Dr. Willis Newman, Esmeralda Newman, bible-teaching-about.com

Dealing with longings singles, widows and widowers struggle 


First - thank you so much for clearing my confusion of I Corinthian 7, v 14 regarding sanctification in marriage.

Now I have a difficult question.  I have not wanted to ask this... it's personally difficult.  I'm a widow.  It will soon be 6 years....

I see no marriage in my future, nor do I want one.  I don't date.  I've stretched my lil French Bulldog's "arms" around my neck for hugs. My son hugs me.  Some friends hug me.  But I'm not embarrassed to say sometimes I want a Man Hug.....I prayed for this "weakness." What does a widow do with them?

Thank you so much.



Dear L:

You ask a sensitive, yet very good question. You speak of issues in our life experience that people are reluctant to speak about because of embarrassment in talking about sexual feelings. We people have temptations in many areas of life, and you speak of one. I applaud your courage to bring this one up.

But that part of every human being is very natural and real. It is not a, “weakness.” When God said, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth” (Genesis 1:28), He planted the urge in our DNA. We cannot escape them, but we can channel and manage the feelings. Man and woman are built to marry together to produce children, express sexual urges, have companionship, and partner together in life, etc. Your desires are real and valid.

There are several suggestions and observations that I offer here to manage the many feelings and sense of loss that we experience when we find ourselves single. I confess that there is no easy answer.

1. First, and please don’t think that I am advocating free sex. Sex is meant for the marriage relationship. But, we must realize that sometimes people do not manage the feelings, and they fall. Affairs happen. Adultery and fornication happen. Back sliding occurs. But, there is always forgiveness in Christ if we sin. John said, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” 1 John 19). There is always hope for a Christian.

2. Second, Paul gives us these two principles, “But I say to the unmarried and to widows that it is good for them if they remain even as I. But if they do not have self-control, let them marry; for it is better to marry than to burn” (1 Corinthians 7:8, 9).

The first principle is that it is better to marry than fall into temptation (burn). Some people have less self-control than others. Paul had a lot in this area. This is one avenue open for you. You say that you don’t want to get remarried. However, that puts you into a bind: you cannot experience the blessings of a marital relationship and stay single at the same time. It takes two to form that union. 

If you are open to remarriage, be careful. Make your selection with wisdom, not with desperation and passion. Look in the right places: church, good social groups, maybe eharmony.com, and other Christian websites. Pray much, and keep your eyes open, and your heart guarded.

The second choice that Paul gives is that when a person is single, they have more time to serve Christ (Cf. 1 Corinthians 7:32-34). You can channel your energies in the Lord’s work in the areas that you are gifted, or activities that are meaningful to you. These activities will keep your mind off of what you don’t have. Don’t isolate yourself and dwell on your loss. Get outside of yourself, and get involved in other people’s lives, volunteer work and whatever is available to do. Isolating yourself will only exacerbate the loneliness and longings you struggle with. Paul gives more instruction for widows in 1 Timothy 5:9-16.

I know that single life is difficult. I know several missionary single women who deep in their hearts want a husband, but they continue to devote their energies to gospel ministry. Being single carries with it the downside of always being the third person, which can draw suspicion from wives of those they work with. You also become a target from men who will take advantage of you and your vulnerability.

Esmie said to tell you that the way she and her  girlfriends dealt with the issue when they were single (most of them, including Esmie, married 'late') were to do things together: jogging, shopping, travelling and and doing fun things, which distracts the feelings. The feeling she says, was fleeting anyway. They even talked and laughed about those feelings. By the way, many of her friends are still single working fervently in the mission field.

3. Another principle that follows on what Esmie says is where Paul says, “Flee immorality” (1 Corinthians 6:18). In other words, don’t place yourself in an environment where your vulnerability can be exploited. Don’t, for example, hang out at a bar that caters to the swingers crowd. 

4. Another thing you mention is that most of the single women in the Bible were not good women. That is really not true. Mary, the mother of Jesus was a fine woman. Matthew writes, “And many women were there looking on from a distance, who had followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering to Him” (Matthew 27:55; cf. verse 56). Many single women served Christ – and so can you.

L., I hope this helps. All the best, and God bless. – As a ps, we now have many paperback books up on Amazon.com. Drop in a take a peek, and tell others.

Dr. Newman

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