Sunday, June 23, 2019 was International Widows’ Day. It’s a day separated to support and strengthen the widows in their various conditions. A middle-aged widow called to unburden her mind to someone she considers has “the capacity to understand” her situation and “proffer possible solution or a way forward.” About three minutes of introductory chats and pleasantries, her tone changed! The real issue unveiled. “Loneliness is killing! I’m strong on the outside but crumbling within. I need help, sir.” That was her words to me.
There are widows whose problem is not strictly financial like the caller. There are those whose needs are companionship, economic support and health matters. There are those with spiritual issues or suffering maltreatment from their in-laws. Whichever category you might fall into, there’s a dawn of a new beginning in the horizon only if you key into the realm of faith, action and fulfillment.
Widowhood is a natural but unpleasant condition of life that is practically inevitable. It is appointed for every mortal being to die. Except in rare cases in which the couple are taken away at once via an accident, there is usually a surviving spouse or partner of every departed man or woman. It is those who survive their departed partners that are in widowhood.
I want to encourage the widows on the need to move on with life by finding a space for love again in their lives. This subject concerns women the most because society seems to have placed psychological and emotional restraints on them more than their male counterparts.
- While it is ideal for a man to start relating with friends shortly after losing his wife in order to ‘heal’ from the loss, it’s an aberration for the woman to do so, otherwise she might be suspected of having a hand in the death of her husband.
- For the man, six months is long enough a time to consider a new relationship so that he could gain emotional stability; but for the woman, it is pretty too early to think about such move.
- By nine months or a year after, the man is now under pressure to move on at least in the interest of the children but 18 months is still ‘too early’ for the woman to think about having an affair, otherwise it will be suspected that she had been dating her new man even before her husband passed on.
It is unfortunate, however, that same sympathetic considerations are rarely extended to women as if they don’t have blood running in their veins. They treat the woman as if she is a potential suspect in the death of her husband. They relate with her in a punitive disposition; insulting her psychologically and abusing her emotionally with mythical fears and cultural rules that will further drive her into insanity, solitude and recluse.
I detest injustice under whatever guise. I hereby submit that whatever is good for the man is likewise good for the woman. Loneliness kills. The basic reason God instituted marriage was for the purpose of companionship. His divine will for marriage was fulfilled in this singular purpose. In companionship, godly seeds (children) will come forth which fulfils the “replenish the earth” purpose. Therefore, a lonely person is vulnerable to attacks, early death, sicknesses, lack, taking wrong decisions (because there’s nobody to reason with) and a lonely person is powerless because the Word says “Two are better than one.”
There is a saying in Yoruba that the most difficult woman to marry is a widow. If you care for her so much she will burst into tears by lamenting her ordeal in the marriage with her late husband, saying “So, it’s possible to enjoy a marital bliss like this? May God roast that useless man in hell fire;” and if her new husband is not as caring or responsible like her late husband, she will still burst into tears saying “It’s my husband’s death that brought me into this mess.” Therefore, widows should please forget about the past and focus on the promising relationship they are entering into by making the most of it to their own advantage.
How do you go about it?
- It starts from your heart. Change your mindset. Shed off uncomplimentary opinions and live for yourself. Remember that you have just one life to live.
- Reorder your schedules to accommodate time for visits, outings and social events/activities
- Repackage yourself for a new romantic adventure. Improve on your relational communication and. your dress sense and update your romantic skills through reading, ladies’ talks etc.
- Know what you want in a man. It’s another opportunity to make a better choice if you were merely tolerating your late partner. This time around, prayerfully and selectively pick your ideal partner; a man that will celebrate you as his queen.
- Make yourself available for meeting people and cultivate new friendship. Be available for matchmaking through good people around you.
- Protect your relationship. Learn to be discreet about it at the beginning until the right time. This is to ward off undue interference and to avoid subjecting your private affair to a group discussion or gossip item.
- Be responsible and responsive in your dealings. Be sincere and transparent. As we all know, trust is a key factor in every relationship.
- Don’t make your new relationship a regret by constantly comparing your new partner with your late spouse. They are separate individuals. Such attitude do kill morale and affection.
- Don’t overplay the issue of money. Money is key in every relationship including marriage but when it dictates your decision it will ultimately lead you into relationship with a wrong person. Your major reason for the need of a partner is not money but companionship.
- Check every aspect of the relationship before moving to the next level. Don’t pretend about anything. Check your compatibility ratio which include: manner of speech, dressing, beauty, maturity, sense of humour, temperament, patience, tolerance, generosity, romantic skills, love for children and relational dealings with in-laws, family and friends. These are very important factors as they often determine how life in marriage will most likely be.
- Engage yourself on a vocation or job to sustain yourself through which you would be an added value to your new partner.
- Go for a man that loves and cares for children especially if you have young children.
- Check the spiritual life of your new partner. Both of you must share the same faith and believe in the same doctrines. God always honour prayers of agreement and the unity of a family.
Do have wonderful exploits as you go into the ‘market’ of love to shop for fresh partners. Find love again and you will be amazed that sweeter moments await you in the arms of that person with whom you share the same body chemistry, cultural values, social ethics and religious beliefs. Cheer up! It’s the morning after your mourning period!