Death of a spouse: How soon is too soon to find love again?

After the death of her husband, Noellia Mukankuranga grappled with overwhelming distress of never again seeing the man she shared her life with for over 20 years.

After the death of her husband, Noellia Mukankuranga grappled with overwhelming distress of never again seeing the man she shared her life with for over 20 years. 

Although years have passed, the pain is still fresh in her heart. Mukankuranga cannot hold back tears as she narrates her heart wrenching experience.

“Death leaves pain no one can heal. I lost my husband three years ago in a car accident and since then, life has never been the same for us.He left me with four children who miss him. I also miss him terribly. He was what I thought was the end of my search for happiness; he was a hard working father and an amazing husband,” Mukankuranga narrates.

The thought of moving on and remarrying keeps crossing her mind, but she believes she can never find someone like her deceased husband.

For some women, the grief of losing a husband is so strong that the thought of ever finding another partner feels like betrayal.

“I don’t think I can ever fall in love with another man, the only thing I’m focused on is giving my children a happy life and basically keeping my husband’s legacy. Life as a widow is tough but I am a strong woman and I keep fighting the odds that life throws my way,” she says.

When a woman loses a spouse, the healing depends on several factors and the decision to move on also entirely depends on several factors like her beliefs or culture. After a certain period of time, one may think about the possibility of once again sharing their life with someone else, though some are scared of how society will perceive it.

Is it wrong?

According to Maurice Rukimbira, a marriage counselor at ST. Etienne Cathedral, a woman should remarry after losing her husband. One should do it because even the Bible supports the idea, Rukimbira argues.

“There is no formula or specific time of waiting for one to remarry, people have different ways of getting over grief and that depends on the person. A person needs enough time to mourn and at a certain time when that person can decide that it’s time to move on, one can go ahead,” Rukimbira says.

Pastor Andrew Mukinisha of Christian Life Assembly, Nyarutarama echoes a similar view. He says that a woman should move on after losing her husband as long as the grief is over.

“I wouldn’t recommend that anyone gets remarried before they are completely over it.For some people it could take quite long to be able to get over those emotional hang-ups, but as long as the grief is over and one is ready to move on, I don’t see any reason in waiting,” the pastor explains.

“It’s actually fine for a woman who has lost a spouse to remarry. I mean if a woman is lucky to find someone who loves her, why not remarry? Usually there are some challenges, though, if she has children, and in that case, if the children do not appreciate the new spouse then that can cause a lot of conflict in the new family and that’s very challenging.Therefore in a situation like that it would be better for her to stay single. But if there are no such issues I don’t see a reason not to remarry,” Mukinisha adds.


Sheikh Yusuf Mugisha of Masjid Al Quidsi Mosque, Kacyiru, says that it would be good if a woman who lost her spouse, if possible, did not remarry. But that is if a woman is able to control her bodily desires.

“If a woman can manage to prevent herself from temptations, to the extent that not getting married to another man wouldn’t affect her, then I think she shouldn’t remarry. But if one cannot withstand the needs of the body and the temptations, then I think its fine for her to remarry, so as to maintain dignity in society,” Sheikh Mugisha says.

To Sheikh Mugisha, it’s only God who knows all, therefore since God allows it, he doesn’t see any reason as to why a woman shouldn’t move on as soon as she feels ready.

“In the Holy Book, a woman who has lost her husband mourns for four months and ten days. That is the period that God decided, so that even the one who wishes to marry her, does so after that specific period of time. After that, it’s the woman to decide when she’s ready to make a decision to either remarry or remain a widow,” the sheikh adds.

Pastor Eugene Nshogozabahiziof Anglican Church, Kacyiru, says that if they join people in matrimony, it means that those people can only be separated by death. Therefore if a woman loses a husband, she becomes a widow.Though, in the Bible, a woman is only accepted to be a widow when she is sixty years and above, therefore if a woman is below sixty, she is allowed to remarry because even the Bible allows it.

“To me, for sure, I think it’s totally fine for a widow to remarry and how soon for her to do so entirely depends on her, her culture and her beliefs. There are some with children and opt to first raise them, but besides that, there is no limit for the waiting time, even the Bible has no time limit for that,” Pastor Nshogozabahizi says.


What do people think?

Patrick Neza, a boutique owner in Remera, says it should take at least a year after the death of one’s spouse before one makes any major decisions, including re-marrying.

“If the death of your mate was sudden, getting over your grief may be particularly difficult, and you may wait several years before even considering the idea of remarriage. Conversely, if your mate had a lingering illness and you went through a partial process of grief before his death, you may be comfortable remarrying in less than a year, but I don’t see any trouble with a widow tying the knot again,” Neza says.

For Jackie Karungi, a graduate of Umutara Polytechnique, it wouldn’t be bad for a widow to remarry only that society can perceive it as disrespecting oneself.

“Besides that, a woman could be having children and they may be uncomfortable with replacing their dad and that can bring about misunderstandings. On the other hand if your children oppose it because of some specific concerns, consider these aspects carefully,” Karungi says.

GodfreyMunyaneza, a banker thinks that the most logical step is to discuss the children’s reaction with a pastor or counselor and some trusted friends should one decide to remarry.

Some children might not warm up to the ‘new daddy’, therefore it is advised to make sure they are absolutely comfortable with the changes made after losing a father. (Net photos)

“Once you’re comfortable with the decision you have made, I think one is free to follow their heart and do whatever makes them happy,” he says.

Vivian Atukunda, a resident of Kimironko is against the idea of a widow remarrying. However, should one do so, they should have a prenuptial agreement signed for the second marriage, especially if there are children involved and one of the partners has financial holdings. “In the event of a divorce or death of one of them, there will be a clear understanding of legal rights,” Atukunda says.

“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.But, in my opinion, she is happier if she remains as she is,” Jonan Mugiraneza says.


I say:

Vestine Mahoro

Vestine Mahoro

Yes I support it. Even if she has just left the first husband she can marry again! With the issue of children, they have to plan how to manage those children, but if not, the children could be ignored and not taken care of well with the new husband. She should do what makes her happy and not mind about what people will say because I think if she cares about what people say, she won’t have any progress in life.

Robert Tumwebaze

Robert Tumwebaze

A widow should get remarried as long as the man loves her because she could have been widowed at a young age. If you stop yourself from finding happiness because of society then I don’t know how you will survive. You know, when a person is well, society cares less, and if one is in a bad situation, still nobody cares about it, implying that you should do what is important and relevant to you. One can’t depend on society to decide their destiny.

Jackie Murerwa

Jackie Murerwa

I support a woman remarrying again but it also depends on her age. If she is above 45 she should remain a widow but if a woman is below that, she should remarry because it will even help her deal with temptations. But they should first discuss issues like children if one or both of them has any.

Rogers Ndemezo

Rogers Ndemezo

Well, my take on this topic is viewed right from the Biblical perspective which makes it clear that when a man and woman get married, God unites them as one flesh (Genesis 2:24; Matthew 19:5-6). The only thing that can break the marriage bond, in God’s eyes, is death. If a person’s spouse dies, the widow / widower is absolutely free to remarry. The apostle Paul allowed widows to remarry in 1 Corinthians 7:8-9 and encouraged younger widows to remarry in 1 Timothy 5:14. Remarriage after the death of a spouse is absolutely allowed by God.

Therefore, based on all Biblical instructions on the subject, remarriage after the death of a spouse is permitted by God.