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  • Elizabeth Bilingsley

Widowness and Divorce, or as I Prefer Singleness after Marriage


Hello everyone!

The blog I wrote below in November 2016, highlighted the negative stigma of the term "widow." I wanted to share it again as well as expound on it.

After a wonderful conversation with a friend the other day, I would also like to point out that the word "divorced" and "divorcee" come with uncessary negative stigma as well. There is grace for both the people and the circumstances and our society's use of these terms only makes the situation worse, not better, for all involved. Afterall, those going through such things neither need sympathy nor stigma attached to their already emotionally charged situations. In fact, many times people live very happy, productive lives after a divorce or death. I am living a happy, productive life, I can assure you. I would also like to point out that if my husband had not died, I would have had to file for divorce because of his abusive behavior.

Instead of using words to label people, let's use our words to encourage people and love people. Let's use our words to build people up, not remind them of their mistakes. Let's use our words not to sympathize but to empathize.

We change socities one word at a time and one act at a time. Let's change our society so we love with our words and actions instead of tear down with our words and actions. Church, let's lead the way!

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Widowness, yes I made up that term. The term "widow" frankly makes me cringe. It reminds me of the poisonous spider the black widow who fancies eating her mate. I am neither a spider nor do I wish to eat anyone.

The term "widow" (widowness as I call it) is a word the human race has come up with over the centuries to describe a woman with a deceased husband but I believe it does more harm that good. The term attempts to lock you into a way of life, a way of thinking and it tends to lock other people into thinking of you in a way that is equally annoying. Before and during the early 20th century, the term even locked women into a way of dressing or behaving. I would have never made it then! Wear nothing but black and cover my face for a year?! Are you kidding me?! I have found the term to really provide no advantage to me (not that I have ever sought that) other than that God understands where I am and He will always take care of me.

I prefer to think of myself as "single after marriage." I am, after all, single now. I have been for 2 1/2 years now. It has been a bit different from my "singleness" before. I attribute that mostly to my memories and the fact that I have evidence that my husband did indeed live. We did indeed have a life together and we did indeed have a routine and a way we preferred to live our lives.

Some of you may wonder is there any advantage to my singleness now? The answer is a resounding yes! Yes I have my memories and yes I miss Jeff at times. However, I have been and am building a new life with my own goals and different things I want to do and accomplish. I am making new friends and learning new things. I am even challenging old ways of thinking and learning about myself. I know what I want more now that ever before! I also know what I don't want. None of this is bad I assure you. I will be also be honest and say I am enjoying being with me so to speak, I like the freedom.

If you are a widow or a widower as the world calls us, I am here to tell you that you can have a good life and cherish the memories of your spouse at the same time. You can do things you never thought you could do! Take the class, go on a trip, enjoy the new hobby you've always wanted to try, make new friends, learn something new! A new life awaits you just as it has for me! God is not finished with you yet and He has good plans for you.

I will leave you with this verse to consider:

Jeremiah 29:11; "For I know the plans I have for you says the Lord, plans to prosper and not to harm you, plans to give you a future and a hope!"

You can't beat that! To those of you who are where I am; God loves you, He sees you and I will say again that He is not done with you yet! Don't give up and don't let this world define who you are or what you can do.

Until next time,

Elizabeth


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