7 Practical Ways to Deal with a Breakup
I knew I had to end the relationship. I had shed more tears in two years than in all 25 years of my short life combined! Yet the breakup experience shot me off the ground.
We were both Christians who loved God, loved each other, and enjoyed serving in various ministries together. Everything seemed right on the surface. Yet, our relationship deeply troubled me. It felt like we were short-changing ourselves most of the time. Perhaps it’s because, through counseling, I was learning that our relationship wasn’t a healthy one—it was devoid of an emotional connection.
Looking back, I realized we lacked the emotional connection because we were not friends. We rushed into a relationship without taking the time to understand what the other person loved, appreciated, our skills and talents, or even how we could help each other grow. We dated simply because we were both Christians, were attracted to each other, and we both thought the other interesting. Had someone asked us simple questions like whether we enjoyed each other’s company, or whether we simply liked each other, I highly doubt our response would have been a ‘yes’.
I’d also become more aware that we were not connecting in an emotionally healthy way—and what we needed wasn’t just a dose of relationship antibiotics, but rather a radical amputation!
The Post-breakup Whirlwind
I don’t think anyone prepares us for the emotional whirlwind that one faces post-breakup. I remember fear overwhelming me. “Had I done the right thing?” “What if God never brings along someone else whom I will love?” “What if he was the best I’ll ever have?”
Doubt gnawed at me. “Had I not prayed before saying yes to him?” “Hadn’t the Lord confirmed, through my friends, that this was the man I was to be married to?” “Was I wrong to get tired of forgiving and fighting?”
I wanted to go back. As dysfunctional as the relationship was, there was something comforting about its familiarity. But deep in my heart, I knew that straining to catch a glimpse of God’s goodness and faithfulness through an opaque glass of doubt, hurt, fear, and tears was futile.
Along the way, I discovered these nuggets which helped me figure a way forward post-breakup. I hope another hurting heart will find them helpful on the rocky road to recovery.
After the relationship had ended, I’d weep almost every single day at random times. I cried out to the Lord for a reprieve, begging for the pain to stop. I felt forsaken, forgotten, and unloved.
Weary from moaning and flooding my pillow with tears, crying out with the Psalmists became my new regular:
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning?
Searching through the Bible, I found verses that uplifted my crushed spirit. I discovered that God cares about our tears. He does not expect us to ‘dry them up’ when we experience loss, in this case, a breakup. Instead, the Bible tells us that He even wept on two listed occasions (John 11:35; Luke 19:41-44), stores our tears in a bottle (Psalm 56:8), and is close to the broken-hearted and those crushed in spirit (Psalm 34:18).
A breakup is a form of loss that requires grieving, and the natural outlet for most people’s hurt is crying! So weep! But weep well, as one with hope. Let the gospel minister to your heart as you cry.
I found great comfort in communing with God through prayer. Laying my heart bare, with all its concerns, doubts, disappointments, fears, and the pain was comforting. I was not shy to pour out my feelings to my Heavenly Father in both writing and speaking. After all, I knew I couldn’t deceive God, for He looks at what’s within our hearts (1 Samuel 16:7).
At the onset, I prayed for reconciliation. However, as time passed, it continually dawned on me that I should focus my prayer on moving on, healing, and forgiveness. Not only did I have to forgive my ex-boyfriend, but I also had to forgive myself since I’d blamed myself for ending the relationship.
When my tears surpassed my words, which was often, it was encouraging to read that Christ and the Holy Spirit were interceding for me, the latter with groanings too deep for words (Romans 8:26 & 34).
3. Find a Christ-preaching, God-glorifying church
During my period of grief, I visited a church, Emmanuel Baptist Church, whose sermons were a balm to my broken heart! The continual reminders of God’s goodness amidst my pain, His mysterious ways of working things, His unmatched wisdom, His unsearchable judgments , and the inscrutability of His ways were soothing truths that filled me with sweet hope!
The gospel-filled songs made me sincerely rejoice in the Lord, who sympathizes with our pain as He is no stranger to pain.
Gathering with the saints at that church was a great mercy to my despairing heart. God mercifully and mightily used the saints, sermons, and songs to help me change my perspective on the pain I was enduring. The reminder that my pain was but a tiny glimpse into Christ’s suffering when He laid down his life for the joy of redeeming for Himself His people (Hebrews 12:2) made things more bearable!
4. Lean hard on friends
It sure does get lonely after a breakup. There are no more weekend dates, hour-long conversations at night, or after-church hangout.
But I’m thankful for friends who battled my loneliness together with me and showed me what bearing one another’s burdens (Galatians 6:2) means. They were God-sent people who devoted their time and energy to embrace me, not only with their presence but also with words of encouragement. The regular calls, texts, visits, impromptu out-of-town road trips we had—their kindness—will forever be etched on my heart with indelible ink.
These friends reminded me how crucial it is to have a community that will love you in this period, not only in word, but also in deed and truth (1 John 3:18).
God providentially designed the month of July 2018 to be one where I was free from the busyness of this life. In as much as I needed to physically rest from the exhaustion of grief, I also needed time to focus and rest on God’s promises.
Resting on God’s promises included devouring the Bible, Christian articles, vlogs, sermons, and books on heartbreak. Knowing that others before me had gone through similar ordeals, I was eager to glean what I could from their godly lessons.
It was comforting to read stories of fellow brethren who God had healed from breakups. Their stories encouraged me to keep trusting, praying, and banking on each day’s mercies.
6. Get counseling
I devoted every Friday to seeing my therapist. On some rare occasions, when I felt like the walls of despair were caving in, I would have spontaneous sessions with him.
In hindsight, having a Christian therapist walk me through my grief was God’s loving providence. Instead of just soothing me with God’s word, my therapist used those very words as a double-edged sword: to greatly encourage me while helping me become aware of my sinful contributions to the breakup, which in turn led to repentance!
In totality, not only did I eventually overcome the loss, but I became a better Christian: one who is aware of her weaknesses and wounds, and is prayerfully working on them.
7. Do the next thing
Do the next thing! It’s as simple as that!
Wake up, shower, have quiet time, go to work, meet friends, head home, journal, weep, pray, sleep . . . Repeat! Slowly, the days will become weeks, weeks become months, and months become years.
One day, you will look back and realize that God’s promises strengthened you, and got you through every single day, and you’re now in a better place. The pain is not as intense as it was in the first week/month(s). The memories have faded as you make new ones. The gifts no longer hold the same sentimental value.
It will dawn upon you that God is indeed good and faithful. That He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Yes, the heartbreak happened yesterday, but the same unchanging Lord is with you today, and He is standing with you in your furnace.
Trust God with Your “Why”s
I remember battling, for the longest time, with the question “Why?”. “Why did the relationship have to end if we were both Christians?” “Why did it begin if it was to end?” “Why did we invest ourselves in the relationship at all?”
The answer was a simple divine assurance, “Trust me!”
I believe that my breakup experience was an irreplaceable medium that God used to refine me for Himself. Even as I walked in the valleys of the shadows of death, His love never ceased to guide me.
Beloved, if you are going through a breakup, trust your unknown to the One who knows it all. Doubt your doubts. Fight back your fears with God’s promises. Renew your mind daily with God’s Word. Don’t bottle up your emotions, bring them as they are to God. Don’t waste your tears, pray through them. Lastly, as C. S. Lewis once said, don’t forget to kiss the wave that throws you up against the Rock of Ages.
Remember, healing is not tied to reconciliation, but in forgiving ourselves and the other person, and allowing ourselves to become shaped by the godly lessons we’ve learned along the way!
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published here. This version has been edited by YMI.
These are wonderful pieces of advice. I’m really, really grateful for the time you took to graciously share.
Thank you and God always bless you.
These advice are beautiful as I’m currently in the same journey. These simple yet powerful guides, are the hope in the darkness