‘I want to find love again’


If a widowed or divorced member of your congregation hopes to start dating again, here are some ways you can support them…

‘The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone…”’ Genesis 2 v 18


Some members of your congregation may not have the long and happy marriage they dreamt of. They may find themselves alone again after being widowed, or their marriage may end in divorce. However, many people find love second time around and, sooner or later, a member of your church may express a wish to start dating again. 

Single Friendly Church’s research – the largest ever survey of UK single Christians – shows that church members greatly value their leaders’ advice on love and relationships, and take their guidance seriously. In fact, your support could influence whether a church member is single for the rest of their life, or goes on to form a happy and lasting second marriage. 

Here are some suggestions from single Christians, to help you support and advise members of your congregation who hope to find love second time around…

‘Help me celebrate/mourn my marriage’

People who have lost their spouse to death, adultery, abandonment or abuse are likely to be traumatised or grieving, and in need of healing. Some people rush into dating too quickly, in a desperate attempt to fill the gap left by their spouse. This rarely turns out well, and may leave them vulnerable to further hurt. You may want to encourage your parishioner to work through their experiences and emotions first. You and others in your church may be able to offer support and counselling, or you may advise them to seek professional help.

“My church was incredible after my husband left me. They helped me heal and brought me closer to Christ. When I told them I was struggling with loneliness, they rallied and took care of me and my children. They’re such a blessing.”

‘Accept me, don’t judge me’

Some people in our survey – women in particular – reported that when they became single, even through bereavement, they were viewed as a threat to other marriages in the church. This leads to enormous hurt. It’s vital that people feel understood, valued and nurtured by their Christian community during such a difficult time in their life.

In the case of a widow or widower, if someone appears to start dating too quickly, it’s important that any counsel is offered with understanding and sympathy. With divorce, some Christian leaders teach that unless a spouse has committed adultery, remarriage is not an option, even if the marriage was abusive (although most churches have softened their teaching on this). Whatever your theology, it’s important to be sensitive to the person’s pain, and sympathetic to their God-given desire not to be alone for the rest of their life.

“I started dating far too soon after my wife died – I was lonely and wanted someone to love. My girlfriend wasn’t an easy person and it was a stormy relationship, which ended in me having a breakdown. My minister didn’t say ‘I told you so’, although I’m sure he thought it – he just supported me through it. After counselling, I met a very sweet woman at a Christian singles event. We’ve now been dating for two years, and I’m planning to propose.”

‘Keep an open mind’

Many Christians go on to have happy and successful second marriages. However, your church member may be unsure about how to start meeting people. You could suggest ways they can encounter suitable people, such as volunteering, Christian holidays or social groups. You might even know of a possible match you could introduce them to!

Internet dating is now commonplace. Around 30% of married couples now meet each other online, and it’s not limited to younger people – those over the age of 55 are increasingly going online to meet people. Some Christians question whether people of faith should actively search for love, or rather wait for God to send them a partner. However, dating websites are simply a tool to widen people’s social circles and bring them into contact with those they wouldn’t normally meet.

The number of marriageable singles in the church is very low, especially in later life, so believers are unlikely to meet a Christian partner by leaving it to chance. There are thousands of Christian married couples who first met online. If a member of your congregation shows an interest in online dating, expressing disapproval can be crushing. However, you may want to suggest that they choose a dedicated Christian dating website, such as www.christianconnection.com.

“I found internet dating useful in making new friends and meeting interesting people after my divorce. God can certainly use internet dating to bring people together. I have several friends married to people they met online, and I’m currently dating someone I met on a singles website. But it’s a marathon, not a sprint!”

Offer me encouragement and guidance’

Your church member may feel apprehensive about dating again after their marriage. They’re also likely to want your approval. A dismissive attitude will leave them disheartened, while a sympathetic and encouraging approach can give them the impetus to start meeting people and making friends.

You may be able to help your church member think through what they’re looking for in a potential spouse, and offer wise counsel in their choices. You may want to discuss with them how to handle sexual pressures, which may be greater than when they were last dating. You can also offer comfort if they face disappointment in their search for love, and help them work through the emotional baggage that comes with dating in later life. 

“My vicar has been enthusiastic about me trying to find love again after my husband left me for someone else (which he counselled me through). He asks me how it’s going, listens to my dating stories, and assures me I’ll meet someone great. His belief in me makes me feel optimistic about the future.”

‘Pray for me’

Single people tell us that knowing someone is praying for them is very important to feeling guided to make good decisions. The occasional word or email to let them know you’re praying for them will be greatly valued. It will also help if you or someone on your team is available for prayer requests if your church member faces problems or dilemmas in their dating journey.

“I’ll always love and miss my husband, who died four years ago, but I’m only young and I hope there’s a second chance for me. My home group knows I’m looking to meet someone, and they pray that God will bring the right man along. It means a lot to me.” 


With thanks to: Callie, Debbie, Hilary, Mike and Roger. Some names have been changed to protect privacy.


If you’d like to know more about supporting a church member in online dating, we have an article to help you.  

You may like to direct your church members to our article here, where they can find further help and advice on dating after divorce or being widowed.

Catherine Francis, 20 March 2018