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Suddenly single

a man and a woman sitting on a bench
Posted February 2, 2019

If you’re going through a break-up, there is no easy way through. But there are pointers that can help us on the journey …

Have you ever seen the scene from that movie Something’s Gotta Give when Diane Keaton goes through a break-up? She goes to bed crying, wakes up the next morning with eyes wide open, immediately remembers, and bursts into tears again. We’ve all been there.

Break-ups are one of the toughest things we humans go through—and the reasons are more than skin-deep. We are intricately, profoundly created for relationship—as God the Trinity shows us. So, when we are torn from the most intimate human relationship we have, it breaks us—spiritually and emotionally.

There is no way around it but through it. It’s important to grieve your loss, and cry as much as you need to—for as long as you need to. Surround yourself with safe people who will be there to listen, not lecture.

That movie scene is memorable because it’s true—morning and evening can be our loneliest times. Psalm 46:5 says, ‘God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day’. God is with you in this journey, so cry out to him—he cannot save you from the pain of being a human, but he promises to hold you close through the journey.

Here are some practical tips to get you through the early days:

Make a Plan B: Yes, it’s a consolation prize, but do something positive like plan a holiday—do something yourself. Ask God, ‘What is in your other hand?’ … You are not out of God’s will because this dream has been shattered, God has plans for you.

Keep occupied—mostly: You need time to re-group and take some mental health days for yourself. But try not to spiral into isolation—keep in touch with your closest friends. If you wake up early, go for a morning walk. Help others—it’s a great healer. Don’t expect your resilience to be at a hundred percent, but get back to work—you will get some relief from your grief when your mind is busy.

Don’t avoid: Don’t fill the void with a new person, car, job or house. It takes time to get used to being single again—take that time. Don’t pile more stress on to an already stressful situation.

Try to keep it clean: Break-ups are generally messy—it’s fairly normal to do some light stalking, text and call, get back together and break up again … all these things are part of the journey. Ultimately, though, the more cleanly you can make a break, the quicker you will heal. Hanging on to your ex may feel good in the short term, but can cause more pain in the long term.

Finally, put your hope in God: The hardest part of breaking up is often giving up hope. It can take a long time to accept what has happened and move on. Give your hope to God—have faith that the right thing will happen, even if it’s not what you wanted. Ask God to give you new hopes and dreams.

(c) 'War Cry' magazine, 26 January 2019 p10. You can read 'War Cry' at your nearest Salvation Army church or centre, or subscribe through Salvationist Resources.