Shortly after my twentieth birthday, I entered into my first serious relationship. Marriage was already on my radar and this guy (we’ll call him Bryan) definitely sparked my interest.
My family really liked him and he seemed like a great fit!
Things progressed quickly and it felt like I was “falling in love” with him.
Before I knew it I began feeling subtle pressure from Bryan to speed up the “courtship” and quickly get engaged. I wanted to get engaged to him…but there was still a small part of me that wasn’t 100% on board.
I just needed a little more time.
Little did I know that I would not be walking down the aisle at the end of the year, but instead walking through the hardest breakup of my life.
Over the next few weeks the pressure only grew.
Bryan was really pushing me towards engagement. He seemed impatient and frustrated at my hesitation.
Slowly but surely his “squeaky clean” character started getting muddy. He wasn’t as kind as he had been early on and I noticed more instances of subtle manipulation.
His spoken desire for purity seemed to be waning and he lost an interest in having spiritual conversations.
My parents were quietly starting to wonder about this guy, and deep in my heart, I was too.
Then one night everything came crashing down.
Bryan’s character and words were becoming more and more inconsistent and it could no longer be ignored. Bryan was planning on proposing to me the following weekend, but something needed to be said.
After an intense conversation with my dad and mom, my eyes were opened to the reality of the relationship. Bryan wasn’t the type of guy I truly wanted to marry. He wasn’t the type of guy I truly wanted to spend the rest of my life with. He wasn’t the type of guy I truly wanted raising our future children.
In an instant, my entire world came crashing down.
Deep in my heart, I knew it was over. My dreams of wearing an engagement ring came crashing down. My dreams of walking down the aisle came crashing down. My dreams of going on a honeymoon came crashing down. My dreams of marrying my “true love” came crashing down.
My entire world was thrown upside down and I had no idea what to do.
I cried the entire night and could barely pull myself out of bed the next morning. The next few weeks would prove to be some of the hardest weeks of my life (at this point).
Breakups are really hard.
Losing a relationship is really hard. Saying goodbye to marriage is really hard.
If you’re reading this post right now and have experienced something similar, you know exactly what I’m talking about. You know the pain. You’ve experienced the heartache.
So how should we, as Christian girls, handle tough breakups? How do we survive the pain and loss of losing a relationship?
I want to take you inside my breakup and show you what I did to survive the pain. Although I didn’t handle everything perfectly, my parents equipped me with wisdom and guidance to make it to the other side.
Here are the 5 steps I took to handle the hardest breakup of my life:
1. Cry and be comforted.
Breakups can be excruciatingly hard, and it’s okay to mourn the loss. Even though I had come to the realization that I didn’t want to marry Bryan anymore, it was still hard to say goodbye to the relationship. My mom and sisters were there to hug me and give me wisdom through my tears.
Instead of isolating yourself, intentionally surround yourself with wise family members and friends who will comfort you during your sadness, and gently point you back to God’s truth. (Proverbs 11:14).
2. Pray like crazy.
God sees our pain and tears. He is the God of comfort and the God of truth (Psalm 56:8). After my breakup, I cried out to God in prayer on a regular basis. In fact, sometimes all I could do was cry and pray. Thankfully, God met me right where I was! He ministered to my broken heart during my times of prayer.
If you’re in a hard breakup, don’t turn to entertainment or distractions to numb your pain. Run to the living God in prayer and He will meet you right where you’re at.
3. Trust that God is bigger.
When my breakup happened, it was devastating. I couldn’t imagine moving on or ever feeling normal again! In those moments of pain I remember wrestling with God and questioning why this was happening to me. Thankfully, I never fell into total despair due to this one simple, yet profound truth: God is bigger.
I knew God was bigger than my pain and that He was in control over all the circumstances of my life. I trusted God. I put my hope in God’s bigger plan, and that brought me so much comfort (Proverbs 3:5-6).
4. Believe that God’s plan is better.
Not only was God bigger than my pain, he had a plan for my life. And I knew that God’s plan was good. Although the pain was hard to overcome, I knew God had a better plan for my future and I trusted Him. If God was closing this door on my life, I knew it was for my ultimate good and His ultimate glory.
Now (9 years later), I can see clearly why God closed that door. He had a much, much, much, better plan for my future – and that included marrying my amazing husband Zack.
5. Write down a “reality” list.
One of the things that made the biggest difference in helping me “move on” from my relationship with Bryan was a very practical exercise. Writing a “reality” list. Here’s what I mean: When the breakup immediately happens it’s easy to see the issues.
However, over time it can be easy to look at that guy with rosy glasses. We begin to minimize the issues and magnify the good stuff. Then, we’re tempted to jump right back in again.
To help me remember the reality of why I didn’t want to marry Bryan, I wrote down a detailed list of all of our “issues.” Character issues, relationship issues, manipulation issues, compatibility issues, spiritual issues, etc.
This “reality list” helped me remember the truth during the lonely days following the breakup. This exercise alone proved to be so valuable in helping me move on without second guessing myself.
So there you have it!
Breakups are hard (really hard), but there’s hope on the other side. If we handle our pain in a God-honoring, Christ-focused way, we will not only survive, we will thrive.
God promises to meet us right where were at.
I would love to hear from you now!
- Have you ever experienced a tough breakup, or walked closely with someone who did? How did you handle it?
- What advice would you add to my list above?
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