Becoming Single Again Written by: Alanzo Smith, EdD Family Counselor for the Greater New York Conference of Seventh-day Adventist in Manhasset, New York, USA From Revival and Reformation: Families Reaching Across. Presented by: (add presenter name here)
The Reality of A Divorce • Divorce rate in the USA • 50% of all marriages end in divorce • Highest divorce rate in the world • Impacts of a divorce • Profound and long lasting • Affects couple, family members, friends, church and community
Emotional Impact • Mourning alone – emotional pain of being single again (Forrest, 1981) • Feelings of loneliness, devastation • Victimized by labeling of others • Rejection by others • Physical and emotional consequences • Coming to grips with the reality of being single again
Loss of Spouse to Death • Widowhood may demand major life adjustments. • Dual dilemma of having to reorganize and restructure the management of life • When children are involved, the dynamics of the family adjustments can be challenging. • When the surviving parent is involved in a new relationship it can cause conflicts.
Being single again • Singleness is not a dysfunction. • It marks the loss of a “socially valued status.” • It is not the loss of your valued self. • The majority of singles lead respectful, honest and wholesome lives. • As a child of God, singles can face their reality with determination and dignity.
Emotions • Undifferentiated sadness • Episodic anger • Feelings of loneliness • Irrational helplessness • Shock and Awe • Preoccupation with revenge • Excessive guilt • Heightened sense of spirituality • Social withdrawal • Absentmindedness
Managing Your Emotions • Provide time for grieving. Grief is normal. Give yourself sufficient time to return to basic functioning such as going back to work and household tasks. • Recognize your emotional feelings. There should be no rationalization or suppression of emotions. • Explore defenses and coping style. Defense mechanisms are often used to obscure reality. For example you may shift uncomfortable feelings to a child.
Accept the circumstances • Find meaning to the loss. (Romans 8:28) • God is working with us in every good or bad situation. • Let go and let God • God has ultimate control over your life. Re-invest the emotional energy of the separation in self and God. • Get professional help. Sometimes you will not be able to mitigate every situation yourself. • Improve social competence.
Steps for Growth • Get involved in meaningful hobbies and activities. • Attend and participate in church activities. • Let go of negative emotions and forgive yourself and your ex-spouse. • God is waiting to partner with you to open new doors. See Handout 2
Remarriage • It is a healing gift when done in harmony with God’s Word. • Watch for quick rebounds and the desire to compensate for one’s immediate apprehension. • The Bible warns against cohabitation. • Society seems to have become more tolerant to couple living together. • It is still against the will of God. Place yourself in the center of God’s will.