I’ve talked about breakups before, usually about how to respond on the receiving end. But what if you’re the one who wants to break up?
Couples break up for countless reasons. Some are unavoidable. Some are necessary. Some, however, are rooted in impulse and fear. Relationships are hard, and though we get better at them with time, new challenges will continue to arise. Marriage is a continuation of these challenges. That’s why it’s so important to evaluate our motives before finalizing a breakup.
If you’re on the brink of a breakup, ask yourself the following questions first.
1. Am I breaking up because of fear?
I’m not talking about fear of abuse or fear of the person you’re dating (if you’re experiencing this, report the situation after finding safety and counseling). This kind of fear is different. It’s fear of commitment. Fear of being known. Fear of your true self being exposed. Fear of things actually working out for the first time.
It’s fear of love.
Love is a risk. It exposes our flaws and brings us into intimate relationship with another person. For many of us, that’s scary! The risk of love is a risk of hurt. If you’re running from your relationship because you’re afraid of these things, remember that perfect love casts out fear (1 John 4:18). True love means walking into the fear, pushing past it and recognizing the worth of the relationship in front of you.
I know what fear feels like. I was one of those girls who was afraid to be known. Three weeks before my husband proposed, I almost broke up with him—I was too afraid to be seen for my true self. If I hadn’t faced the fear and recognized that this was a heart issue within myself, I wouldn’t have allowed God to bring healing and lead me into the marriage I have today.
2. What do I hope to gain through this breakup?
Sometimes we break up because we’re not completely satisfied with the relationship. But while relationships do bring a level of satisfaction, they aren’t designed to be completely fulfilling. Only God can give us purpose and direction. Only God can truly understand and bear the weight of all our emotional needs. If you’re hoping to find someone else to fill these roles for you, breaking up won’t accomplish that. No guy can do that for you.
This is another heart issue that needs to be dealt with from a spiritual standpoint. Until you see that God alone can fulfill you on a spiritual and emotional level, your relationships will repeat similar patterns of codependence. If you’re breaking up because you think “freedom” and relationships are at odds with one another, you’ll remain averse to commitment in every relationship you start.
Address your heart’s motives before breaking up. Make sure you are in line with God’s Word and direction before you decide.
3. Do I feel peace from God about this decision?
Finally, is this where God is leading you? If it is, you will have peace.
This does NOT mean you won’t be nervous! Breaking up is never fun, especially in person (which is the respectful way to do it, if possible). But if God has called you to do this and you know it’s His will for this season, He will give you the words to speak in that moment. His peace will surround you and support you in the weeks after. That’s the wonderful thing about our God: He rewards obedience.