I was in an unhealthy relationship that nearly destroyed me—here’s how God brought me out of it
I was in an unhealthy relationship that nearly destroyed me—here’s how God brought me out of it.
Cherlyn T | 6 min read
Have you ever been in a relationship with someone you kinda knew wasn’t good for you, optimistically hoping that you (or God, pretty please You can do anything, can You make him believe You?) could change that person? Yours truly was there once, and now on hindsight, I can say that it was such a bad idea.
What I initially thought was shalom peace, was actually my own fleshly excitement overloaded to the maximum. There were supposed 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 deaf too.
I don’t know if you’ve been there, or are going through something similar right now, but I pray you’ll be encouraged as I share my story and truths from God’s Word that you can hold onto—words of wisdom, words about His love and His restoration plan for you.
When You Start to Realize He’s Really Not ‘the One’
For two years, I was with a pre-believer whom I had hoped would eventually receive Christ as his personal Savior. I prayed and waited…but nothing happened. Instead, all I observed was bitterness, brokenness and unforgiveness emerge from a man who I previously thought was “the one” for me.
As the relationship went on and the romance subsided, I realized that there was little I could comfortably talk to him about in-depth without leading to conflict. Personally, I love talking about Jesus in every sphere of life, so it was challenging for me to be with someone who wanted to do the exact opposite.
And as much as I tried to model the ‘perfect’ Christian life for him, it seemed as though all the good I did was always overlooked, and any faults were stored for use as personal attacks against my faith whenever conflicts arose.
Starting on the Right Foot—Jesus
Eventually, I had to acknowledge the painful truth that Jesus needed to be the core foundation of any relationship I wanted to be part of. 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 the more important areas of life, this difference becomes impossible to ignore.
It could be relating to his health, where you’re declaring Jesus’ finished work and healing, but the other person doesn’t believe in healing and constantly speaks negatively about his deteriorating condition. Perhaps, a job could be at stake, and while you want to declare the Lord’s favor over your career, the other person would rather count on luck and his 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 God’s 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 will be left disappointed when things don’t play out the way you envisioned. And you’re left with the constant nagging feeling that your relationship would be perfect if he would just receive Christ. Yet how do you continue a relationship where the core of what’s most important to you is the very thing that’s absent?
When Jesus tells you to let go, what do you do?
Halfway through the relationship, I knew very clearly in my heart that God was telling me that this was not the man for me, and if I stayed, it would ruin me.
Being stubborn (and in too deep), I wanted to hold onto the faith picture that God would remove the thick veil off his eyes, reveal His love for him, and transform him from the inside out. 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 willfully ignoring His leading, and was prolonging my own struggle instead. Eventually, I knew the only way out was to be obedient.
There’s no heartbreak God cannot heal, if you’ll let Him
In the midst of my struggle to hold on, there were many nights where I cried myself to sleep, and could only lull myself to sleep with worship music and Pastor Joseph Prince’s sermons playing in the background. I was such an emotional wreck that I even started harboring 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, and I slowly found myself healing in the process of seeking Jesus.
Out of the many wounds that can be inflicted in this world, broken hearts are the hardest to heal. These are the wounds that cut so deep, and hurt so much, that only Jesus Himself can heal and restore back to wholeness.
Each time I felt depressed or anxious, Jesus would give me a word from the Bible that catered 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.
When you can’t let go, ask God to do it for you
Some of you might be thinking—why didn’t I just immediately get out of this relationship if I already knew it wasn’t going to work out? As many who have been in my place can testify, 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. 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 even when you don’t feel like you have the strength to let go. Plus, He’s the most patient being you’ll ever meet.
God gives us the free choice to choose, and He will only come into your situation if you allow him to. When you learn to loosen your grip and need for control when it comes to your relationships, and focus your attention on the loveliness of Jesus instead, 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 trusted the Lord to restore to me someone who would be the right fit for me, in His time. No longer did I want to trust in my own strength. I’ve seen where that goes, with disastrous results, and now I step into my future a little bit wiser (I hope!).
Yes, breaking up hurt so bad it had its own set of repercussions, but right there, I gave my broken heart to the Lord, and decided to trust Him to heal and restore me.
When all else fails, His Word is your lifeline
Friend, His heart is for you, never against you, and if ever there is 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.
“Yet God has made everything beautiful in its time. And 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 (NLT)
When you choose to trust in Him, things will not just change for the better, but it will 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.
Here are some practical tips you can take when you’re feeling down:
Pray about it, and ask Jesus to show you a passage in Scripture that speaks to your situation.
Tune out of social media for a while, and have personal conversations with Jesus.
Surround yourself with wise counsel
If there is anything that’s second to having a relationship with Jesus, it’ll be having 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 will uplift you with biblical truths and promises.
God is merciful in sending people our way, just like He did for me. I was blessed with an amazing godly friendship that I never imagined to have. (Fun fact: she’s twice my age, but wow, she is a woman brimming full of life experiences and heavenly wisdom).
Throughout my journey in that relationship, she was always there to remind me about God’s Word, provide wise counsel and overwhelming support when I could not see a way out.
Once when we were talking, 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.
God promises to restore abundantly
At the end of the day, remember that we are called to be shepherds of His love towards the world, 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, God wants you to live your best possible life with someone who can stand in faith with you when it matters most.
No matter where you’re at in this journey, God has promised to restore (see Eph. 3:20), and He will do an amazing job! Seek Him daily, and ensure it is indeed shalom peace 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, you can check out Pastor Joseph Prince’s candid series on Finding Your Life Partner.
We also like Pastor Mike Todd’s series on relationships: