Relationships

My unhealthy relationship nearly destroyed me – here’s how God brought me out of it

Cherlyn T // July 11, 2019, 12:32 am

UNHEALTHY RELATIONSHIP

Have you ever been in a relationship with someone you kinda knew wasn’t good for you, optimistically hoping that you or God could change that person? I was there once. With hindsight, I can say that it was such a bad idea.

What I initially thought was shalom (peace) was actually my own fleshly excitement, gone into overdrive. There were warning signals and alarm bells ringing, but my infatuation with my own fantasy drowned out every heavenly clanging cymbal – maybe they should say love isn’t just blind, but also deaf.

For two years, I was with a pre-believer whom I had hoped would eventually receive Christ as his personal Saviour. I prayed and waited… but nothing happened. Instead, all I observed was bitterness, brokenness and unforgiveness emerge from a man whom I previously thought was “the one” for me.

As the relationship progressed and the romance subsided, I realised that there was little I could comfortably talk to him about without leading to conflict as I loved talking about Jesus in every sphere of my life.

As much as I tried to model the “perfect” Christian life, it seemed as though all the good I did was always overlooked. Instead, any faults were stored for use as personal attacks against my faith whenever conflicts arose.

Eventually, I had to acknowledge the painful truth that Jesus needed to be at the core of any relationship I wanted to be part of.

I thought I’d found The One

Without sharing the same set of values and beliefs, it was a constant challenge to see eye-to-eye. This may not seem significant when making smaller decisions, but in more important areas of life, this difference becomes impossible to ignore.

Take health as an example. What if the other person doesn’t believe that God has the power to heal and constantly speaks negatively about his deteriorating condition? Or perhaps a job could be at stake: You want to declare the Lord’s favour over the person’s career, but they would rather count on only luck and self-effort.

It’s great that you want to believe God for the salvation of a person you’re emotionally attached to, but it’s not a good idea for you to do that while dating the person. You see, when you enter into a relationship with the intention of changing someone, you’ll be left disappointed when things don’t play out the way you envisioned.

You’ll be left with the constant nagging feeling that your relationship would be perfect if he would just receive Christ. How do you continue a relationship when what’s most important to you is the very thing that’s absent?

Not every courtship works out – and that’s okay

Halfway through the relationship, I knew very clearly in my heart that God was telling me that this was not the man for me.

But being stubborn (and in too deep), I held on to the faith that he would come to know God’s love. I was so sure, so hopeful and incredibly prayerful towards this request, but I was hanging on to the wrong kind of hope.

I could not turn God’s hand by wilfully ignoring His leading, and I was prolonging my own struggle instead. Eventually, I knew the only way out was to be obedient.

In the midst of my struggle, there were many nights when I cried myself to sleep and could only lull myself to sleep with worship music and sermons playing in the background. I was such an emotional wreck that I even started harbouring suicidal thoughts.

The battle for my mind was evident, but that was also when the Holy Spirit inside of me started to envelop me with supernatural comfort and peace. I slowly found myself healing in the process of seeking Jesus.

Out of the many wounds that can be inflicted in this world, I found that broken hearts are the hardest to heal. These are the wounds that cut so deep and hurt so much – only Jesus Himself can heal and restore us back to wholeness.

Every time I felt depressed or anxious, I would receive a word from the Bible that spoke to my exact state of mind. It was simply amazing that Jesus would come to me right at my deepest, darkest moments in life and shower His love upon me.

You might be thinking: Why didn’t I just immediately get out of this relationship if I knew it wasn’t going to work out? It’s scary to walk away from a relationship for many reasons, and mine was the fear of being left alone when you’ve become comfortable with having someone by your side, even when it’s the wrong person.

Where is God in my heartbreak?

But ultimately, God is faithful. If He asks you to do something, He will be right there with you, equipping you with the strength and peace you need. Plus, He’s the most patient person you’ll ever meet.

God gives us the choice to choose, and He will only come into your situation if you allow him to. When you learn to loosen your grip on control and focus your attention on Jesus, His grace and peace will surround you when you need it most.

Eventually, I mustered enough courage to let go of my ex-boyfriend, and I trusted the Lord to give me someone who would be the right fit for me, in His time. I no longer wanted to trust in my own strength. I saw what that led to – with disastrous results – and now I was going to step into my future a little bit wiser.

Yes, breaking up hurt so bad it had its own set of repercussions, but I gave my broken heart to the Lord and decided to trust Him to heal and restore me.

His heart is for you and never against you. If ever there’s a decision that He places on your heart, one that makes you go, “What?”, talk to Him about it. Walk with Him, and ask Him to show you what to do. 

“He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end.” (Ecclesiastes 3:11 NKJV)

When you choose to trust in Him, things will not just change for the better, but also turn out beautifully in its God-ordained season. There may be detours in life due to the consequences of our actions, but nothing you do can alter the destination God has destined for you.

If there’s anything that’s second to having a relationship with Jesus, it’s kingdom friendships to do life with: Friends who will tell us the truth when we may not want to hear it and point us to Jesus when we want to try and solve our problems ourselves. They are God’s angels of support during your toughest times, and they will uplift you with biblical truths and promises.

God was merciful in sending people my way. I was blessed with an amazing godly friendship that I never imagined to have. Throughout my relationship, she was always there to remind me about God’s Word, provide wise counsel and be an overwhelming support when I could not see a way out.

During one of our talks, it hit a nerve when she mentioned that the guy I was with could not sharpen me as a person. It may have been just one of many things that she said, but it was what God needed me to hear.

“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” (Proverbs 27:17 NIV)

So, surround yourself with wise counsel. You never know who God has ordained to be the vessel that gives you the answer you’ve been seeking.

Yes, we’re called to be shepherds of His love in the world, and not to discriminate, disassociate and distance ourselves from unbelievers. But when it comes to matters of the heart and who we should be yoked with, I believe that God wants us to be with someone who can stand in faith with us when it matters most.

No matter where you’re at in this journey, God has promised to restore (Ephesians 3:20), and He will do an amazing job! Seek Him daily and ensure it’s indeed shalom that you feel (not just butterflies of infatuation) before entering into any relationship.

To find out more about what to look out for in a life partner, check out Pastor Joseph Prince’s candid series on Finding Your Life Partner and Pastor Mike Todd’s series on relationships.

This article was first published on Decibel and is republished with permission. 

THINK + TALK

  1. Is there something in your life that you need to let go of?
  2. Are disappointments drawing you closer to God or pushing you away from Him?
  3. Have you experienced God’s restoration after a period of brokenness?