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I have started a relationship with someone who lost their spouse. How do I know they have had sufficient time to grieve and move on?


Thank you for your question about relationships and grief.

Grief is a very personal thing. It takes everyone different amounts of time to heal after a loss, especially of a spouse, and it can also manifest in many different ways. People often feel like there is a certain amount of time people ‘should’ grieve, but it’s surprising when those feelings of loss can pop up again, even years down the line – the smallest things can trigger it.

Try not to be frustrated by these times, and give the grief space to work itself out – pretending it isn’t there will not work. It will only sit under the surface, waiting to be resolved another time (and some things need to be dealt with several times before peace comes).

The law is binding on a person only as long as he lives? For a married woman is bound by law to her husband while he lives, but if her husband dies she is released from the law of marriage. (Romans 6:7)

If anyone thinks that he is not behaving properly toward his betrothed, if his passions are strong, and it has to be, let him do as he wishes: let them marry—it is no sin. But whoever is firmly established in his heart, being under no necessity but having his desire under control, and has determined this in his heart, to keep her as his betrothed, he will do well. So then he who marries his betrothed does well, and he who refrains from marriage will do even better.
A wife is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord. Yet in my judgement she is happier if she remains as she is. And I think that I too have the Spirit of God ( 1 Corinthians 7:36-40)

I'm sure it will help you greatly if you talk about this issue with the person who is grieving – they are the only one who will know when they’re ready to move on, and be open and honest about your concerns and about how they feel will give you a good indication of whether he’s truly ready or not. Maybe they are ready, or maybe they will decide that they need a little longer to heal.

Be sure to guard your own heart, that they are genuinely ready to commit to a relationship with you, and that they are not reaching out in loneliness.

Let marriage be held in honour among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous (Hebrews 13:4)

If you continue in your relationship, don’t be surprised if the grief resurfaces further down the line, and don’t let that make you feel like they care about you less. The person they lost was a significant part of their life whom they committed to through marriage, and deserves to be remembered.

I hope this answer helps you. I am sure that it would be of great help to speak to your local church leader. They will be able to pastorally support you and your relationship throughout this time and beyond. If you do not attend a local bible believing church and would like to find one, the LookingforGod Church Finder may help you:

Please use our Interactive Answer Matrix and feel free to ask another question. Our helpful staff are praying for you and waiting to try and answer to you from the Bible, and will be delighted to tell you more about Jesus Christ the Lord, the Saviour of the world.

*All Scripture references are taken From The English Standard Version of the Holy Bible unless stated otherwise

*If anything in this answer affects you directly, then please feel free to call our confidential prayer line in the UK on 0845 4567729, where trained Christian volunteers will take your call and pray both for you and with you. If you are outside of the UK then you may submit your request for prayer on line at

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