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Remarriage doesn’t mean you don’t love your first spouse anymore



Elisabeth Mathieu-Riedel, auteur de "Je changerai tes larmes en joie".

Mathilde De Robien - published on 10/18/21

A psychologist and author believes her first husband, who passed away, intercedes for her and has given his blessing to her second marriage.

Elisabeth Mathieu-Riedel, a psychologist and doctor by training, author of two books (in French) on grief, found herself a widow at the age of 65 after 21 years of happy marriage to Alain, her first husband. Trusting in Alain’s intercession and sure of Christ’s promises to fill her heart, she providentially met Jean-Pierre, also a widower, and remarried two years later. She tells Aleteia how her first husband still has a place in her life.

How does your first husband continue to be present at your side?

Death is not synonymous with disappearance. Alain remains very present in my heart and my thoughts, but that doesn’t prevent me from being happy and in love with Jean-Pierre.

Remarriage is a mystery of joy that doesn’t tarnish the memory of our first spouses. On the contrary, we associate them with our prayer; we mention their names during the prayer for the deceased at Mass, we ask them to protect our children and grandchildren, and we pray that they will walk in the heart of God.

We also experience the communion of saints in the Eucharist and in the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, where all Christian spouses are united. I try to make my own this Gospel verse that Alain loved so much: “And I am with you always, until the end of the world” (Mt 28:20). Sometimes I see Alain’s smile when Jean-Pierre makes a justified remark. I ask him to help me acquire his qualities of optimism, serenity, and even culinary art, because, as a restaurant owner by trade, he was highly rated.

Some people feel guilty at the idea of remarrying. Was this the case for you?

Not at all! Alain always said to me, “When I kick the bucket, I’ll send you a younger husband from heaven.” Indeed, he was 18 years older than me. I’m certain of his intercession in my remarriage with Jean-Pierre, and therefore of his blessing. I’m convinced that it was God who chose my two spouses.

“Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Mt 6:33), Jesus tells us. When we abandon ourselves to Providence, when we entrust the Lord with the running the operation, He sends us the right person who is matched to us. The pitfall would be to compare spouses. At first I thought, “I’ll never find someone as good as that!” but God knows us better than we do and “makes everything new” (Rev 21:5), and I also experience love fully with Jean-Pierre.

Some think that one cannot love again

Because they aren’t in the situation themselves. For my part, I can say that I love both my husbands. I would even say that the ordeal of widowhood is such that it opens our hearts to love more. The 21 years of happy life I shared with Alain made me progress in married life with Jean-Pierre. When you have suffered a lot emotionally, you are perhaps even more disposed to consider the encounter with the other as a gift, a grace.

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