How to Hold Hope in a Broken Relationship

MOPS International

Maybe your marriage is weathering a dark storm, or a long-time family tension has finally snapped and you aren’t speaking to a sibling or a parent. Perhaps you’ve deeply offended someone dear to you. You might even be the victim of sinful injustice, wronged without warning or justification. How do you even begin to process these emotions? How to Hold Hope in a Broken Relationship? Whether you are waiting for the storm to pass, a promise to be fulfilled, or for an open wound to stop causing pain, you need a safe place to shelter. Here are some strategies to help you receive the transfusion of lifeblood that you need during this difficult time. Whatever depths your grief has reached, may these lifelines give you the strength to believe that you and the hope you claim will rise to the surface again.  

  • Get perspective. Remind yourself that this is one thing in your life, not the only thing in your life, and it’s certainly not the thing giving you life. 
  • Don’t replay old tapes. The mental anguish of rehashing the past is far more painful than productive. Recycling old feelings makes it extremely difficult to identify new ones and keeps you going in all directions but forward.  
  • Feel your feelings. No emotion is bad, not even sadness. It’s okay to sit in them. Too many distractions or redirections can lead to destructive habits. You have to feel, so that you know where you need to heal.  
  • Honor your body. Give your physical self what it needs when your relational self is strained. Feelings of imbalance or weakness can contribute to a waning spirit, so be sure to prioritize your balanced nutrition, activity, sunshine and rest. 
  • Find surrogate connection. There may be no way to replace what has been lost, but you still need people. You need to make eye contact with friends on a regular basis. You need to laugh and converse, and you need to continue exercising the ability to trust and engage honestly with others. Find a good therapist if this feels too risky for where you’re at.  
  • Remove yourself as judge. If you can cease your quest for restitution from this person, you will find something greater – the empowering process of being open to Christ healing just you, independent of that relationship.
  • Wait well. Shift your focus from the object of your desire, to the process of your desire. Rather than merely waiting for a healed relationship, or to feel less pain, open your eyes to the refinement and growth going on in you. You can’t always control the outcome of the relationship, but you can decide not to waste your waiting. 
  • Place and respect boundaries. Be vigilant about respecting the emotional safeguards that have been asked of you, and consistently check in with yourself about what is appropriate for where you are at. It’s okay to do hard things, but not if they are actively doing you damage.  Even the Biblical concepts you feel called to shouldn’t be rushed. Wait for the holy spirit’s healing to enable you in confidence.  
  • Pray, pray, pray. Pain can draw you closer to God, or it can drive a wedge between you. Even if you don’t have pleasant things to say, it’s still important that you keep your prayer ways open and operating.  
  • Seek purpose. Don’t look for the ‘everything happens for a reason’ kind of purpose, but do look for the purpose it’s accomplishing in you. If you believe that God will work all things for your good, keep doing the work of sorting through the wreckage, because there’s something here worth taking.  

Waiting outside of hope strips all color and vibrancy from your life, but waiting with hope, with your own sanctification as the object of that hope, makes your wholeness dependent on God, and nothing else. No person, no pain, not even your own immoral actions can keep you from being made whole again, with the one who created you to be just that. You are being renewed day by day, and you can thrive and heal, despite what toxic patterns your family has weaved, what wounds your ex has left, or what vacant words of death have been spoken over you. Your hope is sure, because His love is sound. And you, my beautiful sister, are free to find your own restoration and live in full color today. 

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