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Christians and Divorce: Five Keys to Successful Dating After Divorce
by Karla Downing
4/19/2012 / Dating
Christians get divorced as much as non-Christians. They also face similar issues with successful dating after divorce too except that some of the Christian stereotypes about marriage may not apply in second marriages. Here are five keys to successful dating after divorce that will help you find a good partner.
Don't make the same mistakes. You are ready to date when you understand why you picked your ex-spouse and why the marriage ended in a divorce. This includes processing your own issues. If you don't take the time to do this, you will still have the same emotional issues that drew you to your spouse. It is important to be able to see both your strengths and weaknesses and correct them. This may require you to see a professional counselor to untangle the marriage and divorce.
Date when you are at peace with the divorce. If you are still emotionally entangled in the marriage, then you aren't ready to date. Many people pick dates that "are not my ex." Or, they pick a date that is like the ex because they still haven't processed the loss. The date is measured against the spouse with either good or bad traits. Either way, this isn't going into a new relationship with a free heart. Date when you aren't comparing everything about your date to your ex.
Build a friendship first. A good marriage involves partnership and companionship and one of the most common mistakes people make is to marry someone who is neither one. Friendship requires that you have mutual interests and mutual respect. If you keep the relationship platonic, you have time to figure out if this person can be a friend. Physical intimacy (even without sex) pressures you into making an emotional commitment, before you know the person is right for you.
Don't expect to be head over heels. Physical attraction is an important part of a relationship, but when you are dating as a divorcee who has had life experience and broken relationships, you may be less reluctant to allow yourself to fall head over heels in love. Understand this and don't refuse to go out with someone who is a great person, just because you don't have an instant attraction. Relationships can be built on physical attraction, mutual needs, companionship, and romance. You don't have to have all of them, especially as you get older. Successful dating after divorce is built on realistic expectations.
Be open to a different type of relationship. Christians going through divorce have to be open to the fact that second marriages are different than first marriages. Second marriages often have children from prior marriages and more personal assets that are brought into the marriage. The partners are also less willing to give up their way of doing things and desire to have more independence over personal life choices, finances, and parenting. Assets may be separate and bills split. Parenting decisions also remain primarily with the biological parent. These things are not wrong and they make sense for adults who have suffered a marriage breakup; they just don't fit the mold of having the wife submit to the husband and the husband lead the family in everything. All of these issues need to be resolved before you get married.
If you are a divorced Christian seeking to date, you will find more success if you use these five keys to successful dating after divorce. You don't want to pick the wrong person again or miss the right person.
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