Dr. Jim responds to the question “Should I date someone who has been divorced?”
Divorce is Reality
Divorce has become a reality in our world – not a welcome one or a good thing, but it is a part of our lives. If you are single for any reason, you will be confronted with the reality that a lot of your choices for a future mate are divorced individuals. This is especially true for women seeking mates.
God forgives sin when one is truly repentant
Singles often write to me asking for advice in this area. The one writing has not been divorced and desires to live within the will of God for their lives. God hates divorce, which is a fact upon which I believe all Christians agree. God also forgives sin when one is truly repentant. However, God does not remove the consequences of our sins and they are often at play for years after the sin.
I realize that as I write this article that there are a variety of thoughts regarding divorces and how to relate to remarriage, etc. among Christians. It is not the intent of this article to discuss these, but I would like to provide some practical guides that I suggest should apply to all who are considering building a relationship with a divorced person.
Have the same interpretation of divorce
You should be sure that the person you are considering building a relationship with has the same interpretation of divorce and remarriage that you do. Their current relationship with Christ is paramount, as well as how they ‘accept’ their fault in the divorce.
Are they finished ‘processing’ the divorce and able to make healthy choices? It is NOT the length of time since their divorce but have they gone through a healthy process. This usually involves an extended period of counselling time.
How do they feel about divorce?
How do they currently feel about the option of divorce in marriage? Those who have been divorced are many times more likely to divorce again. The rate for divorce among Christians is as high (some reports higher) as non-Christians. The rate of divorce for second marriages is 70% I am told!!!
What scriptural basis did they use for their divorce and how do they interpret it now? (This should ring true for your beliefs.)
Spend a lot of time in prayer, asking God to speak to you and give you a peace if you are to proceed. I have found that this alone is not a good test. We can fake ourselves into believing something IF we want it badly enough. I would suggest that you confirm this through some close Christian friends’ counsel, and the counsel of a Pastor or Christian counsellor.
If moving ahead, move slowly
If you are led to proceed with the relationship, move SLOWLY and seek counselling at an early stage. You need to surface ALL the issues at play. Remember: It is work – you will either do it before marriage or after. Believe me it is much to your advantage and success to do so before marriage.
Did I say move slowly??!!!! Letters from singles often state that they have been divorced (or the other person) for about 6 months or a year and they are ready to move into a new relationship. From my personal experience and the experience of counselling many others, they are NOT. No matter what process takes place, I do not believe that a person who has not been divorced for at least 2 years has any healthy knowledge of what is going on to make a healthy decision for another relationship. It just is not so. They may luck out – but the odds of winning the lottery are better.
I am sure that there are other considerations, but these are some that come to mind. I am a divorced Pastor whom God has allowed to remarry again. God’s Spirit should be the guide as well as His scriptures.
God bless you in your journey.