“So whether you eat, drink or do anything else, do everything for the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10.31
Not all relationships end in marriage. And Christians, unfortunately, can look a lot like unbelievers when it comes to ending a relationship. They can ignore each other, spread gossip about “ex”, miss it too badly, struggle bitterly to overcome the pain of loss, surrender to continuous peeps on their Facebook or Instagram page to quench their curiosity – it will be that he has already overcome our breakup? Is she still suffering as much as I am?
If the gospel makes a real difference in our lives, it should be made clear at the worst of times. But if the courtship of the Christian is no different from the courtship of an unbeliever, then our faith is relatively useless.
What does it mean to end a relationship for the glory of God? I’m serious. How to end a relationship in a way that honors God and honors another person, especially when we consider that person to be a brother or sister in Christ?
There is no risk-free dating. Proverbs 13.12 recalls that “the hope that is delayed makes the heart sick, but the satisfied longing is a tree of life.” Often, when a relationship breaks down, at least one of the two still had the hope of working on the relationship, but his longing is unsatisfied. Although we would like it not to be that way, we need to have realistic expectations and, above all, put our hope not in the person we are dating, but in God who never fails.
Don’t beat around the bush. If you know you should break up, you better get the band-aid off, and get to the point. This does not mean that you must be cruel. We are still called to speak the truth in love (Eph. 4:15) and to speak only words that edify and are timely (Eph. 4:29).
This is a simple way to honor the other and to provide space for questions and clarifications.
Often, the person who is ending the relationship has invested a lot of time to think about it and come to his conclusions, but then he dumps everything on the other person and leaves. Do not do it. There are times when it is useful to leave room for another conversation, giving “a break”, if you want to call it that, an opportunity to listen and process a little more. There may be questions or issues to discuss later. Some prefer to think alone, others do not.
The worst thing to do is throw stones and blame the other person, making them feel not only sad about the lost relationship, but also guilty, as if they were responsible. Even at the moment of the breakup, you need to be considerate, kind and loving towards the other person (Ephesians 4.1-3; Colossians 4.6; Titus 3.2). After all, you are dealing with a child of God, loved by God, so what gives you the right to treat him differently from how God treats him? If you are unsure of how to proceed, seek out a more mature believer and ask for help.