Life is the most bizarre thing that we, as humans, will experience.
Sometimes you fall for the worst person in the world. Sometimes the nicest person on the planet steals your heart away, but the timing isn't right. It seems nuts to try to find signs that it's time to break-up with someone who you're still in love with. I mean, if you love someone, you should be together, right? Welp... not always. Sometimes, in order to allow us to move on with our lives, God dissolves our relationships. A sudden downfall of a relationship with someone we love can (and probably will) bring us into a world of pain, but we will almost always grow from it. I wish that I could say that being able to differentiate between what God intends to be temporary, and what is meant to be permanent is easy, but it’s not. However, this balance of struggle will lead us to see His plans for our future relationships.
The Lord is turning the hearts of men in the direction He desires.
- Proverbs 21:1
By turning you heart in a new direction, He is making it easier for you to let go and move forward into your next adventure. You shouldn’t take a hard break-up personally. God is not trying to punish you. He’s simply trying to push you towards what He wants the most for you.
If you feel like you’re unsure if the Lord is calling you in a different direction, here are five key signs (of many more) that you should be keeping your eye out for:
1. You can’t be yourself.
Are you constantly trying to make yourself more “pleasing” for the person you’re with? Although I do think that it’s important to want to impress the person you’re dating, you shouldn’t feel that way all the time. I do not want this for you, and God most certainly doesn’t want this for you. If your significant other doesn’t see you for the beautiful, flawless being that God created you to be, then it’s time to end things. You need to 100% be able to be yourself around them. Stop watering yourself down and diminishing who you are to make the other person comfortable. It’s not a solid relationship if you can’t ask for what you want/need, or can’t simply be yourself without fearing that the other person will love you less. Your significant other should be the individual with whom you feel most comfortable being yourself around. You deserve to feel how you are feeling without apologizing, resisting, or excusing.
2. Your relationship is one-sided.
People will always be willing to go out of their way, sacrifice, and make the effort for people that are important to them. Don’t get me wrong, the Bible tells us that there is no greater love than in sacrifice, but if someone claims to love you and his or her actions don’t reflect it, he or she does not love you. Love is shown through action, not simply words.
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8 Love never fails.
- 1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Actions say what words won’t. A person can say he or she loves to garden, but if his or her plants aren’t properly tended to, the garden is going to die. Think about your relationship: Who is tending the garden? Is it mutual? It’s exhausting to give 100 percent of yourself to a person who only gives you 20 percent in return. You deserve to be just as much of a priority as you make your partner. A relationship is a two-way street.
3. You keep trying to “fix” your significant other.
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You keep making excuses for your partner’s actions. Let me give it to you straight. You have to date the person, not his or her potential. Maybe you’re dating this person to try to convince them to see God like you see God (“flirting to convert”, a topic for another time). If you’re doing any of these things, you’re wasting precious moments of happiness focusing on what “could be” instead of the reality of what is. Yes, every relationship is different and will require some change from both sides, but no relationship that is truly meant to be will require so much work. It’s not fair to either of you.
4. You have to convince yourself that you’re happy.
Are you happy with your relationship? Now ask yourself... how long did it take you to think about the answer to that question? Don’t keep someone around who leaves you feeling down and depleted every day. Love isn’t always easy, but love should be your biggest source of joy, not stress. If you have to pause and think about if you love your partner, you probably don’t. Rather, you simply like the idea of having him or her. Just because you think of a person a certain way doesn’t mean that’s how he or she is. If most of your time is spent trying to “make things work,” it’s not worth it.
5. You have to ask for attention and affection.
Last, but most certainly not least, let me say this: You should never have to look for evidence that the other person cares for you. It should be clear. Nor should you ever have to earn love from the person you’re dating, it should be given freely. You are lovable and valuable in His eyes simply because you are here. Your significant other should be doing everything in their power to love you just like Jesus loves you, and this love should never, ever in a million years have to be begged for or asked for.
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear: because fear has torment. He that fears is not made perfect in love. -1 John 4:18
At the end of the day, do your best to regret nothing. Time spent with the wrong person can sometimes bring about the right things. God puts people in our lives to teach us lessons. Although it can be scary, sometimes you need to run away to see who is running with you. We have a longing to feel chased. In my experience, when my ex and I ended things, he just let me go, and that was all the reassurance I needed. Realizing I deserved better was the first step to receiving something better.
Please don’t stay in a relationship that causes you more pain than joy. Will it be hard? Yes! Of course! A thousand times yes. It’s better to have some temporary pain than a lifetime of being stuck with someone you know you don’t belong with. You can care about someone, forgive someone, want good things for someone, and still move on without him or her. You don’t lose anything by letting go of someone who doesn’t care for you the way you deserve, the way that God wants you to be loved and cared for. After all, we are never truly alone if God is always with us. You absolutely DO NOT have to have romantic love in your life to have true love in your life. Open your eyes to the beautiful world that God created for you, all around you. Romance will come when He says it’s time.