EDITOR'S NOTE: He Said-She Said is a biweekly advice column for singles featuring a question from a Crosswalk.com reader with responses from a male and female point of view. If you've got a question about anything related to singleness or living the single life, please submit it to firstname.lastname@example.org (selected questions will be posted anonymously).
QUESTION: I am 30 years old and have been married and divorced twice. I have one son from my first marriage and although I never wanted to be a divorcee, that is where I am for the second time. I've sought God's will for a long time but have chosen my path over his more times than I'd like to admit. I have continued seeking him and have started questioning the motives that drive what I do; I desire him to be the center of my life.
I have been dating someone for 6 months who also has one child from a previous relationship. However, something inside me is unsure if I ever want to marry again, and I'm relatively sure my boyfriend doesn't see marriage in a positive light either. There is a gray area on sex-before-remarriage-after-divorce, because we aren't meant to divorce in the first place. What if my intention is to not marry? Would I need to abstain from sex unless God changed my heart on getting married again? This whole situation has me confused between God's will for me and my own desires. Sometimes it's hard to tell the difference.
I want what God wants for me more than anything because I know that his plans for me are far better than my own, but it seems I've started the course in a way that makes it hard to see the clear path.
Your situation is not unique. According to the 2010 Census, single parents in the United States were nearing 12 million and, unfortunately, that number has been growing for some time.
I understand I am neither divorced nor have children, and although I am not a part of those demographics, I have learned a great deal through my many married (and divorced) friends, ministering to youth of broken homes, and dating single moms.
You say, “There is a gray area on sex-before-remarriage-after-divorce, because we aren't meant to divorce in the first place.”
I disagree there is a “gray area” on this topic. The Bible is pretty clear there should be no sex outside of the bounds of marriage.
"It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman." But since sexual immorality is occurring, each man should have sexual relations with his own wife, and each woman with her own husband…Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I do. But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion (1 Corinthians 7:1-2, 8-9).
However, your rationale seems to be, since you are both divorced (when you shouldn’t have in the first place), and neither of you are marriage-minded (at this point), why not go ahead and have sex since you’ve already messed up with that whole command anyways?
Our (relational) priorities should be God first, family second, and all the rest to follow. In the case of single parents, the priorities should shift within family to center more towards the child’s well-being over the parent’s desire for a romantic relationship.
As a single parent, I would imagine your focus and impetus would be to provide the best example of a godly mother possible to your son, and that starts with a solid relationship with your Heavenly Father and following his Word.
In doing so, your priorities and motives will inevitably become more Christ-centered rather than self-centered.
My question to you is, “Have you considered what impact it would have on him and his future relationships if he knows his mother is having sex outside of marriage (or re-marriage)?”
Thanks so much for sharing and being so honest with your question. Have you gone through any divorce recovering ministry class or counseling? You sound like you are still in a lot of pain from your divorces. These divorces have made you fearful of your ability to have a successful relationship and marriage, and it appears that your boyfriend fears the same thing.
When we fail over and over we have a tendency to just give up. However, our relationships often fail because we don't have the resources, the skill, the support, or the counseling to help us be successful. Failure also happens when we don't put God as our leader, as the guide directing our path. With that being said, I would strongly encourage you to get some counseling so you can learn more about yourself. So that you can begin the healing process. This process may take some time. While you are going through this process, I suggest that you do not date - but instead build friendships. Spend this time really growing your relationship with God without the distraction of a man in your life.
Now, regarding your boyfriend. If you choose to stay in the relationship with him you must be be equally yoked, not only spiritually but also in the direction God is leading you. If you both are seeking God and his direction, it will either lead toward marriage or toward just friendship (without sex). Sex, whether you have been married or not, is still designed by God for those who are married. You may think you can't hold out but believe me, I have held out for 24 years with God's help. As you both draw toward God, get friends to hold you accountable, pray, and monitor what you see on TV and movies, it will become easier and easier.
In this life we are always going to be tempted, but it’s what we do when we are tempted that's the real challenge. Stay strong, get some counseling, and trust in the Lord.
Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective (James 5:16).
No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it (1 Corinthians 10:13).
HE is … Cliff Young, a Crosswalk.com contributing writer and a veteran single of many decades. He has traveled the world in search of fresh experiences, serving opportunities, and the perfect woman (for him) and has found that his investments in God, career and youth ministry have paid off in priceless dividends.
SHE is ... Kris Swiatocho, the President and Director of TheSinglesNetwork.org Ministries and FromHisHands.com Ministries. Kris has served in ministry in various capacities for the last 25 years. An accomplished trainer and mentor, Kris has a heart to reach and grow leaders so they will in turn reach and grow others. She is also the author of three books.
DISCLAIMER: We are not trained psychologists or licensed professionals. We're just average folk who understand what it's like to live the solo life in the twenty-first century. We believe that the Bible is our go-to guide for answers to all of life's questions, and it's where we'll go for guidance when responding to your questions. Also, it's important to note that we write our answers separately.
GOT A QUESTION? If you've got a question about anything related to singleness or living the single life, please submit it to email@example.com (selected questions will be posted anonymously). While we are unable to answer every inquiry, we do hope that this column will be an encouragement to you. Click here to visit the He Said-She Said archives.
Publication date: April 24, 2014