Not Made For Breaking Up

Posted on September 28, 2012


In my very first post in which I talked about my background, I wrote that I am a Christian and earned my Master of Arts in Marital and Family Therapy from Bethel Seminary.  Though my faith is reflected in my view of all areas of life, I have not generally made it overt in this blog.  Something someone said to me recently made me reflect on the nature of human beings.  For me that includes looking at how God made us.

A fellow Christian who had recently gone through a relationship breakup said to me, “I don’t think we were made for breaking up.”  I was reminded of the words of the great philosopher Neil Sedaka who observed, “Breaking up is hard to do.”  In those six words, Neil offered profound insight into the nature of human beings.  To function well, we need secure attachment with someone to whom we matter.  In life we need to know that someone has our back or (stated in more attachment terms) we need to know that we can turn to someone for comfort and support when life is difficult.  When a primary relationship is in distress or ended, we are deeply impacted.  We feel the pain of loss of relationship.  Research I cited in earlier posts observed that the breakup of an attachment relationship sends ripples throughout one’s life that negatively impact both physical and mental wellbeing.  Breaking up is hard to do.

But what about this idea that we were not made for breaking up?  Both Christian and Jewish scriptures and traditions assert that humans were made in the image of God (Gen. 1:26-27).  In fact, this image was cited as the reason we are not supposed to kill each other (Gen. 9:6) so apparently the image remained with us after the fall.  So what is this image?  It is not in what we look like.  After all, God is Spirit (John 4:24) so the image can’t be a physical resemblance.  Scorgie (2005, pp. 60-65) suggested four aspects to the image of God in human beings: the functional, the substantive, the moral, and the relational.  For the purposes of this discussion, let’s look at the relational aspect.  We were created by a God who is relational within his being, one God in a trinity of perfect love.  As fallen human beings, we never love perfectly.  At a friend’s wedding, the pastor observed that both partners were imperfect lovers.  The groom received some amount of ribbing at the reception over that, but I digress.  We were not made for breaking up.  It happens because we are flawed and not able to love perfectly, but the pain of a broken relationship tells us that this is not how it was meant to be.  As with a physical wound, the pain alerts us that something is wrong.  No wonder breaking up is hard to do.


Scorgie, G. (2005). The journey back to Eden. Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

“I work with individuals, couples, and families to help develop secure connections
and craft manageable solutions.”

More information is available on my website  I am also available for speaking engagements, seminars, and retreats

Scott Wood is a registered marriage and family therapist intern (IMF67385) and is supervised by Dr. Melinda Reinicke, Psychologist (Psy11011).