Has anyone given you any good advice on how to break-up with your spouse or girlfriend lately? I think it is time we take into consideration whether we want a break-up or a breakthrough in our relationships.
Today I finished watching the movie, “The Break-Up” with Jennifer Aniston (as Brooke) and Vince Vaughn (as Gary). Both had some unmet expectations and desires that were not fulfilled by the other person. The movie does not portray a Christian relationship because they are both single and living together. I certainly do not advocate couples living together outside of marriage. However, I do believe there are valuable lessons I learned from this movie as I pondered some of the Christian marriages around me and even some of my own friendships. So do you want to know how to break-up? Here’s some pointers from the movie…
1. Focus more on your unmet needs and desires rather than the needs and the desires of the other person. Gary did that well as he wanted to come home and watch television to unwind. Brooke, however, need help in the kitchen as she worked all day and came home to prepare dinner for his and her family.Focusing on our own needs just points to our immaturity and lack of spiritual depth.
2. Rather than communicate your need for love, try to make your spouse jealous with another person. This is sure to turn your spouse off and may cause them to look to other relationships in order to make you jealous as well. This behavior definitely points to our insecurity and the fact that we are using sinful, fleshly behavior to manipulate the other person. Brooke took advice from her boss to make Gary jealous by bringing guys home and Gary retaliated by having several women over his house to play strip poker.
3. Up the Ante! Revenge is a sure way to break-up with your spouse. If you sense they are attacking you, make sure you attack back with a fuller force. It will make you feel good temporarily but will have lasting impact on your marriage or relationship. When Brooke kicked Gary out of the bowling league, he took revenge and bought a pool table which she did not want in the house. Revenge is sweet! This behavior certainly points to our pride and arrogance! It also leaves room for others not to trust us.
4. Shut them out! Don’t let them in! Make sure you shut them out emotionally and cut off any way of encouraging or loving them. Most importantly, make sure you withhold any affection from them. Brooke did that by shutting Gary out of the their room. This points to our weakness and inability to cope.
What was sad to me in the movie was Brooke felt hopelessness and helpless. She told Gary that she broke up with him so he can miss her and want to come back. She wanted him to care about her and show her some interest. Brooke, though used her fleshly strength to try to communicate her need to Gary. When Gary finally got it, he planned a romantic dinner for Brooke in hopes that he may gain her love back. However, her haunting response came through, “I don’t have anything left to give. I don’t feel the same way.” And they went their separate ways.
The ending made me sad! The thought came to my mind, “Did they really want to break-up or did they want a breakthrough?” Most people I know do not want to break-up, they want a breakthrough, but their fleshly behavior and responses are turning their spouses off and driving them to a break-up rather than a breakthrough. So if you want to a breakthrough in your relationship, here some advice from God’s Word…
1. Pray! Pray that God will help your respond in the spirit and not in the flesh! Pray God will give you the capacity to love your spouse unconditionally. Pray God will help you notice any unmet expectations that you have and give you wisdom to know if they are realistic or unrealistic. Ephesians 4:22-23 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. (NIV)
2. Focus on the needs of the other person rather than your own. Babies cry until their needs are met. You don’t have to cry, or throw a temper tantrum, rather learn to be selfless rather than selfish. Phil:2:3,4 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.(NIV)
3. Be kind! Sometimes we treat those we work with or our friends better than we treat our spouses. If we just treat those we love in the same way we treat those we work with, we may have a better relationship with out spouse! Eph. 4:32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. (NIV)
The choice for a break-up or breakthrough is really ours. We hold the key in our attitude and behavior whether we are seeking a break-up or breakthrough. I hope and pray that you have not reached a point in your relationship where you have said, “I don’t have anything left to give. I don’t feel the same way.”