There is nothing wrong with feeling like you don’t want to ever remarry. Remarriage after a loss is certainly not required. In fact, too often people quickly jump into another relationship. They attach themselves to someone else so as to avoid facing their own loneliness and singleness. God, though, may want to use that time to draw them into a deeper, more intimate relationship with Himself.
The loneliness after the loss of someone you deeply loved can be both difficult and good. It is difficult in that you deeply miss your mate. You no longer feel whole because you miss your “other half.” Everywhere you turn you are reminded of their absence. And you begin to realize just how deeply they touched every aspect of your life. Their absence leaves a gaping hole in your heart.
At the same time, this loneliness and grief can be good because the absence of the love of your life pushes you into areas of your heart that you’d just as soon avoid. This is the conclusion of the writer of Ecclesiastes:
It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, for death is the destiny of every man; the living should take this to heart (Ecclesiastes 7:2).
It also is good because in those times of solitude God invites you to cling to Him in ways you never thought possible or necessary. Sorrow, grief, and loneliness pry open the heart to the deeper groaning of the soul that is often eclipsed by the normal day-to-day business of life. It is this groaning that reflects a core and chronic dissatisfaction with life on this planet “under the sun” ( Ecclesiastes 1:13-14 ) and entices us to long for heaven ( Romans 8:23 ).
Not only is this a time for sorrow and grief, but also a time for living and hope. God is not finished with you. You didn’t die. God still has plans for you and that’s why you’re still here. There is more living and loving to do. While that loving may not mean another marriage, it does mean refusing to become a recluse by withdrawing from relationships with family and friends.
Many grandparents who lose a spouse often refuse to accept invitations to spend extended times with their children and grandchildren because they don’t want to be a burden to them. However, the opposite is often the case. The invitations from children are not invitations to invade their lives. Instead, they are invitations for the remaining parent to be more involved in their lives. Remember, they too lost someone very special to them — their mother or father. Sharing your life with them gives them time to heal while reaffirming their love for you. This investment in those who are living reaffirms God’s reason for you being alive.
To go on with life often feels like you are ignoring the loss of your mate. But running out to take care of the necessities and then quickly returning home where you feel safe can be a refusal to move on with your life. Times of solitude are an important part of developing a more passionate relationship with Christ, but engaging in life with your children, grandchildren, and mutual friends can renew the joy of living. You can find great fulfillment by investing your life in the lives of others that both you and your spouse loved.
Please don’t feel guilty about enjoying life without your spouse. You are not betraying your love for him or her by having a wonderful meal, laughing again, or delighting in your grandchildren. Rather, it demonstrates that you recognize life is a precious gift from God. And you know your spouse would want you to please the Lord by living to the fullest extent possible.