My children have given their blessing for me to date and remarry, but my son had one stipulation: “As long as he has a yacht.” Although I’ve been deeply content as a widow and there are no boyfriend possibilities, I drafted an inventory of the basic requirements.
Owning a yacht is not on my list.
“You shouldn’t limit yourself to a list,” a friend cautioned. “You might miss some really great opportunities.”
But, if we’re setting out to make a major decision—say, purchasing a house—then don’t most home buyers have a price point, general location, and square footage in mind? And if a great house in the right school district (with a short commute to work) presents itself, but we wanted wood floors and it’s tiled throughout…well, we can live with tile floors because so many other things about this house are beautiful and perfect and a good fit.
Recently, while out of state for an extended visit with family, I stepped out in courage and went on four Saturday afternoon dates in a row with a really nice guy. He was a friend of the family I’d never officially met. They were sitting-for-a-long-time-in-a-coffee-shop, driving-into-the-mountains, outdoorsy dates. And it was so much fun. I thoroughly enjoyed this good man’s company. He listened well, he shared his heart well, he was so many things on my list: Christ-follower, not in love with his easy chair and remote control, family-oriented, good sense of humor…
When I saw him last, he mentioned getting together one more time before I headed home to Oregon. I texted to check in and confirm that I’d enjoy that very much.
And then I didn’t hear from him.
When he finally responded two weeks later, the message from the guy who once wrote, “Thank you for being in my life,” was a text he could have written to his great aunt about how busy he was and how he hoped I had a safe trip home.
Yes, it would have been complicated had the friendship blossomed into something deeper because we live too many miles apart. And we share different passions and goals. But there was that pain in the general vicinity of my chest because, apparently, he didn’t think I was worth the effort.
And so I began stacking up bricks around my heart. Just in case. Because it’s what we do, this brick-stacking thing that’s supposed to protect us from pain.
Except it doesn’t.
Instead, it isolates us; it hardens us; it keeps us from joy. It doesn’t allow anyone else in, anyone else who would think we’re worth fighting for.
But if God is guiding, why am I closing off my heart? I am worth fighting for.
And then C.S. Lewis shows up and chimes in on this issue: “To love at all is to be vulnerable.” But I don’t want to be vulnerable to another man. It’s risky and unsettling. And yet, God is nudging us to throw open the doors and windows of our hearts. He is calling us to lean into Him, the inventor of romance, to have faith in His matchmaking skills, knowing that He cares even more than we do if there is a match where the two can be exponentially more powerful as a team in loving people, praying, and making a difference.
Although locking all those doors and windows and vents and skylights may seem like the most comfortable thing to do, doing so is a lack of trust in the One who only works for our highest good.
“I think God is going to surprise you with someone completely unexpected,” texted my daughter who doesn’t want me to shut down based on my first dating experience. “And I can’t wait to meet him. He’s going to make you laugh until you cry, he’ll be the one saying, ‘Let’s go on an adventure.’ And you won’t be able to keep up. He’ll push you to become even better at what you want to do… writing, speaking…”
And so, in obedience to God, I’m willing to lay the bricks as a pathway to my heart, not stacked up around it. If He allows someone to find me and capture my heart, I will never take that gift for granted, the miracle of sharing discoveries with a new husband and best friend: hiking, snow-shoeing, kayaking, mapping out road trips, sitting leisurely on a cabin porch overlooking tall mountains, coffee and Chai tea in hand, deep in conversation with someone who can finish my sentences.
And if the most stubborn, won’t-make-that-mistake-again, determined girl I know (that would be me) can turn that stubbornness toward keeping her heart open, then so can you.
Want to read more on dating or remarriage? We recommend you start here:
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