the reason I’m here is to ask a ? of etiquette or appropriate behavior

how long should a person wait until after the death of a spouse, to see,date, someone else

and how long should a person wait to consider remarrying?

I don’t think there is a cannon law or rule regarding this issue.

My spouse and I were married in a Catholic Church

This is a really hard question, and a bit subjective, since it will be different for everyone. I would say it really depends on when you’re ready. I don’t think there is any cannon law governing time after death of a spouse to be able to date, let alone remarry. I would assume it’s really just a social etiquette issue, and like I said before, it is really when you are ready.

When you are ready - and done the grieving process. Some counseling may help with this if it is something that you are questioning. I am not saying that this is an issue but I think that we all have times in our life where we can use extra support during loss.

Its entirely up to you.

We’ve come a long way since the days when a widow wore black and hardly socialized for a year and then grey or some other dowdy colour for another year.

Unfortunately, the lack of ‘rules’ often makes it difficult for the spouse left behind to know what is expected or “correct”. Sadly, too, now rather than being scandalized by someone not mourning enough, we expect them to ‘snap out of it’ within a few months, thereby failing to respect that not everyone grieves the same way and for the same length of time.

It’s up to you and when you feel like going out and dating again. Although I’ll admit that if I were a priest I might hesitate to celebrate the wedding of someone within 6 months of the death of the spouse, fearing that they are not properly disposed to make this decision.

I beleive that all marries, (are death to you part). Remember the preist words he saids to you,you,s as you take your vows.( Let no man seperate those who I have put togather) So All I can say is,bear your Cross. God Bless

I believe the OP was asking about dating/marrying after the death of their spouse.

Some widow(er)s will be ready to date very soon after the death of a beloved spouse, while others take years. I think of cases where the deceased was in a coma for years and then died, or maybe had a terminal illness that drug out for years, the widow(er) has mentally prepared for life after the death of the sick spouse. In such a case, I can see the person starting a new social life very soon. Other cases of sudden, unexpected death leave the widow(er) in shock and having to deal with a whole array of emotions in order to find peace with such a tragedy. Finally, individual temperament comes into play. Some people are very social, and the thought of sitting alone at home to grieve is very unattractive. Others are very insular, and they need time to just be by themselves. You have to find what is right for you. There is no minimum moral time limit. Your marital status is “single” at the moment of the death of a spouse, and, in the sight of God, you are free to pursue normal dating relationships.

I’ve been widowed almost 12 years, and I still wear black.

My attorney advised me against making any serious decisions (selling the house, etc.) for at least a year. I would say marriage is at least as serious as buying a house. :wink:

My husband’s church believes that if you truly have a spiritual marriage, then you are married forever, even after the death of one spouse. Remarriage of widows isn’t forbidden (that I know of), but it does seem to be discouraged. I haven’t looked into the Essene beliefs in the subject, because I rather agree with “married forever” and will not remarry.


I could not ever remarry. After what I have had with my husband, there would be no way for me even to WANT to get that close with anyone else. If could not have him, then I would want no one at all. I would rather wait until I can see him again in Heaven (yes, yes, I know, no marriage in Heaven, but we should be able to recognize each other!) than make do with what would have to be second-best for me.

I’ve no objection to widows or widowers remarrying, and my own grandfather did. The woman he married was great, and we all loved her. But I could not do it.

This. I would not start to date for at least one year after the death of a spouse. Don’t quit a job, don’t start a job, don’t sell the house, don’t move, don’t change ANYTHING even if you feel an almost irresistible pull to DO SOMETHING.

Beware the sense of urgency.

After one year, take it slowly and keep your heart guarded.

Personally, I’m with the ones who say, “never.” If my husband dies before I do (not likely) I will look into orders who accept older women. Definitely not interested in trying to do this all over again. But then again, I’m 55, so YMMV.

Well, I believe that,if you are truely Catholice,and your spose dies,you should remain unmarried,Making friends is ok, but haveing a affair, is not right. The rings on your finger meant that ,you remain true to the one that died and the vows you took is forever in the eyes in God you must of heard it when the Priest reads the Gosperl,that to have affair after some one died,is called Adultery. So now I hope I answer it write. I pray for those that don,t understand.
God ,have Mercy on those that don,t beleive,give them the strenght
to understand what I,am saying.

The vows of the sacrament are until death. Once a spouse dies, there is no sin in remarrying. On the other hand, many widows and widowers cannot bring themselves to remarry, and there is certainly no sin in them choosing not to remarry.

That’s your opinion; not the teachings of the Church. The vows state, “Till death do we part”…I think you need to revisit the Gospel because that says that remarrying after divorce is adultery.

I’m curious as to why, in the permanent diaconate formation program that I’m in, my wife and I were both instructed, and had to actually sign our acceptance of the fact that, if my wife was to pre-decease me, and I was an ordained deacon, that I would not be allowed to remarry.

Seems like they wouldn’t have to make such a big deal over it if the rules of the Church were that no one can remarry after the death of a spouse.

I’m curious as to where in the Catechism of the Catholic Church it says that no one can remarry after the death of a spouse. (I don’t think it’s in there anywhere, but I could be mistaken…wouldn’t be the first time.)

It’s a discipline of the Church that a married man can be ordained, but an ordained man can not get married. In the Eastern Rite churches, a priest can be married if he is married before he is ordained.

If an married Anglican priest converts to Catholicism and is admitted to Holy Orders; he is allowed to remain married, but if his wife predeceases him, he cannot remarry. The same is true of the diaconate.

Phlynne, I’m so sorry for your loss. I’m sure you’re going through a difficult time now.

Regarding your question, I don’t know of any cannon law regarding how long is appropriate to wait. I would think that it often has to do with culture and other circumstances. For example, I’ve read of cases of a wife dying in childbirth, leaving a man with several other small children to raise on his own. In certain times and places, it had been acceptable for this man to search for a wife and marry very quickly, for the good of the children.
Are you in USA? This is completely my opinion, but I wouldn’t see anything wrong if you started to put you toe in the waters of dating after may be 6 months. IF that’s what you wanted to do. If you were my friend, and were talking getting engagement or marriage in less than a year, I would be very concerned.

**I just want to make it clear that Catholic teaching is that when a spouse dies, the widow is free to marry. **
Of course, prudence must be used to make sure the widow is not making the decision for the wrong reasons if there hasn’t been much time after the first spouse’s death.
That prudence needs to be taken for any couple looking to get married, widows or not.

I’ve known several widows who have chosen to never marry again, and
several who chose to look for another spouse. It is up to the person.

You’re missing the point of my question. If marrying after the death of a spouse is universally a teaching of the Catholic Church, why even address the situation as formally as they address it in the formation program.

Do you have a reference to the CCC as I requested showing where the teaching is that a widow/widower cannot remarry in the Catholic Church?

Only one person made that claim and everyone else disputed it. There is no such teaching.

That’s what I thought. But when someone makes “outrageous” claims, they should be able to back them up.

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