How to Be a Girlfriend After Being a Wife
The first thing I learned very quickly after my divorce is this — dating in 2017 is nothing like it was the last time I was single. For one, dating apps didn’t exist in 2010.
Before I met my ex-husband, I wasn’t even old enough to meet a man for happy hour, so I was a little bit terrified of what was to come.
I’m coming up on 6 months of being single. Here’s what I’ve learned so far.
1. Know your worth.
When I did start going on dates I very quickly discovered the meaning behind this hook-up culture I had been hearing about.
I’m not about that life.
Above all else, know what you’re worth. Christ took his time molding and shaping you in His image. He knew you before you ever existed. He loves you unconditionally.
Don’t settle for a man who treats you any less than the perfect creation you are.
Don’t sleep with him just because you think it will progress the relationship quicker. If he is the man God has intended for you, it will happen in His perfect timing.
2. Know your place.
It has been a struggle for me to step out of the wife role and into the girlfriend role, as I’m sure you’ve experienced as well.
This man has not made a commitment to you yet. You have not stood in front of God and your loved ones to say vows. You are not his wife.
Let me say that one more time — you are not his wife.
You need to be conscious of what is appropriate behavior at your stage in the relationship. You should not expect an equal say in decisions he makes. You should not combine finances. You should not pick up your life to suit his needs. And likewise, you shouldn’t ask him to do so.
Maybe some day, if it’s God’s plan, you will be his wife, but don’t rush it. Don’t force it. Relish your time in the girlfriend role. Learn about yourself and your partner. Use this time to see if he is someone you could spend forever with.
Pray about it.
Pray for yourself.
Pray for your partner.
Pray for your future spouse whether that ends up being your boyfriend or not.
Pray for wisdom and understanding to know if he’s the one.
Pray for strength and patience if His answer is no.
3. Be comfortable in your own presence.
When you’re used to being one-half of a whole, it’s very difficult to learn how to be on your own. For a newly single woman, it’s a lonely process full of trial-and-error and self-doubt.
The first time I had to figure out how to change the air filter in my house, I cried for 30 minutes. Then, I called my brother and he walked me through it. It was such a little thing, but I felt so empowered and independent after it was done. Not to mention grateful that I have a big brother.
Utilize the big brothers in your life when you need help. When you have a moment of weakness and swear you’ll never figure out how to turn on the lawn mower (which I still haven’t), much less how to mow your own grass, allow yourself those breakdowns. They’re a natural part of the healing process and necessary for learning how to accomplish these things on your own.
You’re used to living with a man. You’re used to having help. You’re used to negotiating chores you hate (emptying the dishwasher) for chores you find relaxing (laundry). Now you have to empty the dishwasher yourself. Every. Single. Time.
It’s okay to feel frustrated and inadequate, as long as you know it’s not actually true.
You’re capable of anything.
Yes, even yard work.
Once again, use this time alone to learn about yourself. Reflect on your failed marriage. What will you do differently next time? Consider what made your marriage fall apart. How can you keep that from happening again? What characteristics will be deal breakers for your future relationships? Pray about all of the things that keep you up at night.
4. Find security in silence.
If you’re like me and your marriage ended before children came into the picture, then prepare for the deafening silence that comes with divorce.
I come home every day to an empty house. I turn the TV on for background noise. Even my dog doesn’t bark.
In the beginning the quiet was maddening. Now, I’ve learned to embrace it. I can sit in silence and be alone with my thoughts. I can get down on my face and cry out to my Savior without my ex-husband’s disbelieving comments and eye-rolls.
If you’re dating in 2017 you can also get ready for a lot of radio silence. There will be men who seem perfect for weeks then will disappear out of nowhere. I learned this is referred to as ghosting.
If he’s not calling you, or texting you, or taking you out, then I can all but guarantee he’s not the one God has planned for you.
Don’t go into panic mode; go into prayer mode.
You’re good enough to be pursued. You should not have to do the pursuing. That’s simply not the way Christ designed the relationship between a man and a woman.
Use this quiet time to learn how to be happy alone.
5. Lean on your One True Love.
The harsh reality is this — no man, no matter how perfect, and sweet, and God-fearing he is, will ever fill the space in your heart reserved for Christ.
Your One True Love is the One True King.
You can be head over heels in love with the man God made just for you, and still be unfulfilled.
Only the Almighty can make you whole.
We’ve all heard the phrase: In order to love someone else, you must first love yourself. This is true, but above all else, you must have a deep, personal, relationship with the Creator.
Use this time in your life to fall more in love with Jesus than ever before. Make your relationship with the Lord your first priority, and your earthly relationships will fall in line.