Q: My cousin’s husband died about a year ago, and now we’re all concerned because she’s fallen in love with a man who’s been married five times, is always in debt, can never hold a job, is irresponsible, drinks too much, etc. Why is she doing this? She’s always been a sensible person, until now. —R.G.H.
A: Only your cousin can answer this, of course — but I suspect one reason she’s been attracted to this person is because she has been very lonely since her husband passed away. Loneliness can be like an emotional vacuum in our hearts, yearning to be filled.
Unfortunately, intense loneliness can also cloud our judgment and cause us to make unwise decisions — as seems to be the case with your cousin. I think of Job in the Old Testament, for example, who felt very lonely and isolated after his children died and his wife turned against him — in addition to his unsightly sores that caused people to stay away. At first his grief and isolation clouded his judgment — so much so that he wished he had never been born. (See Job 3.) Only later were his faith and confidence in God restored.
Do whatever you and other members of your family can to encourage your cousin to wait, and not be rushed into a decision she’ll later regret. It may not be easy, and she may not listen — but let her know you love her and want to help her. The Bible says, “Better is open rebuke than hidden love” (Proverbs 27:5).
In addition, pray for your cousin, that she may seek God’s will concerning her future. And pray for yourself also, that you’ll be her friend no matter what happens — and a friend as well to others who are facing grief and loneliness.
Write to the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, 1 Billy Graham Parkway, Charlotte, N.C., 28201 or go to BillyGraham.org.