3 choices that can heal a broken relationship.

3 choices that can heal a broken relationship. November 17, 2014


I was sitting down with a friend recently, and he was talking through some current relationship struggles he’s having. As I tried to encourage him and help him get to the root of the problems, we discovered that the real issue wasn’t in his present relationships, but in unresolved wounds from his past relationships. Old hurts can haunt us if we don’t deal with them.

Whenever we feel rejection, abandonment, ridicule, heartbreak or pain from other people, it can cause us to build up walls around our hearts to protect ourselves from being hurt again. These walls give us the illusion of security, but they’re really just a prison of isolation. Living well means loving well, and loving well requires healing from past hurts.

To work through wounds from your past, start by making these three choices:

1. Choose grace instead of revenge

It’s been said that holding a grudge is like drinking poison and then hoping the other person dies. Choose to forgive for their sake, but even more, for your own sake. God freely gives his grace to you, so embrace it and then freely give it to others. Don’t treat people the way they treat you. Treat people the way God treats you.

Dave Willis quote quotes treat people the way God treats you

“Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone… Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good” Romans 12:17-18, 21

2. Choose to trust in God’s plan instead of your own.

When the Biblical character, Joseph, was sold into slavery by his own brothers, he had plenty of reasons for doubt and anger, but he chose faith instead. Joseph was promoted from a slave to a great political leader. He could have executed his brothers, but he chose grace instead. He recognized that God’s plan and God’s grace is always bigger than our circumstances. Joseph said these powerful words to his brothers…

“You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people. No, don’t be afraid. I will continue to take care of you and your children.” So he reassured them by speaking kindly to them.” Genesis 50:20-21

Dave Willis quote Bible never says figure it out


For more tools to help you build (or rebuild) stronger relationships, download a FREE chapter from my new book “The 7 Laws of Love: Essential Principles for Building Stronger Relationships” by clicking here.

Seven laws of love #7lawsoflove Dave Willis masterpiece quote

3. Choose joy instead of bitterness.

Bitterness is intoxicating, because it gives you the illusion of power and control over your life, but it’s toxic in the end. Get rid of bitterness and choose joy. Joy isn’t a feeling; it’s a choice. It comes from trusting God even when life doesn’t seem to make sense and thanking God for His goodness even when life hurts.

Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

God has a purpose for your pain reason for struggle reward faith faithfulness trust Him don't give up quote inspirational Dave Willis davewillis.org

In the end, choosing grace could change your life and the world around you.

For more tools to build stronger relationships, download a FREE chapter from my new book here.

Also, check out our FREE video on the 7 keys to building stronger relationships by clicking here.

If this post encouraged you, please share it on social media using the links below so we can encourage others too!

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!

What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Patrick O’Connor

    i have forgiven my wife twice for being unfaithful and she continues to do the exact same thing I forgave. The advice to forgive keeps being posted but never a word about when enough is enough. Please address this topic.

  • Jan Govreau

    Remember who your true enemy is – satan.

    He comes as an angel of light & makes wrong appear to be appropriate.

    Take inventory of yourself & how you treat GOD. GODs way is forgiveness, not keeping a list of wrongs against another, and doing good towards others whenever it is within your power to do so, like praying for those who dispitefully use you, etc.

    Remember GOD forgives you, HE is always available to meet your needs, HE loves unconditionally. GOD is love.

  • Angel Vance

    I just read your powerful words. I am recently going through some of my relationship issues with my husband. This was a sign from good for me to let go of what I have been thru. I have some relief in my heart right now after reading this. Thank you.

  • Merinda Burkhalter

    I’ve been married for 41 years. My husband retired 4 years ago. Started great! Felt like vacation! And then my husband began to drink! A little at first, (I’m no saint, I smoke), and then it became and every day thing. And his personality began to change, grumpy mean spirited, driving after drinking while picking up my grand children! Was concerned and asked him to stop( big fight)!! And no change, only got worse! He put on over a hundred pounds, knees are bad and need replacing, ( pain medicine, on top of drinking)! Constant fighting & after a doctor told him he needed to lose a hundred pounds in order to have the surgery be successful! So worried! Our active life style changed dramatically! Refuses to get help with the depression! Recently our son came home after 5 years( father & son issues)! After a discussion on on what everyone wanted to eat, ( no one wanted the same thing) lol! Normal with families! My husband blew up & threw a bag of frozen shrimp at me, with the comment of no one can ever make up their( f–king) minds! Everyone was in shock, grand kids included! ( sigh)!! Sick at heart, decided to go for a sandwich, and I told him we were going and how disappointed I was, which caused him to start screaming at me, so of coarse my son got involved, which led to get out of my house or I’ll call the police and have you thrown out! ( my heart feels broken) I can’t support my husband in this! My children will always be welcome in my home! He left for a week, & for the first time in 4 years I felt safe & not afraid! He came home and apologized to my daughter and her children( so glad), but not a word to me or our son! There has been a wall of silence for 2 mths! So being the peace maker I sit down to talk to him( didn’t turn out well)! If I leave him it will financially ruin us, & both of us may have to begin working again( not really in the best of physical shape at our age!! But this house is so un happy! I feel lost! I’m praying but not really getting anywhere! Must admit having a hard time forgiving this! Thanks for letting me vent! If you have any advise, and please any prayers! Please send the my way! Blessings!

  • ashley

    Forgiving doesn’t mean you have to stay with that person.

  • Yajaira

    I really hope things get better for your husband and you and your son! Guys think they are perfect at times. Ive always been told it takes them longer to mature. I am sure its true.. but I really hope and pray to God it gets better. Nothing is impossible with God! 🙂 God blesd always 🙂

  • Liz

    Forgiveness doesn’t mean you have to put yourself in situations to be hurt again. A person may forgive someone who has sexually abused or assulted them, but it would be foolish for them to put themselves in a situation for it to happen again! (sometimes forgiveness does allow accepting that someone has changed and letting them back into your life, but only the Lord can let you know through your heart if that’s the right course of action). Forgiveness is about allowing ourselves to let go of things so that we can continue to grow, regardless of other people’s choices (as well as letting others grow and move on if they really have changed)

    Forgiveness is required even when the other person hasn’t changed or is unrepentant. Forgiveness is allowing our own hearts to heal, regardless of outside circumstances. Forgiveness means to let go of all of the bitterness and animosity (and, to a great degree, even the hurt and pain) that we feel toward another person for what they’ve done. To let something that’s in the past stay there, and not keep coming up in the present.

    Forgiveness is necessary to allow people to move on and continue to grow, both those who have made mistakes and those who have been hurt by those mistakes. If the person who has done the “wrong” has repented, they can then let go of it and be allowed to move on and change to become better. We all make mistakes. However, even if the person has not changed or repented (or even apologized), we can continue to move on and grow and not let another person’s choices hold us back from becoming who we need to be and living a happy life!

    After we have forgiven and let go (which can often only be achieved with the Lord’s help), many of those emotions that often cloud are judgement will be gone and we can make good choices for our lives based on what is truly best for everyone and not what we want to see happen because of how we feel.

  • Brett

    Patrick – I hear your pain, but agree with Ashley – forgiveness doesn’t mean “stay here and take it” My dearly betrothed continued to choose vodka, vicious tongue and violence… unfortunately, I drew a line, moved it twice, and nothing changed until I insisted she get out. Did she stop drinking? Nope, but she got out, and now I don’t take her abuse.

  • Monica

    My husband and I have been together 13 years (married 8) I recently kicked him out for instincts of him being with someone else along with finding a few things that made me think he was. Of course he denied it. and me afraid of knowing the truth – I keep letting it go(for about a year) until I went through phone logs and there was a consistency of phone calls from the same #-countless hours throughout the day. So I kicked him out. That’s not the bad part, its that HE STILL DENYS IT! He has made no attempt to talk to me or to apologize and it makes me mad. When I think about it(which is often )I text him n yet blames me for us not being together cause HE DIDNT DO ANYTHING according to him. I think it makes me more mad that he don’t confess and that drives me so mad than actually him talking or whatever it was he did with someone else. It’s the insulting my intelligence kind of thing. Believe me, I want to run and do the same. I always get hit on and although it wouldn’t be hard-I’m better than that! I just want an apology and hate him for ruining 13 years and can go on like nothing!

  • Lenny Evans

    I was married to my “soul mate” for 35 years. We retired young with a good amount of money that we had both worked all of our lives for. We built ourselves a 1.2 million dollar home on a lake in the Colorado mountains. However, after the house was built my husband became very depressed and he started drinking MORE. This had been somewhat of a problem throughout our married years. So I asked him to stop. The more I asked him to stop, the more he would drink. He became an alcoholic. Then after living in our beautiful home for only 1 1/2 years, we lost all of our savings of 1.65 M to Madoff and Petters’ embezzlements. We were not left with $5.00!!! We had both worked so hard for a happy retirement and it simply wasn’t happening. After our loss, my husband started MORE, MORE AND MORE to where he was arrested for DWI one night. This is not my way of life. I had to bail him out and life worsened fast!! I was seeing a Biblical psychologist at the time and he advised me to get a divorce so that God could do what he had to do with my husband. My husband moved to another state to be able to make a good living for “us” (so he said). I wanted to stay in the town we were and settle for a small life. But he neede more than that. He could not accept the fact that we had lost everything. When he came home to visit me that very the last time, I asked him if he would give up drinking to keep me (assuming he loved me enough). He honestly stated that he could not give up drinking. Wow!!! Did that ever HURT. I did not expect that response. At that answer, I had no choice but to divorce him as advised by my Biblical psychologist. I was happy after the divorce because I didn’t have to put up with that unending depression and those hidden bottles of liquor.

    Well… I eventually lost the house because I certainly couldn’t afford it on my Social Security and $1,000.00 alimony from my ex. I asked a friend for help in purchasing a cute tiny house for myself (because he had the money to lend). I consider this person my step-dad. The entire family was like a family to me for 40 years.

    Eventually, my psychologist told me, “I can see you on a dating site someday, when you are ready, looking for another man that will be a good man.” While watching TV one night, that thought popped into my mind when they advertised match.com. I went to my office just to see who was online.

    I found a really nice person there who had photos of himself, his grown children and grandchildren. We talked on the phone for 2 hours every single night for a little over a month before we met. Well…in the interim, I fell in love with him over the phone. When we met he was exactly as he represented himself. 10 months later we decided to marry. We were both very happy during the first few months of our marriage. Then…..we started arguing like crazy. I would yell at him and he’d lose it and start throwing rampages like I’d never experienced in my life. I said horrible, horrible things to him and still do to this day. We just celebrated our 4th anniversary this past November.

    I’m finding that this man is not suited for me. We have a very nice life that many people would love to have. A nice home in the Colorado mountains, a nice lot in a Resort with a 5th wheel on in it in AZ to enjoy during the winter months. We have great friends.

    My heart is still very, very sad. I cannot tolerate this person who is my husband. He tells me that I am a spoiled brat. I don’t see that because I am always trying to be so frugal because we do have a limited income. I do my own nails and hair, I groom our dog, I clean our house. I don’t cook because I am ALWAYS on diet. I can’t go shopping because my husband is not happy if I do. He doesn’t let me drive the truck in AZ during the winter – but I have friends in the Resort and plenty to keep me busy. I am sick a lot and weird things happen to me. I still miss my ex a lot and cannot go a single day without thinking of him. Our family is torn apart. I miss my kids and my grandchildren. I love his girls and their families but I want my family back. I cry a lot all the time. I think of myself as a strong person but I cannot divorce this husband because I cannot live on $1,000. per month of Social Security income. Yes, we could sell our house and property in AZ but now we both need to live on whatever meeger money those would bring in. It would be enough for each of us to purchase a condo. we can’t afford any rent. I am soooo stuck you have no idea. We have to stay married. I don’t feel the warmth of his love. Yet, he says he loves me and doesn’t want to lose me. I guess I’ll have to live this way for the rest of my life!!! What if I live another 20 – 30 years???? I do love this man when he is in a good mood and acts like a man. He works hard to make us comfortable, I always think I really appreciate it, then….another huge argument and I’m ready to leave again. This happens over and over and over again. I hate this!!!!

    I don’t really know who this person is. He is such a wuss I can’t stand that. He can’t hear and I usually repeat everything 3-4 times. This is NOT his fault, I’ve come to terms with that. He talks in a really mousy voice now and I can hardly hear him at times. If he has a couple drinks he acts just like his grandson who has autism. I seriously think he has aspergers syndrome displaying 8 out of 10 symptoms. He states he was born with alcoholic fetus syndrome that he overcame. He was always successful at work and was extremely successful after computers came along. He got along well with people at work (so I am told). He displays a good mind and holds an engineering degree in mechanical engineering. He comes up with great ideas in ways to solve mechanical problems and is capable of learning and solving mechanical and electrical problems. He can do mostly anything. Yet, he doesn’t display understanding of humor. But he does have a sense of humor of his own. I cannot joke with him because he doesn’t understand the joke. I cannot kid with him – he doesn’t laugh. We do not laugh together very much. Our lives are very serious. I am NOT this type of person. I love to laugh. He does make friends. I make the friends and most of my friends’ husbands do not care for him because he is not social. He’s fine on a one of one basis but otherwise is very unsocial. Does not speak to anyone at parties and sits by himself. Some women like him and this both our 3rd marriage.

    Does anyone have any suggestions whatsoever???? I want out of this marriage but don’t want to hurt this person who is so different from me. I’m afraid I will hurt him way too much and he’ll do something awful. I’m always telling myself that I can do this. I can make this marriage work (there is no fulfilling sex in our relationship – he had prostate cancer 5 years prior to my meeting him). He was married at that time and that wife left him. He is loved dearly by his children. I am on anti-depressants in order to be able to live with him.

    This is the year that I have to decided what the hell I’m going to do. Or CAN do. I cannot work because I have had fibromyalgia very badly for 30 years. I shouldn’t even be writing on the computer this long because I have severe back problems that I have to take care of THIS year as well.

    HELP!!! I’M SINKING. I think I could go back to my ex but I’m not convinced that is the right thing to do even though he has nearly stopped all drinking and has not re-married. We would have to date for a long time. However, I would be a good candidate at becoming homeless in the interim if I divorce this kind man!!!

    I am not a bitter, angry person. I don’t need to forgive anyone, we’re all still friends. I hold any grudges and love most people. I think I might difficult to live with because I am a Leo and I am a leader. I can usually accomplish whatever I want to accomplish. But wow, I surely got myself into a situation that has no answers.

  • Heidi Conde

    good dad, I DISAGREE Completely. There is no excuse for a man or a woman to cheat on their spouse.

  • Ren Yole

    My husband has been lying to me about a lot of things( talking to a girl that he told me that he wasn’t going to anymore. Better yet, they know each other account #,, they talk for hours on the phone. He talk to many different females). He refuse to have a conversation with me anymore. He is hiding his financial info from me, he doesn’t want to tell me where he goes or anything that he is doing. When he come from work in the morning, he stay in the car to have long conversation with other females. I find condom in his car, testosterone pills hiding in cabinets, potion to last longer in his lunch box, I can go on and on. He doesn’t what to go to therapy, or confess. So finally I confronted it him, and he throw away his wedding band and left for a day. When he came back, we didn’t talk for about a week. Then we made peace, in that same week I discover that he is still talking to that girl mentions in line 1. We have 2 kids together 3, and 1, we just buy a house; I really want our marriage to work but I am afraid to trust him again because this started nearly 3 years again and it’s only getting worse. I find myself want to withdraw, whenever he pick a fight now; I just leave the house for a little bit then come back. I try everything that I could, any suggestion please?

  • Guest

    I am married for 8 months. I met my husband last year month of june. He lives in UK and met in Tokyo. We decided to get married after 7 months. We had our wedding in Osaka where i lived. He left after two months and saying we can have a good life in UK. So i allowed him to go back there. He was twice married, first wife died and second one was divorced 3 years before we marry. Sometimes he communicate with his Ex because they have two daughters who are Japanese and lived in Tokyo. He got mad at me and telling he will not forgive me co’z i called her ex wife and asking if they are still talking about themselves but she said “NO” because they are already divorced. But when my husband knew about what i did. He got mad at me and saying “i don’t have the right to call his Ex then caused problem and will affect his relationship with his daughters. He is in UK and i am in Japan now. we’ve been apart for 8 months now. His daughters are in UK for vacation last December 16 until January 10. Last message i got from him was December 18 and his kids are with him. I ask forgiveness but he does answer all my mails and messages. I feel so neglected. What advice can you give me? Do you think he will still communicate with me. I am really sorry for what I’ve done. But still he doesn’t answer back. I also sending him card through airmail but still no response.

  • Ren Yole

    Finally today, a day before our anniversary ,he has the courage to tell me to go look for another man, and to leave him alone. I was stupid for leaving my jobs for him, now I m in deep water.

  • Kelly mirna

    I am so happy to be on this site to testify about the greatness of Dr.ZOBO whose powers are so powerful and effective on my lover. Just two months ago my lover told me that he is fed up with our relationship and he is willing to let go, TO me i took the message as a very shocking news and i called him to confirm the text message he sent to me and he said to me that he meant every single content of the text message. And so luckily for me, i was so happy to get in contact with Dr.ZOBO contact details on the internet via email. And through Dr.ZOBO my relationship has turned around and now my relationship is now filled with love because my lover is back to me.In case of any relationship problems or heartbreaks,kindly contact Dr ZOBO via his email: dr.zobozobo@gmail.com

  • Kelly mirna

    I’m really sorry about what’s happening to you right now,I had a familiar problem in couple of months ago but with the help of Dr,ZOBO i got my love back.You can contact him via this email:dr.zobozobo@gmail.com if you wouldn’t mind and all your problems will be solve.Thanks Kelly

  • Kelly mirna

    I had a familiar problem in couple of months ago but with the help of Dr,ZOBO i got my love back.You can contact him via this email:dr.zobozobo@gmail.com if you wouldn’t mind and all your problems will be solve.Thanks Kelly

  • Kelly mirna

    He has done same thing for and he can same for you too.You can contact him via this email:dr.zobozobo@gmail.com if you wouldn’t mind and all your problems will be solve.Thanks Kelly

  • Jacinta Brown

    I want to say thank you to Madu Temple for all the good things they have done for me,Though am not sure if this is the best forum to post this but i cant hide my happiness and my Joy so i have to share it with people my marriage got crashed about two years ago and tried all i could within my power but to no avail i saw a post and testimonial about the good things Madu Temple has been doing to help relationships so i decided to give it a trial though they are always busy but when i got a response back to my e mail, they gave me 5 to 6 hours for my marriage to be restored i am happy since then and i am living happily again i am so grateful Madu Temple you can always e mail them here: maduutemple@gmail.com Phone# +447480031025