Editor’s Note: We warmly welcome this article by Lisa Duffy, author of The Catholic Guide to Dating After Divorce. Here she shares some wisdom from this new book. –Barb
“I may be divorced, but I still believe in marriage. I want to find someone to spend my life with, but I have to find myself again, first.” These are words from a very wise woman. Her divorce had been quite difficult for her and her children, especially since she had married for life. Many Catholic moms today find themselves in this exact position and hope to remarry again. But is jumping back into the dating scene the right thing to do? No one wants to go through another divorce, so how do you know where to begin?
If you are asking this same question, I’d like to offer you some ideas and encouragement because I believe, despite your divorce, you still have great things awaiting you in your future.
Aside from the obvious starting point – going through the annulment process and hopefully receiving a decree of nullity – there are some definitive steps you can take to not only prepare for a new relationship, but elevate your level of attractiveness.
Remember Your Divorce Does Not Define You
People who go through a divorce talk about the “Scarlet ‘D'”, that terrible feeling of scandal that a marital breakup seems to bring. But it’s important to remember one simple thing: Divorce is something that happened to you, it is not who you are.
There is no possible way one word, especially “divorce” can encapsulate who you are as a person, nor does it invalidate your role as an important family member, friend or member of society. It does not erase all the good qualities you possess or all the good things you’ve done. It doesn’t negate your potential for living the rest of your life. Believing this is critical if you hope to have a successful relationship in the future
Find Your Self-Worth In Christ
There may be others around you who judge you because of your divorce, but your personal value cannot be measured by what other people think of you. What really matters is where you stand with God and being in His good graces is all you need. God has given you many gifts and talents that, despite your divorce, He wants you to use for his glory and your happiness. Don’t let the criticism of others stand in your way.
Be Attractive From The Inside Out
Let’s face it, ladies, we spend a lot of time and money trying to look good. There’s nothing wrong with that, of course, but if we’re not attractive on the inside, the rest doesn’t matter much. What I’m referring to is the state of your heart… are you harboring anger and resentment toward your ex-spouse? Do you allow high stress levels to dictate the way you respond to others? Do you blame others for everything? Forgiveness, acceptance and detachment are all important virtues to work on if you struggle with these areas.
Give Yourself A Break
You might be great at being all things to all people, but if you’re a single mom, you need a break, too. Are you carrying the world on your shoulders? It may be time to find a good friend who would be willing to give you a break once a week to go to the salon, the gym, the adoration chapel, Starbucks, or wherever your “happy place” is.
Stay Close To The Sacraments
Saving the best for last, of course, because frankly, there is no better way to experience peace than in receiving the sacraments. They contain all the graces, consolation and strength you need for repairing your life and sustaining you as you move forward. Never underestimate the power of going to confession and receiving the Eucharist.
If you would like more ideas about how to prepare for love again, please check out my new book, The Catholic Guide To Dating After Divorce, available at AveMariaPress.Com. I would love nothing more than to help you find a happy, healthy, lasting relationship!
Copyright 2015 Lisa Duffy
About the author: Lisa Duffy is a Catholic author, speaker and blogger for the CatholicMatch Institute. A Southern California native, she overcame a painful divorce and annulment, remarried in the Church, and turned to helping other divorced Catholics find hope and healing. She has more than twenty years of experience ministering to those who have been wounded by divorce.
Duffy wrote and directed the popular divorce support program, Journey of Hope, which later became the book Divorced. Catholic. Now What? She also directed and produced the powerful Voices of Hope DVD. Duffy has contributed to several books and appeared on Relevant Radio, Ave Maria Radio, EWTN TV and radio, Salt and Light TV, and various podcasts. She regularly speaks at conferences for divorced and single Catholics.
She lives in Charleston, South Carolina, with her husband, James, and their three children.