A. That’s a very strategic question. When we are in pain, we tend to do desperate things. Adam and Eve started it and people have been doing it ever since. The best way I know to reign in our emotional needs is through well thought out decisions.
If you follow your emotional needs during this difficult time, it will be very hard on you. If you decide what your convictions are and set up boundaries and deadlines to help you succeed in your decisions, you will discover a new strength and resolve that seemed to not be there ahead of time.
Jesus "felt bad" about going to the cross. He even sweated blood because of the stress but He had already decided He was going to finish which gave Him the strength to stay on track.
I encourage you to deliberately set goals for yourselves in your personal growth and relationship decisions to help guide you through the dark valleys.
Q. Can you provide an example of a goal that you're talking about? I sure could use some right now.
A. Examples of goals that apply to tough relationship situations are:
- I will consider myself married because I made a lifetime commitment. I will, therefore, not date, spend time with members of the opposite sex alone, or become vulnerable to someone of the opposite gender.
- I will not reevaluate this conviction until my divorce has been final for 1 year (although I hope this never happens)
- I will develop a circle of same sex friends so we can support each other in the current state of our life.
- I will do something every week that helps me grow stronger as a person.
Living without a relationship is like going on a crash diet, we aren't comfortable yet and to be successful we need to find out how to deal with people all over again. It starts with reading books and practicing skills again. Pam and I have written two books for singles (“Single Men are Like Waffles, Single Women are Like Spaghetti”, and “The 10 Best Decisions a Single Can Make”) that teach these skills. Our book, “The Marriage Code” is strong on interaction skills (especially non-verbal communication).