Here are six tips for how to navigate a romantic disappointment with grace.
Breakups hurt. Let me rephrase that. Breakups really, really hurt. My breakup with my first real boyfriend when I was 16 remains one of the most painful experiences of my life. There is something uniquely excruciating about a broken heart. I guess that's why we spend so much time urging you not to date until you are ready for marriage. We truly want to spare you the unnecessary hurt of a painful breakup. But I know that when you are in the midst of a breakup, the last thing you want to hear is "I told you so." So here are ten tips for how to navigate a romantic disappointment with grace.
Don't let emotions rule.
Breakups tend to evoke a great deal of emotion. You might be sad over the loss of the relationship. You may be angry at the choices of other people involved. You might feel anxious or depressed or lonely. It's important not to let those emotions become a runaway freight train.
A practical way to practice this step is to meditate on Scripture whenever your heart starts racing. Here are a few suggestions:
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law" (Galatians 5:22-23).
"I can do all things through him who strengthens me" (Philippians 4:13).
Do tell Jesus about all that you're feeling.
You may be tempted to believe that Jesus doesn't care about something as trivial as a breakup, but that isn't what His Word tells us.
First Peter 5:7 says, "Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you."
Psalm 34:18 says, "The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit."
God cares very much about your circumstances. Pain provides a unique opportunity for us to lean into Him. Don't give life to every emotion by acting on it, but do use this as an opportunity to strengthen your walk with Christ. Try using some of the time you are used to spending with your boyfriend to read your Bible and pray. You could even go on "dates" with Jesus by taking your Bible and journal to one of your favorite places.
Don't isolate yourself.
Our tendency when we are hurting is to pull away from other people. Don't hide inside your room listening to sad love songs. That will only delay the healing process.
Ecclesiastes 4:9–10 says, "Two are better than one, because they have good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!"
Lean in to your support network during this time. Let them help you up while your broken heart mends.
I remember one evening when I was feeling really heartbroken after a breakup. I called some adult sponsors for my youth group and asked if I could come over for dinner. They fed me and loved on me and prayed with me. That evening was a life raft. I felt like I was drowning in my emotions but instead of withdrawing I reached out. I said, "I need help, here!" What a difference it made!
Do plan some girl time.
Romantic relationships inevitably take away from our time with our girlfriends. Use this breakup as an opportunity to reclaim some time with them. Make sure you choose to spend your time with gals who will encourage you to make wise choices, but give yourself permission to have an extra dose of fun. Why not:
- Go see that chick flick you've been wanting to see with your favorite group of girls.
- Get dressed up and take your best friend out for dinner.
- Start a book club using books like Lies Young Women Believe and And the Bride Wore White that give God's perspective on romance.
Don't act ugly.
Breakups tend to bring out the worst in us. You might be tempted to call your ex and tell him off or write nasty comments on his Facebook wall or shatter everything he's ever given you into a million tiny pieces. Don't do it.
Proverbs 25:28 ?says, "Like a city whose walls are broken down is a man who lacks self-control."
First Thessalonians 5:8 says, "But since we belong to the day, let us be self-controlled, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet."
Difficult circumstances don't diminish our need for self-control. Be sure to treat others, including your ex, with kindness, love, and respect at all times.
Do pray for your ex.
In Matthew 5:43–45 Jesus taught, "You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven."
Your ex-boyfriend may feel like the enemy. Jesus give us very specific instructions for how we are to respond to people we are at odds with. We should pray. You may be tempted to use your prayer time to pray that you and your boyfriend will get back together or that God will punish your boyfriend for hurting you. Instead, ask God to bless and to use the situation to draw others to Himself.