The young generation may not know it, but the word “woo” was not originally the first half of “Woo-hoo!” It was a verb having to do with a man romancing a woman. To “woo” someone meant to seek her favor, especially with an eye toward marriage. What followed successful wooing, then, was “courting,” a dating relationship of exclusivity that came before a proposal.
At the other end of a marriage, after a husband has died, his widow technically becomes “woo-able” again. Though she’s been married for most of her adult life, as a widow she has to makes friends with singleness again. Regaining independence is something she didn’t want, and adjusting to it is a job she has to work hard to accomplish. But as hard as it is to admit, she’s unattached and (gulp) available. Please humor me in this post as I try to puzzle out what all this means.
Since becoming a widow 2½ years ago, I’ve quietly been taking a poll of other women made single through widowhood. What are they thinking about their solo status? How long have they been alone? Have they considered remarriage? If not, why not? If so, how does that work?
I’ve become acquainted with scores of widows through this blog and have heard from women who’ve been on their own for a decade, maybe two or even three. What I’ve found in my private poll is that very few are willing to embark on a second marriage. The reasons vary, but the one I hear most is, “It’s too complicated.” Blending two families that may include children, in-law children, and grandchildren is, to most widows, a mountain they’re not willing to climb.
God’s Word tells us it’s not good for man to live alone (Genesis 2:18), but it doesn’t say the same about women. Maybe that’s because women are natural groupers. When widowhood hits, a circle of support is already in place. Widowers, on the other hand, seem to draw into themselves. Statistics show that after a mate dies, men seek to woo and win a lady far more often than widows accept being wooed.
All of us widows wonder how many years we’ll end up being single. I’m 66, and if I live as long as both of my parents, I could be widowed for 26 years. I don’t like the sound of that, but remarrying doesn’t sound right either. So I decided to just ask God what to do.
As he often does, he gave me his answer through Scripture. In the New Testament Paul gives remarriage counsel to two groups of widows, the younger ones (1 Timothy) and the older (1 Corinthians). His bottom line for me is, “Don’t do it.”
(To be continued…)
“To… the widows, I say that it is good for them to remain single as I [Paul] am.” (1 Corinthians 7:8)