CHRISTIAN SINGLES ARTICLES BY DR. JIM RIVES
Children’s emotions also go through emotional turbulence during and after a divorce. When the single Christian parent(s) begin to engage in Christian dating, this can significantly cause a lot of stress and pain in the family. I am the child of a divorce as well as have counseled many Christian singles with children. Here are some considerations for Christian singles engaged in Christian dating as it relates to the children of a divorce:
· Christian singles engaged in (or interested in) Christian dating should spend time with their child (children) to bring as much stability to their lives as they can. Show them how you are depending upon God and allow their faith to be built along with yours.
· Divorced Christian singles should do lots of activities with their children and give affirmations that demonstrate great love and loyalty to them during and after this upsetting time of divorce. Make every effort to let them know that the divorce is not their fault.
· Divorced Christian singles should never allow the relationship with a child to in ANYWAY be an attempt to replace the missing spouse OR the desire for a new one. Allow the child to be a child and develop in as normal a manner as they can. Divorced Christian singles can give a child no greater gift than to help them build confidence in God and themselves during this time.
· Find a “healthy” children’s/youth ministry in a local church. You may have to check several out before you find a fit for your children, but this can be a great asset for divorced Christian singles.
· Seek out classes/books relating to single parenting from a Christian perspective. Focus on the Family has a web site that can be a great resource to divorced Christian singles.
· Divorced Christian singles should relate to their children in the manner appropriate for their age. There is a temptation to share “everything” with the child (children) and cause them to mature ahead of their time. I am not a psychologist, but I know that in my life I did not have this normal progression of maturing. The child will be forced to go through this stage MANY YEARS LATER in adulthood if this is not allowed in childhood. This delayed action in adulthood often has devastating results (affairs, divorce, etc.)!
· Christian singles engaged in (or interested in) Christian dating should get as healthy as they can emotionally before even considering any Christian dating relationships. I strongly believe that this healing process should take a minimum of a year or more for divorced Christian singles, regardless of gender.
· When the single Christian parent is ready to begin dating (again, highly recommended to not engage in Christian dating for a year OR more after the divorce), they should not begin by bringing “dates” to the home for the children to see a parade of men/women. This applies to the use of a home computer as well. When the single Christian parent is viewing an online Christian Dating Service from a home computer, it is important to do it privately. Do not let your children view or evaluate the Christian Dating profiles or emails of Christian singles you may be interacting with online.
· Children will either want the parents to get back together and set out to sabotage the new dating relationship OR try to make the new dating relationship the “rescue” for them as well as for their single Christian parent. Either course is very unhealthy for all parties.
· Children have to work through their emotional scars left over from the divorce too. Bringing “dates” to the home can bring about more scarring.
· When the single Christian parent is ready to return to social interaction, they should “go to” events and meet people at church, parties, movies, dinners, etc. but not bring them to their home.
· A single Christian parent is more likely to be motivated to find someone to “rescue” them if they have children at home. Being a single Christian parent is a challenge for anyone, and this “force” at work is to be reckoned with when opening up your social world.
· Do not engage in Christian dating initially, but set out to make friends. Be sure to develop friendships with your own gender first, even to the point of building an accountability group with one or more people of your own gender. Let them be a resource to you when you begin relating to the opposite sex.
· Christian singles engaged in (or interested in) Christian dating should keep the communication open with their children and let them know what they are doing socially (in a general sense). Christian singles do not need to share every detail, but keep children informed enough to keep their comfort zone. This will allow them to progress with you through this social development. You may still have a reaction when you begin to “date” seriously, but it should be lessened when you approach it this way.
· As Christian singles “consider” becoming serious about someone else, be sure that they are emotionally, spiritually and financially sound before proceeding with the Christian dating relationship. This should apply to all Christian dating relationships, but is especially significant when children are involved.
Above all, pray pray pray. Ask God to guide you as you relate to the particular personality of your child (or children). Do not hesitate to seek the services of a good Christian counselor for your children as well as for yourself. There are surely many more considerations as relates to Christian dating and single Christian parents, but I am hopeful that the above points will serve you as you seek other input.
Related Christian articles for singles: Advice for Christian Singles: are single parent Christians asking, "Babies anyone?" And also: What about marrying someone with children if I do not have any? And also: Should I be dating divorced Christian singles? And also: Dear Pastor Jim: How does God relate to divorce?
May God bless all single Christian parents AND their children!
In His love,
Note: The answers provided in this site are intended to be as one provided by a minister. It is NOT intended to take the place of a licensed counselor. Dr. Rives encourages all who are seeking to resolve deeply rooted psychological, emotional or behavioral needs to seek the services of a trained and licensed counselor. The answers provided in this web site are intended to be words of encouragement and spiritual guidance as one would obtain from a licensed minister as well as the sharing of Dr Rives personal experience. Articles by Dr. Jim Rives used with permission, copyright © 2001-2009 JacobsMinistry.org Inc. (Arizona Non-Profit Corporation) All rights reserved.