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Q I don’t know what to do. My wife died three years ago. Last year a friend’s wife was widowed, and I feel drawn to her. I have asked her to marry me. My kids, who are in their 40s, are fine with it, but her kids are against it, so she said no. We go out together regularly, and she enjoys our time together. But I worry about being able to continue driving to pick her up since my eyesight is getting worse. She does not drive.

A It is healthy that after a period of grieving the loss of your wife you are now ready to embrace life more fully again. Your desire to move from friendship to again sharing your life fully with a loved person is also good. But do keep in mind that the task of grieving a significant loss usually takes between one and five years. Realize that your friend and her children are still in the acute stage of their grieving process. A significant death leaves a hole that can only be filled gradually with new relationships, new patterns of living, new activities, and new love.

But the impending limitations on your mobility (and hers) are real. Be realistic about what can be, versus what might have been if you were both in your 20s or 30s. For instance, if your friend is not ready to marry but enjoys your company, consider moving to within walking distance of where she lives. 

Be open with your friend about your desires as well as your fears without making demands she may not be ready for. Talk together about how your relationship can grow—or not—while trusting God’s desire to prosper both of you.

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