“Breaking up is hard to do,” they say. I’ve heard this phrase repeated countless times throughout my life, but I never realized how true it is until I actually went through a breakup.
For any of us who have trudged through a breakup, it can be a painfully awkward—or awkwardly painful—experience for both parties involved. You can never really prepare for a breakup, and even if you do, the words never really come out the right way.
They’re different for everyone, but breakups can be major, life-altering experiences. It’s a way for everyone to get in their last-minute “It’s not you, it’s me,” or any other catchy slogans they’ve come up with before they part ways.
Regardless, for Christians especially, it’s important to be aware of how to break up healthily and respectfully. Even if we can’t completely prepare for it, we can save ourselves from some confusion and future heartbreak.
Don’t Just List Off A Couple Reasons, Give the Reason
You can’t break up with someone because they acted selfish that one time and you don’t like that one shirt they own and they’re not into Pitch Perfect as much as you are. (OK, maybe that last one is a deal breaker.)
The point is, if you’ve treated your relationship seriously, you should give a clear, understandable reason as to why the relationship has to end. Sure, those minor, sometimes ridiculous reasons matter, but they should help describe the bigger picture. Being direct and clear is the key. Wouldn’t you want the same thing from the other person if they were breaking up with you?
Break Up in Person if Possible
Haven’t we all figured this out by now? Please, just do it. Texting is for emoji wars and reminders from your mom to stop by Grandma’s house to make sure the dog didn’t eat her hearing aids.
Don’t Expect the Conversation to Go Perfectly
Mutual separation? Such a thing rarely happens. Breakups wouldn’t hurt if they were always resolved perfectly and respectfully. Even after the conversation is over, chances are there’s going to be something that’s unresolved. Relationships were never designed to be broken, so its very likely that something won’t make complete sense.
But don’t dwell on it so much. Do your best to avoid the temptation of worrying about how the other person will react. Focus on how you will react and respond to the conversation respectfully and honestly.
Give Yourself Time
We’ve all known those people in our lives who never seem to be single. They jump from relationship to relationship, with each one ending quickly and in the same way that it did before. It’s a vicious cycle to get caught in, and it possibly speaks to some deeper, unresolved issues.
You owe it to yourself to sort out any emotions or possible heartbreak you might be feeling, even if you’re the one who ended things and you don’t think there’s anything to sort out.
When I was in college, I was in a relationship that ended after a year of dating. After we broke up, I was filled with so many emotions and questions. I felt sad and broken in a way I’d never felt before. After a couple months, I felt myself getting back to a normal place. I wasn’t getting emotionally tossed around when I’d see something that reminded me of my ex. But when I started dating again, I was blindsided by things that I didn’t know were still there, things I needed to work through. I needed more time.
Rarely do we, especially those of us who are young, slow ourselves down when hard things happen in our lives. We want the quick fix, the grande caramel latte of our lives to be prepared and finished in less than 5 minutes. We need to let our emotional ingredients grow, be watered and picked at the proper time, so that our coffee tastes the way it should.
I also need a different analogy that doesn’t make me sound like a farmer, but you get the point. The last thing you want is to get into a relationship and realize you’re still holding onto junk from the past.
Pray About It
In all circumstances. Don’t give in to the idea that God doesn’t care about your breakup. It might be easy to believe that you should be praying about seemingly “more important” issues, or that your issues are minute compared to other problems in the world. Do not believe it.
God knows what it is to feel brokenhearted—He lived it. He died so that He could have a relationship with you—which involves hearing about your worst days. Jesus didn’t die for the “important” issues, He died for all of you. God cares for the brokenhearted (Psalm 34:18), and He wants you to open your heart to Him.
Chris Adams has given himself the title of writer, thinker and Nutella consumer, but is probably only a professional in one of those categories. You can read more of his thoughts at chrismadams.squarespace.com or stalk him endlessly on Instagram.