The term “soul tie” is not a term that is expressly used or defined in the Bible. Because of this, there are many different ways people use this term. So before we can talk about breaking a soul tie, I first need to clarify what I personally mean when I use this phrase.
What Does the Bible Say About Soul Ties?
To make answering the questions, “What does the Bible say about soul ties?” even harder, there is also a lot of debate on what the word “soul” actually means in Scripture. In fear of getting too off track and making this article way too long, let me give you a definition from Dr. Wayne Grudem that I also agree with:
‘Soul’ and ‘spirit’ are both general terms to describe the immaterial side of people, and it’s difficult to see any real distinction between their use in Scripture. . . . There is a continual interaction between our body and our spirit, and they affect each other: ‘A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a downcast spirit dries up the bones’ (Proverbs 17:22).”1
Therefore, when I use the term soul, I’m referring to those parts of you that go beyond your physical body but which are still very much a part of what makes you who you are: your emotions, your thinking processes, your will that makes choices, and so on. When you die and go to heaven and before Christ returns and raises the dead and gives us new glorified bodies, your current earthly body goes into the ground and is buried. Your body becomes lifeless. But if you are a Christian, the rest of you goes to heaven. That “rest of you” is what I’m talking about when I use the word “soul”.
Thus, when I use the phrase “soul tie,” I’m referring to those things on this earth that you are attached to and that have power over the immaterial parts of you: your emotions, mind, will, and so forth. Usually when people refer to a soul tie, they are referring to an emotional attachment one has to someone in their past because they were in a significant relationship with that person. I too will use this term to refer to past relationship attachments that are controlling you, although I also believe this term is useful to use about healthy relationships. For example, a godly husband and wife should have a good soul tie together, meaning that their relationship does positively affect their souls.
What I am not referring to when I use the term “soul tie” is an actual mingling of two human spirits where they are literally now some new entity. I’m not referring to anything that would resemble another person’s spirit somehow possessing your body and controlling you, like demon possession. I also don’t believe that you can literally give pieces of yourself away to someone in a type of metaphysical transaction. This idea is often expressed by Christians when it comes to sex. While I do believe unhealthy attachments are formed through sexual sin, I don’t believe you are literally losing pieces of yourself like if you lost a finger, hand, or an arm.
Rather, I believe the non-physical parts of you can become dependent on other people and thus outside entities can affect your mind, emotions, will, and so on. This is what I would call a soul tie. There can be positive and negative soul ties. For example, if you get depressed when you think of your ex, this would be a sign of a negative soul tie. But if you are married and you feel joy when you think of your spouse, this would be a sign of a positive soul tie.
One example of this can be seen in Scripture between Jonathan and David. 1 Samuel 18:1 states, “As soon as he had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul.” Jonathan’s emotions, mind, and internal will that makes choices were now attached to David in a healthy way where he deeply cared for him, thus David affected Jonathan’s spirit through what we are now labeling as a soul tie.
To summarize, the Bible does not say anything about “soul ties” but there are principles we can see that help us realize how our souls are affected by others. So here’s my definition of a soul tie: A soul tie is a relational attachment to someone else that affects the immaterial parts of you.
With all that said, here are 5 common signs the Lord is preparing you to break a negative soul tie.
1. If You Have Finally Come to the Place Where You Actually Want This Soul Tie to Be Broken, This Is Often the First Step God Uses to Start the Process
You will not break a soul tie if you still wish you could be in a relationship with that person. When you desire to still be with that person, your thinking, feelings, and decision making processes will still be affected by this person. You won’t interact freely with the opposite sex if you want to still be with someone in your past.
Another variation of this idea is that you are still in the grieving and healing process and just not ready to move forward into a new relationship because you are still hurting from this past relationship. If you are not ready to move on, take your time. It’s normal for the moving on process to not happen instantly.
But eventually, if you want to break this soul tie, you have to be ready to let go of everything that is still connected you to this past relationship. You have to let go of the hope of getting back together, you have to let go of wanting to experience once more the good times you had together, and you have to let go of the bitterness and hurt you still feel towards that person. If anything from that past relationship is still controlling the immaterial parts of you, this means you still have a soul tie.
It is possible to break this connection, for notice what Paul said in 2 Corinthians 6:14, “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers.” Paul said this to people who had been previously yoked to unbelievers. So this clearly means you can break the former yokes you had so you are no longer connected to people you once were connected to.
But to truly break this old connection, it all starts with wanting to break it. So if you truly want to make a clean break, this is a good sign the Lord is preparing you to do so.
2. If God Is Teaching You How to Reject Intrusive Thoughts About Someone in Your Past, This Is a Sign He Is Preparing You to Break This Soul Tie
The mind is a big part of the soul, therefore we must break free in our thought life if we hope to be free from soul ties connecting us to people in our past. When a soul tie is present, you will find yourself thinking about this person throughout the day for no reason. It’s not a soul tie if you start thinking about someone if one of your friends mentions their name or you see a picture of them. It’s natural for our minds to start thinking about things in our pasts when there was something in real life that triggered those memories.
But when a deep soul tie is present, you will start thinking about this person from the moment you wake up and until the moment you go to bed. It will look like you are present with the rest of us, but in reality you are somewhere else in your mind thinking about this person.
This can stop. God has given you power over your mind. You don’t need to let your mind control you. It’s not easy to gain control and stop intrusive thoughts, but it certainly is possible through the Spirit’s power and through being disciplined. As Paul said in 2 Corinthians 10:5, “. . . we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”
For more on this topic, you can read my article How to Stop Thinking About Someone.
3. If God Is Exposing the Lies You Believed About Yourself Which You Learned Through Your Past Relationship with This Person, This Is a Sign the Lord Is Helping You Break This Soul Tie
One reason past relationship experiences can continue to control you is because out of those experiences you formed beliefs about yourself.
For example, if a girlfriend in your past broke up with you even though you really wanted to stay with her, you could have formed the false belief of, “There’s something about me that women don’t like. I’ll never get married because all women hate me.” Or if a you dated a verbally abusive man for a while, you could have formed the false belief, “I’m such a headcase. Only crazy guys will like me. I’m damaged goods, so who will want me now except guys who treat me poorly.”
The devil and worldly people will always try to speak lies over us, but those lies have no power unless we believe them to be true. If you’ve been believing lies about yourself, you have to allow the Holy Spirit to expose them with his truth. Read the Scriptures and study what they say about your new identity in Christ. If you’ve believed something that contradicts Scripture, it’s time break that lie and believe only God’s truth. Soul ties remain when you believe lies someone told you. But when you reject those lies and embrace God’s truth, in the process the soul ties are broken.
As Hebrews 4:12 proclaims, “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”
4. If God Is Giving You Power to Make Choices Based Upon What Is Best for You Regardless of What Impact This Will Have on Your Relationship with This Other Person, This Is a Sign He Is Preparing You to Break This Soul Tie
Going back to the definition we started with, a soul tie is “a relational attachment to someone else that affects the immaterial parts of you.” When your mind, emotions, and will are still attached to someone in your past, this will cause you to still consider this person in your past when you make choices in your life. For example, you could think:
- “I’m not going to go on a date with this guy from church who asked me out because I don’t want my ex to think I’ve moved on. I want to still be available if he changes his mind.”
- “I’m going to start online dating and hook up with as many women as I can just to hurt my ex. We just broke up so I want to show her I’m moving on really fast so I can hurt her like she hurt me.”
- “I’m going to live single forever. I want to be married, but the pain from this past relationship is so bad I just don’t ever want to experience this again. It’s just not worth it.”
When you make unhealthy choices based upon something negative that happened in your past, this is a sign a soul tie is present. But if the Lord is teaching you to make the choices that are best for you rather than what is best for this other person, the choices that are about glorifying God rather than obeying this other person, this is a sign you are living free. As Romans 6:14 states, “For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.”
5. If God Is Taking Away Your Desire to Be with This Person and Giving You a New Desire to Be with Someone Else, This Is a Sign the Lord Is Breaking This Soul Tie
Many people worry about getting into a new relationship because they fear they still have a soul tie with someone from their past. This is a valid concern if you truly still have feelings for this person in your past and want to be with him or her.
But if you have moved on in your emotions and desires, no longer wanting a relationship with this person, and this past relationship no longer controls how you think, feel, and make choices now, this means the soul tie is broken.
If you want to be in a new relationship and this past relationship is no longer affecting you, you don’t need to worry about still being tied or connected to someone in your past. It’s not happening. There is no biblical evidence that there is some sort of metaphysical transaction between two people where you can be missing parts of you because this other person still possesses them. Your soul is yours and it belongs to God. No one can possess the literal you. Your emotional attachment to them can affect how you live and feel, but no one has the actual power to take literal pieces of your immaterial self.
Notice what God said in Ezekiel 18:4, “Behold, all souls are mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is mine: the soul who sins shall die.” There are not pieces of your literal soul possessed by your ex. God owns your literal soul. Yes, you can be emotionally attached, but the other person does not possess you like I possess a dollar bill in my pocket. The term “the soul who sins shall die” means God holds each individual person responsible for the choices they make for themselves because no one literally has the power to control our souls but us.
So you are free to move on without worrying about some spiritual connection to someone in your past. Although many pastors and Christians talk this way, that is not a biblical idea. It’s unhelpful, unhealthy, unbiblical, and is simply a man-made idea that gives people too much power. God owns you. None of us can literally possess any spiritual parts of other people.
Therefore, if you want to move on into a new relationship, do so freely with no worries about a soul tie still controlling you. If your mind, emotions, will, and all the other immaterial parts of you are relationally unattached to this person in your past, the soul tie is broken and it’s time to live like it. God doesn’t want you looking back, fearing that someone somehow owns pieces of you that you can’t get back. That’s worldly thinking, not biblical thinking.
Enjoy your freedom in Christ and move on in the peace of knowing you are fully God’s child through Jesus.