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Wedded widows and widowers

After God created Eve, he presented her to Adam. “The man said, ‘This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called “woman,” for she was taken out of man.’ That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh” (Genesis 2:23,24). Adam understood marriage and expressed it in a way that Christians still honor today, husband and wife become one flesh.

That one flesh is to remain until death breaks the bond. Many married couples have fulfilled this vow. But when death takes one, loss and sadness are felt by the one who remains. Then the questions come. What do I do now? How will I be able to go on? Who will I be able to lean on? Will I remarry? Can I? Should I?

The answers to these questions will differ from widow to widower. I have had members of the different congregations I have served remain unmarried following the deaths of their spouses. Those who have remained single rejoiced in the privilege and wonderful gift God gave in their spouse. They rejoiced to share life so intimately with another person. Some have said that no one could ever replace their deceased spouse. This is true.

The marriage of widows and widowers is a wonderful blessing from our gracious God.

It is just as true that widows or widowers can and do remarry. “A woman is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to marry anyone she wishes, but he must belong to the Lord” (1 Corinthians 7:39). I have former schoolmates, a former associate pastor, and members who were widowers and widows and wanted to remarry. They said that the blessing of marriage was so great that they wanted to enjoy it again. And the Lord in his grace blessed them with another spouse for this life.

A beautiful example of a wedded widow and widower is the later-life story of Avie, a widow, and Paul, a widower. They started dating years after their spouses died. They began sitting in church together. Members just smiled as they realized what was happening. Then they came to me for premarital counseling. I was honored that these older Christians wanted me to share God’s Word concerning marriage, even after they had been married before and longer than I was alive at the time.

I married them in August of 2012. The joy they shared was evident. They were as giddy as first-time newlyweds.

Paul and Avie continued to come to worship, Sunday Bible class, and a monthly seniors’ Bible class. They were at every church potluck or picnic. The cutest thing was that they were constantly joking with each other and holding hands wherever they went. They enjoyed holding hands—out of love at first, then out of necessity for support to keep their balance. They were with the one they loved.

The Lord blessed Paul with 98 years of grace on this earth and Avie with 95. They shared seven years of marriage grace before Jesus called Paul home to heaven in June of 2019. Avie was taken to heaven in February of 2020.

“The Lord God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him’ ” (Genesis 2:18). The marriage of widows and widowers is a wonderful blessing from our gracious God. When you see it happen, praise God for a living picture of Genesis 2:18!

Author: Snowden Sims
Volume 107, Number 11
Issue: November 2020

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  • Snowden Gene Sims

    Pastor Sims is a 1980 graduate of Wisconsin Lutheran High School, a 1985 graduate of Northwestern College, and a 1989 graduate of Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary. He presently serves as an associate pastor at St. Paul's, Columbus, Ohio. He also serves as the Michigan District President. He is married to Melinda who is an instructor at The Ohio State University. They have a daughter, Erika, who resides in West Allis, Wisconsin. In his spare time Pastor Sims enjoys fishing, hunting, working out, gardening, playing guitar, and listening to jazz.

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