by Fred Colby
Admit it! How often have even the most devout of us chosen to attend a football game (or other favorite sport or activity) instead of church? Or instead of spending time with your family? Or instead of honoring a previous commitment to a friend?
If you are a churchgoer, you might be accused of violating the first commandment, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” The non-believers among us might question whether they have their priorities straight. Are you placing immediate personal gratification before things with more real long-term worth?
Whether we are religious or not, most of us can all agree that during our marriages, we gradually develop a set of values that are important to our sense of self and well-being. These might include such beliefs as:
- Love is better than hate
- Truth is better than lies
- Honesty is better than deceit
- Compassion is better than indifference
- Helping others is better than self-indulgence
So often, we can easily be distracted from these core beliefs, which are essential to our well-being.
When we lose our faithfulness to these beliefs and values and choose to adopt contrary values, we risk and endanger our relationships with those we love and have learned to whom we could depend.
Sex, in particular, can entice us away from those long-held beliefs which have served as our foundation for years. In the wrong hands, it can blind us and turn us to less ethical or honorable practices.
During our most vulnerable time (the first year of grieving), an experienced gold- digger can easily manipulate us and even get us to do things contrary to our beliefs. If our new friend is feeding our fantasy or appealing to our weakest inclinations rather than encouraging, supporting, and helping build us up… it may be time to stop and think about where this is all going. Is this really what you want?
Many women (and men) are just plain desperate because of finances, loneliness, or lousy living arrangements. They, too, can cling to you like a raft on rough seas and drag you down with them if you are not careful. So slow down and ask, are my priorities straight? Are her priorities straight?
When I started dating again, I sat down with my two daughters to explain why having women in my life also were important to me and to let them know that I would be careful. I was fortunate they did not get angry or resent me for this; one suggested that her husband (a former Secret Service agent) would background check my new friends!
A good woman or new best friend will help us to continue our growth. They may even challenge us (without being overbearing) to be better! Remember when your wife did that? Maybe we resented it sometimes, but after a while, we often realized that they were helping us to be our best selves.
If you find yourself in a new and healthy relationship, you will learn that it is a two-way street, just like your marriage was. You will have opportunities to help each other grow, support, and encourage each other. This relationship can make your later years wonderful and enjoyable rather than destructive and painful.
So if you find yourself drawn like a moth to the flame of new relationships, please learn to pause (I know this is not easy during the early deep grieving phase) and think about what you want in a new relationship and what feels right. You could save yourself from much more pain down the road.
© Copyright 2020 Fred Colby
All rights reserved
Fred Colby is the author of Widower to Widower, which is available on Amazon.com. You can find Fred’s column appearing here on WSN-MO every other Tuesday. Widower to Widower is available through your local bookstore and Amazon.