How Can You Mend a Broken Heart?

How Can You Mend a Broken Heart?

Relationships are the foundation of humanity. God orchestrated this by creating us as beings with hearts that desire to love and be loved by those around us. It’s why, since the beginning of history, people suffer with broken hearts when relationships fall apart. Whether through divorce, estrangement, fighting, bitter disagreement or death, loss of love can cause unbearable pain. There are songs, plays, poems and novels written about broken hearts so if you’re suffering with one, find comfort in knowing you’re not alone. You may feel hurt, angry, lonely and abandoned. You may think it is impossible, but your broken heart will heal if you let it. So how can you mend a broken heart?

Allow yourself to feel pain and trust it won’t last forever.

Consider this: God created us to heal from wounds. When physically injured, the human body immediately and automatically begins to repair itself. Likewise, the human heart naturally strives to heal itself. The human spirit has an amazing capacity to rebound again and again. Understanding this and trusting it will happen, in spite of your pain and sadness, will help you move on. It is important to accept you may not heal as fast as your ex. Some people simply heal faster than others. The deeper your emotions, the longer it will take your heart to mend, but you will get through it. Don’t fight the healing process. It takes time. Be patient. For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1 NRSVC)

TIP: Although you won’t feel like it, keep moving. Exercise is the single most effective therapy for depression. Read more. Think about joining a gym, joining an adult sports league (flag football, softball, dodgeball, basketball, tennis, etc.) or taking a dance class to get moving and meet new people.

Persevere.

At first, this simply may mean forcing yourself to get out of bed every morning and going through the motions of daily life. You’ll want to crawl back under the blankets and wallow in self-pity, but resist the temptation because eventually you’ll wake up each day and realize your heart hurts just a little bit less than it did the day before. When a relationship ends, you may feel the sting of failure, but remember the only real failure is not getting up one more time. My mother used to say, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” This is especially true when recovering from a broken heart. Count it all joy, my brethren, when you meet various trials,  for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” (Jon 1:2-4, RSVCE)

Talk to someone.

Confide in a trusted family member, friend or pastor about the emotions – hurt, anger, guilt, resentment, sadness, rejection – you are experiencing. It is important to talk about your feelings in order to keep from expressing them in destructive ways. Confiding in someone you trust is like using crutches when you sprain your ankle. When your heart is broken, having someone to lean on gives you the strength you need to carry on. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow; but woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up.” (Ecclesiastes 4:10 RSVCE)

NOTE: Broken hearts can take a long time to heal, but if nothing seems to help resolve your pain, if you are having an exceptionally difficult time dealing with your emotions, or if you feel desperate, please talk to a professional counselor. To talk confidentially to someone who is unbiased about your situation now, chat with a HopeCoach now or get immediate help by calling TheHopeLine®  Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255.

Talk to God.

Regardless of what we do or fail to do, God will always love us. God knows everything about us – our flaws, failings, sins and transgressions – and in spite of it all, He still loves us and will never leave us. “I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.” (Jeremiah 31:3 RSVCE)

Only God loves us this way. The bottom line is once you hold this truth in your heart, you will be blessed with all the strength and courage you need to face rejection from others. Talk to God. Share your broken heart with Him. Ask God to help you heal and have faith that He will. Remember, God loves you no matter what and has a very special plan for you. “For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11 RSVCE)

TIP: Lots of churches and parishes have singles clubs. If your church doesn’t have a singles club, think about starting one and if you don’t belong to a church, now might be a good time to join one.

NOTE: Hope, Help and Healing is a faith-based on-line personal study program designed for those in separation or divorce, but is a beneficial resource for anyone, married or unmarried, going through a break-up.

Forgive and learn from your mistakes.

Forgiveness truly is the gateway to healing and happiness. Your relationship may have ended over some horribly egregious transgression. It may have ended over a series of irreconcilable differences or it may have died from lack of attention. Whatever the cause and no matter the circumstances, forgive your ex. This will be difficult if you feel the victim and especially difficult if your ex does not seek to be forgiven. Do it anyway. Our Lord Jesus tells us, “Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.” (Matthew 6:12)

Often times a broken heart can lead you to feel blameless. If this is the true for you, take time to ask yourself some meaningful questions about your failed relationship.

  • Was I attentive enough?
  • Was I selfish?
  • Was I overly possessive or jealous?
  • Was I insensitive to my ex’s feelings?
  • Did I respect my ex’s responsibilities and goals?
  • Was I verbally abusive?
  • Was I quick to anger and slow to forgive?

Honest answers to these types of questions will lead you to a more profound understanding of how your behavior contributed to your break up. The Holy Spirit  may be lead you to apologize to your ex or to turn to God with a repentant heart, seeking His forgiveness. Whatever you do, learn from your mistakes so you will be better equipped to make your next relationship happy, healthy and successful.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:

TheHopeLine®

Crisis Line 1-800-273-8255

Chat with a HopeCoach

Talk confidentially to someone who is unbiased about your situation now

Free Downloadable eBook: Getting Over A Broken Heart

It’s something no one ever wishes for, but likely something everyone will experience. If you have the capacity to love, then you also have the capacity to be hurt. Anytime you open yourself up to love, you risk getting a broken heart. This eBook will give you the steps to get over a broken heart to help you cope, heal and love again.

In this Ebook:

  • 26 page magazine-style eBook with colorful photos and steps to recover and move on from a broken heart.
  • Real audio calls to listen to others share about their heartbreak experiences.
  • A personal video interview with Lacey Sturm (formally Flyleaf lead singer) on recovering from a broken heart.
  • What to avoid after a break up and how to save yourself from getting a broken heart the next time.
  • Also, how to help a friend get through heartbreak.

12 Steps for Overcoming the Pain of Divorce

Hope, Help and Healing

A six-week personal study for those going through separation of divorce that will guide you to sections of the Bible that are relevant to the emotions, worries and questions you are dealing with right now. We like to think of the Bible as the “owner’s manual“ for life. It’s a place where you can get real-world answers for real-world problems, including separation and divorce. Unmarried persons going through a break up may also find this study beneficial.

Jesus, Please Help Me Find My Cross

Jesus, Please Help Me Find My Cross

The following essay is a real life experience from an anonymous author, an example of how God works mysteriously in our lives. It is offered to encourage anyone who may be having doubts that God always hears us, loves us, and provides what is best for us. This author is a cradle Catholic born before Vatican II who has been wonderfully blessed by God with many talents, a loving family, and a successful business career before retiring. He writes under the pen-name initials of JCM – the meaning of which is another story.  

Each morning at about dawn I begin my day by recalling the events in the human life of Jesus and His mother, Mary, per the format of the rosary, and then continue to pray, using the rosary format, for relatives and friends as well as major concerns of the day. Being a type “A” person, I double task by concurrently praying and exercising while walking in the house, or weather permitting, outside in the neighborhood. My rosary has a lot sentimental value because it was made and given to me by a deacon at our church many years ago, and has been prayed to get me successfully through many problems in life.

Photo Credit: Everyday Catholic
Photo Credit: Everyday Catholic

Just before dawn on a recent Sunday morning I pulled my rosary out of its small leather case as I stepped outside and grasped in the partial darkness for the crucifix to begin. SHOCK! The crucifix was missing! A mild panic set in! What happened to it? Since I am the only one who uses this rosary, I quickly started mentally retracing my prior use of it. I remembered the crucifix being there the previous morning when I started the rosary but did not knowingly touch it when putting it back in its case. Being a logical engineer, I conclude that I must have lost it while walking outside the previous day. So I set out to retrace my usual path down my driveway and on about a half mile of roads through the neighborhood.

As I walked, my prayerful intention in saying the rosary, as my fingers held each part except the missing cross, was to find the missing crucifix. My gut feeling was that this task would be like finding the proverbial “needle in a haystack” because the cross was less than two inches high and its dark gray color was about the same as the asphalt on the road, assuming that the cross was on the road and had not bounced into the vegetation adjacent to the road. With these nagging doubts, I reached the road at the bottom of my driveway and had started on the second joyful mystery of the trip Mary took on her visitation when a voice inside me said, “John, I am giving you a break from the troubles you have been having by taking away your cross!”

Suddenly, the panic I felt when I realized that the cross was missing was like a drop of water in the ocean compared to the panic that I now felt. “Oh, God,” I thought, “What are you telling me? Is my earthly life about to end? I am not ready! It’s not time yet! Remember that we have this one-sided prayer of mine, that you have not agreed to, that I should live longer than my wife so that I can care for this beautiful daughter of yours that you have entrusted to me to return to you. Thank you that she is doing well but it would be cowardly for me to leave her to fend for herself!”

As I continued to walk along the road and hold back the tears of grief, I prayed repeatedly while also continuing with the mysteries of the rosary, “Jesus, please give me a cross to carry with you. I want to carry a little bit of what you have carried for us. Please let me do my share and not be a free-loader. Please give me back my cross.”

I was really down as I completed the half-mile path on the road that brought me back to my driveway without finding the cross. But still having hope, I decided that I should walk the path again because now that the sun was up a little more, maybe I could see better and find the cross. As I reached my driveway, I was in the middle of the fourth sorrowful mystery, The Carrying of the Cross, while still praying that I might find my cross. Miraculously, what a glorious sight in the early morning light – the crucifix I was seeking was on the driveway next to the morning newspaper. It had been run over. The cross itself was slightly curved. The corpus Jesus was next to the cross and an arm was broken. But at least I had found my cross. And so I rejoiced because I knew that Jesus had given me back my cross!

While the jeweler was not able to repair the broken crucifix, we found another one to install on the rosary. But even more important, Jesus assured me that I had jumped to erroneous conclusions with the message that I thought I had heard when starting my search. We will continue to have crosses in life to carry with Him. Alleluia! They are just likely to change as did the crucifix on my rosary.

Male Vulnerability

Male Vulnerability

The following essay, by Joey Martineck, was first published on February 22, 2016 online at Beautiful Things.

Screen Shot 2016-02-25 at 7.13.42 AMVulnerability.

It’s a struggle for me. It’s a struggle for every man. We like to put our strengths on display and conceal our weaknesses. Sadly, it’s possible for us to know a man for years – to see him every day at the office or every weekend at church – without ever having a meaningful conversation with him. We stay at the surface because it feels safe. But from my own experience, I can testify that we were made for more than only pragmatic, surface level conversations.

Time for some Honesty:

When I worked in sales, my life appeared successful on the outside. Inside though, I felt dead. My accomplishments were my way of coping with a deep insecurity I had carried within me since I was a kid. Eventually during my career, I reached a place of vulnerability where I experienced brothers in Christ loving me in my weakness. That moment changed my life dramatically. But it only happened because I was willing to look honestly at my problems.

Are you in touch with your weakness? Or are you numb like I was for so long? In his book Wild at Heart, John Eldredge says that “a wound unfelt is a wound [that remains] unhealed.” The crisis of male vulnerability today is not an accident. It stems from the insecurities we have as men. It comes from the way we have tried to cope with deep hurts in our life. In my hurts, I relied on myself and other’s opinions of me rather than the Father who loves me as I am. But we end up deceiving ourselves when we ignore our pain. The Lord encourages us to “not be afraid” to make the first step toward vulnerability: looking honestly at our brokenness (Isah 41:10).

 

Exposing the Wounds:

I was at a men’s retreat in Tiger, GA a few years back. On the retreat were some of the top Catholic ministry leaders across the country. After brief introductions, the MC opened the retreat with this comment.

“My name is Jack*, and I am a failure of a husband, father, and Catholic.”

I was absolutely shocked. Never before had I experienced grown men being so genuinely open about their weaknesses. They echoed the words of St. Paul where he says, “I willingly boast about my weakness, that the power of Christ might be perfected in me” (2 Cor 12:9). The men on that retreat and St. Paul were unafraid to openly talk about their weaknesses because they had something in common: they had exposed their wounds to Jesus Christ.

Screen Shot 2016-02-25 at 7.21.20 AM

Doubting God’s goodness, we often try to hide our pain from him. Adam’s first reaction after eating the apple was to hide, but the Father still sought him out in love (Gen 3:9). Prayer stops becoming lifeless repetition for us when we actually start exposing our wounds to Jesus. Because in Jesus Christ, we find a man who is not afraid to expose his wounds to us. After the resurrection, Jesus came to Thomas and said, “Put your hand in my side and believe” (John 20:27). In Jesus, we do not find an impersonal God who doesn’t care about our pain, but a man who “is able to sympathize with our weakness” (Heb 4:15). When we experience Jesus loving us at our worst, we no longer need to hide our insecurities and receive the freedom to be vulnerable.

 

True Brotherhood:

The fruit of vulnerability – guided by prudence – is true brotherhood. Think of the friendship of Frodo and Sam from The Lord of the Rings. These two men (hobbits actually) spent a lot of time together in the safe home of their Shire. But vulnerability really begins for Frodo and Sam once they step out of their hobbit holes on a journey to save the world. They talk along the way about their hopes and dreams, about their disappointments and failures. They bear each other’s burdens. We see clearly how just as “iron sharpens iron, man sharpens man” (Prov 27:17). As the story plays out, it is not strength and power that saves the world, but true brotherhood.

What an utter travesty it is that we have reduced our concept of intimacy to mere sexual expression. No wonder we as men often feel so empty and alone. The Book of James guides us toward true brotherhood by saying, “Confess your sins to one another that you may find healing” (Jam 5:16). Of course, this applies to the great gift of the Sacrament of Reconciliation for us Catholics. But I believe this is also an encouragement for us to be vulnerable. St. Augustine courageously shows us the way to do this in his book The Confessions. There, he reveals the good, bad, and ugly of his life and where God was working the whole time.

Under St. Augustine’s patronage, I have been involved in several small groups where men intentionally share their lives with each other. In these meetings, I have seen conversion take place, healing occur, vocations develop, and lasting friendships form. The enemy tries to make us believe that we are alone. By sharing our struggles, we fulfill the scripture in Revelation that says, “For the accuser of our brothers has been cast out, who accuses them day and night before our God. And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony” (Rev 12:10-11).

 

The Courageous Step toward Vulnerability

If you are not currently in a men’s group, have you sought one out in your community? Any form of a men’s group is good: a bible study, Knights of Columbus, etc. However, I particularly encourage support groups like Christ Renews His Parish (CRHP), Cursillo, That Man is You (TMIY), or some other small group model with intentional sharing. If this is not available in your church/community, I challenge you to start one. Seriously! It only takes one man to step out and say “I struggle” to give other men the freedom to be vulnerable too.

You were not made for isolation; you were made for communion. May you have the courage to make a concrete step toward vulnerability in whatever way that looks like in your life right now. Do not be afraid to expose your wounds to Jesus who knows our pain and always seeks to find us.

Bibliography:
*Name substituted for privacy.
John Eldredge. Wild at Heart. (Thomas Nelson: Nashville, Tennesee). 2010.
Lord of the Rings Graphic: http://www.morethaneitheralone.net/frodo-sam-recs.html
Thomas Graphic: https://churchmousec.wordpress.com/2010/04/10/doubting-thomas-john-2019-31/

 

JoeyJoey Martineck graduated from Georgia Tech in 2012 with a degree in computer engineering. He loves to write, act, improv, dance and sing and is the published author of the one act play Wise Men. Currently, Joey is studying philosophy at Notre Dame Seminary in New Orleans where he is in formation to become a Roman Catholic priest. You can read more from Joey by visiting his blog Beautiful Things, a place where art and the Church come together.