Entering into a marriage as a widow may be a little frightening. You may be excited about your new relationship and happy that you are no longer alone, but still be experiencing feelings of sadness about the death of your spouse, especially if it was recent. Although you likely think about your husband often, you may not know if it is appropriate to share these feelings with your new lover. Marriage after the death of your spouse is complicated but worthwhile, and brings with it a distinctive set of challenges that may be overcome with some determination.
Questions of Worthwhileness
When presented with the idea of marrying again after the death of your spouse, you may wonder if it is worth the effort. Aaron Ben-Zeév, former president of the University of Haifa, writes in "Psychology Today" that the price of adjusting to a new person may be too high for you, as the presence of your late spouse remains in your heart. You may enjoy your new-found independence, and not be willing to make the familiar compromises that come with being married to someone who has his own set of opinions and preferences.
Loving Both Spouses at Once
You may find yourself with feelings for both your new spouse and your old spouse when you decide to marry after widowhood. Ben-Zeév writes that the love you have for your new lover will be different than that you had for your old one, but that your ex-spouse will always have a place in your heart. Furthermore, as a widow you face the challenge of entering into a new and meaningful relationship without letting your old marriage be forgotten.
Potential Health Benefits
There may be potential health benefits if you decide to remarry after the death of your spouse. A study conducted by Linda J. Waite and Mary Elizabeth Hughes printed in the September 2009 "Journal of Health and Social Behavior" found that people who had lost a spouse to either divorce or death and did not remarry were twice as likely as divorced or widowed people who remarried to have chronic health problems.
You may wonder what type of a reaction people will have if you marry soon after the death of your spouse. Ben-Zeév writes in "Psychology Today" that widows are judged more critically than most women when it comes to entering into relationships. There is no acceptable norm when it comes to how long to wait to marry; however, even though society may cast harsh judgment on you for finding love soon after the death of your spouse, the decision to enter into a relationship is truly yours alone.
- Two Chai Day: One Widows Story about Living beyond Grief; Irene McGoldrick
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