If you’re in your 40s and you’re single, how do you find a spouse?
To Love, Honor and Vacuum is a marriage blog, and I write mostly marriage advice. But many single women end up reading my blog. I also have others who have been in difficult marriages, who have read my blog for years trying to figure out how to get their husband to change or how to stop being an enabler of serious sin, like porn or adultery. And then that marriage falls apart, and they want a new relationship. But what do they do?
One such reader recently sent this in:
I know you have touched briefly on the topic of re-marriage at least once before; but I am struggling being a woman in my late 40s trying to find a man worthy of marriage; and worthy of being a father to my children, who are almost adults. This is not God’s design in any way, but I still feel as though I deserve a happy marriage. I struggle with how to find someone, as the pool is much smaller at this age. I struggle with wanting a father for my teens – they have no example other than their abusive father and his adultery which has apparently resulted in a happier marriage. I want them to see how marriage is supposed to be before I send them out to select a marriage partner of their own. I struggle with being lonely. Despite my horrible marriage, there were times when I had someone at home, someone to help with one child while i helped the other. I miss sex, even though it was something we struggled with in the marriage (adultery & porn will do that, as you know). I want to know what the one-flesh bonding feels like. And lastly, I struggle with the fact that I’m getting older; I’m in menopause. I’ve recently had major surgery and I had no one there to help me. It just confirmed to me how short life is. I want to find the husband God has in mind for me, but it seems to be so much more difficult to do now.
First, I’m so sorry that you had such a heartbreaking marriage to a man who would cheat on you. And I know that you must be so concerned about your children. But you don’t have to make up to them for what they have missed not having a great family growing up. I didn’t have a great family growing up, but I have a wonderful family now! And my mother is very much a part of that wonderful family, even though she never remarried. So please, don’t feel like you have to get married for your children. Just be a great mom and love them and trust God!
So let’s talk about how to find a spouse in your forties. Some of these tips may not apply if you have children, but I hope these may resonate.
1. Before you start dating, learn your worth
I think this is a great one to open with! One Facebook commenter said this:
There are a lot of broken, hurting people in the 40+ dating pool. Be careful. Have hope, and remember God has a plan, but be slow to trust. Take your time getting to know your date, and go slow with commitment.
Totally agree. One of the issues with dating in your 40s is that many people have a lot of baggage. So you need to be careful and have your eyes open. Work on yourself first. Know that you are worth being respected, loved, and valued. Know that it is better to be alone than with someone who makes you lonely. Wait for someone who can be a real partner. Wanting to be married is a God-given desire; but without God first, that yearning will often end up making you miserable.
When you are emotionally ready, then:
2. Reconnect with people you once knew
After her husband died when my friend Jill was in her early 40s, Jill connected with a man who had been close to her family for years, and whom she had known growing up. He had never married. But now Gary’s married to Jill, and he’s a grandpa to two wonderful little girls!
Natalie, from Emotional Abuse Survivor, left her husband after her last baby was born, once she realized that tolerating abuse was hurting both her and her children. Afterwards, she reconnected with a man she had known in high school, who likewise had never married. They married in the fall.
So don’t be afraid to look up people you once knew, that you may still have an emotional connection with. Just one big plea: If that person is married, leave them alone. Please. If they’re married, they’re automatically off limits.
3. Make being social a priority
When you’ve divorced from a bad marriage, you often feel like this woman does–that you have to make it up to your children. And so it’s easy to pour all your time into your kids. But it’s not healthy for them to be your emotional outlet, and what most teens want is for their mom not to need them like that.
So prioritize time when you’re out with others your own age! Remember, most people marry from within their friend circle. You meet a friend, and that person has a friend. The more time you spend getting to know other people, the more your circle grows where you could meet a potential mate. And even if you don’t meet that mate, you’ll have so many friends!
If you don’t have children, that’s even more reason to be social! Take the time you would be putting into your husband and family if you had one now and put that into doing things where you’re more likely to find a husband. You have 25 hours a week extra that most people don’t have. That’s a lot of time!
And remember: No one ever found a spouse by watching Netflix marathons.
4. Ask for people to set you up
I’m a hopeless romantic. I hate people being single when they don’t want to be. As soon as my girls tell me about a single person they know, the first thing that happens is that I go through my brain trying to think of people they would fit with.
Likely there are a lot of people like me in your social circle. Many are hesitant to butt in, but if you give them permission, they may just embrace it!
5. Go online
I know so many successful, happily married couples who met through Christian Mingle or eHarmony. And sometimes that’s the most practical way! I know one guy who is a single farmer. His hours are intense, and so finding time to meet potential wives was difficult. But on eHarmony he met a woman who lived in Toronto, but who hated the city and was open to moving. They’re really happy now.
Please, though, you do need to be careful online. Just because someone says they’re a Christian doesn’t mean they are. Ask probing questions, like “where do you volunteer at church?”, “what’s your favourite worship song?” or “what’s God been teaching you lately?” If they can’t answer those questions, it’s okay to move on (I know some women who complained that even on Christian dating sites, all the guys were pressuring her to sleep with them. Once she started screening this way, it stopped).
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6. Volunteer at interesting places
It’s wonderful to volunteer at your church. But you likely know everyone at your church already. If you want to meet more people, get involved in more parachurch activities or in community activities.
When my girls were younger they were involved in Bible quizzing competitions. We’d travel four times a year to meets at different churches in our region, and then when they made the international team we’d go to the summer competitions and meet kids from about 25 other districts. And all of those kids had coaches. It’s amazing how many of those coaches have become couples–even from other sides of the country (and we’ve had some cross-border marriages, too!).
Even if you don’t end up married, at least you’ve done something worthwhile and met interesting people.
Remember: No one ever found a spouse by watching Netflix marathons.
7. Consider moving
This one likely isn’t possible for this letter writer, since her teens are likely committed to her community, and her ex-husband may have visitation. But if you’re single in your 40s, and you live in a small town with few prospects, maybe it’s time to uproot and go somewhere else. You have the ability to be flexible. Consider taking it! In Ontario, Canada, where I live, there are some smaller sized towns with a ton of good churches that have active social groups, and some that have virtually none. If you want an active social life, maybe it’s important to move to places where there are lots of people like you.
8. Cross things off your bucket list
If you want a successful marriage to someone you find exciting, then perhaps you’re more likely to meet that person if you’re doing something exciting yourself!
Do the things that you’ve always wanted to do. The people you meet then will often have similar interests and aspirations. When my daughter Rebecca’s in-laws backpacked through Asia last year, they met a ton of interesting people (including many singles in their 40s). When another single friend in her early 30s gave up on finding a spouse and decided to move to Honduras to teach English, she met another missionary there that she clicked with. Live a big life!
9. Look your best
I know it seems shallow to talk about it, but first impressions do matter. A man wants to marry someone he knows will take care of herself. (you likely want the same thing in a husband!). So invest in decent clothes, get a good haircut, and look as if you take pride in yourself. It will also help your confidence level, and that’s important whether or not you find a man to marry.
10. To find a spouse in your 40s: Ask someone out yourself
Finally, if you meet someone interesting, it’s okay to ask them for coffee. In fact, it’s almost better to ask them outright than to overdo it on the flirting and be creepy.
Rebecca knows a man in her social circle in his 50s who never married, but is pretty happy now. He volunteers, he has a great job. But he’s kind of stuck, and has given up on marriage. If he were to get married, it would likely have to be because someone asked him out–a lot of men need to be “shaken up” a bit if they’re going to break their habits! He’s not opposed to marriage. It’s just that he never thinks of asking anyone out because he’s been single for so long.
So there you go–10 tips to find a spouse in your 40s.
But you know what’s most important about all of them? If you do them, you’ll be happier with yourself. You’ll have a bigger, more exciting life. You’ll feel like you’re contributing to the world. And all of that will make you enjoy your life more now, too, whether or not you find a husband in your 40s!
Any other tips on how to meet a man to marry when you’re over 40? What should be #11? Let me know in the comments!