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Finding Purpose and Joy Again as a Widower

Emmanuel Abimbola

Emmanuel Abimbola

Contributing Writer
Updated Apr 18, 2024
Finding Purpose and Joy Again as a Widower

Ultimately, rediscovering joy after the loss of a spouse is a journey—one that requires patience, resilience, and faith. It means allowing yourself to feel a wide range of emotions, including sadness and grief, while also remaining open to moments of joy and hope. 

Mr. Harris, our friendly next-door neighbor, was a sunshine on our street. Always with a wave and a warm hello, he'd stop to chat about the weather or our weekend plans. Then tragedy struck. 

One morning, news of a car accident spread through the neighborhood. It was his wife, a vibrant woman, who was so loving and caring. Her passing was a shock that left us all numb.

But for poor Mr. Harris, the world shattered. A familiar emptiness began to seep into our once lively street corner. We'd see him leave for work, his shoulders slumped, the twinkle gone from his eyes. The man who'd always been so active in the church, leading the choir with gusto, barely mustered a smile during services. The grief was palpable, a heavy cloak wrapped tightly around him.

Weeks turned into months, and the toll on Mr. Harris became evident. He lost weight, his attitude towards life changed, and the spring in his step dwindled. This was a far cry from the upbeat man we knew, and it hurt to see him like that.

Mr. Harris was drowning in grief, a man who had genuinely made people happy. This made me realize how unprepared we are for loss a lot of the time, especially when it comes to dealing with life on our own after decades of marriage.

May this piece serve as a lighthouse for people in similar dark places, a guide for finding purpose again, and a glimmer of hope even in the middle of suffering.

The Pain of Losing a Wife

Losing a spouse is one of life's most profound and heart-wrenching experiences. As widowers, you are thrust into a journey of grief and loss that can feel overwhelming and all-encompassing. 

The pain of losing a beloved wife leaves an indelible mark on your heart, challenging you to navigate a new reality without the person who was once your partner, confidante, and best friend.

In the words of C.S. Lewis, himself a widower: "No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear." These words, I'm sure, would resonate deeply with anyone who has experienced the profound loss of a spouse. Grief can indeed feel like a constant companion, casting a shadow over even the brightest moments of your life.

Yet, amid our sorrow, there is hope. Despite the pain, there is a path forward—a path that leads to finding purpose and joy again, even amid your grief. 

Understanding Grief through a Christian Lens

In your grief, it is essential to turn to the comfort offered by Scripture. The Bible offers profound insights into the nature of grief and loss, providing solace and hope to those mourning.

Psalm 34:18 says, "The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit." These words remind us that even in our darkest moments of despair, God is near. He sees our pain, hears our cries, and offers His unfailing love and compassion to sustain us. This verse also assures us that we are not alone in our grief; God walks beside us, offering comfort and healing to our broken hearts.

Jesus Himself experienced profound grief at the death of His friend Lazarus, even though He knew that He would raise him from the dead (John 11:35). Grief is not a sign of weakness but of the depth of our love and the reality of our loss.

Faith is also crucial in navigating the journey of grief; it sustains us during the darkest moments, reminding us of God's promises and His presence with us. Through prayer, meditation on Scripture, and fellowship with other believers, you will find strength and comfort to face each day with hope and resilience.

Also, you can take comfort in knowing that your grief is not the end of the story. Through our faith in Christ, we have the assurance of eternal life and the promise of ultimate restoration. 

While the pain of losing a wife may never completely disappear, you can find hope in the knowledge that, one day, we will be reunited with our loved ones in the presence of God, where there will be no more tears or sorrow (Revelation 21:4).

Dealing With Common Emotions Experienced by Widowers

Grief: Grief is a natural response to the loss of a spouse, encompassing feelings of sadness, longing, and emptiness. But turn to God in prayer and seek comfort in His promises. 

Remember that God is close to the brokenhearted and offers solace to those who mourn. Matthew 5:4 says, "Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted."

The loss of a spouse often leaves one feeling profoundly alone. Suddenly, the companionship and intimacy that once defined your life are gone, leaving a void that can feel insurmountable. Loneliness can be particularly severe during moments of solitude or when faced with reminders of your wife's absence. 

However, it is best to find companionship and support in God's presence and through the community of fellow believers. Lean on the promise that God will never leave us nor forsake us. Hebrews 13:5 reminds us: "I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee." 

Confusion: Losing a spouse can also leave one feeling disoriented and bewildered, unsure of how to navigate this new reality. We may even find ourselves grappling with existential questions about the meaning of life and the purpose of our suffering. 

For someone who's just lost his wife, confusion can arise from the practical challenges of adjusting to life without her, such as managing household responsibilities or making important decisions alone. In moments of confusion, it is helpful to seek clarity and guidance through prayer and meditation on the Word of God and His promise to direct our paths (Proverbs 3:5-6).

Anger: You may feel frustrated or resentful towards God, others, or yourself. You may also experience feelings of resentment towards your circumstances or your late wife for leaving you behind. 

Acknowledge and process these feelings of anger in healthy ways rather than suppressing or denying them.

However, you should strive to express your emotions honestly and openly to God in prayer, knowing that He can handle your anger. Seek His peace and cultivate a heart of compassion and love.

Ephesians 4:31-32 reminds us: "Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice; and be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you."

Fear: The loss of a spouse can evoke feelings of fear and anxiety about the future—the fear of being alone, facing life's challenges without your partner, or of what the future holds for your kids. 

However, trust in God's providence and sovereignty because He is in control of all things. By surrendering your fears to God in prayer and seeking His guidance and protection, you can find courage and peace to face the unknown with confidence.

Rediscovering Joy in Everyday Moments

While happiness is often dependent on external circumstances and fleeting moments of pleasure, joy is deeper and more enduring. Joy is a spiritual sense of contentment and fulfillment that transcends the ups and downs of life. It is a state of being rooted in faith and gratitude rather than in temporary pleasures or material possessions.

In the context of grief, rediscovering joy does not mean that you will always feel happy or that your pain will disappear overnight. Instead, it means finding moments of peace, hope, and connection amidst the sorrow. It means recognizing the beauty and goodness that still exist in the world, even amid your grief.

One common misconception about joy after the loss of a spouse is that it is somehow disrespectful to the memory of our loved ones. Some may feel guilty for experiencing moments of joy, fearing that it diminishes the significance of their loss or implies that they have moved on too quickly. 

However, joy and grief are not mutually exclusive. It is possible to honor the memory of our spouse while still finding moments of joy in our lives.

Another misconception is that joy can only be found in grand gestures or extraordinary experiences. In reality, joy often comes from the simplest of moments—a shared meal with loved ones, a walk in nature, or a quiet moment of reflection. 

By embracing these everyday moments and finding gratitude in the small things, we can cultivate a deeper sense of joy that sustains us through the darkest times.

Ultimately, rediscovering joy after the loss of a spouse is a journey—one that requires patience, resilience, and faith. It means allowing yourself to feel a wide range of emotions, including sadness and grief, while also remaining open to moments of joy and hope. 

As Psalm 30:5 reminds us, "Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning." Even in your darkest moments, there is always the promise of joy on the horizon, waiting to be rediscovered in the everyday moments of life.

How to Rekindle Joy in Your Daily Life

1. Engage in Meaningful Activities: Finding joy in your daily life often involves engaging in activities that bring fulfillment and purpose. Whether by volunteering for a cause you're passionate about, pursuing a hobby or creative outlet, or spending time in nature, investing your time and energy in meaningful activities can uplift your spirits and bring a sense of fulfillment. 

These activities provide a welcome distraction from grief and offer opportunities for personal growth and connection with others.

2. Connect with Others in the Community and Fellowship: Community and fellowship play a crucial role in cultivating joy after the loss of a spouse. Surrounding yourself with supportive friends, family members, and fellow believers can provide a sense of belonging and companionship during these difficult times. 

Whether by joining a support group for widowers, participating in church activities, or simply spending time with loved ones, connecting with others who understand your journey can bring comfort, laughter, and a renewed sense of hope.

3. Invest in Things You Love and Are Passionate About. Rediscovering joy also involves investing in activities and interests that bring you joy. Prioritizing self-care and self-expression is essential for maintaining emotional well-being. 

By dedicating time and energy to things that bring you joy, you can nourish your soul and cultivate a sense of purpose and satisfaction in your daily life.

4. Be thankful: Take time each day to reflect on God's blessings in your life, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant they can be. Keep a gratitude journal where you write down things you're thankful for daily. This will help shift your focus from what you've lost to what you still have. 

By adopting an attitude of gratitude, you can cultivate a sense of contentment and joy that transcends your circumstances.

5. Embrace Moments of Beauty and Wonder: In your moments of grief, remain open to moments of beauty and wonder in the world around you. 

Whether by watching a sunrise, admiring a work of art, or savoring a delicious meal, allowing yourself to experience moments of joy and awe can uplift your spirits and remind you of the goodness that still exists in the world. 

To every widower who may be struggling, I want you to know that you are not alone. Amid your pain and sorrow, there is hope. Though the road may seem long and the burden heavy, you have the strength through Christ to persevere. 

Take comfort in knowing that God sees your tears, hears your prayers, and holds you close to His heart. Lean on God in your moments of weakness, for He is your refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble (Psalm 46:1).

May you find peace amid your pain, strength amid your weakness, and hope amid your despair. You are loved, you are valued, and you are not alone.

Photo Credit: ©Getty Images/OSTILL

Emmanuel Abimbola headshotEmmanuel Abimbola is a creative freelance writer, blogger, and web designer. He is a devout Christian with an uncompromising faith who hails from Ondo State in Nigeria, West Africa. As a lover of kids, Emmanuel runs a small elementary school in Arigidi, Nigeria.