Is God telling you to breakup with your boyfriend or girlfriend? What are good reasons and bad reasons to end the relationship? And if you do feel led by God to breakup, when and how should you do it?
Why Should Christians Breakup?
If you are expecting a list of reasons, I’m sorry to disappoint you. The Bible doesn’t work like that. Rarely are there rigid lines drawn in the Scriptures when it comes to relationships. There are a few, but relationships are less about right and wrong and more about desirable or not desirable.
With that said, the first and most obvious reason a Christian dating couple should breakup is if there continued relationship will lead to more sin rather than more glory to God. The main motivation for a Christian marriage is not companionship, financial stability, sex, or anything like that. Those are good benefits that should be enjoyed, but the main purpose of marriage is to glorify God.
Therefore if a dating relationship is working against this goal rather than helping you accomplish your true purpose, you should break up. For example, if you are repeatedly failing to sexual temptation in the relationship but you do not want to move into marriage with this person, then the biblical solution is to break up. To remain in that season of intense temptation by not moving towards marriage or not breaking up is to miss the mark of true biblical repentance. You might feel sorry for continuing to struggle with sexual sin in the dating relationship, but if you are not taking practical steps to chance your behavior you are not actually repenting.
Lots of times, however, sin is not the problem in the relationship. Romance is a funny thing. Sometimes you can explain why you don’t like someone and sometimes you can’t. As Christians we are not bound to just marry the holiest guy or girl you can meet. They must be a Christian (1 Corinthians 7:39). They must be someone who is mature enough to fulfill their biblical role as a spouse. But just because they check these major boxes doesn’t mean you must marry them.
All that to say, you should breakup when you enjoy the person less than you enjoy them. You might like certain qualities of your boyfriend or girlfriend, but if you find yourself struggling to be attracted, bored when you are together, or getting annoyed by the sound of their voice, this is a big red flag. Now of course all human beings go through seasons of fighting, annoyance, or boredom. But if these seasons are no longer seasons and they simply become the norm, then you should breakup and not marry the person.
Every day is not going to be a fairytale, but you should genuinely enjoy the person you are with without faking or forcing it.
When Should a Christian Couple Breakup?
The above has to do more with the reasoning of why a Christian couple might consider breaking up. This section is more about the timing of when to breakup.
It’s important to be thoughtful regarding the timing because you don’t want to make a decision you regret or you not confident in making. If you break up, you should be sure because it is a waste of time to get back together and breakup and get back together and break up. Do you best to only go through this one time when at all possible.
My biggest caution when dealing with a breakup is that you are not living out of your emotions and being reactionary. If you want to move on in the healthiest way possible for both of you, try not to end in a blaze of glory. If you cut the person off too quick or make a decision without really praying and thinking about it, you will find the healing and grieving process will take longer than if you went about the break up more maturely and thoughtfully.
Secondly, you should break up whenever you know for certain the person you are dating is not the one. You don’t have to know someone is the one to date them. But if you know someone is not the one you should not date them. Therefore as soon as you know you do not want to marry the person you are dating, you should breakup as soon as possible.
My belief on dating is that the whole point should be to find your spouse. Again, you don’t have to take each date too seriously and only date someone if you think they are the one God has for you. But the goal of dating is to figure this out and answer that question. If you are no longer questing if this is the person God wants you marry because you know they are not, then why keep dating? The dating process has served its purpose and you have accomplished your goal.
Again, the goal of dating is not to marry the person you are dating. The goal of dating should be to decide if you want to marry that person. If you decide you do want to get married, stop dating, get engaged, and get married. If you decide you do not want to marry that person, you have accomplished that goal and you should breakup. Dating should only continue when you are still unsure one way or the other.
(You may also want to read: Christian Dating, Breakups, and How to Get Through it with God)
How Should a Christian Couple Breakup?
This is the section that only mature Christians spend the time to think about. If you are immature, you won’t care how you breakup; you will just do it and get out of the relationship as soon as possible because it no longer serves your purpose and you are being run by your feelings.
You should be thoughtful and prayerful in how you break up out of respect for the other person and because you love God. That’s God’s child too, so don’t be rude or short just because you know you will no longer be in that person’s life.
Overall, helpful honesty is the best route. I use the phrase “helpful honesty” because thoughtless honesty can be used as weapon. As Christians, our goal should always be to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15). Often times we error too much on one side. In other words, you can tell someone the truth when you are breaking up but do it in such an insensitive way that you are verbally beating the person up rather than helping them see any issues.
But you can also try to be so loving you compromise on telling the truth. Never lie to someone when you are breaking up with them just to make them feel better. People know you are lying and often times people need to hear the truth in order to grow. Try to leave that person better than you found them. He or she may not be your spouse, but one day they will be someone’s spouse. Perhaps God can use you to benefit that future marriage by telling someone the truth about areas that are hindering them. Not every relationship ends because of something bad. Sometimes the feelings just aren’t there. If that’s the case, just tell him or her the truth so they are not left wondering what happened. They may do that anyway no matter what you say, but at least your conscience can be clear when you simply tell the truth for why you want to breakup.
Don’t Use the “It’s Not You, It’s God” Line in a Breakup
Lastly, don’t blame God for your breakup. Perhaps the biggest abuse and copout I see amongst many Christians is breaking up with the line, “I feel God is leading me to just spend time with him right now,” or something along those lines. That’s using God as a scapegoat for relationship issues you just don’t want to talk about.
Look, that may be true, but there’s also other reasons you don’t want to be with that person. When you just play the God card, that is unfair to the person. You said you liked him or her when you started dating; therefore you owe it to that person to tell them what changed. If God mysteriously whispered in your ear that you should breakup after you had a big fight about something, that seems disingenuous.
Please don’t hear me saying that you should not be praying and listening to God about breaking up. You should be! You should listen to hear if God is telling you to breakup. But when God leads us to make decisions in life, those choices are not devoid of wisdom and practicality too. Why is God leading you to breakup? Are you not attracted to her? Is he not mature enough to lead you? Are you headed in two different directions in life? Do you just want to enjoy college without worrying about a relationship? Those reasons are fine, but be authentic. Don’t try to look like a saint because it makes the other person feel like a demon, like God somehow doesn’t think they are good enough for you.
Why, When, and How Should a Christian Couple Breakup?
There is not perfect answer for when a Christian boyfriend and girlfriend should breakup. Rather, like most relationship questions, it comes down to answering, “What is most honoring to God?” When you can answer that, usually everything else falls into place.