Oftentimes, people will say just forget and move on after a breakup. While yes, you should move on, there must be a time of reflection before taking a step toward dating again. Sometimes people will suggest forgetting and moving on immediately to get your mind off the last relationship. While this might work for a little bit, it’s only fleeting. These rebound relationships will only leave you more hurt because of the unprocessed hurt that never healed from the previous relationship. The only way to move on in a healthy way is to face the wounds, process the hurt, and think about the relationship.
No matter the length of the relationship, I suggest you take time to look internally and externally about why the breakup happened. Internally should come first, and then look at the actions of your ex-girlfriend or boyfriend. Let’s face it, you can do a lot more to improve yourself than you can that other person. As Matthew 7:5 says, “first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” Now to be clear, I am not suggesting you should work to get the speck out of your ex’s eye by direct contact because that won’t be helpful for either of you moving on, but you should pray for that speck to be removed by the believers in your ex’s life.
The biggest thing you should do is look at what things you could have done better or maybe things you did that brought out the bad parts of the other person. Think about ways you can move forward to be a better reflection of Christ (Romans 8:29). This way you will be better off for your next relationship. The biggest thing you should think about is, are you currently who you would want to be dating? I don’t mean that in a sense you need to find someone who is exactly like you. Of course, you don’t want to date an exact copy of yourself, but are you running at the pace towards Jesus you would expect a future spouse to run? If not, pick up the pace. You won’t find a person to run with if you’re walking in the slow lane.
Questions To Ask Yourself:
- Did I cross any boundaries?
- Did I communicate well?
- Did I idolize the relationship?
- Did I treat the relationship like it was more important than my relationship with The Father?
- Did I leave this relationship a better reflection of Jesus? Would you say your Ex did?
- Did I treat the person I was dating the way I would want to be treated?
- If the roles were reversed, would I have been glad I dated myself?
- Would it be beneficial to unpack the relationship with a fellow believer, pastor, and/or Christian counselor?
- Overall, what did I learn from this relationship?
If you don’t measure up, know that Jesus’s grace is sufficient for you (2 Corinthians 12:9), but He doesn’t give us grace, so we stay where we are but to bring us to repentance. So let the power of grace motivate your works (James 2:18).
Dating is all about finding who to marry and marriage is about fighting the good fight found in 2 Timothy 4:7 together. If a relationship didn’t work out, that is okay. That just means you didn’t find each other to be a good fit for whatever reason. It is important to nail down those particular reasons, so you have a better perspective going into the next relationship. Write down the things you liked and didn’t like about that person. If you have written a list of qualities you are hoping for in a future spouse, this would be a good time to reference that and compare. You may want to edit that list some and that’s okay, but make sure to edit prayerfully.
Questions To Ask Yourself About Them:
- Did they make me more like Jesus?
- Did they inspire/encourage you to dive deeper into your faith?
- Did they put me in moral compromising situations?
- Did I let them put me in those situations?
- Did they pull you away from your community?
- What were your favorite and least favorite parts about them?
- What did dating them teach me about what I would hope for in a future marriage?
Can I Get Back Together With My Ex?
I recommended spending time apart first. Personally, I am engaged to a woman that I dated and broke up with, but then we got back together after about a year. I am not against getting back together, but you need time and space from that person before you can make a rational decision about getting back together. During that time, we eventually became friends and grew a true friendship with one another without any intention of getting back together, but after a while, we decided to go on a few dates. Then after a few dates, we became official, and after a little over 2 years, we got engaged. So all this to say yes, you might get back together, but the only reason it worked the second time for us is we allowed God to work in us separately before starting to consider a future again.
I am not a believer in taking a “break” for this reason. Breaks don’t truly allow you to let God work in your life separately since you plan to get back together at some point. While I am sure it can work for some people. Personally, I don’t think it is helpful because if there’s a rough patch in a marriage, there is no such thing as a break from a marriage for a Christian (Matthew 5:31-32).
Where Do I Go From Here?
If you don’t already have a characteristic list of what you would like to see in a future spouse like I mentioned earlier, now would be a great time to make one. Start praying for that woman or man to be sharpened and guided by the Lord. You may not know them yet, but God knows who you will pick, so pray for them often. Here are a few examples from my list of qualities: A Godly woman who fights for Jesus, serves the church, likes to do things outdoors, ect. It can and should include qualities of a man or woman of God and qualities you would like to see, like shared hobbies. Also, it could be helpful to put them in order of importance. For reference, check out these articles on what to look for in a Christian boyfriend and Christian girlfriend.
If you are not already, dive deep into a church community. No, I am not saying get involved so you can find someone to marry, but you need people around you to walk with and encourage you. I believe you will find your future spouse when you are chasing so hard after Jesus that you finally stop to look around you for someone to date. At that point, you will look to your side as you are running and see someone that is running at the same pace as you. That is a person you want to date and potentially marry.
When looking for a church community, you should look for a local church where you can attend and serve. If your church or a church nearby has a ministry for your age group, joining that ministry can be one of the most life-giving things you can do. If you are a college or young adult looking for a community near Lawrenceville, GA, I recommend you to check out College@12stone. This is a great ministry that I have attended for years. This is a great place to get plugged in, and I know God will use it to bring life into your relationship with Him.
Further Resources on Dating
As a member of The Godventure Podcast, we did two episodes on Christian dating that I recommend you check out. Here are the Spotify links, Christian Dating part one and Christian Dating part two. Here, we had a discussion between two couples who discussed the way they apply the teaching of the Bible to their dating relationships.
Two of my favorite books on the topic are Single, Dating, Engaged, Married by Ben Stuart, and
The New Rules For Love Sex & Dating by Andy Stanley. I especially recommend the book by Ben Stuart. I have used that book as a reference guide for years and consider it a must read for any believer entering the dating scene.
I hope this article helped you. I would love to hear what you took away in the comment section below. Also, feel free to ask questions or share thoughts you think would be helpful when processing a breakup.
About Matt Enser
Matt Enser is a marketer that wants to use his experience in digital marketing for the kingdom. He works for KWSM as Junior Website Specialist as well as a Safety Instructor & Digital Marketing Manager for First Response.
When I am not working, you will probably find me outdoors somewhere. I enjoy camping, rock climbing, playing sports, off-roading, or hiking. Which a few of my friends and I talk a lot about on our podcast, “The Godventure Podcast“.
I am passionate about my faith in Christ and that manifests itself in my values and activities as well. I lead a team of volunteers at 12Stone’s college ministry and serve with elementary students on a weekly basis.