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How to Handle Dating After Divorce

Relationships | Attie Murphy | 6 mins

If there's one thing we all know, it's that life doesn't end up how we picture it. Things happen, and we make mistakes. We can't change what's in the past, but we can take our next steps with a fresh outlook. If you've experienced the end of a marriage, you might wonder how you are supposed to move forward. That one person was your "end game," and now you have to rewrite the story. Everything in our lives shapes us, so it's not about rewriting the story; it's about continuing. God gives us a blank page, and He knows our next chapter. Trusting Jesus and His Word is the best way to navigate any complex situations we face.

Several verses in the Bible speak to divorce, but I won't get into dissecting them here. The overall point is that divorce is not part of God's design for our good. Divorce brings pain and self-doubt. However, if divorce is part of your past, you don't have to carry shame. Jesus makes all things new. No matter who you are, what you’ve done or what’s been done to you, God loves you and has a purpose for your life. If you're struggling with that idea after divorce, take some time to seek wisdom and peace from God. Pray and explore His Word. Only you can decide what your goals are for your life and relationships through God's direction. As you consider meeting new people or dating someone, stay honest with yourself and open to God.

What does sexual morality look like after divorce? 
Too often in the Christian community, we tend to focus on "purity ring culture." We emphasize the value of virginity and ignore the people whose "ships have sailed." Sexual morality isn't just about bringing a blank slate into marriage - it's about how sex affects your life and God's design for marriage. "But wouldn't it be weird to 'save myself' if I've already been married and had lots of sex? Is there even a point?" It's a good question that rarely gets addressed. And in our culture, even teenagers feel like outliers if they practice abstinence. What we need to remember is that every choice matters.

We grow by following Jesus in the day-to-day. It's not about restricting ourselves; it's about making decisions that bring us closer to God and the full life He offers us. Will having sex outside of marriage bring God to the center of your relationship? According to the Bible, no. God has a reason for every one of His instructions, and He knows the risks that sin can bring to even the most beautiful parts of life. The physical and emotional outcomes of sex don't change just because you've had it before. Starting over doesn't mean pretending, but it does mean letting go of your past's control on your mindset. Your future is not any less valuable because of your history. Both you and your potential future spouse have the opportunity to grow together by choosing to follow God's path. 

The best advice for dating after divorce is the best advice for anything: Ask yourself what Jesus would do if He were you. That might not seem simple because it's hard to picture Jesus as a divorcee in a Christian Mingle chat room. So instead of trying to envision exact scenarios, consider this:

Jesus would love others. What is the most loving way you can interact with others? How can you be accountable for how you influence the people you spend time with? How can you eliminate selfishness in your relationships while still loving yourself?

Jesus would glorify God's plan. What do you need to learn about God's Word, and how can you better respect His leadership? How can you represent that to the people in your life?

Jesus would take the initiative. When you know God is leading you into a new chapter, how can you challenge yourself to live intentionally? Where can you place yourself to meet people who share your goals? How can you express and form goals with someone you're dating?

Jesus would trust the power of God's love. Whatever stage you're in, God loves the real you. Your creator made you to seek relationships, and He wants those relationships to bring you closer to Him. He sees all the confusion you face, and He's always with you for the big leaps. When you don't know what to do, turn to His truth and reach out to others who will encourage you to follow Jesus even in the awkward patches. 

At Sun Valley, we believe community changes lives. Check out our in-home groups and divorce care groups, where you can share and learn with people who know what you're going through.

Written By

Attie Murphy

An avid writer since the age of 5, who loves to explore new ideas and places. Inspired by Jesus, books, and travel.

Published on Aug 18, 2022