming love.

Fast forward to my widowed life.  Again, these two types of women are still ‘out there’.  And, again, I’ve dated both types as a 62 year old widower.  I’m embarrassed to admit that I ended up being infatuated with a woman who I tried to impress with my ‘peasant-pocketbook’.  What a mistake.  To her credit, she respected my limitations, and didn’t take FULL advantage of me by draining my checkbook.  But she could have.  And I would have been BLIND to my error.

LESSON LEARNED:  If you have to spend money to impress a woman you’re dating, it’s the wrong kind of woman.

I’m not saying that you should NEVER spend money while dating.  But think about those dates.  Dates that cost me ‘big bucks’ USUALLY don’t produce lots of opportunities for my date and I to grow our relationship.  We have little time for talking, sharing our hearts, or getting to know each other.  They’re spent on an ‘experience’; on entertainment that is a distraction from reality.

Dates that cost little or no money, however, USUALLY provide tons of time where you get to know each other, checking ‘under the hood’ of each other, which ultimately grows your relationship.  OK, OK!  I admit, if you’re of the male gender like me, those kinds of dates ARE threatening.  They’re downright scary!  But if you want to really know if the lady you’re with is right for you, don’t plan an evening of entertainment.  You won’t know anything more about your lady by the end of the evening, and she won’t know anything more about you.

Yeah.  Ya gotta be creative.  Put a puzzle together.  Play a game of tennis.  Go fishing or play a round of golf together.  Or just go for a walk.  Read Our Daily Bread together. Have a ‘What-if’ evening, where you take turns asking each other questions that start with ‘What-if’.  Here’s a radical idea . . . go window shopping together!  (Allow me to go on the record, unless it’s a ‘man-toy store’, I LOATHE shopping.  But you’ll learn more about each other than most other dates.)   Bottom line . . . DO something together. (And that doesn’t taking a trip inside each other’s pants!)

Save your ‘big-money’ for after you say “I do.”   If she’s the right woman for you, she’ll help ‘protect’ your money, not spend it.

Pernicious Porn (Post #29)

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“Pernicious Porn”   (Post #29) Lessons Learned by a Dating Widower

It’s time for me to ‘come out of the closet’.  I need to painfully share a struggle that I have as a widower.  I’m embarrassed to share it – but I believe that it’s important that I am truthful with you, my fellow widowers, because if you are truthful with me, you probably are dealing with it too.  Either way, this particular post is going to be difficult for me to write.  I can only do it because I’m here in the privacy of my own house, and you, well you are widowers in countries like Russia, Australia, or widowers from any other of the 45+ countries around the world that are reading this blog.

My struggle is with pornography.

I really don’t know why porn remains a temptation – but it does.

When my wife ‘Ruby’ was alive, I don’t remember having many issues with it.  I know and you know that this temptation is ALWAYS there for ANY living/breathing male.  No matter their age.  No matter if they are married or unmarried.  No matter if they’re in a happy marriage or in a horrible marriage.  No matter if they are married or a widower.  No matter what!  I just know now that I’m a widower, my vulnerability has me drawn to this temptation more than ever before.

The world is polluted with pornography.

I recently typed a harmless word into my computer browser – and I was appalled with some of the images and sites that were linked with the search.  OK, the images were nothing more than ‘soft porn’ . . . which was harmless to look at, RIGHT?  After all, that image of that great looking girl with the amazing cleavage is just a harmless image.  And it’s not a sin for me to look at it, RIGHT?

Being a living breathing male, I have a natural attraction to great looking women.  Seeing a woman’s continental-divide-cleavage, or her sleek sexy legs is naturally eye catching for me.  Especially now that I’m a widower.  When seeing the real thing in public . . . I turn my head and look away after noticing her (OK, well, at least I try to).  But when in the privacy of my house, when that soft porn appears on my computer, or on TV, or in a magazine, the temptation is there for me to ‘gawk’ at the image; or like a dinner – it tempts me to “go back for seconds”.  And if I do that, then it turns into ‘lust’.  And I know what the Bible says about lust.  It just ain’t right.

The best model for porn control was probably my own father.   Dad and I enjoyed watching baseball together on our small black/white TV console.  And one of the faithful sponsors of the game would invariably be Muriel cigars.  Edie Adams, dressed in sexy attire and impersonating Mae West would be the spokesperson in the commercial.  When that commercial played in between innings back in the mid1960’s, with ‘remote controls’ not yet invented, in a fit of disgust, dad would drag himself off of the sofa, hustle across the floor to the TV, and turn the picture black (yeah, you could do that with a round knob on the front of the TV), and then turn the sound off.  We’d both watch the clock, and after 60 seconds, he’d turn everything back to their normal settings.

A good friend, ‘Billy’, who is a happily married man approached me just a couple of weeks ago, and confided with me about his recent difficulty with pornography.  And he shared how he is working to fight the problem.  Step 1) after he admitted to himself that he was having a problem, he prayed for help.  Step 2) he then took it to his accountability group of Christian friends and got their support.  Step 3) he took positive action to remove its availability (removing certain apps from his mobile device).  Step 4) [claiming this was the hardest step] he reluctantly but remorsefully shared it with his wife.  That led to step 5) counseling with his pastor, and step 6) joining a new accountability group of men all battling the same porn problem.

None of those steps were EASY.  They were ALL DIFFICULT.  But difficult problems call for difficult actions.  And the Biblical book of James instructs us to actually “confess your sins to each other…so that you may be healed.”   ‘Billy’ schooled me by explaining the net result of following that verse; the ‘sin of darkness’ loses its power as it is bought out into the light.

I’m not an expert on the topic.  I don’t know the difference between ‘soft porn’ and ‘hard porn’ – but I have an idea that ‘soft porn’ is images of women wearing little or revealing clothing.  And ‘hard porn’ is images of women wearing no clothing, or involved in some sort of sex act.  And from personal experience, I can ashamedly admit, ‘soft porn’ CAN and WILL lead to ‘hard porn’.  And I can imagine that use of either ‘soft’ or ‘hard’ porn CAN and WILL lead to an addiction.

It will be a topic for another post, but due to emotional trauma, I would imagine that widowers (and divorcees) are particularly susceptible to addictions in multiple forms (alcohol/drugs, sex, eating, etc.).  Porn has ‘brought down’ many a man, no matter their occupation, socio-economic status, marriage status, position in life, or their reputation.

Battling porn takes an incredible amount of self discipline, and help from the Holy Spirit.  And sometimes . . . it takes forgiveness.

NOTE: THE GRAPHIC AT THE TOP OF THIS POST IS A LINK THAT WILL TAKE YOU TO THE WEBSITE OF ‘TREASURES’, “…A UNIQUE AND FAITH-BASED OUTREACH AND SUPPORT GROUP FOR WOMEN IN THE SEX INDUSTRY, INCLUDING VICTIMS OF COMMERCIALIZED SEXUAL EXPLOITATION AND TRAFFICKING.”

Monopoly (Post #28)

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“Monopoly”   (Post #28) Lessons Learned by a Dating Widower

I loved playing board games as I grew up with my parents & siblings.  We played Parcheesi, Gusher, Risk, Sorry, Scrabble, and the infamous Monopoly.  Monopoly was a game that originated in the USA and first published by Parker Brothers in 1935.

Subtitled “The Fast-Dealing Property Trading Game”, the game is named after the economic concept of monopoly — the domination of a market by a single entity. It is currently published by the United States game and toy company Hasbro. Players move around the game board buying or trading properties, developing their properties with houses and hotels, and collecting rent from their opponents, the ultimate goal being to drive them into bankruptcy.  Wikipedia

I still enjoy playing Monopoly as an adult, but unfortunately, other versions of the game have found their way in the dating games that people play.  Allow me to explain.

As a dating teenager, I remember ‘dating around’.  For example, if I went on a first date with a girl on the first weekend in May, we were NOT necessarily expected to go out again the following weekend.  I may choose to date a completely different girl the next weekend.  You get the picture.  And that was true for girls as well.  It was no big deal.  At that time of our lives, we dated for fun, for companionship, for friendship, or just to have a good time.

Now if I stopped dating other girls, and if I happened to exclusively date the same girl for a period of time, we MAY start going ‘steady’ as we called it.  That meant that we were choosing to JUST date each other.  No rings were necessarily exchanged (I was too poor to buy one anyway).  It was just a mutual understanding that we were choosing to go ‘steady’.  Hypothetically, on date #7, I may have actually asked the girl “hey, do you want to go steady?”, and she would respond affirmatively or either think I was just kidding (it usually was hard for girls to tell when I was just joking or if I was serious).

Well, that was back when I was 17.  I don’t know what happened, but the ‘rules’ drastically changed between those teen years and now when I’m in my 60’s.

For example, at age 61, ‘Polly’, and I enjoyed a few dates together.   I invited her to attend a show with me (tickets were about $75 a piece), to which she readily accepted . . . until she found out that I was ‘communicating’ with other women.   At the time, I was a member of an on-line dating site (where I had met ‘Polly’), and I happened to be swapping emails with a couple of other girls I contacted through that dating site.

Hey, I wasn’t even DATING any of these girls.  I was merely emailing them every whip-stitch.  Well, when ‘Polly’ was enlightened to that fact (…and I was just being honest with her), she politely informed me “well, if you’re still communicating with other girls, then I don’t think I can go along with you to the show.”

What’s up with that?  I wasn’t ready to figuratively stick a ring on my finger!  I was just keeping my options open.  Is that so wrong?  It evidently WAS in ‘Polly’s’ mind.  She wanted to be the “one and only”; the Monopoly in my life.  I really liked ‘Polly’, and saw the potential TO BE serious with her.  But, believe it or not, I wasn’t ready! (I know you really can’t believe that!)  The net result?   We stopped dating, and I took ‘Plan B’ to the show.

Lesson that I learned: people my age (both genders) have a propensity to be prematurely serious in a relationship.  And widowers are probably the most notorious at ‘pulling the trigger’.   We’re sometimes so quick to commit that we’ll stay with someone that we really don’t love – convincing ourselves that we DO love them, or WILL love them eventually – because we’re so desperate for love and companionship.

The mindset of a 60-year-old IS DRASTICALLY DIFFERENT than that of a 17-year-old.

Mysterious Wisteria (Post #27)

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“Mysterious Wisteria”   (Post #27) Lessons Learned by a Dating Widower

Back about 1989, my late wife ‘Ruby’ and I bought and planted a wisteria.  We had seen the stunning grapelike flowers in pictures, and thought they’d be gorgeous in our yard.  Don’t know what I did wrong, but no blossoms came in the first year; or the second; or the third . . .  We did research and learned how and when to prune it, but still no blossoms.  We read about what and how to fertilize it, but still no blossoms.

About 10 years later, I suggested that we just cut the darn vine down and plant a rose bush instead.  ‘Ruby’ patiently reminded me that we paid a small fortune for it, so I agreed to give it more time.  But in the year 2010 when ‘Ruby’ died, 21 years after it was planted, it still hadn’t bloomed.  And quite honestly, I forgot about it since then.

Until yesterday.

I walked past the overgrown monster-of-a-vine, and did a double take.  What was that purple stuff hanging near the top?   . . .  HOLY COW!!!!   IT WAS A BLOOM.  And looking closer, I counted 11 more blooms!  This mysterious wisteria was FINALLY BLOOMING!  24 YEARS AFTER I HAD PLANTED IT??!!

I wept!  I got to see it blooming, and ‘Ruby’ didn’t.  What I was ready to chop down and throw on the compost pile, finally decided to show its stunning and fragrant beauty.  24 years later!   Incredible!

This minor miracle reminded me of what has been missing in my life.  HOPE.

I’ve been a widower now for t-h-r-e-e long never-ending y-e-a-r-s.   And just when I think God has given up on me, and just when I’m ready to give up on Him – he reminds me that He CAN do the impossible.  His love endures forever.  Forever God is faithful.  Forever God is strong!  Forever God is with us!  Forever, and ever, forever.   

Those of you ‘marathon widowers’ out there who are still grieving 3 years (like me) or longer . . . are you living in a cocoon?  Have you given up hope?  Have you grown content with your emptiness?  Have you become the poster child for the local Lonely Hearts club?   What are we waiting for?

16 I heard and my heart pounded,
    my lips quivered at the sound;
decay crept into my bones,
    and my legs trembled.
Yet I will wait patiently for the day of calamity
    to come on the nation invading us.
17 Though the fig tree does not bud
    and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
    and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
    and no cattle in the stalls,
18 yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
    I will be joyful in God my Savior.

19 The Sovereign Lord is my strength;
    he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
    he enables me to tread on the heights.      Habakkuk 3

That same ‘Sovereign LORD’ is able to meet my every need.  He knows what (and who) I need, even better than I know!  (Remember, He even knows how many hairs I have on my head!)

If you’re sitting in your living room thinking that Miss Right will ring your doorbell, forget it.  You wanna see God at work?  Then take that step of faith.  Send HER an email!  Send Her that text.  Send Her that card.  That huge ‘Berlin-wall’ you’ve been building CAN COME DOWN – one hammer-blow at a time.

The story is told of a widower who never dated anyone after his spouse passed away.  Instead, he purchased a $100,000 Mercedes Benz SL Roadster.  About 2 days after he bought it, he died.  The undertaker was surprised to learn that the widower’s will specified that he was to be buried in his newest car instead of a coffin.

The day of his funeral arrived, and the gawking crowd pressed around the burial site to see the crane slowly and carefully lower the Benz into the ground, with the grotesque corpse propped awkwardly behind the steering wheel.

As the car finally reached the bottom of the hole, a man in the crowd watching the sight enviously blurted; “Man, that’s livin’!”

You and me . . . we’ve been healing . . . for a long time now.  And the healing process WILL continue until we’re six-feet-under!  I’d rather die with a smile on my face.  And being buried in a Benz won’t ever be the source of that smile.

I’m pressed, but not crushed.  Persecuted, not abandoned.

Struck down, but not destroyed.

I’m blessed beyond the curse, for His promise will endure

And His joy’s gonna be my strength!

Though sorrow may last for the night,

His joy comes in the morning!                       Partial lyrics to ‘Trading My Sorrows’

 

You, Too (Post #26)

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“You, Too”   (Post #26) Lessons Learned by a Dating Widower

I’ve JUST returned home from visiting a friend and his wife in a local nursing home.  I’ll call them ‘Dick’ & ‘Jane’.  ‘Jane’ has been battling cancer for over a year.  I just got the word today that she was admitted to this nursing care facility after they learned from doctors that she has only a few days to live.  After seeing her just about 30 minutes ago, I’m in shock.  I’ll be surprised if she lives 24 hours.

And ‘Jane’ is only 38.  ‘Dick’ is a mere 36.  I’m not making this up. I truly can’t believe it.  I feel so horrible for ‘Dick’.

My ‘Ruby’ was 60 when she graduated to Heaven. I almost feel guilty that she made it all the way to age 60!

This grave reminder of death claiming the spouse of my friend is forcing me to remind you; that if you are currently married and remain married, you or your spouse WILL face the same questions, the same struggles, the same heartache that I’ve described in the previous 2 dozen+ posts.  GUARANTEED.  One of you WILL die before the other.  Or if your marriage crashes in a divorce or annulment, BOTH OF YOU WILL lose each other.  (The ONLY exception is if you both are tragically killed in the same calamity.)

Yes, you, too, WILL travel the same grieving journey, and will MOST LIKELY deal with similar dating issues.   It’s just a matter of time.

You, too, will struggle with handling the grieving struggles simultaneously while deciding if you want to date/love again.  It will either be YOU or YOUR SPOUSE that will be taken first.  It will be either YOU or YOUR SPOUSE that will be left behind.

Unless you never marry . . . you, too!

I can read the minds of some of you who are reading this post.  You’re starting to skim the text in this post.  You’re starting to live in denial.  You’re beginning to think “well that won’t happen to me for a long, long time, so I don’t need to worry about it now.”  Dick is 36!!  Did you hear me??  36 !! 

First of all, you who are still married, ya gotta start talking together with your spouse about the “when it happens…”; NOT the “what if it happens”.  ‘Ruby’ and I were blessed with years to talk about it after she was first diagnosed with cancer.  We talked about what we wanted at the memorial service; about cremation; about finances; about the cemetery headstone; about DATING (I hated that discussion); and about other sundry details.  We didn’t discuss all of those topics at the same time, and we discussed them when it was appropriate; NOT, for instance, when she was sick from getting chemotherapy.

I admit, some of those topics were painful to discuss.  But in retrospect, and after ‘Ruby’ had passed away, I sure was grateful that we had.

Second of all, those of you who are still married have to begin living like next month is your last.  ‘Ruby’ and I might have been married for 38 years; and we might have had a wonderful Christian marriage . . . but regardless, I wish I had told her more frequently that I loved her.  I wish I had demonstrated my love for her by doing more of the cooking & more of the housework.  I wish I had held her more.  I wish I would have taken more time just to talk with her.  I wish we could have traveled more together.  I wish we would have just taken more walks together.  I wish . . .

When you DO lose your spouse, you will then (AND ONLY THEN) know what I’m talking about.  When you start the dating ‘game’ again at age 60 like I did, then you will realize how good you had it with YOUR ‘Ruby’.  No matter HOW WONDERFULLY BLESSED YOUR MARRIAGE WAS, you’ll begin (all too late) to make your own “I wish I had . . .” list for yourself.

Don’t ask (it’s forbidden to know) what end the gods have granted to me or you, Leuconoe. Don’t play with Babylonian fortune-telling either. How much better it is to endure whatever will be!Whether Jupiter has allotted to sink you many more winters or this final one which even now wears out the Tyrrhenian sea on the rocks placed opposite — be wise, be truthful, strain the wine, and scale back your long hopes to a short period.While we speak, envious time will have already fled: seize the day, trusting as little as possible in the next.                                      Quintus Horatius Flaccus

Carpe Diem!  You’ll never regret it.

5/2/2013 UPDATE TO THIS POSTING:  ‘Jane’ passed away just last night (the night of 5/1/2013) after her struggle with cancer.  Please be in prayer for her 36 year old husband ‘Dick’ and their two young children.  

5/3/2013 UPDATE; EMAIL RECEIVED FROM A FRIEND:   My wife, ‘Ruth Anne’, suddenly became ill and when I took her to the hospital I had no idea that she would never come home.  After that point we had no opportunity to talk together.  From what I was being told I believed she would get better but it didn’t happen.

We were both in good health and I thought we would have fifteen more years together.

I also have a regret that I did not tell ‘Ruth Anne’ more often how much I loved her and how special she was.  We also had the goal to do more traveling.  I can think about the special things we did together.

I am so thankful we had no issues between us to have regrets.  We were always very open with each other.

Thanks for giving me the opportunity to cleanse my mind.

Tourniquet of Love (Post #25)

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“Tourniquet of Love”   (Post #25) Lessons Learned by a Dating Widower

I’m intrigued with how I bond with some people.

For example, when I find out that someone I meet likes the Pittsburgh Steelers (an NFL football team here in the USA), bridges are instantly created in our relationship.  And we begin to swap notes; “Been a fan for long?”; “How do you like their draft picks this year?”; “What do you think they’ll do with QB Landry Jones?”; “Do you think they’ll get back into the playoffs?”; “Should they get rid of Polamalu?”  I mean, we begin talking a language only Steeler fans would understand.  And all of a sudden, we have jumped light years ahead in our friendship because of this common interest.

I’m sure you know what I’m talking about.  Maybe for you it’s not with the ‘black & gold’ Steelers, but with some other interest of yours.  When you learn that someone you’re with has the same interest, WOW, your conversation and friendship really starts to ‘pop’.

Which leads me to the premise in this blog post.

Since I am a widower, I think I prefer dating widows.  After all, more than any non-widow, a widow will understand and relate to the grieving journey that I’ve been traveling for the last 3 years.  They’ll not withdraw if/when I relate a ‘Ruby’ memory with them.  And from time to time, they’ll relate a memory about their deceased spouse, and I’ll certainly understand.  They won’t get jealous if they happen to see a picture of ‘Ruby’ in my wallet.  They’ll understand.  We’ll just automatically recognize ‘the grieving look’ in each other’s eyes, and recognize the hurt that we’re feeling at the moment.  Right?

I feel fairly strongly about this.  I think a perfect match for me would NOT be a divorcee; NOT a single-never-before-married woman; but rather a widowed woman.  Yep!  I think I’m right on this premise.  A widow and I would have a lot in common.  We’d understand and support each other if/when the going got tough . . .

AND THEN I THOUGHT BACK TO A WIDOW THAT I DATED ABOUT A YEAR AGO THAT WAS THE EXCEPTION.    

This widow that I dated HAD issues with my ‘Ruby’ memories.  She WAS jealous if/when she saw a picture of ‘Ruby’.  She DIDN’T understand and support me if/when I had a tough memory moment.  Hm-m-m-m.   HER grieving journey WAS completely different from mine.  And her marriage was uniquely different than mine.  NOW I REMEMBER – ALL GRIEVING JOURNEYS ARE DIFFERENT.  So the way that we DIDN’T relate in journeys was actually a barrier in our relationship.  Just because someone is a widower, doesn’t make her a perfect match for me. 

After all, what do I really want in a partner; in a female friend; for my next spouse?  Do I want an analyst?  Do I want someone who will be my healer?  Do I want a psychologist?  No.  Definitely not!  And I’m sure they don’t want that job either.  I want someone who will just love me unconditionally; who will love me in spite of me.  And that would be true whether or not I was a widower, a divorcee, or never married.

‘Elmer’, a close friend of mine, recently shared with me that he’s convinced beyond a shadow of doubt that ANYONE can be married, remain married and have a great marriage to ANYONE if they TRULY LOVE the other person; with a SELFLESS love; with a ‘I-give-my-life-for-the-other-person’ love.  And if that’s true (and it certainly is) . . . then if I choose to exclusively date widows, I am choosing to limit God’s potential for my life.  I am putting a tourniquet on His love for me. 

Illustrating that metaphor, ‘Elmer’ also shared fascinating information about Billy Graham’s crusade soloist, George Beverly Shea.  He was a widower at the age of 66.  And at the age 76, amazingly he married a single lady (never before married) who was 44 years old!  And Mr. Shea described that 2nd marriage as blissful!  It’s apparent that he didn’t limit God’s love!

How foolish of me to even consider limiting my Lord’s love.